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Week 12

This is the final week of the project, so I am just making sure I have everything in order before I submit it for assessment.

First of all, I managed to finish the video. It’s not exactly to the standards I want it to be, but it’s my first time using Adobe Premier Pro so it’s bound to be a bit rusty – I’m just glad I was able to create a video at all.

Secondly, looking over the assessment requirements, I needed to write a report. I took a couple hours off to think about what would be included in the report before writing it. It’s about on par with what would normally be my writing standards in my opinion and covers the production pipeline for the asset I produced.

Finally, I’ve been putting together a folder in preparation to send off my work for assessment. This is the easiest part everything leading up to this.

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Week 11

After many issues with Unreal Engine 4, and having to spend some time figuring out how to actually get it to work, I’ve produced a very simple fly-around video of my asset.

This video includes a focus on some of the smaller details since I want to put a bit of an emphasis on them.

By the end of next week, I will have trimmed the video and added some text on top. The clips I’ve taken should be enough to pass the 1-minute threshold.

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Week 10

This week I haven’t done much.

Now that I have my model and textures complete, I’ve spent a bit of time this week looking into how Unreal Engine 4 and OBS works, since I want the video of my asset to be taken in-engine.

I’ll try and create the video next week.

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Week 9

I managed to finish my models and UVs last week, so this week I am texturing my model.

I don’t have a significant amount of experience in Substance Painter, however that is what I will be using as it hasn’t been too difficult for me to get used to it quickly.

The basic textures seem to be good enough for most of my model, but I may go out and collect some extra textures for certain parts of my model. Even if these textures are out of place, they will serve as a good reference point for my actual textures.

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Week 8

This week, I had plans to complete my model, as well as make a high-poly version and unwrap the UVs. All I had to do was create the dragon head that would serve as the base of the glaive.

This was primarily done using cubes and lattices, which allowed me to freely transform the different aspects of the model, as it is the most complex part of my weapon. The final shape I made looked almost perfect compared to the concept art I created in the first few weeks.

The next step would be unfolding my UVs in preparation for texturing. This was simple enough as I have unfolded similar shapes in a couple other models I’ve experimented in.

Once I had this finished, I needed to create a high-poly model that I would be able to use to bake on to my textures. This was done relatively easily as I a lot of my model was curved and would translate to a high poly model without issue.

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Week 7

I’ve been working on trying to create the base of the glaive, however it has been difficult. I initially attempted to create it the same way I created the blade of the glaive, however that idea quickly faded when what I was able to create wasn’t what I wanted to create – it was too blocky rather than round. Because of that, I instead decided to create the base from a cylinder and cone.

First, the cylinder. This was easy enough as all I had to do was pinch in the edges of the cylinder around the centre. I could do this with either a lattice or with the soft select tool, but because I wanted to have it be relatively even on all sides I opted to use the soft select tool. This would allow me to maintain a consistent cylindrical shape. The cone was where things got a bit more difficult as I would have to manipulate the entire shape to fit my concept art. The most reasonable way I could think to do this is by manipulating the verts in the shape, leaving the ones at the base exactly how they originally were so that it would be able to connect to the cylinder, which makes up the other half of the shape.

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Week 6

Having finished the pole last week, I intended to complete the blade and maybe even the base of the spear this week.

The blade takes priority, so I decided to try modelling that first. I ran into a few issues though, and it took a lot of trial and error.

First of all, I tried to make the blade using the create polygon tool. While initially, I liked the outcome, I realised that I had created the polygon over the sharp edge of the blade. I went back and created another polygon just around the flat edge of the blade but it still bothered me. It wasn’t as smooth as I would have wanted, even though this is just the low poly version of my glaive. I looked into other ways I could create the glaive and decided to use a lattice around a cube instead.

Using this technique I was able to produce the basic shape of the glaive and make its shape look relatively smooth. I removed any unnecessary verts along some of the edges in order to optimise the shape a bit before extruding some of the edges to begin creating the sharp edge of the blade.

I chose very specific edges to extrude considering I wanted to make both the outer edge of the glaive and an edge connected to an extra part of the glaive sharp – the latter of the two was significantly more difficult to create.

For the outer edge, I did not have to adjust many things other than the location of some of the verts to make the edges appear smoother and flow more with the general shape of the blade, as well as to make it look more like the concept art for this weapon. The more inner edge was a bit more difficult to create though as it would have to curve round. After moving two of the edges inwards to create the sharp appearance of the edges, there was an issue with one of the edges and it did not look the way I intended. After experimenting for a bit, I found that my issue could be fixed by simply adding in a multi-cut and adjusting a couple of the verts.

All I had to do after this was adjust the hardness and softness of the edges.

Unfortunately I did not have the time to create the base of the glaive this week.

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Week 5

Last week I completed, compiled and selected which of the concepts I produced I would turn into a 3D model. I’m doing this in Maya 2022. I’ve started by creating the pole of the weapon since that’s the main part of the weapon as a whole. I did this using the CV curve tool with the settings adjusted slightly.

Because of the axis I was creating the weapon on, I had a bit of trial and error. Initially, I was going to make the pole and the rings around it separate so that it would be easier to texture, but this just brought about more issues and complexities, so I dropped that idea to produce the pole and the rings as part of one model. The way I unfold it later would help make this easier  instead.

My first mistake was revolving the curve on the Y-axis, which completely messed the intended model up. I changed the axis I revolved it on and this fixed the first issue I was having, however I noticed shortly afterwards that the pole was slightly too thick. I hadn’t centred it on the axis so it was revolving slightly larger than I wanted. Additionally, there was a small hole at the top and bottom of the pole. I went back to before I revolved the curve and adjusted its position so that it would align with the axes. Only then did I revolve, causing the pole to look much better.

I did a quick cleanup of the geometry. Because I had revolved the pole to have 28 segments, it ended up with 28 verts at either end of the pole, whereas it should have only had 1 at either end. This was a quick fix, as all I had to do was merge the verts to improve my geometry.

My next step after this will be to add the blade and base of the glaive. There’s a few ways I can create these, so I will be experimenting with those over the next few weeks.

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Week 4

Concepts

Over the past week, I’ve been experimenting and producing basic concepts for my polearm weapon. I’ve experimented with simple ideas, as well as adding details to some. It has helped give me a basic idea of what exactly I am going to produce.

The concepts I’ve made are monochrome, as this gives me a basic idea of the colours of the weapons displayed. Additionally, it helps easily separate the different sections of the weapon.

In a couple concepts, I added damage to the weapon to give it personality and history, however thinking about this logically, it wouldn’t make sense as these weapons would most likely be used by army units in the game, so each of them having the same damage would be rather bizarre. The only time it would not be as confusing would be if I designed a unique weapon for a general to use.

One consistent thing between each concept would be the pole – this is just a simple base that I’ve built each concept on. The pole of the weapon does not generally change, excluding the material used as that could be either metal or wood. Regardless, it is not something I need to put too much detail in aside from texturing. Most of that detail will be put into the end of the weapon.

Another consistent feature that can be seen in most of my concepts is some fabric wrapped around one end of the pole. I want to experiment simulating fabric, so I thought this might be one way to practice that. If I take this into the final design and it doesn’t work as intended, it hopefully shouldn’t take too much away from the design if I remove it.

Out of all the concepts I have produced, my personal favourite has to be one of the glaive variants, simply due to the more unique design.

By next week, I should have a finalised concept of my weapon and I should have begun blocking it out in Autodesk Maya.

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Week 1-3

Introduction

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.

Initial Research

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.

Further Research

I only began researching in detail once I had an idea of what I was going to do for my artefact.

Weapons

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.

Proposal

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.