Freelance 3D modeller and games artist. Commenced my games industry career over 10 years ago, starting out at Warthog on the sci-fi FPS Mace Griffin: Bounty Hunter, and a space shooter of Battlestar Galactica. Most recently worked in house for Sumo Digital on a Tennis release for Sega, Virtua Tennis 2009 for PS3, Xbox 360 & the Wii, and I also worked on Sonic & Sega All-Star Racing. I have recently begun to teach 3D modelling and how that relates to games at several educational institutions including the University of Bolton on a part-time basis. Mod work includes development team leader, lore advice and modelling work for the Battlefield 2142 Star Wars themed mod First Strike.
Posted by TALON_UK on Jan 20th, 2011
Hi guys, just thought I'd share with you all a pretty cool new development.
A fan of our work here on First Strike requested a while back to be given the 3DS Max files for one of our in game vehicles. A long time Star Wars fan and avid modeller (as in model kits and unique miniatures, not computer based modelling), he fell in love with First Strike's unique take on the Rebel Freerunner, an Expanded Universe vehicle which has been around since way back in the old West End Games Star Wars Roleplaying Game. It was from an orthographic sketch from a sourcebook from that game which I used as inspiration for my Freerunner model, just a side on view, so from this limited information I created my personal take on what the vehicle should look like.
Since that roleplaying game came out in the late 80's there have been a few new takes on the vehicle, most recently in the Star Wars Customisable Card Game which feature computer graphic images more 3 dimensional in their interpretations which show the vehicle to be a much more curvy affair than the angular approach that I took with it. I found this to be quite ugly and without any striking presence of form, quite frankly it just looked like a characterless blob to me, but then I am bias I guess.
This official interpretation of the vehicle just added more uniqueness to our model, with official movie based vehicles and assets obviously there is no room to manoeuvre and you should try and get your assets as close to their movie counterparts as possible, but with EU stuff? I like to think you can take that with a pinch of salt, they are more open to interpretation due to their level of canon (plus even official interpretations of some of these vehicles, races and characters can end up varying quite a bit depending on what media they appear in over the years), for instance recently I've seen someone's interpretation of an E-Wing Fighter from the Dark Empire comic book series which is just sublime and really improves on the original. Obviously if someone decided to do that with an X-Wing? Might not go down so well.
So in short the First Strike Freerunner is a unique interpretation of this vehicle that you'll not find anywhere else. And it was this unique design that caught the attention of this modeller. Being a long time fan of the Freerunner design from the original SW: Roleplaying Game he loved our take on the vehicle and requested the model files to help him in an interesting aspect of his modelling hobby. Not content with just the available Star Wars vehicle models that you can buy in the shops, this guy goes on the hunt for unique Expanded Universe models that might appear in Star Wars Mods like ours, and asks for a watertight version of the in game model files (watertight meaning very sound geometry). With these files he sends them off to a tooling company with Rapid Prototyping technology, a process by which products in industry can be prototyped from CAD files using a 3D printing process to create the asset carved from plastics or polymers. A similar technology to that used to prototype Star Wars figures in their initial design stages.
I found this to be a very interesting prospect. To see a model I'd built and that only existed as polygons in a computer fully realised as a tangible real world miniature model was just too good an opportunity to miss, and duly furnished the modeller with the files he needed. He showed me examples of previous Star Wars models he'd had Rapid Prototyped such as a model of a Chariot LAV and a Flurry Carrier, the results were impressive, and I was very interested to see how well the process would deal with the complex geometry of the engineering section to the rear.
Well now that modeller has sent off and received back his first copy (and currently the only copy) of a First Strike style Armoured Freerunner, and he has sent photos of the model which I would like to share with you here today. He has placed the model amongst some miniature figures to give an idea of scale, and will soon be painting the model, so as he updates me with further pictures of his progress I will update my images here for those who are interested.