Hello everyone, I'm [TWDEV]_Franky_ and I'm a Modeller and Texture Artist on the Traction Wars team. Today, I would like to present you with a bit of an unusual dev blog entry, namely, a dead cow. At first, I was quite surprised when I was approached with the idea of creating this asset because I have worked on organic modelling in the past, but not under the circumstances of our current project.
Since I enjoy a challenge I did not shy away from this curious assignment. So to start off, I needed good reference material. I needed to go beyond just finding high resolution imagery of various cows and start digging deeper. So I proceeded with gathering many different references, including some authentic World War II photography from the German Bundesarchiv as well as some anatomical diagrams of a cow's skeletal structure and its musculature.
Once we settled on the pose of the model, I proceeded with creating a high poly version of the cow for the purpose of creating a normal map. This was an opportunity for me to improve my sculpting skills in 3D and also showcasing attention to detail with a mix of clearly defined muscles, bones and fat tissue. This not only required a sense of anatomy and observation skill, but also the intelligent use of various software packages working in concert to create a normal map that reflects the level of detail of a high resolution model consisting of over 1,2 million polygons.
Next up was the creation of the diffuse map, not as small a feat as it may seem at first glance. I decided to go with hand-painting it entirely with my pen tablet. I wagered that the additional amount of work would be worth the investment if the outcome was of arguably high quality. Usually, I would create textures with a blend of photographic and hand-painted elements. For this specific project, I went and created the fur one strand of hair at a time, basically consisting of hundreds, if not thousands of individual brush strokes. All the while I was fully aware that 99% of all players would run by this cow many times without even really looking at it, so I did not want to spend too much time by getting lost in details.
In the end it was worth the effort but I still have some refinements that I want to make.
I hope you enjoyed this entry of our dev blog and I look forward to sharing more of my work with our team and the audience/players.
We are still looking for talented individuals to join us on the team, so if you think you might have what it takes or if you are just curious then you can check out our recruitment page for full details.