Rampart synth - Half Life inspired synth & metaball hardsurface test project

Everybody sculpt nowadays if they want to do organic hardsurface, but I wanna do something different, it’s using metaballs or aka meatballs, to do the job. The perfect style to use for this study for me, is the synth in Half Life
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Currently the idea is to make this synth a giant walking Combine overwatch tower


There are 2 areas where they can walk around in and on the synth, inside the synth and on the platform underneath it


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As for the materials, I’ve mixed a few textures that mimic the look of metal / flesh synthetic plating


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The whole model body is done using metaballs

The reason for this is because while sculpting indeed is a first solution for project like this, other method should be discovered as well, and metaball is a perfect opportunity to explore design possibilities with the ability to change, modify the shape at will, while sculpting for some part might be a hassle to change, for metaball it is simply a click and drag

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I think metaballs are so underrated and not used as often as they should be. I think the reason is that they are fairly limited. I wish we saw more metaball updates and improvements, because they are really powerful.

Indeed, I wouldn’t even be here modeling with metaballs without some sh*t talking in Discord lol, it’s a shame how some methods remain completely undocumented, maybe for the next synth I’ll record a video for it.


Anyway detailing a bit more of the synth, the thing is I dunno when to stop :thinking:

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More progress on the chamber and the belly detail & shape


this shot would probably the moistest shot later in the render phase lol

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Are you addicted?

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It’s about time to get hard surfacy, now working on the belly platform and a few weapons mounted around it, pulse cannon, big ass pulse cannon,… and also a scale on how big it is compared to the strider





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So I found a better solution for the face of the Rampart, instead of the eyeless design I opted in for a soulless eyes design instead, with tubing coming out of it to signify the combine modification



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Testing out some scene for the synth, my idea is this

So basically a still life with little going on, ambience sound playing, with background object doing their stuff,…

And also detailing the interior



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I had to look up what metaballs were, and now I’ve seen some basics - this is pretty impressive!

Looking forward to seeing this finished. The striders in HL2 were very creepy, and had a cool aesthetic.

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Detailing the underbelly platform rn, then I just need to do the interior aaanddd a few more detail here and there around the synth’s body, then set up a scene and it’s a go



really really diggin this Half Life hardsurface style

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Adding in a few more detail for the belly platform, an elevator platform, some metal restraints, control nodes,… At this point Im still thinking what should the scene be


Any ideas ? Maybe I could mimic a scene in Half Life Alyx hmm

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I am very intrigued by this technique. Do you plan to make a tutorial of your workflow?

Yea, next synth is going to be based on the Magnipinna squid, a smaller synth used for proximity scanning, so Im going to plan some recording and voice over ( or text to speech since my mic is shite lol ). This technique deserve more exploration

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I was busy lately but still manage to get a lil bit of scene inspiration for the Rampart, a look through a window to see the synth

Gonna be inspired by this, just something original to one of the thing I read about the team’s vision for Half Life, not always a dreadful world, but a silent totalitarian world under the constant domination of superior alien army