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Flex - Figure Reference update for 27 April 2021

Flex Development Update - April 2021

Share · View all patches · Build 6609881 · Last edited 27 April 2021 – 19:39:06 UTC by Wendy

Patchnotes via Steam Community

Hello! After some serious bug squashing I finally feel ready to release the latest update of Flex! It’s taken a little longer than anticipated to get here, but I think it’s worth the wait. As I discussed in last month’s post, there’s not a ton of new features, just the one big one:

Multiple Characters

In this latest version of Flex you’ll be able to add, remove, and quickly switch between any number of characters you want, all inside a single scene. While this feature addition doesn’t sound like a big change, there was a pretty significant overhaul to get here. But on the positive side, a lot of the codebase (which I wrote years ago) was pretty clunky and bad, and so I was able to fix those issues, and hopefully make the app more stable and performant going forward.

Getting multiple characters working meant a big restructure, and improvement, in the main channels of communication in the app, some significant changes to saving/loading, a scene outliner to manage the characters, and a rebuild of the tutorial. With so many structural changes it really opens the door for new and unknown bugs to crop up, so I’ll be keeping a keen eye on the forums in case any issues arise!

One quick note for people who have saved characters in the previous version of Flex: When you open your old character file for the first time it will perform a conversion to the new save file format. I have tested this conversion on several old character files and it seems to work great. But if you have any issues, I recommend doing a “Save As” and keeping the old version of the save file intact. Then please let me know in the forums what the issues were and I’ll take a look at solving the problem.

What’s Coming Next?

Alongside the big overhaul over the last few months I’ve also been doing some early development on something much more fun, a big update to the character rendering and visual quality. This process has been a little more intense than just slapping on some new shaders. The biggest hurdle has been ditching the third party plugin that handles the attachment of character clothing.

The tl:dr version is basically, this character plugin has been deprecated, and only works in an older version of Unity. So in order to update the engine, and take advantage of the latest and greatest tech, I’ve needed to re-engineer this plugin from scratch.

This will do a few fantastic things for Flex. The first as I mentioned, is a big improvement to the quality of the character rendering. I’ll share some images soon, but the skin and eyes look significantly better, hopefully rivaling triple-A game quality. Additionally this change should speed up the character loading process quite a bit, and also reduce the RAM requirements of the app. And lastly I’ll finally be able to add more clothing and hair options into Flex!

I’ll be working over the coming weeks on these improvements and post an update later next month with progress and an estimated date for their completion.

Thanks as always for your support and interest in the app! It keeps me motivated to see you guys commenting suggestions and improvements, and posting images. I'd love to see how you're using the app and do a better job sharing more on social media as we get closer to release, so if you have any content you'd be happy to share please let me know!

Windows Flex - Figure Reference Windows Depot 1110581
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