For this project, I’m going to be producing an asset as part of a DLC pack for Total War: Three Kingdoms. I want to make it appear as though this asset works seamlessly with the game. In order to make that happen, over these past three weeks I’ve been conducting research into the game and the context surrounding it.
There are two areas I initially looked into: how Total War: Three Kingdoms works, and ancient Chinese history around the time the game is set.
Since I’m not on the design course, it isn’t as necessary for me to know how the game works, but it does help me get a grasp on how the asset I will create will fit into the game. Researching how the game works gave me insight into where my asset would most likely be used – in the real time battles. If I were to produce environmental assets, they could appear in the overworld, however I don’t have much on an interest in environmental assets so it’s unlikely that I will be producing one. Additionally, I can grant myself some creative leniency as a significant portion of the game is based on the novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms.
Researching the history surrounding the time period of the game is much more helpful since it has given me a better understanding of what types of structures, clothing and weapons were used back then, what they looked like, and what materials were used to construct, create and forge them. It also opened up a path to research certain areas in further detail.
Although the Han dynasty lasted from 202 BC to 220 AD, I researched the births of the different people included in Total War: Three Kingdoms, as well as when the historical Three Kingdoms period began in order to narrow down the time period I’d be looking at. The oldest character who I knew was in the game, and whose year of birth I could find was Liu Biao, who was historically born in 142 AD, setting my general timeline from 142 AD to 220 AD. This information helped me look at more specific events, but not much else. That additional information hasn’t had a significant impact on my current research but it may come in handy at some point down the line.
Additionally, I looked at the general weapons that were used by the Han dynasty. Although the only documented list I could find would be rather outdated, as the records are taken from 13 BC, it does give me a basic understanding of the main weapons used by the military of the Han dynasty – those being crossbows and long lances.
I only began researching in detail once I had an idea of what I was going to do for my artefact.
The main area I looked further into was weaponry of the time period. Each Chinese military in the past has used different weapons, and some weapons are clearly valued above others. As stated before, the military of the Han dynasty primarily used crossbows and long lances, but they also used a variety of other weapons such as spears, halberds, daggers, axes, swords, spears and shields.
Given the time period, it’s likely that these weapons were primarily forged and crafted using iron and wood, however some weapons used by the Han dynasty military would’ve been forged using bronze. By the time the Three Kingdoms era was approaching though, this would likely be rather rare, as iron was seen as much stronger even if forging weapons was more difficult to do with this material. These weapons would generally be reinforced with an iron or wood hilt.
Researching weapons, I was especially interested about polearms of the time period. Although the Han dynasty military used polearms such as spears, halberds, and long lances, the novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms talks about a legendary glaive called the Guandao. Glaives did not exist at this point in time in China, however this additional information helped me figure out that it is not just ancient Chinese history that Total War: Three Kingdoms is based on, but also novels, as the Guandao is believed to have originated from Romance of the Three Kingdoms.
The weapons used in the game itself are generally simple looking, and shouldn’t be overcomplicated. The most complicated-looking weapons belong to commanders and warlords in the game, as they generally have unique details added to make them stand out.
Looking into the different areas of Chinese history I have research, as well as the areas of game design that interest me and my current skillset, I have decided to produce a weapon.
Although character design appeals to me more than weapon design, my skillset isn’t advanced enough to do character design yet. Hopefully though, by the end of this module I will have learned all the relevant skills to delve into character design.
There were numerous different weapons used during the Han dynasty. I have a personal bias towards polearms, many of which were used during this time period. Since the game takes a large amount of inspiration from Romance of the Three Kingdoms, I’m going to use that as a creative liberty, so that not only will I be able to produce a spear, halberd or long lance, but also potentially a glaive, as, historically speaking, those either did not exist yet, or were not used commonly during that time period.
Additionally, the research I conducted into the materials that were used at the time will help me gain a grasp on what materials I should use when texturing my asset.
Overall, producing this asset would expand my skills when it comes to the full production of 3D models, as well as furthering my understanding of software such as Autodesk Maya, Unreal Engine 4, PureRef, SketchFab and Substance Painter.