So About That Character…

Finally! I know I’ve kept you all in the dark so far about this character I’m working on but now I think I should finally talk about it a bit. Given that this project is, for the time being, limited to the scope of a year-long thesis project we decided to use the game’s lore to our advantage. This means that both teams in the game, being from parallel universes, can be given the exact same character model with only texture differences to differentiate them. Of course, that presents its own challenges. I need to make sure the character has enough color to allow for a distinct separation between teams. But, at the same time, I don’t want the character to be goofy. So I must be careful with my accent choices. I also want the character to be recognizable and to fit with the style of the game.

Originally, I wanted the character to be in full body armor, similar to the game Halo. Unfortunately, I quickly realized that doing so within the time frame I have set for myself would be nearly impossible. So, instead, I have opted for a character that is in partial body armor more closely matching modern military gear (except for stylistically, of course). To help myself visualize the final look and to make the design process easier, I broke the character down and started by designing the helmet.

First step was sketches. I did a lot of different profile sketches of various helmet designs to help me decide the look I wanted to go for. I took a few of these designs to my next planning stage.

sketches

After the sketches were complete I took my 3 favorite designs and made more formal sketches in Illustrator. These digital sketches were created to be more realistic in their proportions in order to produce a somewhat accurate, if crude, depiction of the final design.

helmet_sketches

I then took my chosen design and created a more formal illustration from it.

Both team colors were visualized
Both team colors were visualized

Finally, after approval from my team, I was ready to bring my design into Maya and build it in 3D. At this stage there were a few adjustments made but the overall forms remained nearly the same. Having polished concept art beforehand was extremely beneficial.

helmet01
The visor is much larger looking in 3D than in 2D. This will actually work to our advantage as it is the primary source of color on the helmet (though more color will be added once I get to the texturing phase).

The helmet was designed to be angular, with bright splashes of color and a light look overall to fit in with the rest of the game’s assets. I also looked at the forms and details on modern military gear in order to ground the design in reality. Other inspirations include motorcycle helmets and flight gear.

The next steps will be creating a low-res version and UV mapping it. I will not be texturing the helmet until the character is completed since all parts of the character will share the same texture files. I’ll have to wait until the UVs of every part of the character are laid out before that process can begin.

From now on I’ll be doing my weekly breakdowns by hours worked instead of by time. After all, who cares if I get most of my work done between 10PM and 2AM? Anyway, here’s the breakdown for this week:

[9/14]
2.25 illustration
7 illustration

[9/15]
.5 character generation

[9/16]
.75 helmet model
4.5 helmet model

[9/18]
4 helmet model

[9/20]
4 textures

[9/21]
4.75 helmet model

That’s a grand total of 27.75 hours worked this week. That’s practically part-time! Next week I’ll be working on sketches and concepts for the rest of the character, starting with the chest piece. During that time I might also work on modeling an asset I already have planned or play around with the new dDo to try and develop some more textures for the game.

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So About That Character…

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