Yandere Simulator’s Upcoming Character Models

A few years ago, I posted a blurry preview image and said, “We’re making progress on new character models, you guys!” and then never said anything else about it.

Well, at this point in time, I think I should just show you the un-blurred versions of those images. Here you go:

Before you get too attached to any of those models, let me break some very important news: after a lot of deliberation and testing, it was determined that:

  • In terms of how much time has to be spent getting the models to work in the game, and how much of the current code has to be changed to support new character models, it would be much more efficient to simply upgrade the currently-existing character models rather than create entirely new character models from scratch.
  • The game has had an official art style established for years now, and it would be super weird if we abruptly gave the game a completely new art style that is completely different from the pre-established art style of the game’s official artwork.

So, with those factors in mind, the decision was made to extensively modify the current models and vastly improve them, rather than completely replace the current models with new ones that feature a new art style.

There is a lot to discuss regarding the new character models, so let’s start at the beginning…

Why replace the character models in the first place?

There are four main reasons to replace Yandere Simulator’s character models:

  1. The body proportions of the current models are unappealing and childlike.
  2. The current models’ faces are unable to move very much or animate in expressive ways.
  3. Most of the characters have “same face” because they all use the same base model.
  4. It is extremely inconvenient to ever make any sort of change to the character models, since any change made to one model must also be made to every other version of that model that is wearing different clothing.

The following solutions would solve those problems:

  1. The character models should be adjusted to have more stylized and “adult” body proportions.
  2. Instead of moving bones to animate characters’ faces, we should use blendshapes.
  3. A character’s head and body should be two separate meshes, so that we can have a completely different head model for all characters who are significant enough to deserve unique faces.
  4. Clothing meshes should be separate from body meshes, so that every time we tweak an aspect of the body mesh, we don’t need to update every clothing mesh which features that body part.

What work has been done so far?

After some brief testing, it was confirmed that it’s possible and feasible to separate the body+head into two meshes and swap out heads for different characters.

As part of the process of determining and testing this, the following model was created, along with a set of 14 different head models, some of which would be used for rivals and some of which would be used by students:

(This model isn’t 100% finished or final, so if there is something about it that you don’t like, don’t freak out just yet.)

As you can probably tell, the point of this model was to get as close as possible to the body shape and art style of the game’s official character artwork, established years ago by kjech:

Here is a side-by-side comparison of the original character model and the current state of the upcoming one:

As you can see, the new character models are intended to have more stylized “anime” body proportions – slimmer waists, wider hips, thicker thighs. Also, giving each rival a completely unique head gives us the flexibility to make the rival look exactly like the concept art, instead of looking like “Ayano with different color eyes and hair.”

Take a look at this Ayano:

Feels much more like a woman now, right? Here’s a side-by-side of her original body proportions and her new ones:

The new Ayano makes the old Ayano look like a middle-schooler by comparison!

Next, check out Asu:

And Megami:

They actually look like the concept art now! Such a huge improvement over how they looked in the original Rival Introduction video.

Just like a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, a rival only looks as good as her hair model does. A lot of old hair models will have to be remade to live up to the new standard of quality:

A set of facial expressions have been selected to be the blendshapes that all character heads must come equipped with in order to be compatible with the game:

  • Smiling Mouth
  • Frowning Mouth
  • Open Mouth
  • Raised Eyebrows
  • Sad Eyebrows
  • Angry Eyebrows
  • Skeptical Eyebrows
  • Sleeping Closed Eyes
  • Happy Closed Eyes
  • Wide Open Eyes
  • Optionally: Shrunken Irises. (Might want this to be controlled by a bone instead.)

With all of those different blendshapes, it should be possible to make a character perform nearly any conceivable expression.

What other problems does this solve?

Currently, we don’t have a “wearing socks” model for characters. So, when a character changes their shoes, I’m just putting a sock texture onto their shoes to make it look like they’re wearing socks. This is…pretty janky. So, how are the new character models going to solve this?

The new body mesh will have a blendshape that makes the feet transform so that all of the toes look like one solid unit instead of 5 individual toes. Here, compare the left foot to the right foot:

Slap a sock texture onto that, and nobody can tell the difference:

MUCH better than putting a sock texture onto a shoe, or a sock texture onto bare feet (making the character look like they are wearing a “glove” sock with a little pocket for each individual toe).

I know this is a kind of weird example, but it’s just one way that the act of designing new character models present us with an opportunity to solve some of the game’s oldest problems.

What other problems can this potentially solve?

Updating the game’s character models gives us the opportunity to fix poor geometry, inconsistent texel density, awkawrd UV layouts, etc. Don’t understand what that means? Here, I’ll give you an example.

Take a look at Ayano’s nose:

The line on her nose is crooked! Let’s fix it:

There, fixed! but, it’s still very pixelated, because of low texel density. So, that needs to be fixed too. In short, there’s a million little things we finally have the opportunity to fix.

For almost 9 years, Yandere Simulator has used a system where a character’s face and hair texture are included on the same texture. Obviously, this was done for the purposes of optimization (when multiple models use the same texture, the computer has to do less draw calls / less rendering passes) but the side-effect is that texture artists have to work in a small, cramped space when texturing a character’s hair. While we’re changing the characters’ models, we have the opportunity to decide “from now on, characters’ faces and characters’ hair will go on two separate textures” so that all future hair textures can be much higher in resolution.

How much can we change the characters’ proportions before problems begin to occur?

Another aspect of the game’s current character models that has bothered me for years are their necks. Anime characters are known for their long and slender necks, but the necks in Yandere Simulator are short and thick. While we’re finalizing this new character model, I’ll probably experiment with adjusting the shape of the neck and shoulders, as well…

…however, adjusting the length of the neck would wreck all of the currently-existing animations that rely on the characters’ face being in a very specific point in space. Lengthening the characters’ necks would effect…

  • Animations where a character puts their head on their chin
  • Animations where a character puts food into their mouth
  • Animations where a character raises binoculars to their eyes
  • Attack animations where a character’s neck or head is grabbed/stabbed

Etc. So, how could we change this? How could we lengthen the characters necks without changing the position of their faces? Well, I have one idea:

By drastically reducing the size of the characters’ upper trapezius, we could create the illusion that they have longer necks by effectively increasing the distance between their head and their shoulders. Get it? This is one of the things that needs to be tested before the new character models are labeled “final” and are ready to roll out.

Of course, I would also like to change other things about the characters’ bodies, like lengthening their legs and torsos to give them even more stylized anime proportions. You might think that this would probably lead to even more significant problems than lengthening the neck…but there might be a solution. I’m told that it’s easy – trivially easy – to write a script that “retargets” animations, so that all animations created for one skeleton will play flawlessly on a different skeleton that uses different proportions. I have not yet done any testing in this regard, though, so I don’t want to make any promises just yet.

For that matter, you might be wondering, “What will happen to all of the current lip-synced animations once you stop animating a character’s mouth with bones and switch to a blendshape system?” There are two potential solutions:

  1. Write a script that makes a characters’ mouth blendshape open and close according to the current waveform of an audio clip that is playing. (The guidance counselor is already doing this – did you notice?)
  2. Write a script that tells the mouth blendshape to open and close based on the presence of mouth keyframes.

However, just like the other problem mentioned above, I haven’t done any testing on this yet.

What other work needs to be done before the new character models can be implemented?

There’s somebody who I almost never mention – a certain volunteer who has contributed to Yandere Simulator in numerous very significant ways over the years:

  1. He created all of the motion-captured animations in the game, such as the Ayano+Kokona Befriend/Betray animation, the Senpai+Osana interaction animations, and the rival-confesses-under-tree animations.
  2. He created the system I use for changing a character’s model at runtime. Dozens of features (and user-made mods) would not be possible if he had never created that system for me.
  3. He created many of the shaders that the game uses; the shader for Osana’s tears when she is rejected, the shader for the frosted glass on the windows of the shower buildings, the shader for making shadows+blushes+bruises appear on top of a character’s face, etc.

This guy can do it all; animate, model, texture, script, make shaders, pretty much everything. He specializes in so many different things that it’s hard to figure out how to summarize him; “Technical Artist” probably comes closest. He’s probably the one volunteer who has been contributing to the game the longest, right behind Michaela Laws herself. This is one of the only guys in the world I’d trust with the extremely important job of getting the new character models perfect before they’re implemented into the game…but there’s just one problem.

Out of respect for his privacy, I’m going to be as vague as possible here, but: he was affected by the situation between Ukraine and Russia that dominated the majority of last year. Over the past year, there has been a lot of “I might be able to resume working on Yandere Sim soon!” followed by months of tense silence before I finally hear from him again. The latest news is that he’s currently in the process of moving to another country. It’s really hard to predict when he’ll actually be available to work on the new character models again, but it’s also not possible to blame him for the long wait, since it’s not his fault at all.

One potential solution is to find another technical artist who can make the final tweaks that the new character models need, but the problem is that it’s nearly impossible to find someone…

  • …who cares deeply about giving Yandere Simulator the best assets it can have…
  • …with his level of skill, knowledge, and expertise…
  • …that I personally consider trustworthy.

…so, very little new progress has been made on the new character models over the past year.

Fortunately, I had a giant checklist of things to work on, so being unable to work on one particular thing didn’t bother me that much. But, as the checklist gets shorter and shorter, we’re getting to that point where there is very little remaining for me to focus on that is not the new character models. I still care deeply about getting the new character models into the game, but it’s an aspect of development that can’t move forward until someone adequately skilled is found to fix the problems that remain.

Still, with all of that said, I hope that this blog post has helped to assure you that a tremendous amount of work has been done on the new character models, that there is a clear plan for what remains to be done on them, and that those character models will be an objective improvement once they are finally in the game.

88 thoughts on “Yandere Simulator’s Upcoming Character Models

  1. The new models look absolutely amazing! The only thing I would change is the fold on the skirts, it’s not necessary since the characters aren’t bending. Still, I 100% adore them, props to those who helped with editing it.

  2. They all look really nice, but to add realism, shouldn’t some students have different body types? Not every woman has a perfectly curvy body. Besides, the game is for real lacking diversity. Of course you can do whatever you want, but it would be appreciated if you included more diversity. Thanks anyhow, you’re doing good!

  3. Some models from the video look good, but they have an important drawback – they are closer to cartoon Disney characters than to anime. So I’m glad you decided to improve the current ones instead.

  4. The new models are beautiful. I can see how much more dynamic animations and cutscenes will be when these models are implemented.

    I can’t wait to see the deranged looks Ayano will be able to adopt with the model. I wonder if the newer hair model is more flexible than the current one and that is why the new hair model is there instead?

    Its a shame if so, really pretty, but I understand. You need a flexible hair model to fit with the new body. Really looking forward to everything.

    Also my thoughts and prayers go to your employee/friend fleeing Ukraine. May they stay safe and be able to bounce back on their feet.

    • I was worried the new character model would change how the characters look by A TON. Like they would be unrecognizable, but I am glad the new model looks very similar to the old model, but still fixes a lot of problems the old model had

      • I never really worry about things looking different. Just because something is different doesn’t make it bad. Its just different. And that’s okay.

        I love the new models though. Just hope the person in Ukraine is doing okay though. I just hope they make it out okay.

  5. the models are really nice! they really look like the concept art, honestly i don’t think the models from the video would be a good choice. it doesn’t feel like yandere sim with them!

  6. These models are amazing, but the nostalgia is more so. I hope with a debug command you can see the old models. Maybe just Ayano, or that it will be available in the pose mod.
    It would be nice to know that Yandere Simulator still retains its roots.

  7. This update must be done anyways because newest game have very realistic models that are just absurd, and make the game to achive very high popularity and more player on the game. I personally think that they are just good and very well done. P.S I don’t know anything of models ect… but all of us could say that this models are just beautiful and make into the game the realism that all we need, because as you said the current models seem childish and obsolate today.

  8. I’d love it if the new models would be implemented into the game, it really does make the school girls have a more adult figure

    • Will the default uniforms ever change from middle school to high-school ones? I know the game’s signature image is important at all, so maybe they would be one of the options, but it’s weird that all the stuff that happens in game is done in those uniforms. Plus, the student council have proper ones.

  9. I really like the new models compared to the original, along with the technical explanation about, well, all the things. I’m not sure if the usual suspects understand how complex 3D modelling can be. Hopefully any changes won’t massively increase the number of draw-calls, since you said yourself draw calls are THE biggest contributor to lag and poor framerate.

    These girls (who I still think you should say in the description are “performed” by “animated 20-somethings” as a nod to Sgt Frog and a finger to the haters) would be anywhere from 15-18 IRL and, aside from maybe the freshmen girls, *should* have more adult figures.

    I’ll just say it here and now and maybe repeat it on a Patreon post later — development has lasted for so long that it’s starting to strain suspension of disbelief that it took Ryoba so long to have Ayano if she broke Ryukichi(?) in ~1989, along with other revealed elements of the backstory. By 2014, Japan had already moved to smartphones, so it might be best for the plot to simply set the game in 2014 or 2015 and have a frame story looking back rather than constantly updating to “present day, present time”. But that’s just my opinion.

    Also best wishes to your main modeller, hoping he stays safe.

  10. Nice! I really like these new models and plans you have for them. they look like the models we have now but even better. amazing!

  11. After a LOT of time I returned to the site and I see that the game continues to advance, it continues like this 😉👍🏻.
    And yes, I haven’t learned English yet 😅

    • They can’t keep them due to the creators of rhe original models saying they wouldn’t allow people to make a profit off their models. The only reason they are in the game atm is because it’s a free demo.

      The old models have very limited facial expressions and animations. So it’s really for the best.

      I know we will miss it but I personally love the newer models. They’re more dynamic and will give the game a lot more life.

  12. the new character models were absurdly beautiful! I’m just worried that this new model of the female body becomes a standard, it would be strange if all the characters had big breasts and thick thighs, it would be great if you made a variation of bodies so as not to have a syndrome of the same face 2.0 but with bodies. thank you for your hard work!

  13. YandereDev, I know there’s still a lot of work to do, but the game has gotten a bit boring right now. We have already tried all possible deletion methods. It is not a criticism, but an appeal. Please give us a chance to join the student council so we can try out new game mechanics.

  14. Great job! I’m looking forward to the new models. (I also like the old ones very much, but I’m always on the side of progress).

    P.S. Oh, if only there was an opportunity to remove censorship in the bathroom during the animation of changing clothes and taking a shower… I am speaking purely from a scientific point of view, I would like to take a closer look at models xD

  15. Sure they don’t have the same face anymore but will all the rivals have the same body ? I don’t expect them to look totally different but will differences such as height and tone be possible ?

    • To prevent animation clipping issues, the bodies will have to be identical or only have very slight differences. Height is almost 100% guaranteed to be something that cannot change without creating problems. Skin tone can probably change easily.

  16. I love the new models??? I do think the slimness of their waists is weird though. I know they’re supposed to look like anime characters, but i hate that about all anime characters (especially highschool ones). But honestly it’s such an improvement overall I don’t care at all. Very excited for the faces !!

  17. Yandere Dev! Yandere Dev! I thought of a good idea! Maybe you could use the chemistry stat for another thing: Creating a homemade cleaning solution to scrub blood out of clothes so you don’t have to go all the way to the locker room to change if you can just do it in the school bathroom!

  18. I’m not too much of a fan of the “Adult” body propotions tbh. They are supposed to be teens in a school, why make them look like 26-30 year olds? I think while the current models have many flaws and I really like most of the improvements the new models come with, it will feel kinda weird to me seeing a bunch of adults wearing school uniforms and going to school. I think it would be fine for some more developed characters where it fits the design, like the leader of the delinquents for example, but others more cutesy, shy or childish characters like Raibaru, Oka or Hanako will look off with adult bodies. Maybe it would be an option to have 2-3 different body types? An underdeveloped one, a half-developed one and a young adult looking one.

    • I agree I kind of like the modest proportions/the old model because it does not make them look like middle schoolers and its actually quite fitting so id like the option to keep the original body shape/similar body shape but the eyes are really nice I do not think I am fit for giving advice/criticism. Also for Raibaru isn’t she supposed to be fit as she is really strong but I agree with Oka and Hanako

    • They are not teens. Everyone there is 18+. Its a preparatory college meant to prepare them for college. The uniforms are so those who had horrible high school experiences can try to simulate a better experience.

      Its in the official website and several videos. I know it’s confusing with the current character models, hence why they’re being replaced with more “adult” models, but I hope this puts your mind at ease. Sorry if you were worried or something.

      • Wait, 18-19 are not teens? Aren’t they originally called “teens” just because of the number word suffix in the “thirteen”-“nineteen” range?

      • They are legally adults in America. I call BS on it because the reason they are legally “adults” is because pedos still wanted child brides and that was the legal age they came up with. Plus it’s the safest age not to d!e from child birth.

        But as for character and story plot wise its legal things plus YanDev always intended for them to be legal adults and never minors.

        Plus it’s a preparatory school for college. They are going to be 18+. Not quite college age but the right age to want that “do over high school experience” Akademi offers its students.

      • Oh wow, thanks for clarifying. I follow the development for over 5 years, but I didn’t even know. Over here and in some other countries too the term college is not used as an university alternative, but used for schools similar to a high school. So for a prepatory college and how the school is set up in Yandere Simulator following the japanese high school system, I assumed the character to be between 13 and 17.
        Is it being set like that to avoid potential legal issues because of the graphic nature of the game or are preparatory schools for young adults, that still follow the high school formula like this, actually a thing in japan?

      • Most people have that misconception but it’s on the official website and was mentioned in a video by YanDev.

        Mr Saikou made it for his daughter because she had a horrible high school experience. She got to choose everything in the school along with the principle and teachers. She ended up abandoning the company to find her mysterious missing sister.

        I don’t know about other countries but I have heard of preparatory colleges before to prepare people more thoroughly for college level learning and courses.

        I think the whole pretending your in high school thing though is unique to YanSim. I would imagine it also avoids legal troubles but mostly it has been stated since the beginning that he never intended them to be minors. That he just didn’t have good body models.

        But in America college is the final level of schooling you can receive. Its where you go to earn degrees in your field and get trained for jobs. Nowhere near high school level. So I hope that helps in some way.

        Sorry I am not knowledgeable about this area of Japanese culture. But I wouldn’t focus too much on realism considering it’s an anime game and all the things that go on in said game. I mean we have demons, acid, mechs, robots, unrealistic weapons on school grounds, every teacher knowing karate, yandere vision, and weapon carrying delinquents.

  19. Yandere Dev, give my regards to the guy moving to another country. Hope he makes it out alive and knows that no matter what happens he is a Gigachad. Thank you for telling us about him.

    Now for my question: How expressive are those new models? Are we talking shift-eyes-a-bit or full on anime-kaleidoscope-of-shifting-shapes level of expression here (things like >_< or -_- or OxO) . The latter, while more anime, might be harder to pull off since the closes thing I've seen of that is the D4DJ anime. Might be some others out there

    Regardless, thank for continually developing Yandere Simulator

  20. Yandev, the cinematic mode is broken in the latest build. If I’m correct, pressing left Alt should help us to leave the cinematic view. But it didn’t work. I went on finding a solution online, but not one even mention how to get out of the mode. I know you said you wouldn’t fix any bug of the mode, but this is mandatory ’cause it affects the gameplay ._.

  21. Hey yandev!I have a quick recommendation for the update that you released a while ago with students cleaning up trash bags that you put there. How about you implement a feature where students will clean up any gas puddles or water puddles during cleaning time aswell? it makes sense that maybe they can go down and scrub it or get a mop that would be on any one of the floors so only a maximum of like two students would get them so you would still have one available to you. Maybe only a specific number of students would be cleaning the puddles that day so there would still be occupants around the school.

    • It’s a logical and sensible suggestion, but it would require too much time and work to implement. I have to decline, to avoid delaying the game’s release by planning too many features that require lengthy development time.

  22. I’m looking forward for what you have in mind!

    Question: at the start of the game we are able to change senpai, but will we be able to change ayano too? Or no?

  23. I hope that guy can move safely. The situation is so difficult over there…

    Also! A few personal opinions, I feel like the lips need to be a bit bigger and more expressive, I feel like they’re too small to captivate the level of expressions shown. They need to be more “plump” in a way.

    And the eyebrows scare me I’m sorry! But I know it’s a work in progress and the official art style is so pretty Omg.

    I’d Love to see better eyelashes, they feel a bit like a ‘ slapped ontop. Eyelashes can show so a lot of personality by how many or how pointy they are. Such a simple thing that makes characters unique (like eye shapes)

    The body is soooo good omg. It looks just perfect. Whoever gracefully sculpted and colored it deserves a trophy. It feels so detailed but anime ish at the same time. Almost achieving a semi realistic art style. I adore it!!! It’ll be so helpful for art.

    Obsessed with how Megami looks like. Out of all she looks the most polished and expressive. Love it lots. You’ve all done a wonderful job. Just amazing

  24. Yandev, since I updated to the newest build, whenever I try to kill using the electrocute method and pull out a camera during the process, it would just automatically turn into cinematic mode. And as I told you, the cinematic mode is broken. So yeah, I got stuck and have to do everything over and over again, just bc I accidentally pull out the camera. It’s bothering

  25. Everything is amazing. The list is also great, and I would love for all features except curstom mode to show up. I can wait. Love it dude!

  26. YandereDev! I think these new models are great! I’ll be waiting for them to be added to the game! but i have some questions, will the “rainbow girls” get their new portraits? is it possible to turn on “cinema mode” in 80s mode? will it be possible to “add” rivals who are just standing next to the locker with the pose mod? for example, concept would be useful. would it be possible to become a leader after defeating the budo from the martial arts club? can the basement from the 80s be updated and be a likeness of the first one from 2015? shouldn’t the table where it shows who to fight should be fixed? (i.e. where the training with the martial arts club is) because there it says: “shima, mina, juku, sho, budo” and it should be: “juku, shima, sho, mina, budo”? can you change bullies from the 80s because e.g. the green one shouldn’t be bullying because it says in the description that she wants her friends to be happy? if there are rich girls in the 80s, each should have requirements like rivals (e.g. reputation +10) because if not, they are ordinary NPCs for which you will get rich? can the cat that is standing next to the gardening club have any use? e.g. will she walk around school and if she notices that Ayan is murdering someone, will she run to a nearby person to go there? shouldn’t ritsuko be on the yakuza list? can there be more uniforms? shouldn’t senpai have +11 reputation since there are ten rivals and ayano?

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