Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Epic Tileset: Deep Impact

A few screens below to show off the new WIP deep space lunar tile set. This map will likely be thinner on props than the other new maps - but the visibility is huge and maps will feature seismic activity, volcanos and asteroid strikes as environmental hazards.

Tools: Fragmotion

Create really angry animations. 
Excellent 3D animation editor, specifically designed for easy creation and portability of skeletal animation for games. Supports heaps of 3D formats, includes UV mapping and a bunch of other goodness. Free version is available for non-commercial use (modders) but license is cheap regardless.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tools: Ivy Generator

Make giant dogturds look dignified.
One of my personal favourites, wish I had more opportunity to be using it. Ivygen generates realistic vines and ivy which grows procedurally over another model of your choice. Set stem and leaf size and density to create the look you want then simply seed and watch it grow. Absolutely beautiful results, too high rez for games but can be useful in texture creation...

Tools: Stone Generator

Nice grass too.
Amazing what you can find if you think to look. This is a very recent find, I haven't tested it yet so no guarantees - but by all appearances it lets you generate realistic rocks. This may prove very useful for game designers on a time budget. Grab it here and let me know.

Tools: Gordian Knot

Glass things are going nowhere.
Gordian Knot is a very clever standalone application that easily creates 3d "string" based on nodes and a cross section that you specify. Use it to easily create realistic pipework or cabling or vines, or tie up an object with 3D rope that obeys surface collision and can knot around itself realistically. To minimise vertex count (for eg: game models) use a low rez cross section...

Tools: Celestia

All it needs now is guns.
This is really nifty and totally free with heaps of cool addons. Celestia is an excellent 3D real-time map of known space basically. You want close up renders of planets, or just to go sightseeing in our solar system and beyond then this is the shiz. Stellar cartography at your fingertips.

Tutorial: Starfields

Space is big. REALLY big.
Click the image for an excellent tutorial by Greg Martin on the topic of creating realistic starfields. This guy does great stuff, and this tute is simple and works like a charm.

Be sure to check his gallery for some stunning abstracts and astronomical art.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Design Process IV: Final geometry

The first draft got the basic lines down, now it's a short step to finalise details. The shot below weighs in at about 4000 verts and already has some shared texture areas UV mapped to various components. These details immediately distinguish it as being Kautylian.

Final geometry with partial UV mapping

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A Design Process III: First Draft

Our new tank is now pretty well defined in the abstract, time to start on the actual design. At this stage it's helpful to have a good selection of reference images featuring actual tanks and vehicles from reality - if a vehicle ever engaged in actual warfare then you can be pretty sure that it was functional and should look the part. The sense of realism we desire can best be achieved by emulating real objects to a certain degree.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A Design Process II: Start your engines...

So we've checked out some cool pics and watched some tank shows on Discovery. We now know enough about tanks to design something that might pass for one.

Next thing to consider is some parameters. Firstly the scenario.

Friday, October 15, 2010

A Design Process I: Keeping it real

This is the first post in a series describing the creation of a MAD unit from concept to finished asset. I'll be more or less building the unit as I go, so it may take a few posts. Before we start getting tangled up in geometry and textures however, we need to develop ideas and form some basic strategy.

Tutorials: Realistic Hard Surfaces

I've received requests for some tutorials on how to go about making 3D game stuff. I'm certainly happy to share some tricks of the trade, will upload some tutorials as I get time to make them. Meanwhile make sure you check the Resource links regularly, as I'll be updating with the best graphics and game design tutes I stumble across.

Paint textures like Stefan Morell
Start with these excellent tutes by Stefan Morell for hard surface textures, found here and here.

For more amazing CGSociety magic feast your eyeballs here...

I may as well update this post with the best links as I find them, there are thousands out there and many are superb. Please feel free to post specific requests for the kinds of stuff you want to see explained so I can write and be posting the most relevent items. Stay tuned.

MAD Vehicles

Just snapped off some new renders of a few of the MAD vehicles in their current state, obviously there's still a few small UV niggles in parts but they're largely complete. There's a few more designs in various states of texture mappedness that are less developed, if there's interest I may post some wireframes. Check out the MAD Project page here.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Epic V1.0 Player Feedback

It's always gratifying to discover that hard work is appreciated. Epic 1.0 is now playing, despite a few loose ends - here are a few comments lifted from the BZU and BZ2MD forums.

"I think I'm in love.... it's so puuuurdy...."
"I've been playing EPIC, and I say, i can never go back to regular BZ2. Maybe a good idea would be to convert the original SP, and/or some of the more notable mods to EPIC, give it the new look that rocks so much."
- Roadkill

"Didn't have much time, died attacking the Cerberi Base, but in all it's awesomeness...  golden awesomeness."
"That first pic, the forest one, took my breath away.  Awesome and unexpected from the BZ2 engine..."
- Avatar

"Hard to believe that first pic was rendered in BZ2. It almost looks like a painting someone did for a book."
"Love the mod BTW. It makes you feel really small, like how you should be in a real war. I'm surprised at how effective the bombers are. I never wouldve imagined that one could modify the AI to be so effective at bombing runs."
- Zero Angel

"This is the absolute best expansion I have ever seen for any game, period. Insane improvement on the graphics, a lot of new races to play as, and MUCH more balanced than the last one. Great job, and keep up the good work, there are still thousands of people that play BZII, and your expansion will definitely bring more in, I have gotten some friends to download your expansion, so keep up the good work."
- Commando38

Gotta be happy with reviews like that. Thanks go out to the BZ2MD Epic crew and everybody who has given it a run.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Epic V1.1

After way too long, BZ2 Epic V1.0 finally hit the stands a few weeks back to much rejoicing from discerning action/strategy game fans throughout the known universe. Unsure how many actual aliens grabbed it, but happily quite a few humans did - maybe we can revive interest in the genre just a little. Big kudos to the crew on BZ2MD for assembling the final assets.

Currently working on some polished new tilesets for the first major update, recently declassified screenshots from Epic V1.1 below. Remember this is a 10+ year old game engine folks...

Thanks GSH and Ken for the 1.3 upgrades. There's a few more WIP tilesets that are less developed, I got more ideas than time unfortunately. As well as the new maps, the V1.1 update will also fix a few reported issues and upgrade playable tech for all factions. Check for latest news.

Yeah OK OK...

Welcome to the blog. My name is Drew, I'm a designer and here's some of my stuff.