One of the biggest problems working with PlayCanvas as an artist is baking correct normal maps. The problem is rooted in how PlayCanvas calculates tangents and binormals. While most of the industry has moved to using MikkTSpace, PlayCanvas has not. This topic was brought up a few weeks ago in a twitter thread about baked normal maps, and it gained a lot of attention.
What does this mean for me as an artist? Well, currently I cannot bake normal maps that look correct in PlayCanvas. To work around this problem, we have to use lots of hard vertex normals (and because of it lots of UV seams), which shouldn’t be necessary.
Here’s the kind of problems we’re seeing. Here’s the geometry in 3ds Max:
Here’s the baked normal in Substance Painter:
And here’s PlayCanvas. The issue I’m talking about are the sharp edges along the surface.
Suggestion: Implement MikkTSpace as the standard solution for calculating tangents. The current solution could be kept as legacy for backwards compatibility. This setting could either be project wide or set per material.
What are your thoughts?