BEHIND THE SCENES: CHARACTERS ON MOBILE

May 10, 2021

Hello People of the Fog, 

The All-Kill chapter brought two new characters to the DbD universe: The Trickster and Yun-Jin Lee. We know that these two began on PC/Console and that they’ll soon arrive on Mobile– but how does this process workIs it a simple copy/paste from one game to another?  

We sat down with our lead Game Designer and a few Technical Artists to learn the intricacies of bringing a new character to Dead by Daylight Mobile. 

 

How do you begin to figure out what character elements need to be adapted for Mobile?  

Sofi, Lead Game Designer:  

Controls is the obvious first answer here. Playing on PC and playing on Mobile is very different – for one thing, keeping a button pressed is easy on PC, but a lot harder on Mobile. 

Next is feedback cuesWe need to make sure that players have all the information they need to understand what is going on when they play. Visual cues are usually straightforward, but we sometimes need to modify some due to performance issues.  

For audio feedback, it’s a little bit more complicated. Designers need to check every sound made by the characters, and decide which ones are important for gameplay comprehension. Those that are the most important have visual cues added. For example, it is important to be able to visually know when you hear the Huntress’ lullaby.  

Next, we need to see if perks or addons have special needs. This usually comes in the form of additional feedback. For example, the Wraith’s Bone Clapper add-on makes the Survivor unable to tell which direction the Wraith’s bell is coming from, meaning that we have to adjust the visual feedback from a directional one to a global one. 

And finally, we need to make sure that all new UI elements are listed to make sure that UI artists can take care of them.  

 

How do you begin modelling a PC/Console character on Mobile?  

Stephen, Technical 3D Artist:  

For Dead by Daylight Mobile, we use the same models as PC/Console – first, we must take those character assets and optimize them to run on both low- and high-end mobile devices. We have a limit for geometry and number of textures we can use for each character. This comes with some challenges and limitations for mobile platforms. 

On Mobile we do not have cloth simulation, so all outfits need to be weighted to the character’s skeletal bones. We have to merge a few materials to reduce the amount of time the game engine looks for individual shapes to display to the screen. We also have a limit for skeletal bones per material instance.   

With all the limitations we try to keep the same visual fidelity as PC/Console.  

 

A breakdown of draw calls, showing similar materials that should be merged.

 

How do you adapt VFX for Mobile? 

Catherine, VFX Artist:

We start by analyzing the performance that the character has without optimization.
Then we remove what is not essential, such as VFX that are too small to be seen on a phone or VFX that doesn’t affect the gameplay. We have limitations that we must respect on Mobile.

We optimize all elements in VFX such as particle emitter, textures, materials and level of details. 

 

Side by side comparison of Android low-end (left) and high-end (right) after some work.

 

What were some of the major challenges when adapting Yun-Jin and the Trickster to Mobile? 

Kendji3D Artist:

I would say the fur, especially for Yun-Jin’s base outfit. She has fur that cost a lot in terms of shapes.
 
Besides that, usually characters with skirts or dresses are a little bit troublesome because without clothing system in Mobile, clothes often start to penetrate with the mesh of the body  

 

Stephen: 

 The main challenges in adapting the Trickster for Mobile are replicating some of the outfits without cloth simulation. Also, reducing some of the finer details on his outfits for Mobile performance.  

 

Low-end (left) and high-end (right) of the look in-game after being enabled for the first time.

 

Are some characters easier to model/adapt to Mobile than others? 

Kendji

The easier characters to model, in my opinion, are those with a lot of details that can be contained in the texture itself (like Legion or Demogorgon). 

The more difficult ones are thoswho have a lot of separated pieces like armor or clothes (like the Oni or The Plague)  

 

 Sofi: 

I believe the Oni was the most complicated of the characters I’ve worked on. He’s a Killer that switches to a different set of controls when entering Blood Fury. His controls on PC require a lot of button-holding, which we’ve replaced with toggles. 

 

Side by side comparison of Android low-end (left) and high-end (right) after being enabled for the first time.

 

 

Who is your favourite character? 

Sofi: 

Being a huge Silent Hill fan, Cheryl has to be my favourite Survivor. I think the artists have done a great job with her likeness! 

 

Catherine: 

My main character is Meg, she has the best perks for the type of gameplay I like to play. I even did a Meg cosplay at one of the Behaviour Halloween parties. 

 

Stephen:

One of my favourite characters is Claudette specifically the Judo Bruiser outfit that is exclusive for Mobile. I had the pleasure to work on this exclusive outfit on all aspects, so I am a bit biased.    

 

Kendji: 

I would say The PlagueEven if she’s probably the most problematic to optimise (in my opinion)I really like her design and story. 

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