As the launch of “Sprite Mouths” approaches, what’s it all about?
It’s that time again, time for a quick blog update.
Chatterware has had a busy year so far, we started with the “Now We’re Talking!” launch which was very successful (thanks to everyone involved!) and then we had a massive push to get “Now We’re Talking!” actually into user’s hands, crushing bugs and contemplating what’s next.
First we added multiple conversation capability via NPC_Phases and within that release, blinks, emotive blinks, the addition of optional lips, the Lips Reducer slider to quickly control movement thresholds and a ‘smart setting’ D-Bug Results – which quickly shows where the easy to make mistakes are in your setups. All that was in v1.03 – phew!
Then v1.04 featured integration into Pixel Crusher’s incredible “Dialogue System”. Tony thanks for all your supreme efforts on this one, what a ‘star’. This came in as a suggestion on the Discord channel and was sorted within a couple of days. Amazing, thanks again Tony!
Our fourth revision, v1.05 heralded another suggestion from the Discord channel, you guys do come up with them! We were asked to allow a microphone input to provide LIVE voice input to drive an interactive character’s mouth, live on screen. This can be a little temperamental but if your microphone normally works with Unity then it should here too.
V1.06 came next, and featured integration in to the awesome “Adventure Creator” asset, achieved by ChrisIceBox – the “Adventure Creator” asset author – great job man! Thanks to Adamaze for another great suggestion, via Discord of course! This feature also highlighted the fact that you can use an external AudioSource to control the NPC mouths, making it possible for users to separate out the speech from another asset and wire it directly into “Now We’re Talking!”
V1.07 featured an ammend to the “Dialogue System” integration to allow for multiple NPC_Phases to be ustilised.
V1.08 included bug fixes along with a rather snazzy feature. By adding ‘++’ to any filename, NWT will play the following file immediately, allowing the use of lots of smaller individual clips to be played as though they are one large speech. Effectively it plays the next speech clip right after the one with ‘++’ in the filename. If you have five files with ‘++’ in their filenames, then they will play one after another with no gap and then play the final sixth clip and pause.
So thanks go to our awesome users for some great suggestions and additions to the asset.
I’d also like to thank Messy Coder for his valuable input – I will integrate your neat tricks Messy, just give me a bit of time to get through the launch of our next update v1.09.
During the year we were asked by Unity to take part in an asset sale, which was very successful too! Thanks Unity!
In the summer, we teamed up with Jason Weimann’s GameDevGuild and became part of the GameDevGuild conference bundle too. The two day meet up was extremely useful to spread the NWT word and explain and demo the asset to new developers from all over the world. Thanks for the opportunity Jason and Jim! (you know who you are)!
Covid put a huge dint in development time as both Richard and myself fell ill at different times, which slowed us down a bit. Fully recovered now though and looking forwards to finishing dev on “Sprite Mouths” and finally releasing it in v1.09.
So what will v1.09 feature? The long awaited “Sprite Mouths” ! Hoorah!
I thought it may be useful to explain here what they are, what they do and what they mean for the future of NWT!
What are “Sprite Mouths”?
Sprite Mouths are a series of mouth shapes in pixel form, they are images which when animated, give the impression of talking. They are essentially animated sprite, mouths.
What do they do differently?
Sprite Mouths shapes look more like normal mouths. They have been developed to work with our exisiting code to make characters appear to speak a little more realistically.
They are not based on phonemes or blendshapes.
They are very simple to implement and look great in action.
Give me a simple overview before we get in to the details!
“Sprite Mouths” are an addition to our existing three mouth shapes.
Sprite Mouths are an extra method of generating animated speaking mouths, synchronising with audio clips in real-time with no pre-processing.
Like all NWT mouths they are language agnostic, they work with any language.
Sprite Mouths come in sets.
Chatterware are giving the first two basic Sprite Mouth sets away for free, in the v1.09 update. In this update you will receive the new code and two basic mouths, one male, one female. PLEASE always back up projects before introducing the v1.09 update.
Chatterware are currently producing a variety of different Sprite Mouth packs which will be purchasable as extra assets to use with “Now We’re Talking!” Sprite Mouths.
How do we set them up?
Add “Now We’re Talking!” in the normal way (if you don’t know how to do this check out the Basic Set Up v1.03 tutorial on the Chatterware YouTube channel).
Locate the “Now We’re Talking!” script and slide the “Mouth Shape” slider to 4 and the “Mouth Data Presets” to 4 also. Sprite Mouths are an addition to the exisiting mouths not a replacement. They will work side by side with each other.
Now scroll all the way down to the fourth up from the bottom, input box denoted as “Sprite Mouth” – click on the small file tag and select one of the available “Mouth Sets”. This loads NWT with the sprite images required to generate the new animated mouths.
How do you activate “Sprite Mouths” inside “Now We’re Talking!” ?
(1) Set Mouth Shape to ‘4’ and “Mouth Data Presets” to 4, this will let NWT know to use “Sprite Mouths”
(2) Locate the “Sprite Mouth set” input field (just below the ‘External Audio Source Used’ check box at the bottom of the “Now We’re Talking!” script) and click on the file selector tag, select one of the available “Sprite Mouth Sets” that come with the v1.09 update.
(3) Use as normal – you may have to position the “Mouths_Pivot” game object to ensure the mouths appear correctly positioned on the face (“Lips_SpriteMouths” should be 0,0,0 – “Mouth_Pivot” can be carefully moved, rotated and scaled to suit your requirements)
Is there a new price for the update?
No. We want everyone to have the opportunity to try “Sprite Mouths” for free.
What will the update provide?
The v1.09 update will come with two sets of sprites, one male and one female in scriptable object form. The “Now We’re Talking!” prefab will come ready configured for you to follow the above process to get up and running asap.
Chatterware will be supporting the “Sprite Mouths” update with a number of ‘secret sauce’ packs to help make the variety and fun of using “Sprite Mouths” appeal to as many developers as possible.
These packs will be purchasable as “Extras” for “Now We’re Talking!” but will be reasonably priced and surprisingly useful.
Keep an eye out for “Sprite Mouths” coming very soon to the Unity Asset Store as a FREE update and then extra ‘secret sauce’ packs to enhance developers use of the asset.
Thanks for your continued support!
P & R
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