Hello Again, It’s [TWDEV] Brrr - the Traction Wars Lead Artist, once again taking you through the interesting journey of game art development processes. In this particular dev blog I will be talking about my latest creation, the PIAT Spring operated Anti tank Gun.
Hello Again, It’s [TWDEV] Brrr
- the Traction Wars Lead Artist, once again taking you through the interesting journey of game art development processes. In this particular dev blog I will be talking about my latest creation, the PIAT Spring operated Anti tank Gun.
The PIAT Gun entered service in British and Commonwealth forces in 1943 – in response to the British army’s lack of any effective anti-tank weapon. Unlike other antitank weapons of the same era, the PIAT fired its projectile with the use of a powerful spring. This proved useful because it was inexpensive to produce – and the lack of any smoke or sound created by firing meant that the operator could remain more effectively hidden than if the British had adopted a rocket launcher system. Downsides however included; limited range, the weapon was also slow and difficult to reload and its projectile also was often not powerful enough to penetrate the armour of German tanks.
Before any modelling of the anti tank weapon began, I gathered as many references as I could find, ranging from blueprints, to modern and historic photographic reference. Realism is key to the art department as a whole, we ensure every weapon we make is a lifelike and true to its real life counterpart as humanly possible.
Modelling the PIAT was straight forward. The weapon itself is just a series of metal tubes, and flat panels. In contrast to more complicated modelling processes like the mg42 or the houfnice vz 14 100mm artillery piece, the model creation stage was completed rather quickly as a result.
For the second time I used a 4k texture for this particular model – in the past it was the norm to use 2 sets of 2k. 4096 pixels simplifies the process by only having to work on one texture file – as well as offering up advantage of an increased texture resolution.
Using a combination of hand-painting and the use of photographic textures I created the 4k texture sheet in Photoshop. Before saving the texture file as a dds, I ensured the texture image was clear and contrasted enough to show up well in engine. This simple process consisted of increasing the contrast and darkness of the texture as well as significant sharpening of the texture.
In previous weapon devblogs I haven’t gone into too much detail about the mtl or ‘material’ creation process. Often when weapons are exported and brought into game with the newly created texture – they can often look bland and washed out. To counteract this effect artists on the team artificially lower down the diffuse colour and adjust the hue until the general colourisation of the model fits the appearance of the references.
In the PIAT's case I lowered the darkness and added a slight green/brown tinge to bring the PIATs colour more closely to its real-life counterpart. A slight shiny gloss finish was also desirable with the PIAT Gun. Using the settings in the material editor I increased the specular levels and gloss levels to the required point.
To bring that extra sense of realism I also added a subtle reflection map or ‘environment map’. I fine tuned the ‘fresnel’ settings to tone down the reflection ensuring it didn’t look like the object was made out of chrome or plastic. Final tweaks included the addition of vertex mapping to provide a further level of depth to the model and the addition of detail maps.
The final model can be seen below laying on the ground ready to be picked up and equipped by some brave Tommy with enough courage and determination to take on the Wehrmachts Panzer tanks using only a spring loaded mass produced metal tube!
I hope you enjoyed reading this dev blog, tune in again next week when [TWDEV] Volcol will be back once again presenting an all new developer blog! In the meantime please don't forget to vote for us in Indie of the Year 2012.
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