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Here is my week in review for the development of my Super Space Trooper video game.
This week didn’t quite live up to the productivity of last week, but it was still productive overall and I’m happy with the progress.
Blender 3D Modeling of Alien Battle Starship
I spent time in the last week and weekend designing and modeling an enemy starship for my game’s Soneria planet level. It’s pretty clear to myself that I’m getting quicker in Blender because the starship model would have taken about 4-5 hours even just two months ago, whereas now it took just 2 hours. On top of being faster I’m more able to anticipate future problems along the way, like complications with UVs and textures, as well as organization of the normals.
Scroll down for a short video clip
It’s not an overly high-poly mesh, but I’ve got a time schedule to keep to. Plus, having never created a video game before, I’m not truly aware of the limitations of current day realtime render capabilities, so I have figured it’s safer to go with something low-poly than something that bogs down the video card.
Change of Texturing Process
This week I tried a different approach than I normally do when it comes to texturing. Generally I will create the texture in Photoshop, then build the bump maps off that texture. This week I reversed that process flow and created the bump map first and then based the texture off the bump map. Is this common for 3D artists to do it this way? It worked out a lot better for me and I think I’ll stick to this method going forward. Not only do the bump maps make texturing easier when it comes to knowing where physical boundaries are, but also made it easier to lighten and darken the texture based on what the bump maps where doing.
Problems With Shaders
A lot of time was wasted over the weekend trying to get the correct feel and look of the starship. Either it was too shiny and reflective or the complete opposite. Since I’m currently on the free version of Unity 3D there is no shadow casting on objects. It’s very difficult to achieve decent results without shadows. Which leads me to my next segment….
Baking Texture Maps in Blender
I’ve never baked textures or materials before for my 3D models, but because of the poor results I’ve been getting with the shader on the starship, I figured it was time to give it a try. Of course I baked in shadows which is a no-no for a moving object, but until I upgrade to Unity Pro I’ll need to make do with what I have at my disposal.
There was a huge improvement to the quality of the starship once the baked texture was applied. Like night and day to what it was before.
What Did I Learn This Past Week?
- Well, for starters, I’ve learned that there really has been a speed increase in which I’m able to put 3D models together in Blender
- Second, while my UV mapping is still far from great, it’s also seen a significant improvement.
- Third, how to bake textures! I’m new to this, and I still have a long way to go for real quality results, but it’s a good start
- Fourth, shaders can be a real bitch!