Game Model Mech (4 legs) test

Hi all, I’m a long time 3d designer and animator new to blender (been using it about three months since I moved to south Korea to be an English teacher). Before I’ve used Open FX and some other open source programs as well as a short stint with 3DSmax.

I was starting to get frustrated with the restrictions I faced with open FX, most notably the bad effects that frequently cropped up in shading with even quit simple models. I didn’t really like 3dsmax either, it’s very powerful but a little too complex for my needs.

Anyway, I’m just starting a new project, mostly inspired by my memories of the old Mechwarrior 2 mercs intro. I want to use retro CGI styling to create a game concept based on a giant robot fighting game.

My plan is to create some concept art models to show what I want in an eventual game, and to make a kind of tech/game play demo using the Blender game engine. I face many restrictions and difficulties in this project but I think I’ve accounted for most of them.

As this thread is about making a game model, I’d appreciate it greatly if people could answer some connected questions as I go along. It will help me to optimize the model, discarding things that just won’t work right from the start.

Here’s a quick image to wet your appetite, it’s the working design for the game model, I’ve decided to use several separate objects instead of a single articulated model, this would allow later to model battle damage and such. The smaller objects obviously have less faces per Texture sheet, but will be only 128 or 64 pixels rather than the 512 or 256 for the main body.

http://i178.photobucket.com/albums/w249/pickledtezcat/art%20project1/Spider.jpg

The prototype is called the black widow and is an atntitank/anti mech/antiturret design with twin railguns. The game demo will feature this robot vehicle attempting to destroy a base and convoy protected by turrets.

My idea for an eventual full scale game is a multi player dynamic universe based on several moons in a gas giant system. It would feature team based gameplay heavy on the team roles, such as convoy escort, base assault, scouting etc… with points and awards gained based on completing tasks rather than just eliminating enemy players. Each vehicle would be designed for a specific role but could be customized for several others. The main thing that would shape game play is realistic robot movement, for example slow turn rates and limited weapon field of fire to eliminate the standard circle of death tactics common to all mech combat games, as well as the idea that heavy radiation from the gas giant makes radar, radio and all other non-line of sight communication or target acquisition systems unusable, creating a game atmosphere more like a WW1 aerial dogfight or WW2 tank combat scenario than a futuristic high tech combat type game.

I’ll post another picture once I’ve got around to making a detailed in game texture (pre-baked obviously)

Originally I wanted to use an environment map to create a reflective chrome effect for certain parts of the model, but I’m beginning to suspect that wouldn’t be possible with the game engine.

Here is a render of another model I’m working on, it’s less than 300 faces currently but that will probably increase quite a lot when I add the four legs and the gun on top. This one is a high speed scout design with a single 360 degree railgun mounted on top and jumpjets for short hops across the landscape.

http://i178.photobucket.com/albums/w249/pickledtezcat/art%20project1/firefly.jpg

Just one more image today because I’m getting a headache.

My usual techniques when creating mechanical models is to save the polygon render of the model and use that for generating the bump map, which I will use for creating detail, and to use vertex group texture assigning to create a colour map. This can be mixed with a variation of the bump map an some more details using the GIMP to create a detailed texture. Then I Bake with the texture.

Here is the result of baking with my colour map.

http://i178.photobucket.com/albums/w249/pickledtezcat/art%20project1/Spider2.jpg

Wow this game sounds really cool, and i can see your serious about it from the pics you’ve shown!

Originally I wanted to use an environment map to create a reflective chrome effect for certain parts of the model, but I’m beginning to suspect that wouldn’t be possible with the game engine.

I think this might be possible as i’m sure i’ve seen a post in the game engine section about it a while back. Have you tried creating a kind of -for example- lightning streak texture and setting it to reflection?

Good luck with your game! :smiley:

Mechwarrior is the thing I have missed most since switching to Linux. Bring on the Timberwolf style mechs! Good luck with this one.

Well, I’ve already created a skybox and got it to work on several test models as a reflective chrome type material but I have to use a stencil texture for implementation on a more complex model (unless I use Two UV texture sheets per model, one for the basic texture and another for chromed areas).

Basically I want this to be as cheap on system resources as possible as it’s really something of a personal test to see if I can work within strict limitations and not create something that looks great but takes an hour to render a single frame. I want to learn more techniques for optimizing rendering and cheating to create effects that look resource hungry but actually aren’t.

I’m not happy with the model at this point, or how the texture is working out.
I’m going to remodel from scratch, sometimes it’s the only way to get what you actually want. :slight_smile:

I figured that if this is going to be one of the main game models I could afford to up the polygon count a little. The new model is going to be about 2000 quads when I’ve finished the legs. I wanted to add some little details which couldn’t be produced by using textures,

Once I’ve got the mesh finished and the texture worked out (maybe by the end of the week) it should look quite good.

Here’s a progress shot;

http://i178.photobucket.com/albums/w249/pickledtezcat/art%20project1/Spider_MK2.jpg

I’ve got a day off work tomorrow (yay!) so I may get this textured and move on to rigging.
I think I need to adjust the legs, as although they look awesome right now, they are not going to animate very well. They need to be a little thinner.

Of course I need to do that now before I finalize the UV co-ordinates. It would have been even better to do it before I unwrapped the test UVs, but at that time I wasn’t sure how the legs would fit when duplicated. I guess no matter how much you learn about art and design sometimes it just comes down to trial and error.

http://i178.photobucket.com/albums/w249/pickledtezcat/art%20project1/Preview_spider.jpg

OK, got the basic texture for all four objects;
Body
Leg
Foot
Gun

They’re saved as a XCF files in Gimp with all the layers active so I can go back and change any aspect and insert details under the chipped paint and ambient layers.

Here are some previews;
http://i178.photobucket.com/albums/w249/pickledtezcat/art%20project1/BWmkIIFront.jpg

http://i178.photobucket.com/albums/w249/pickledtezcat/art%20project1/BWmkIIside.jpg

http://i178.photobucket.com/albums/w249/pickledtezcat/art%20project1/BWmkIItop.jpg

The whole model is 1970 quads which I don’t think is too high detail. The texture maps at this point are rather high res but I’ll show a preview with low res full baked textures later. Next step is to make the final close up details (decals, text, mechanical parts etc…) then I can move on to putting it in a test game. I already have some test landscapes but I’m working on a way to quickly create a workflow for dynamic terrain generation.

We will see how it goes.
Personally I think this is my best ever model so far. I’m really getting the hang of Blender’s various facilities. I really enjoy working with harsh constraints like those imposed on the game engine. It helps you to understand how to plan a project which perhaps doesn’t have such harsh restraints.

Wow looking awsome man. Wish i could texture like that. Keep it up. I cant wait to see all the details you’re adding.

I like ur style. Very simple modelstructure and the polygons are spread evenly across the units which make them very controllable. What size on textures are you using? Would be cool to see your uv-layout aswell as I am trying to find different approaches.

Actually my UV layout is rather badly optimized for this model, as I intend to produce a number of “Damaged” textures, and nothing shows up mirrored UV co-ords like adding camouflage or battle damage.

Here is a little image showing the construction of my textures. I think people may find this interesting if they don’t have experience of making good textures;

http://i178.photobucket.com/albums/w249/pickledtezcat/art%20project1/Mapping.jpg

Each layer is constructed on it’s own and then pasted together with different levels of transparency to get the final game texture. I use an edited version of the saved UV map to create the ege highlights and scratches and I create a coloured area map for use in creating the bump map and texture map (bottom image).

The big rectangle at the bottom left is the windshield, I intend to add some details there.
Most areas are scaled to the size I require depending on what is going to be added in the way of details.

The leg, gun and foot are seperate textures but are constructed identically.