How would you go about recreating this sort of "style" you see mainly in ps2 era japanese horror games in game engines like Unity or Unreal?
First thing I notice very high contrast textures(very dark darks and very bright lights) . Detail and shadows mostly part of the diffuse texture. Most likely no normal maps. Some kind of color correction maybe? Pre baked lightmaps for static enviroment. What kind of shaders are mainly used?
For Resident Evil 4 it almost looks like they used some kind of matcap or some sort of rim lighting shader that makes the edges pitch black on the humanoid/player/non-static characters kind like a fresnel.
I dont really want to mimic the no-anti-aliasing part.
Why I want this? I kinda feel like some of the magic of ps2 era horror games was lost when transitioning to ps3/360 (just talking about graphics here) With the heavy reliance on mostly only diffuse textures and limited hardware/shader models you were able to create a certain eery off look that you seemingly cant create with more realistic lightning solutions. Also part of it maybe that you have more room for imagination. Thats why I think dated looking games can still spook you just as much if not even more than more recent games because it looks "off" and provides more room for imagination,
Pls correct me if I am wrong or I am missing something on the technical details.
(going to dump more pictures)
That one there might have been early ps3/360 or something but nonetheless
I have a question but I did not wanted to make a separate thread for this.
I have a hard time finding the wording so its hard to google.
In unreal engine 4 when you import a character model fbx, it comes without the textures so I apply those manually. The character looks ok but is there a way to apply materials so that the character looks more realistic? Or is this purely a lighting thing?
for one, light information in textures. capcom often uses straight up photos for their textures, even using obvious flash photos, sometimes keeping the reflection of the flash and sharp shadows in there too. silent hill on the other hand didn't use straight photographs as much, and tended to edit them a lot more.
the SH games didn't have many seamless looping textures, and used more individualized texture atlas solutions for almost everything. they sometimes used decals but tended to put unique detail just straight into the diffuse textures. left side of my pic is an example, it's from where cynthia is killed at the start of SH4. this is sort of an extreme example; they usually give walls and big stuff more texture space, and make them a bit more generally-usable in a modular (but not seamless) way, less individual.
i don't believe SH uses lightmaps, at least with separate lightmap texture and UV channel and such. when they bake lighting to a texture, they often do it straight into the diffuse texture, meaning also that these areas with baked lighting have completely unique UV space for everything. the most obvious example is henry's apartment in 4, in which everything is uniquely textured because the light & shadow is baked straight into it. see right side of pic, the hole in henry's bathroom.
oh, they also use shadow decals, where they have decals of transparent baked shadows, which you can see in the left of my image (leftmost is some generic AO shadows from SH3 and to the right of it are some more specific directional shadows from SH4).
the other static lighting they use is in vertex color. all the meshes are pretty evenly subdivided to allow this (visible in right of image; that's part of the environment of building world in SH4). whether this is auto baked or if they paint themselves i don't know, but considering the rest of the art, i could believe them doing it manually like that. the vertex lighting is never very extreme and could be considered to be depicting the ambient light in most cases.
the character face textures look mostly hand painted. their clothes, however, look mostly photographed.
i think there might be some vertex specular for a couple things, but usually when there is some specular it's just subtly painted into the texture. i think in SH2 some enemies had a shiny look to them, and i believe they did that with a fake general "white shine" cubemap.
anyway there's more i could go into but this is fine for now... it's sleep time anyway.
as for doing this stuff in unity or ue, you'll just basically use only diffuse, vertex shaded (with vertex coloring), and unlit materials. the textures are doing most of the work in these games, so i'd suggest doing what i did: rip them, then study em.