Since I'm now using normal mapping in-game, the lighting information has been totally de-coupled from the character models' texture. This makes it very easy to create new skins for player models...and finally get some variety in-game.
Here is what I have after 1 day of work...some of these normal maps still need tweaking.
I should be able to create at least 50 player skins for the final game, and as many as 100...it's just a matter of texture memory. 100 skins would require only ~6.5 MB of video memory at the lowest texture quality setting and ~104MB at the highest texture quality.
Here's another screen showing the difference FSAA & post processing makes on the scene. You can kinda see the mirroring of the normal map in this screenshot, I still have some tweaking to do.
The shader used to render the characters above is very basic...just N dot L...I have some more complex blinn-phong w/2 simultanous lights for the higher quality levels. It looks much better.
As I was making progress finalizing the normal maps I realized that the lighting baked into the character's texture had to go. It was causing all kinds of problems.
Here is an example of how simple the character texture looks now...
All the detail is in the normal map...it would be quite easy to code something up that would generate these character textures dynamiclly allowing for an infinate # of player skins. That's out of the scope of this project though.
Well that's it for today.