New artist, Mech Previews

For those working on art content.

New artist, Mech Previews

Postby Smoking_Mirror » Mon Jul 16, 2007 3:59 am

Hi all,

This is a WIP thread for the mech's I'm working on.
The first one, wich is pretty much finished already is the King Crab.

Image

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These images are actually a little out of date. Yesterday I added some shiny highlights and corrected some text (which suggested a build date of 2076 for the mech).

My textures are part hand drawn and part baked using the texture baking function on Blender. This records the Normal map and Reflection/shine on the model so that I can mix it with my hand drawn map to create a high detail design.

It's quite a slow process, but faster that making a high res model and colouring it. My Current model is a Cicada which i produced as a test to see if I could get and Ugly mech to look good, it's taken me about 8 hours of free time so far and may well take another 8 before it's ready. Should look superb when it's finished.

I'm not sure whether to make more models and texture them or work on texturing some of those already available. My models are a bit uninspiring, but plenty servicable. Also I never played the board game or used the figures so I don't know if my models are acurate.

I've played all the PC games from 1-4 and mechcommander 2.

The next mech I work on would be the Stalker or the Urbanmech. I'm also tempted to try the Imp as it's one I've never piloted in a game.

Also here is the flashman which I did first, I'm not really happy with it compared to my more recent projects.

Image

And finally a progress shot of my Cicada.
Here you can see the process I use. First step is to use the polygon shapes to create a black and white line layout pattern for the fills and blends. Each object is given a different colour to help me identify it on the UV map.

Image

Next I begin to build up a flat texture map with four or five different materials. In this case I have;

>Rough metal
>Shiny metal
and on top of those
>Camouflage 1 red
>Camouflage 2 yellow

Image

I think this one needs more team colour on the back quarter, perhaps on the back of the arm mounts and maybe the lower legs.

EDIT:
So here's the Cicada, good job I've got a day off tomorrow, this was one of those ones I didn't want to finish until i'd got it fixed.
I wasn't really happy with how the shiny metal turned out, it was quite difficult to get it to work properly. Next time I probably won't bother. :)

Image
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Postby Smoking_Mirror » Tue Jul 17, 2007 3:52 pm

I just noticed today that there is already a Cicada in the game as released. Oh well, Maybe this one can be an variant...
I guess I only did it for the fun of it.

Anyway, next is a clan mech. I see most of them have been worked on already so I tried to pick one which has not. This one will have a different design philosophy and I'm tempted to use a different kind of writing on the mechs for warning labels and markings. Maybe some Korean (which I can write and speak a little) or some Chinese or Japanese which i can't read write or speak.

I think the Clans adopting a different script is not too far fetched, although it's not mentioned in any of the cannon material.
Korean (or Han-Gook Mal) would be a good one as it is an alphabet so only uses 24 characters (unlike Japanese or Chinese which use more than 3000). Korean can be used to write the sounds of other Asian languages too, as they use similar sounds.

Perhaps going by the cannon fluff Cyrilic would be a better choice, as Kerensky was probably the descendant of someone fleeing the second soviet civil war.

ударяет is gargoyle in Russian according to Google translate.

Anyway, here is the basic texture bake;
Image
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Postby Hana Yuriko » Wed Jul 18, 2007 3:28 am

I think the Clans adopting a different script is not too far fetched, although it's not mentioned in any of the cannon material.


Actually it has been stated in canon material. Clans use Star League English (think close to Victorian Proper) which uses a standard English script.
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Postby Smoking_Mirror » Wed Jul 18, 2007 12:17 pm

Ah well,
English it is then.

I think I'll keep the use of script to a minimum on the clan mech, and also use a checker pattern instead of the black and yellow bee stripes as warnings.

EDIT:
OK, here's the Gargoyle, I couldn't get quite the effect I was after, but I think I'm starting to crack the shiny metal effect. You can't tell here but the team colours are split left/right sides. In the end it looks quite like the Inner sphere mechs I've done rather than looking especially "different".

Image
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Postby Smoking_Mirror » Sun Jul 22, 2007 1:32 am

Next model is the Stalker.
It's one of my favorite mechs back from when I first piloted it in mechwarior 2 mercenaries. :)

In the game you get given a loan of the mech, when up to that point you had only been piloting light and medium mechs.

The feeling of raw power you get as you pilot an asault mech for the first time is perfectly captured in this mech as it eliminates mechs and tanks far quicker than you had been able to do before. But also the heat problems are quite evident as this is a secession era mech with single heat sinks and a lot of hot weapons.

You see the stalker a few times later in the game, but usually when you are blowing it away in your atlas (100 tons, yeah baby!) as it sits around trying to cool off.

But that early mission, where you assault a city garrison, taking out an urban mech or two, as well as a hevily damaged atlas and if you are qiuck some DC dropships at the space port for extra c-bills, is one of the most memorable computer game sequences I've ever played.

Design
At first I wanted to review the design of the mech, as some of the incarnations of this thing have looked pretty ugly and there is a tendency not to check that the side torso pods at the front do not obscure the line of sight of the rear pods mounted on the arms. I also wanted to look at some new geometry for the front torso. So the first draft was quite radical in it's design;
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(Actually the preliminary sketches featured a much more radical design, with the cross section translating from an octagon at the rear to a cross at the front with four square cross section "pods" around a single square mounting spar).

Next I scrapped that idea as I'd already made compromises on my original plan, so I may as well try for a more traditional rounded look. I still kept the large side torso pods but I was going for a hunched body look, kind of like a spider;
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Finally when I added the lower torso and legs, this didn't look right for a two legged mech (I'd love to design a four legged stalker, that would be awesome) So again I took a step towards the original design and sloped the arm pods backwards a little.
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I'm really adamant that the arm pods should be retained in game. They are not just housing for the LRM20s but actually contain several different weapon systems and the heat dispersal sinks for those systems. Taking them off would be like removing the hood and front bodywork of a car because you've swapped out the engine. I'm sure you'd be able to see the change on this mech as those arm pods will be bristling with lasers and missile pods in almost all configurations.

The model is 1090 triangles.
Later I'll try and work on the texture.
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Postby Smoking_Mirror » Mon Jul 23, 2007 4:08 pm

OK, the stalker is finished. I need to work on my technique and practice getting a standardized result. Next I'll probably do some Vehicles, such as a hovercraft or two and a VTOL craft. The ones used in the game at the moment are not totally accurate by time frame.

It's strange, I can't seem to beat my King crab for texturing. The thing is that was my first real go at adding rust, and several other techniques. Usually I would have improved as I went along.

Anyway, here is the stalker as it stands right now, I've set it up in Draconis Combine red and black just for fun. I think overall the texture needs darkening slightly. It's hard to set up a lighting rig for the texture bke that is both illuminating but not overpowering. I want a mildly overcast day, but I either get evening or midday.

Image
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Postby BATTLEMASTER IIC » Thu Jul 26, 2007 2:11 am

This is awesome stuff! I dig your Stalker rendition 8)
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Postby felderup » Thu Jul 26, 2007 7:51 am

last time i looked, the mech list didn't show the stalker as checked out, but there's a few other things that haven't been updated as well, so maybe derk needs a kick.
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Postby Smoking_Mirror » Fri Jul 27, 2007 12:23 am

Derk knows I'm making it but I only started doing stuff last week or so.

I'd rather he was busy adding stuff to the game than busy adding stuff to the website.

Here's the stalker with the final texture setup. I've reduced it to 5 layers as per Derk's request and tried to keep all the detail I put in originally.

The team colours are actually two different colours, one on the left side of the body and one on the right, but here I've set them both to bright red to show the areas covered;

ImageImageImageImage
Last edited by Smoking_Mirror on Thu Aug 02, 2007 1:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby adamsderk » Fri Jul 27, 2007 4:44 am

Felderup,

I'm not the one needing a kick :) There have not been any submissions since I last updated the list. The campaign system has a lot of work that no one will notice (because it will be there), but would be very noticeable if it wasn't. It's one of those sections that require a lot of work before anything is shown since it has to be mainly complete to even work.

Smoking_Mirror,

Looking great. Keep up the great work. Send me the textures so I can play with them.

Thanks.
Image
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Postby felderup » Fri Jul 27, 2007 11:31 am

so it's smoking_mirrors fault it's not showing as checked out. so, SM, why haven't you checked it out? sorry for annoying the wrong person. as for updating the site versus updating the game code, inspiration can't strike continuously, i know, i've sometimes taken months between refinements of my steam motorcycle design.
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Postby Smoking_Mirror » Fri Jul 27, 2007 3:33 pm

Ha, well, I'm a bit of a bipolar type personality, sometimes I will sit and make 3d models continuously hour after hour for weeks on end and be really serious about wanting other people to do the same, and then just as suddenly I move on to some other obsession which has to be fulfilled with the same degree of urgency, or I sink in to a depression where I don't really want to have anything to do with anything.

Having an active development base on a project I'm interested in helps though as it can help keep up my enthusiasm when otherwise it would be flagging or drifting off course.

Generally I'm really "in to" the models whilst they are in the development stage, and then once they are "done" I.e. I can see what they are going to turn out like, I am less enthusiastic about fulfilling any technical requirements or making any required adjustments.

But, don't worry, these days I'm much more disciplined and I have a one week vacation coming up next week, where all I want to do is stay in doors out of the really roasting Korean summer, crank up the air conditioning and make mechs! That includes making all the required changes to existing mechs for submission, and setting up a new system of manufacture so that future designs will be more standardized and require much less redesign/conversion after initial completion.

So the mechs I've done, along with a couple of 3070 vehicles and another mech or two (or more) should be all bundled up and sent to Derk before next Sunday. Though the vehicles will probably require some changes and refinements before they are in the required formats and setup.
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Postby Smoking_Mirror » Sat Jul 28, 2007 4:33 am

OK, stalker has been sent to Derk with full textures.

The rest will have to wait for Monday as I'm off to Seoul to meet up with one of my English friends for the weekend.

When I get back I'll probably work on transforming the mechs I've already done and then next is probably the Urban mech or one of the rarer 2970 mechs.

I'm half tempted to do a madcat, as it's somewhat iconic of the Battletech game, and it seems like everybody's tried one before.

Maybe I'd make a variant, with older style looks, or perhaps something to bridge the gap between the MDC1 and the MDC2... or perhaps that would be a waste of time. :)
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Postby adamsderk » Sun Jul 29, 2007 3:15 am

Felderup,

I don't "check out" models anymore. I found that there wasn't enough "follow-through" to warrant it. Now, I mark when I get a model and texture. I would hope that contributors discuss their work on the forum to make sure they don't overlap.

Smoking_Mirror,

I got your files, but I won't be able to examine them until Monday, so have a good weekend with your friends. I'm excited to hear that you have vehicles. :) Want to take a shot at protomechs?

Thanks.
Image
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Postby felderup » Sun Jul 29, 2007 1:18 pm

okay.
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