So, I've finally delved into 3ds Max's material editor and discovered how to make some pixel-art looking stuff:
There are still some artifacts, and this doesn't have hueshifting, so I've got a long way to go, but the body/arm/leg portions (not his eyes or mouth/nose) is an image texture material I've rendered to resemble DKC graphics.
I would love to learn how to make hueshifting and dithering possible directly through this (rather old) method, but I've yet to spend enough time to learn how to do it. The method I used was from Howard's Irkalla mech demo, so it's pre-rendered, but I would love to be able to get a similar look in Unity in realtime at some point. It'd be really cool if Howard would share even his incomplete Unity shader project with us! I would love to play with using indexed colors with 3d models directly!
For now though, I'll keep plugging away at pre-rendered sprite materials... I'd prefer not to reinvent the wheel anymore though...
Somehow, we game designers seem to do that quite a lot, don't we??
This one is a LOT better render-wise, and without a ton of artifacts! Got a lot of the pixel stuff sorted now! I even did a little hueshifting manually!