Game character modeling

Originally as part of my FMP I agreed to model 4 game characters for Zoe’s game project. I felt that my experience with modeling would allow me to achieve this fairly easy along side my own project.

I hadn’t anticipated that organic modeling and low poly game character to modeling we be very different from the usual hard surface modeling which I was used to.

I did some basic research into how I could approach this task to work out a good pipe line I could follow for each character. Looking at a book by Antony Ward called game character development and a few other online tutorials I decided to sculpt the entire model then retopologise the geometry. I began using z brush for the most part and hit a lot of learning curves using the software for it then to begin crashing on me every time i attempted to save my progress. eventually I had to make do with the sculpt i had managed to save so far based on the image planes i had imported into Z brush. I decided to retopologise the model in maya because I was familiar with how to do it. I had considered programs such as topogun that specialize in retopology but i felt i didnt have time to learn the software. I used a z Brush tool that reduces the high poly count from the sculpt but still keep its same shape, to which I imported into maya and retopologised.

planes

I found it very tricky learning to think and visualize low poly, this consumed a lot of my time because I had to consider the poly count and keep it to a minimum. but finally i got some nice geometry.
quad check

tests

I didnt take into account id also be required to Uv map and texture the character as well but I couldnt just hand over a model of the character and expect anybody else on the project with the same experience or less than me to do it. Regardless I decided to press on and look closer at Zoes game speaker to her and the rest of the team to get an idea of how the textures will need to look. I based my research around the borderlands game and attempted to copy a similar cartoon like style. To main diffuse maps did most of the work and I also sculpted a bump map in mudbox for more details so i could combine a shadow map with the diffuse map. So I basically had the diffuse & shadow map combine in photoshop and then the bump map created in mud box.

mudhead

side test
I hit some big learning curves in regards to uv mapping when considering the uve lay out and how the textures worked with low polys. I had to constantly go back and forth between maya, photoshop and mudbox until I got a good result. I was also later required to add a coat to the character because it hadnt been designed until later. see final result below.

example

Eventually I spoke with Zoe and told her that I can only do this one character as time was running out for my own project. There was no way on earth id been able to spend time modeling and texturing any more character for the game. I really felt Id let Zoe and her team down in a bit way.

What I did take from this is that I had some good experience in the game character development process.

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