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Wednesday, 28 November 2012

XB2178 - Artist Research

Whilst looking at how World War 2 tanks have been made and what aspects of their design I wish to incorporate into my own, I have also been looking at how other artists have created interesting tank and character designs in both 3D and 2D.

Akira Toriyama

Looking at Toriyama's Sandlands comic I can see that his design of the tank which is in the majority of the comic is quite simple in ways. The main shape of the tank is very similar to an egg, with it being taller than it is wide and had quite a comical look to it which in a way also gives the vehicle much more character, especially since it even has eyes painted on.

One thing I definitely will be taking from this tank however is the different hatches and access points within the tank as most modern tanks don't have that many points within the tank for people to get in and out of. This makes the interior much more visible and interesting but also makes the tank much more homie in a way, as the crew are able to move around a lot easier and it also allows viewers to see it's interiors. As I intend to create an APC with the main function of transporting people access ways and hatches will be an important feature.

Christopher Bromby

Bromby was the art director for Wii game Tron Legacy: Battle Grids which saw the different factions within the Tron world fighting each other in a variety of game modes. Battle Grids is an interesting game to look at as, although the character and vehicle design aren't very similar to what I aim to achieve, it is great for me to be able to look at their work and see how they have created stylised characters and how their proportions have been altered to suggest what type of character they are, if they are an aggressive character or more friendly or neutral.

Another important note is how each character's style of clothing and even their stance is reflective back on their vehicle. For instance both the vehicle and the character below are quite slim and possibly even streamlined, hinting that they are both very quick and agile within the game. The point that the vehicle is fast is emphasised through it's sleek design and large wheels, which also hint that the vehicle is possibly capable of going over certain rough terrain and is quite durable in that respect.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

XB2178 - Tank Research

 As part of my research I have looked at a wide variety of World War 2 tanks from both allies and axis to see how tanks in the past have been created and decide upon what aspects I wish to carry over to my own design.

Firstly I quickly modeled tank hulls and turrets that I found to have a recurring design trend to see which of these designs I liked best and which could possibly influence the shape and design of my own tank.

Note: Turrets were no chosen or placed to match a tank hull. I just decided to pick 10 turrets and10 hulls.

Once I had quickly modeled what I needed I then began to remove the parts that I didn't like or felt didn't make much sense.

These hulls did not make the cut as I felt that their shape was quite boring and dull to look at.
After eliminating some hulls that I did not like I looked at the remaining hulls and decided upon which of the remaining hulls I did not like.

These were the hulls to survive the first cut as I liked their shape and interesting design.

These hull designs did not make the second cut as I felt that whilst they weren't terribly boring to look at, they weren't the most exciting ones to look at either.
I then decided to take a more detailed look upon the final 3 remaining hull designs which I may or may not use to aide me in designing my tank hull.

I quite liked this design as it makes the tank seem quite aggressive with it's massive front end and long body.

This design I really liked as it made plenty of different shapes in its silhouette and shape making it look quite interesting. Additionally it also has an aggressive look to it with its large frontal proportion.

The final hull that I decided to look at I found very interesting as it had a very odd silhouette to it with a very large, almost awkward, back end where the turret was housed.

I did like the weird silhouette this last design gave off and it reminded me of the Scorpion tank from the Halo series.

Also the turret at the back gives the feeling that the tank would've been best suited to providing support and overwatch for infantry units as it has a higher vantage point than most tanks. Furthermore if we simply flip it around and have the turret to the front and allow infantry to dismount at the back which can be seen in the bottom right corner.

Having sorted out which tank hulls I wanted to look at it was then time to look at the turrets and decide which of the designs I would possibly incorporate into my final design.

Turrets that survived the first cut. Other turrets were simply too dull and boring.
As I intend to create a scene featuring a a supporting tank such as an APC then generally I won't need a large heavy hitting turret as it is a support vehicle and not a main battle tank.The turrets above are all quite small and robust almost and seem fitting for a support vehicle.

A number of these turrets had more than one barrel, hinting that they would have a higher rate of fire than other tank guns, with each shot doing less damage which I quite liked.

Additionally I quite liked the look of turrets with short, almost "snub-nosed", turrets as again the emphasised that the tank is a support vehicle and doesn't carry a lot of firepower with it.

I like the shape of the turrets in the front as they are not typically rounded and are a little bit low to the tank, which would further emphasising the support role of the tank.

In conclusion thens, my final design will feature a small multi-barrelled turret effective against infantry and possibly light vehicles and the hull of the tank will firstly have to be big enough to carry, say 10 people, must not look too aggressive as it is a support vehicle and have a high placed turret for a good vantage point.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

XB2001 - UDK Pirate Asset Assignment

For this assignment we were asked to create a scene using only certain pirate themed assets. The purpose of this assignment being to familiarise ourselves with manipulating assets in UDK to create what we needed or wanted which I feel is a great idea. As it left a strong reminder in my head that assets do not have to be made very strictly within a 3D modelling program such as 3DS Max as UDK is powerful enough to manipulate these assets to a certain degree and so Game Designers do have a degree of freedom when using UDK.

In creating the scene I was a little clueless at the start as I wanted to create something fairly original and after a while of playing around and crashing UDK I happened across the thought of creating a woodland or garden-y area using wooden assets to create the trees and possibly using the leaves for shrub and vegetation.

The final outcome of the assignment was to have 3 High-Res screenshots of the scene we created which are below.

Initially the tress all looked a bit bare when I put them together and so naturally I thought that light emitting glass bottles would do just the trick and that a brick wall as needed to have something in the background.

I really enjoyed this assignment, as I definitely want to become more familiar using UDK and I really did enjoy familiarising myself with it and creating something new. I really would've liked a dark moody skybox to go along with this, but unfortunately I created this scene on a blank map and any attempt at creating a skybox resulted in a weird unlit skybox which only stood out like a sore thumb with the rest o the scene, so I left it dark which I still thought worked well.

XB2178 - Initial Tank Concept

Before I even began to start any 3D modelling I thought it best to do some quick sketch work and get my around around what it is exactly that I want to create, what sort of scene I wanted to have as a finished piece. But first things first I need to know what sort of tank I wish to go for, be it a heavy frontal assault tank, a long range artillery piece, or even a troop transport of sorts.

Below are some sketches I did just to put ideas on to page and play around with different ideas of what sort of tank to go for.

Here I began to contemplate what sort of scene I would like to go for and I actually warmed up to the idea of an APC disgorging infantry to an enemy contact or even something a little more light hearted such as them all getting lost and complaining.

Blogger doesn't like landscape photos apparently but don't hurt your neck, just played around with how infantry would get out of the vehicle and where the doors would be.
I am certain after that sketching that I will be creating an APC of some sort so whilst creating tank concepts I will bare in mind that it will need enough internal space for some number of infantry pieces.

Additionally I couldn't help but have a look at some dioramas from the Warhammer universe cause some of them truely are awesome.

What I love most about these pieces is that they tell a story in some form, be it a soldiers daily routing or a much more cinematic scene such as the one above with a soldier hiding form his enemies whilst preparing himself for having to fight for his life. This is something I definitely want to achieve with my final piece, something that not only looks good, but also something that would portray a story of some sort and would cause the viewer to stop and consider what it might be.

XB2178 - Project Plan Final

It has come to my attention that I have never posted up my project plan, so without further adieu here it is.

Project Plan


For this project I am going to create a diorama featuring a tank and its crew of 3 performing in a scene. This will be done using stylised low poly models that could be used within a game. The purpose of this project is to improve my skills as a 3D modeller. The diorama will be showcased in a 4 piece portfolio along with a 360 video turn around.

Intended Actions

  • Style research - Look at how other artists have created stylised  pieces in both  3D and 2D. I will look at artists such as Akira Toriyama, in particular his Sandlands comic, Scott Campbell who worked on Psychonauts, Chris Bromby who has worked on the Disney Tron Grids game featuring stylised characters. Additonally I will look at Team Fortress 2, and it's 2 designers John Cook and Robin Walker, as it is a very important game to feature stylised art. I will then create a moodboard to signify the art style I will be pursuing.

  • Tank research and design - Look at various tanks, their roles and how they fulfil them. Such as the way in which an AA tank, such as a Tunguska, would be able to aim its turret up to a high angle to aid in engaging air targets. Or how an APC would have very little wasted space internally to be able to carry as many troops as possible.

  • Look at examples of low poly 3d vehicles from a number of artists and resources such as Bitgem on deviantART, 3D artist Ryan Shar as well as looking at pieces of work from the deviantART and Polycount community.

  • Character research - Research into both fictional and factual tank crews, what they wear and what they look like, they're roles and how they fit in with the vehicle. Additionally I will look at low poly character models from the Polycount community as well as Tommy Tallian who created low poly Team Fortress 2 characters.

  • After conducting necessary research I will then being sketching ideas and creating some concept artwork to help get a feel of what sort of tank and crew I am looking to create. Once I feel I have a good idea of what I am going to model I will then create blueprints for the models. After which I will then begin modelling whilst keeping poly count to a low standard.

  • Scene research - After the 3D models have been created I will then look to create a scene for the models to be displayed in a way that will look dynamic and entertaining. To do this I shall look at certain set pieces that have been created within the Warhammer 40k universe and with Forge World as they are usually done to a high standard. Additionally I will also look at environmental artist Daniel Rose for level composition as I would not want the scene to look too cluttered or bare.


I am going to improve my skills within 3D modelling and conceptual designing.

New Skill and Knowledge

  • Learn how to successfully rig models
  • Further improve my skill using 3DS Max


By the end of this project I will have:
  • A 4 piece A3 portfolio showcasing the diorama.
  • A video turnaround orbiting around the diorama.


Project Start: October 31st

Week 1: Style research, create moodboards

Week 2 - 4: Tank research, look at fictional and factual and examples of how                they function. Decide upon role of tank. Initial sketches and ideas             of tanks.

Week 5 - 6: Character Research. Character concepts and sketches. Look at                style and appearance of tank and mimic to character uniforms.

Week 7: Finalise crew and tank concepts

Week 8: Create blueprints for tank and crew and begin modelling

Christmas Break

Week 9 - 11: 3D model tank and crew in T poses and unwrap and place basic                textures

Week 12 - 13: Rig 3D tank and characters and create final textures for them.

Week 14: Scene research, concepts and sketches as well as possible 
                 ideas for dioramas

Week 15: Finalize concepts of scene and produce a top down and level view 
                of it.

Week 16 - 17:  Create scene and it's 3D assets

Week 18: Texture scene and 3D assets

Week 19: Bring Tank and crew members into scene and adjust to poses

Week 20: Set up lights and camera. Post processing.


Week 21: Print 4 A3 pieces of renders  from 4 different angles of diorama.                            Create video footage of scene with rotating camera.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

XB2001 - Mechanic Sheet: Complete

Game: ArmA 2 - DayZ

Weapon Crafting Mechanic

This mechanic would give a lot of players a fighting chance at survival as currently, players start with no weapon and must risk coming into contact with zombies to find a decent weapon. Additionally keeping a good supply of ammo is very hard and so a crafting system would help players make their own ammunition and weapons like a harpoon gun whereby they are able to retrieve their shots, allowing players to fight in different ways and be more ready for a fight. In order to create items a player must simply have the required parts, with no schematics or skill levels required to match the free style of play DayZ encourages, however to limit crafting to a degree and also to encourage players to encounter each other, crafting is restricted to workbenches found within industrial areas.

Example of a workbench

Programmers would have to create a simple script that would simple say if player has required parts at a work bench, they gain the final weapon and lose the parts that they had within their inventory. Additionally they would have to allow projectile weapons such as crossbow bolts to be picked up, meaning that they would have to remain within the game after fired, but disappear after 10mins.

Sound Design
Simple metal hitting metal sound effects with some variation such as wood hitting metal or the sound of a saw cutting through wood etc.

Some slight animation of arms torso and head of the player hammering things and moving his head to get a better view of what he is doing. This will need to be done as although ArmA 2 is mostly played in 3D person, some players will switch to first person from time to time.

Artists will have to create and texture extra DIY looking weaponry to give them a very rugged and salvaged look and feel. As well as the weapons however each individual asset of the final weapon must be made as each of these assets must be found and collected separately before assembling. A simple GUI would be created as well so players can simply navigate and place items in a minecraft style with no need for schematics, but rather it would be based upon the player’s own knowledge of if it’s possible.

Example of Crafting UI where a broken M16 + 3 scrap metal (arranged like so) = Crossbow


Power Mechanic

The power mechanic allows players the ability to temporarily restore power to an area such as a town or city to allow the player more visibility at night, if the player is able to make their way to the power source, be it a power station or a generator etc. However this is only a temporary solution as it is post-apocalyptic and eventually whatever is generating the power will run out of juice. 

Less light would force players to depend on unreliable 
flashlights making the game more tense.
Programmers would have to add additionally functionality to certain objects such as light switches, other light sources, generators and power stations to be able to turn them on and off. Additionally programmers would have to create a runtime amount for each power source which would depend on how big a power source it would be, for instance a power station would supply more power to more buildings and for slightly longer whilst generators would provide less power the bigger the building is or the more buildings it’s trying to supply.

Sound Design
Sound designers would need to add low humming noises for active power stations and loud engine noises for active generators. Additionally simple noises such as a light switching off for when a player is switching lights on and off or additionally turning generators or power stations on or off.

Generic animation featuring hammering movements of the arms and screwing to give the impression that a player is constructing something. This must also be viewable in 3rd person view so the head and body must also be moving as well for the animation. Custom arm animations may have to be made for crafted weapons if the crafted weapon does not fall into the normal area a gun would go, e.g a bow and arrow.

3D models and textures of weapons and parts would follow the same style of the rest of ArmA 2 to avoid them standing out from the game. 3D models would have a medium polycount and a very realistic look to them with photo textures. Crafted weapons would have to be able to fall into the same area a gun would fall into in original ArmA 2 as the game uses ArmA 2’s animations. In the case this can’t be avoided animators will create custom animations.

An urban area with a few lights on creates great atmosphere, 
if only they could spark and flicker before dying out on a player

Additional Images: