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About Trudy's Mechanicals. with 2 comments by IncubatorGames on May 20th, 2015

We learned a fair deal preparing for and making our first character from scratch, the mythical and semi-mechanized Bauk.

The idea behind the unit was a resistant damage-sponge that could reflect projectiles using a large, spinning shield, and also use it to attack his enemies much like a Spartan. Since the unit is one of the few aboard the ship created specifically for fighting, we also indulged a bit by turning his right arm into a shrapnel-firing cannon.

The link to the bear come through the unit’s general hardiness and resistance (he can shake off all status effects after one round), and various aesthetic touches. The most obvious is the bear-cap atop his head, as well as the general stockiness and wild mane of hair. We also embedded a necklace of bear teeth into his beard to provide a semblance of a lower jaw, and attached claws to the ends of the cannon and foot-coverings. A patchwork of leathery fur-trim further added to the ursine look.

Colouring wise we looked to Valve’s Dota 2 approach for guidelines.

The PDF is worth checking out even if you’re not making a 3D game, but it was particularly applicable for us given Trudy’s classic iso-style perspective. Of particular usefulness were the tips on picking colour palettes so as to keep units distinct beyond just their silhouettes, and painting techniques (darker at the feet and brighter at the torso and head).

The character itself was modeled in Maya and used 2,698 vertices (2,9120 polygons). It was carved from a template we created as a base for the humanoid units; you can see the time-lapse process below:

The density of the polygons is distributed fairly evenly, with special care paid to the areas that require deformations for animations (joints, beard, cloak). Static components that are animated like the cannon don't require as much detail. Here's a checkered UV layout showing the overall distribution:

For texture mapping, we decided to try out Physically Based Rendering. PBR is a method that describes surface characteristics in more precision than typical approaches, but it also requires a few more maps to be generated. There's no de facto standard for PBR, but here's a good overview that we roughly followed.

Below are the different maps we created for PBR from a base diffuse map:

Albedo – made by hand with cut out transparencies and dimmed reflective elements such as the breast plate.

Roughness – made by hand to indicate reflective (white) and non-reflective (black) surfaces.

Normal – generated using nDo2 for surface depth via bump mapping. nDo2 is a great Photoshop plugin that can automate normal map creation and allows for painting in normals that aren’t necessarily visible in the texture map itself. Below is an example of using nDo2 and the normal map we created with it.

Substance – made by hand to separate metallic surfaces at near-full brightness for PBR when factored in with the other maps.

And here are the end results, the base map and the PBR version:

One thing we'll definitely keep in mind going forward is the amount of detail on the diffuse map. We found that a lot of the detail got lost in the noise and made the surface a bit less readable. It didn't muddle up the unit when viewed in-game too much, but there were probably too many folds and creases in the leather and fur parts that we'll smooth out later on.

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Post comment Comments  (10 - 20 of 33)
hakaru-x Feb 18 2011, 2:09pm says:

the best engine ever

+8 votes     reply to comment
Jevuner Mar 17 2011, 11:57am replied:

unknown engine is very bad, imho

+8 votes     reply to comment
Gary_McTaggart Jul 20 2012, 2:34pm replied:

Please, give me a link to any professional publication which says it's bad, ok?

+3 votes     reply to comment
Darkkoril Jan 17 2011, 8:10am says:

This gotta be kidding! Unknown engine.

+1 vote     reply to comment
BeestkRome Dec 18 2010, 10:30pm says:

Why would you rate a placeholder? Is this storage area worth a 8.6, because they don't serve coffee?

+8 votes     reply to comment
hakaru-x Aug 12 2011, 2:56pm replied:

lold so hard

+4 votes     reply to comment
ThePinkMamaLuigi Dec 17 2010, 7:33am says:

Black Ops uses the IW engine!

+2 votes     reply to comment
TheOneandOnly Oct 6 2010, 9:17am says:

What do we do if someone builds an engine and decides to call it "Unknown"?

+5 votes     reply to comment
caspercool Oct 11 2010, 4:22pm replied:

What if they decide to call it "Custom build"?

+5 votes     reply to comment
keveen Oct 7 2010, 2:39pm replied:

If That happens, I promise that I will blow the world up.

+5 votes     reply to comment
feillyne Staff Subscriber
feillyne Nov 17 2011, 1:45am replied:

That would be Unknown 2.0.

+2 votes   reply to comment
hakaru-x Jul 2 2010, 11:40pm says:

wtf is this a joke right?

0 votes     reply to comment
feillyne Staff Subscriber
feillyne Jul 15 2010, 5:41am replied:

Wtf is this a joke that you don't know words 'generic placeholder' right?

+7 votes   reply to comment
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