Slime Rancher - Monomi Park


Art Blog: Let's Talk About Face Shaders

Hello! My name is Ian McConville, and I'm the Principle Artist at Monomi Park.

For Slime Rancher's 1.4.0 update, I rebuilt nearly all of the slime related shaders from the ground up! One of the most notable of these changes is that the slime faces are now more detailed and, at the same time take up less memory.

Let's take a look at how the new shaders work!



Texture - Changing the Channel!
The first thing we do when building a slime is we start with a special, custom RGBA texture. A single RGBA texture file actually contains 4 greyscale images, and each image is used as a special mask that will dictate where artist defined colors will go on the face.
  • The R (red) channel is used for the eyes.
  • The G (green) channel is a highlight color for the eyes.
  • The B (blue) channel is a secondary eye color, but not used in this case.
  • The A (alpha) is used for the Mouth.
For now, we'll focus on the R and A channels. These will be our main face mask.



Now you're probably wondering why the mask is so FUZZY. Well, the reason is that the mask is actually a Distance Field.

These fuzzy masks will allow for much higher detail than a standard rasterized texture could, even at larger resolutions! (The texture itself is only 64x64 pixels in size, which is roughly 1/4th the size of the face textures from Slime Rancher 1.3.0's faces).



This is done by applying a very simple layer style to a high resolution mask of the mouth:



And then in the shader, we use a process called Smooth Step to sharpen the mask. Using the fuzzy values of the image we can find clean, crisp edges hidden in the texture.

This process costs a little performance at run time, but is actually cheaper on texture memory. It also has the added bonus of being extremely sharp, even when the slime is very very close to the player!







A regular texture, at the same resolution, without distance fields would look no where near as good. Even when using the Smooth Step process.


Eyes - Adding some Sparkle!
So now we have a super clean, crisp mask to work with for our eyes and mouth! It looks even sharper than the original high resolution version of the mask we started with.



Before we get to the mouth, we'll begin with the eyes. The eyes make use of the RGB channels, but again, in this case we won't be using B.

1) In the first image, we see the original texture file masked by the Eye Mask.
2) If we take only the R channel and multiply that by a dark color (color1) we'll get a flat, black eye.
3) Then we'll do the same with the G channel and add that to the colored R channel.



Then, using a simple node setup in the shader, some glints are generated. A UV offset is applied to the glints so that they move with the player's view.

Once we have this, it's added to the rest of the eyes.





The results: A nice (fake) glint is applied to the eye!



It's super cheap as it doesn't actually take the lighting information in to consideration, but it's very satisfying to look at ːslimeamazedː

There's a lot more that goes into the eyes, but that was the main parts. Here's a quick glance at what the entire Eye section of the shader graph looks like.



Now then, it's time to move on to the mouth.

Mouth - Wide Smile!
The mouth is just a sticker applied to the slime's body, but we still want it to feel like a 3D hole in the surface.

To start, we need the back of the mouth. The warm red tones! This is simply a gradient with a severe depth offset.



An extra visual treat, new to 1.4.0, is that slimes finally have visible tongues! This is achieved with a little shader trickery to make a circle and then a depth offset to set it in the back of the mouth.

This is added to the previous gradient before it gets colorized. Subtle, but it makes a big difference in believing that the mouth has depth ːslimehappyː



The nice thing about using the distance fields for the mouth mask is that we can adjust the smoothstep and get different sizes for the mouth. By layering various sizes of the mouth with different depths, we can get a pretty believable mask.

Then we multiply the mask over our big red gradient + tongue.



And that's the mouth!

Again, same with the eyes, there's a lot more subtly that goes into the effect. Here's a glance at the full mouth shader:



Getting Wiggly - Final Touches!
It's time to put everything together. This is almost done, but we're missing a little something to make the face feel gooey-wiggly-wobbly.



The eye and mouth texture has a UV input that we can modify for some extra noise. With a little adjusting of the wobbly values, we can make the static face warble-wander all over the place!





And there you have it!

By swapping out our original face texture into this shader we can make all sorts of slime faces with nice, clean edges and plenty of fake depth.

Thank you, and I hope you enjoy this and other improvements with the Slime Rancher 1.4.0 release!


Stay wiggly ːslimehappyː
Slime Rancher - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Dominic Tarason)

Squidgy first-person farm ’em up Slime Rancher is one size bigger and goopier today. Developers Monomi Park have released two bits of DLC, one of them big, challenging and free, and the other one small, entirely cosmetic and paid. Viktor’s Experimental Update is the free expansion, taking players into a world of slime simulation. Slimeulation, even. It’s infested with glitchy, fragmented slimes that you can collect, convert into bug reports and cash in for a stack of new rewards, including some new gadgets. Below, a look at this blankly smiling virtual world within a virtual world.

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Slime Rancher - Monomi Park


Login to Viktor’s Experimental Update!

Join Viktor Humphries and test his simulated reality of the Far, Far Range. Well, a work-in-progress version anyway... Watch the trailer here :slimeamazed:



This update is jam-packed with cutting-edge ranch tech including: Advanced Drones to help with daily chores, a (questionably useful) Chicken Cloner, and a whole collection of wacky gadgets designed by Viktor himself! There’s also a new zone, new ranch expansion, and a new slime!


Viktor’s Slimeulation:
Viktor has been working on a virtual re-creation of the Far, Far Range and it’s full of bugs. Well, glitches. Well… glitch slimes to be exact.

- Viktor will invite you to his Workshop after you’ve unlocked the Ruins, purchase the Lab Ranch Expansion, unlocked Treasure Cracker MKII, and then successfully complete a Range Exchange request with him.
- Travel to Viktor’s Workshop and login to his Slimeulation.
- Use Viktor's patented debug spray to reveal hidden glitch slimes and vac them up before they disappear!
- Try to collect as many glitch slimes as you can before the simulation becomes corrupted.
- Once the corruption starts to spread, Viktor will open an exit portal for you; make a break for it before things get out of control and escape the Slimeulation safely!



Glitch Slimes:
Glitch slimes are hiding everywhere inside Viktor's Slimeulation and it's up to you to help him capture, quarantine, and research them before they spread! Be extra careful while exploring: taking damage from the corruption could give those tricky glitch slimes a chance to wiggle out of your tank!

Glitch slimes will turn into bug reports after you leave the Slimeulation. Turn in your collection of bug reports for unique rewards and mysterious manifold cubes you can use to craft new gadgets.




New Gadgets!
It wouldn't be a very science-y update without a ton of new slime science gadgets! Help Viktor wrangle glitch slimes and he’ll reward you with a smattering of useful gadgets he’s been developing!


Advanced Drones
These new-and-improved drones can handle not one, but TWO programs! Talk about advanced! Set a primary AND a secondary task to keep these busy bees busy while you’re busy being breezy.

Portable Water Tap
Water taps are a small, placeable water source that can be used to refill your tank if there aren’t ponds nearby.

Chicken Cloner
This is an experimental gadget constructed by one of Viktor’s scientific peers and, when it works, it creates a perfect clone of any chicken. When it doesn’t, well, that’s a data point at least!

Slime Bait
Fruit, Veggie, and Meat Slime Bait can be placed around your ranch or out in the Far, Far Range to attract slimes who favor that type of food.

Portable Scareslime
Place this on your ranch to keep slimes away from things they shouldn’t be around or… ːslimescaredː

Dash Pad
Ready, set, RUN! Use the Dash Pad to instantly refill your energy levels so you never need to slow down!!!


The Decorizer
This new storage device allows you to store, clean up, and manage decorative ranch items (ornaments, echoes, etc.) with the press of a button! Deck out your ranch and then clean it all up in a snap.

The Decorizer can be unlocked via the 7Zee Rewards Club as a mid-tier reward (it will already be available for ranchers who have unlocked or surpassed Silver Storm I).




The Secret Style Pack:
We are also excited to announce that the Secret Style Pack is now available for purchase! It’s an all-new downloadable content pack for Slime Rancher!





Search for special treasure pods throughout the Far, Far Range and discover each slime's unique secret style. Once discovered, you will be able to re-style every slime of that type whenever you choose!

This new DLC pack adds 20 slime styles for you to find and unlock. Learn more over on the Steam store page:

https://store.steampowered.com/app/1079180/Slime_Rancher_Secret_Style_Pack/

Note: Secret styles do not affect gordos as the gordos in the world, and their appearances, are an important part of game progression and we didn’t want to make it confusing to new players. This may change in a future update after further evaluation.


Visual Updates:
- Slimes got a facelift! The art tech we developed for the Secret Style Pack resulted in all slimes getting new, crisper, more detailed faces with added depth. The new, beautified faces are available for every rancher with this update.
- Added a new animation for boom slime explosions (they may be prettier, but they are still very dangerous. Please observe with caution!)
- Added new tutorial popups which replace the old lightbulb animation with stuff like: an even more adorable Beatrix, slimes doing slime things, and so on. Is it worth restarting the game and playing for hundreds more hours just to see these new tutorial images? Maybe...
- Updated Viktor’s Range Exchange icon.


Other Changes:
- Added the option to disable basic, advanced, or all tutorials.
- Added new Slimepedia entries for Ogden’s Kookadoba Hunt, Mochi’s Quicksilver Job, and Viktor’s Slimeulation Testing that you can reference if you need a refresher on what to do.
- Lowered gadget fabrication requirements to unlock Treasure Cracker Mk II (from 35 to 20) and Mk III (from 100 to 50).
- Updated the translation of “Tabby Slime” in the Korean translation.
- Updated the game credits to include all the new team members that help make Slime Rancher here at Monomi Park! <3
- chikKns


Fixes:
- Drone pathing got an update so they should buzz harder, better, faster, smarter.
- Phosphor largos will now disappear in the sun when the are carried outside.
- Fixed an issue where puddle plorts in silos weren’t being collected by drones when you left the ranch.
- Fixed a bug on Xbox that caused crates to appear blacked out.
- Improved the performance of clouds. This was a very complicated change but technically speaking we made them ‘do cloud stuff better.’
- Other various visual improvements to some terrain and structures.


Let us know what you think about Viktor’s Update and the Secret Style Pack on Twitter!

Until next time, stay wiggly and happy ranching! ːslimehappyː


June 19, 2019 - v1.4.0b
- Fixed a visual bug relating to the skybox
- Fixed an issue with Advanced Drones program assignment


June 27, 2019 - v1.4.0c
- Corrected a few minor bugs related to dialog boxes getting stuck on the screen. This should fix most cases of this, but if you are still experiencing it please contact support@monomipark.com
- Fixed a graphical issue when running the game with OpenGL drivers.
- Other minor fixes.


Aug 5, 2019 - v1.4.0d
- Fixed a Drones catch-up issue with Mochi's and Ogden's ranch.
- Minor translation corrections.



._.
Slime Rancher - Monomi Park


Viktor's Experimental Update is coming to Slime Rancher on June 18th!

Dive into a virtual Far, Far Range and help Viktor collect and research troublesome glitch slimes before they spread! Watch the announcement trailer here ːslimeamazedː



._.
Slime Rancher - Monomi Park


Growing a New Tangle Slime
Secret Style Breakdown

Hey everyone, I’m Dan Venhardt, the resident 3D Character Artist here at Monomi Park. We wanted to share part of our development process of the new Secret Style Pack for Slime Rancher, which adds a ton of new slime looks and largos to the mix.

Meet the new tangle slime style... Nightshade!



So what goes into making a slime? Let’s break down how we brought the new tangle slime style to life, step by step!

Early Explorations
We knew we wanted to keep certain thematic elements present on many of the new slime styles, and for tangle slimes we felt it was important to maintain an iconic flower element as well as plant colors. We worked through many ideas (some just for fun) in order to feel out the direction we wanted to go.


A few alternate ideations for the new tangle slime

Nothing was off-limits at this stage, but ultimately we wanted the design to work within the framework of the current slimes’ animations. In the end, we decided on a plump rose-shaped flower as a nice contrast to tangle’s current flower design.

Building the Model


Using 3D programs like Maya and 3D-Coat, a high-resolution model for the flower was created so that details and lighting information could be translated to an optimized low-resolution model in a process called texture baking.



Once the source mesh’s details are “baked” to the game mesh, we can bring this model and its base textures into Unity to apply colors within the slime’s materials.


Tangled Shades
In Unity, we can play with the flowers’ color gradients and smoothness to create a variety of different looks. Using color masks, we can control which parts of our slimes are shiny or soft.



While exploring colors, we found a nice velvety contrast with a darker flower that felt like a good fit for the new tangle slime. Ultimately we decided on a violet flower with a cool blue specular rim, as we felt it looked best in most lighting conditions.


Classic (left), Nightshade (center), and Early Variants (right)


Nightshade Largos!
After the models and materials for the new slime styles were done, we could finally begin the creation of every new largo combination. We want each largo to be distinct, taking advantage of multiple materials and shaders while inheriting their parent slimes’ major features. Each nightshade largo inherits the new flower (often deriving from the base slimes’ dominant color like its classic cousin), as well as its new tint of green when dominant.



I can't wait for you to discover all of the new slime styles and their largo combinations! Be sure to keep an eye out as we share more styles coming in the Secret Style Pack!


The Secret Style Pack is an all-new downloadable content pack for Slime Rancher!

Search for special treasure pods throughout the Far, Far Range and discover each slime's unique secret style. Once discovered, you will be able to re-style every slime of that type whenever you choose!

Both the new Secret Style Pack DLC and Viktor's Experimental Update will be available this June, but you can wishlist the Secret Style Pack today!

https://store.steampowered.com/app/1079180/Slime_Rancher_Secret_Style_Pack/


Be sure to follow us on Twitter to stay up to date on news, style reveals, and be the first to know when the Secret Style Pack is available ːslimeamazedː
Slime Rancher - Monomi Park


Discover the secret styles of all your favorite slimes!
Coming to Slime Rancher This June





The Secret Style Pack is an all-new downloadable content pack for Slime Rancher!

Search for special treasure pods throughout the Far, Far Range and discover each slime's unique secret style. Once discovered, you will be able to re-style every slime of that type whenever you choose!

Both the new Secret Style Pack DLC and Viktor's Experimental Update will be available this June, but you can wishlist the Secret Style Pack today!

https://store.steampowered.com/app/1079180/Slime_Rancher_Secret_Style_Pack/


Be sure to follow us on Twitter to stay up to date on news, style reveals, and be the first to know when the Secret Style Pack is available ːslimeamazedː
Slime Rancher - Monomi Park


Design Blog: Workshopping It

Hey Ranchers! We’ve got some exciting new spaces upcoming in 1.4.0. Most different of all is none other than Viktor’s Workshop, a space unlike any we’ve created in Slime Rancher to date.

I’m Chris Lum, Game Designer at Monomi Park, here to talk about how we went about creating this unique new area.


Rough Blockout
We’ve always been in the position that design has typically had more spare cycles to iterate than art, so with Viktor’s we started with a rough blockout using existing assets we previously developed for Ogden and Mochi. Using these preexisting models, I was able to kitbash a quick mockup to help inform us of the type of environment we wanted to create and allowed us to start testing standard Slime Rancher gameplay early on (Example: How many corrals can we fit? Does the space feel open enough to accommodate decorations, fully upgraded corrals, and dozens of slimes?)




Concept
Once we had a basic layout, we started thinking more about how to fill in the space. We knew right away that Viktor’s expansion was going to be the most ‘technologically advanced-looking’ out of all the rancher areas and came up with concepts exploring what sort of devices he might have in his workshop. The earlier blockout helped us to discuss what sort of environment art would work in the space when interacting with our slimes.





Grayboxing
As Viktor’s continued to materialize, we decided to take the prototyping phase a step further and use greybox modelling to get a more accurate representation of the area. I was able to create a low-poly mesh much closer to the size and shape of what Viktor’s actually needed to be in order to test its viability as a space for slimes and player interaction.

This type of greyboxing pass has only ever really happened one other time in the history of Slime Rancher: the other time being with the Ancient Ruins. Much like with the Ancient Ruins, greyboxing the environment early on was very informative and allowed us to quickly see how slimes interacted with the more complex playspace as well as provided a much closer visual representation of how we wanted Viktor’s to look and feel. This also had the added benefit of taking some of the pressure off of our art team so they could focus on other important work that needed to be done.




Production Pass
Playtesting and iteration proceeded with the greybox environment for many months as we ironed out other features. However, eventually we were able to get around to building out Viktor’s “for real”, which presented many unique challenges given the difference in aesthetics, lighting, and construction from many other Slime Rancher expansions. Particularly, Viktor’s is the first fully enclosed rancher expansion we’ve done, so a lot of time was spent ironing out how slimes and their behaviors could impact the environment and vice-versa.

Finally, once we had everything else nailed down, Ian was able to do a full art pass on the Workshop to really push the visual themes and style - I think the results speak for themselves. Overall, I hope the result is a space that feels new, exciting, and full of possibilities!





P.S.
Viktor is always coming up with new ways to optimize and make life more efficient. Gadgets like this Dash Pad should give Bea quite a boost! ;)

Expect a variety of new Slime Science gadgets, both useful and decorative in Viktor's Experimental Update!




Viktor's Experimental Update is coming to Slime Rancher this summer!

Did you miss the Experimental Update Preview? Read the full post and learn more about the new slime and gadgets coming soon to Slime Rancher HERE!


Until next time, stay wiggly! ːslimehappyː
Oxenfree

If you're on PC and in the mood for a freebie, Epic has revealed the next two games to be made available for nowt on its store: Slime Rancher and Oxenfree.

Up first is Slime Rancher, available now until March 21st. If you've not yet had the pleasure, Slime Rancher an exceptionally odd, yet oddly engrossing, experience that plays out something like an extremely chilled first-person farming game. Except, your farm is on a distant alien planet, and the bulk of your responsibilities involve breeding (and cross-breeding!) strange gelatinous goo balls known as Slimes.

There are plenty of regular farm-like things to do, including growing crops to feed to your Slimes and earning cash to expand your facilities in order to accomodate more breeds, but a significant part of the adventure involves exploring the colourful wilds outside your ranch.

Read more

Slime Rancher - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

Gather, breed, and tend to a brood of mischievous, turd-gobbling cuties in Slime Rancher, the latest game to be given away free on the Epic Games Store. Released in 2017 after a stretch in early access, Monomi Park’s Slime Rancher is a… metroidvania farming game? Gather different species of slimes from around the world, build and upgrade pens for them, feed their poo (plorts) to other species to cross-breed them and create new nightmares, gain access to new areas to get stranger slimes, and so on. It’s colourful, it’s friendly, that thing lurking in the bottom-right corner of your screen is a vacuum to suck up slimes rather than a gun, and oh god those slimes are SUCH adorable nuisances.

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Slime Rancher - Monomi Park


Hey ranchers! We’ve got some development updates to share with you ːslimeamazedː

As you know, the next big Slime Rancher update will take you to the underwater lab of Viktor Humphries! We have jam-packed this update with some incredible new stuff and are aiming to release it this summer. Here's a in-development preview of what’s coming next for Slime Rancher!


v1.4.0 - Viktor's Experimental Update

Viktor's Slime-ulations
Join Viktor Humphries and test his simulated reality of the Far, Far Range. Well, a work-in-progress version anyway. You see, his work is hitting a wall because of the numerous bugs in the code as well as an unusual phenomenon: glitches that take the form of... slimes?


Glitch Slimes
Glitch slimes have been discovered living inside Viktor's Slimeulations and it's up to you to help him capture, quarantine, and research them before they spread! But it won’t be easy! Glitch slimes can be difficult to find as they are often hiding in plain sight, pretending to be regular slimes or real objects that were definitely there before... nothing to see here just a regular tree in its regular spot and not out of place.



Use Viktor's patented debug spray to reveal hidden glitch slimes and vac them up before they disappear! Be extra careful while exploring: taking damage could give those tricky glitch slimes a chance to wiggle out of your tank!

The Slimeulation is still full of bugs and will begin to degrade over time. Collect as many glitch slimes as you can before the corruption starts to spread. When the exit portal opens, make a break for it before things get out of control and escape the simulation safely!

Glitch slimes will turn into bug reports after you leave the Slimeulation. Turn in your collection of bug reports for some cutting-edge ranch tech designed by Viktor himself.





New Gadgets
It wouldn't be a very science-y update without new slime science gadgets! Viktor's update will include a smattering of fun and useful (and questionably useful) gadgets. Here are just a few of the gadgets Viktor has been working on:

Advanced Drones
These new-and-improved drones can handle not one, but TWO programs! Talk about advanced! Set a primary AND a secondary task to keep these busy bees busy while you’re busy being breezy.

Portable Water Tap
Water taps are a small, placeable water source that can be used to refill your tank if there aren’t ponds nearby.

Chicken Cloner
This is an experimental gadget constructed by one of Viktor’s scientific peers and, when it works, it creates a perfect clone of any chicken. When it doesn’t, well, that’s a data point at least!



The Decorizer
We’re adding a brand new storage device that will be unlocked via the 7Zee Rewards Club as a mid-tier reward. It allows you to store, clean up, and manage decorative ranch items (ornaments, echoes, etc.) with the press of a button!



Viktor's Experimental Update is shaping up to be a pretty big update and there's even more packed into it that we will be revealing soon! ːslimehappyː


New Cosmetic DLC

We’re developing some paid cosmetic DLC that will allow you to reskin every slime into an awesome, exotic form! Current designs include angelic phosphor slimes, tiger tabbies, and lilly pad puddle slimes. It even applies to largo forms!



We decided to do this DLC after reaching out to the community and discovering many of you would be interested in supporting us beyond the base game. This DLC is totally optional, and purely cosmetic, so if it’s not a fit for you, we’ll still have plenty of other surprises down the road.


That's it for now! Until next time, stay wiggly!
...

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