There are many different ways to building weapons in 3D. This is the general way I approach building a weapon. As some of you might have noticed from the weekly Intelligence Bulletins we have been working on getting a German semi-automatic into the game for quite some time. In this post I will explain a bit about how we go about getting the graphics done for a new weapon. So without further ado, take a look at the Gewehr 43 in progress.
First of all I gather as much reference material as I can find. It is very useful to go to Wikipedia and find basic information on the exact size, barrel length, calibre etc. From there I continue to look at specialist sites and books and once I have enough reference material I find the best side view of the the weapon.
I then create a back plate with my best side image of the G43 attached. As I have the correct size of the weapon I scale the image to fit the size perfectly. I can now start modelling. Yeah!!!
I build a rough block out of the weapon. I make sure I have all the geometry in place with the correct dimensions before I dive in with any details. I always build geometry as squares and triangles, this creates a good solid mesh so when I import and export to various software I do not have any errors. Below is a view of the back plate and the block out in front.
When I am happy with the block out and it all looks about right I then start adding the details and the model becomes High Resolution. I try to build the model as it looks in real life with every screw and washer being built. I could cheat and leave some of the geometry out and fake it when I create the textures, but I choose not to and always build what I can first. I do not really care about the polygon count at this time as computers today can totally handle it. However it is always best to keep your geometry on the lower side if you can help it but I do not tend to worry about it. Below are 3 fast renders showing the details in the high res model (you can click on the images to see a larger version).
Once the the high resolution model is created it is now time to build the game mesh which will be the actual mesh displayed in the game. We use the high resolution model to bake (transfer) all the information to the low resolution model (game mesh). By doing this we get all the round edges and shadows etc. I normally duplicate the high resolution model and then start removing the edges as much as I can while maintaining the shape.
Having the low resolution game mesh we are almost done, but we still need to build one additional version. This is the Level Of Detail model 1 (LOD1), an even lower resolution model which is used for models to appear at a distance when the finer details are not needed and will allow the game to run better with less memory used. The same system is used for characters and even animations – If a soldier is just 10mm tall on the screen there is no need to have for example finely detailed triggers, fingers or animated feet.
So when you see one model there has actually been three models built. And here they are together:
Next is texturing but that’s another story for another day.
Scratchliquid Out.. . .. click click beep. . . .