The Digital Blacksmith
In the process of creating the weapons that the players will hunt, loot, upgrade and use, a pipeline has been established since the prototyping phase a year ago, this process was made for the purpose of making it easier for me as a solo developer to switch between the Designer mode (3D design, sculpting and texturing) to Programmer mode (Coding the class, Upgrade stats calculus and combo scripting).
1 The Concept
The first step of the design process is the research of historical real life sources, each weapon has a story an origin and a function. And the story will decide what type of sword we have to create, in this example the base information before the research process is the following :
Class : One Handed
Edge : Curved to slightly curved
Origin : Mid 14 to Mid 15 th century
The base information already gave us an artistic direction and a base of research which is the real historical equivalent, in our case an Italian Falchion .
The Research is organized into two Mood boards :
Assemby Mood Board
Detail Mood Board
The detail Mood Board for any in-game weapon is important and relative to the real life equivalent, to design a sword we need to understand the components that makes a sword (The Edge , The grip the pommel ...etc...) , the same can be applied to modern fire arms or 17th to 19th century fire arms or even the modern ones.
2 The Actual Design
The first step of designing a sword is the blocking process, the target here is to have a base 3D shape that we can easily sculpt the details and the curves on.
The Second Step is the re-topology and yes you have every right to ask, why we need this phase at all, let us just sculpt and send to the Engine directly, but you should understand that a sculpt voxel or hard surface is around 2 to 3 Million polygon, some full maps in engine don"t even exceed the 1% of the that, and second and foremost is the optimization and in game smooth play. a good re-topology helps the player get an enjoyable in game experience in a well optimized game.
The Re-topology helps also in the baking process and also the texturing, a sculpt with 2 Million polygon with the same details as a mesh with 150 polygon, well baked and textured.
The last step is of course the texturing process, where the substances as prepared and then painted on the re-topology result, or the baked mesh with the details from the sculpt.
Usually with the sword, two metal types are used and for the grip I use leather or wood embroidered with silver,bronze or gold.
3 The Representation
To represent each weapon, and as a bridge between the arms and the players, each weapon is compiled into a child class of the weapon Parent Class.
5 Thumbnails are designed to represent the 5 states of the interaction :
1- Normal : Player does not interact with the weapon
2- Hover : The Player hover on the weapon but does not interact
3- Active : The Player interact with the weapon, assigns it as equipped and hovers on it.
4 - Active No Hover : The weapon is equipped but the Player's focus is elsewhere.
5 - Inactive : the Weapon is locked or the Player does not have enough strength to wield the weapon.
4 Conclusion :
The weapon design process is one of the most enjoyable processes in a developer perspective, yet it is very time consuming compared to environment design or AI Scripting, especially if you have a modular system where the players have the ability to look for different weapons, loot and equip.
I hope you enjoyed the Devlog #4 and I hope you will use these arms and cut sentinels , keepers and Shadows of Larth.