Let’s Talk About Modularity

Imagine the following scenario: You are an environment artist for a game company. Their newest game takes place in a city, and you are tasked with building the interior of an office building. You have plans and dimensions and the level is all blocked out; now you have to build the actual assets. What do you do? Your first reaction might be to open your 3D software of choice and start building an office building. After all, that’s what they told you to do, right? But while that might seem like the easiest choice, it’s actually going to cause a lot of headaches for both you and the rest of your team. Why is that? Well, first off, environments aren’t always set in stone. What happens if a level designer comes to you and tells you he wants a hallway moved, or a window added, or an entire section of the map laid out differently? That would be pretty difficult to change for you and would, at the least, take a long time. Another reason is the textures. Modern games have staggeringly good graphics. Textures are extremely high resolution with a lot of detail. Since your entire level is one mesh, that means you either need one huge texture for the entire thing or many textures. Neither of those is an ideal answer. So what is the solution? Well I pretty much gave it away in the title of this post — the solution is modularity.

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Let’s Talk About Modularity

That Took Longer Than Expected

After weeks of what I’m sure was nonstop anticipation for you all, I am finally ready to reveal a first look at our game’s character. I’m not really sure if our nameless soldier is quite fabulous enough to warrant such a dramatic reveal but oh well.

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This is an untextured model. The materials shown are placeholders to give a rough approximation of color placement and are completely inaccurate.

Ain’t he purdy? This is the first “complete” version of the character. I say “first” because I am sure there will be modifications to the design before I am ready to start the low-res version for texturing. But this is the first time every piece has a model in a completed state for it. I’ll go into more detail about the character in a later post, but for now I just wanted to show what the overall design looks like. Anyway, here’s this week’s breakdown:

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That Took Longer Than Expected

Almost Forgot!

It’s 11:50pm right now, which means I am posting my Sunday breakdown with ten minutes to spare. I could say that it was because I spent all day working, which I did do, mind you! But the truth is I finished today’s work an hour or two ago and have since spent that time playing through The Stanley Parable a million times. Anyway, I still got plenty of work done on the character and even a little more work done on the MJ-BF model. We had two events earlier this week and homecoming activities all weekend, but despite that I still managed 20.5 hours *takes a bow*. Check out the breakdown:

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Almost Forgot!

Check This Thing Out

I’m working on our group presentation for Friday and I decided to update the logo I was working on. It’s still not nearly in a finished state but it at least looks more polished than the previous version. I also opted to render this one straight from dDo since I don’t have time to set up a whole scene in UDK.

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And don’t worry, I’m still chugging along on the character. More on that later, I promise.

Check This Thing Out

Just Barely

This week wasn’t as productive for me as I’d have hoped. This is due to a couple factors: I had less time overall to be at home working since I had other obligations that filled my time. Also, as I mentioned in an earlier post, character design is somewhat of a new thing for me so there’s a lot of unrecorded time that I spent pouring over references and inspiration trying to come up with how I wanted certain details on the armor to look (a process that shall continue as I am still not fully set on everything). The current count is at 15.5 hours but I’d say including that brainstorming time it would be higher, around 19 or 20 hours. Still not as much as before but not terrible. Anyway, check out the breakdown:

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Just Barely