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

Changes should be fairly obvious - tweaked proportion, a few details updated, and it's got a heavy railgun in it's main hardpoint now - the word "bristling" springs to mind. In reference to the design issues I noted before, each of the details has a specific purpose. Given that this model isn't a slavish render of something from real life and I'm not a tank engineer and I don't get to drive one around for a job or anything like that, problems with this design would be immediately apparent to anybody who really knows their tanks. But happily such people are sufficiently rare that this should be convincing enough to run with for a game.

The turret features: a crenellated hatch with a spotlight and ladder, artillery and gun ammo auto-loading bays, a sensor blister with cameras, radar and rangefinders, racking for crew gear, smoke and flare emitters. The main hull has various removable plate sections and guards, additional gear racking which doubles as slat armour, a driver hatch and secondary sensor dome, a front mounted hull plate designed to hydroplane, rear mounted cargo bay with winch, shielded headlights and rear signal lights. Ideally hinged front and rear lower wheel guards (mostly hidden in the above shot) would swing down when the vehicle was in water, to create additional hydroplane lift surfaces but MAD doesn't support that kind of behaviour so they are just wheel guards.  

Areas in green will get a new texture - although the improvised and makeshift look of the Antiarchs allow them to quite easily map back to a generic texture, the Kautylian units need to look more manufactured so texturing needs to be more specific. This unit has great big flat surfaces which need particular care. Mainly in order to break up the solid colour areas, Kautylians use black armour plating on front facing surfaces, so the diffuse colour texture should look roughly like this...

Colours layered in 2D helps plan UV and texture scheme.

In many cases, a designer might have drawings or conceptual sketches to work from - in this case since I already had a look in mind, the sketch phase was done in 3D. Even so, it's useful to spend the time on mockups like this prior to the next bit. Sometimes things can look terrific in a sketch or in your head but kinda gormless or otherwise weird in 3D.

Next step is the remaining UV mapping and painting in the diffuse textures.

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