The previous part of the article is accessible here.
By the way, we are looking for an animator who is capable of making high quality 3rd person animations for Lost Squad. The work is not paid, but in the future (and if we really like your work) you may recieve something like a paid offer for an other Source Engine game. PM DmitRex or write to firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested.
Today we going to finish reviewing weapons from Lost Squad:
Questionable one. That is because Valve took real-like H&K MP7, gave it an ability to spit out under-barrel grenades, but didn’t include under-barrel itself. Instead, they included extra barrel, equal to the main one through thickness. Let’s say that this barrel is under-barrel grenade launcher, but how can a fatty patty get out from such a thin hole? Of course I could ask experienced proctologist, but instead I decided to think positively and search for images of real prototype.
Strange part - there is a hole on the under-barrel place on the real prototype, but nothing sticks out from it. I got accustomed with documentation, searched for drawings, and to my surprise realised, that this hose is not used at all.
Maybe I am wrong and there is some use to it, but I looked at videos of assemble/disassemble and it looks like there is nothing behind this hole. I spent a lot of time thinking what to do with it - because if you remove second barrel, that appearence of the weapon will lose its implication to HL2, and real attachable under-barrel grenade launchers for this rifle were never manufactured.
After some really hot discussions with some citizens simpathizing with my problem, our own design for under-barrel grenade launcher was developed collectively, which would be attached to the body so that the movable handle is not obstructed and remains in the perpendicular position. But a question of second barrel remained opened, and a genius thought came to my mind - to take similar detail from AK-47. Because why not? It came out funny: we have under-barrel, though not very convenient, and somewhat justified appearance of second barrel.
As for the rest - the body of the machine rather strongly copies the real prototype, with the exception of the Picatinny rail (it is best seen from the first-person perspective, so I left its design similar to the version from the HL2 model). Retractable butt is also left with a smaller size, unlike the original. In addition, I modeled the magazine and the cartridges, and the model of the machine itself was made so that, if desired, you can safely remove the grenade case, leaving only a movable handle that can also be turned.
Semi-automatic shotgun from HL2 based on real SPAS 12. The differences from the prototype lie mostly only in width, and the difference between the V-model and the W-model HL2 in length - the model that the npc is holding in its hands is noticeably shorter than what we see from the first person. Moreover, the handle is not made on the same V-model, since it is out of view of the camera.
When I started to create my version, I relied on the scale of the V-model, and after completing the simulation and compiling the game, I was surprised to notice that the model was too big, almost half the height of npc, after which I had to forcefully change the scale .
As for adding details, here I decided not to invent anything, I just took them from a real prototype - safety switch, the front part of the pipe in which the shells are stored.
By the way, since we are talking about this "pipe", then we should mention a funny fact: in HL2, a shotgun can shoot both a single shell as the main attack, and two shells at once during an alternative attack.
The latter is fundamentally contrary to logic - shotguns of this kind (as well as any other kind) cannot shoot two cartridges at once. Of course, it is not necessary to find fault with this so much, because the HL2 is far from a militaristic simulator, and this feature can be taken for game convention. You can also assume that the shells are fired one at a time, not immediately. Why am I telling all this - on the front of the pipe at the W-model you can see a black hole. Maybe it's just a curved texture, and maybe Valve really believed that a second cartridge could fly out… Anyway, in my model this pipe is “magazine”, as on the real prototype.
Crossbow from HL2 is a very interesting thing. Careless, built from what came to hand, besides shooting parts of fitments, previously heated to a scarlet glow with the help of electricity.
It is noteworthy that on the original V-model there is no right part of the tensioning mechanism (most likely it was removed in order to optimize and reduce the number of polygons). The fact is that HL2 was developed quite a long time ago, in those immemorial times, when monitors with a 4:3 aspect ratio were in use. In this case, this defect will not be visible, but now, if you play on a 16:9 monitor, then these “stumps” on the right are very well visible and make you sad.
When creating my model, I had to learn how the tension system works on real crossbows. It was necessary to initially think over everything in detail, so that later, in the process of animation, there was no need to change anything on the model itself. Below is an example of a simple rig system that simplifies the animation process:
There was a question about what the shoulders are made of. It was supposed that from the automobile spring, however, I didn't understand what are the diagonal stripes over the entire surface (I did not find a single spring made in a similar way). Without thinking twice, I listened to the advice of people helping me and decided to let this part be made of some kind of composite, like carbon.
Minor little details - the weld seam, electrical tape on the handle (the handle, by the way,
is borrowed from a 9mm pistol, with a modified texture), traces of anodizing in the guide groove.
Extremely unusual gun in its design. A kind of symbiosis of human and alien technologies.
The main attack is shooting with a burst of pulsed charges whose cartridges are kept in a large horn-shaped mag. Each such cartridge contains thirty charges extracted by an external percussion mechanism. After the cartridge is exhausted, it is removed from the emitter, is ejected, and a new one is substituted in its place from the store with the help of a special mechanism. The logic here, to put it mildly, is very strange - if the player is given the maximum ammunition in the amount of 90 charges (3 rounds), then why do we need such a large magazine, and the fact that the ammunition being picked up for this weapon looks like a separate magazine? At the same time, the mag on V-model is never removed and worn.
For Lost Squad, it was decided to change the principle of the rifle. The main attack will work as follows: the mag contains 30 rounds. 1 cartridge - 1 charge. When the cartridges in the mag run out, the mag is separated from the case and replaced with a new one.
An interesting fact: initially this weapon was planned as an incendiary rifle, this is indicated by the pre-release HL2 gameplay videos in which you could literally set enemies on fire with this weapon, as well as the model name in the game resources (irifle, which means incendiary rifle). The firing speed was significantly lower, but 1 cartridge - 1 charge.
An alternative attack is a shot of a dark energy ball, bouncing off the walls like a skipjack and instantly splitting into atoms all organic creatures that are in its path. With this type of attack there is a small nuance - the picked up ammunition looks like a kind of cylindrical cage with a glow inside. There was no place for mounting such a “cartridge” on the weapon itself. I don't know whether it was a flub or not, however, in my version such a place is provided. The cartridge is located below the main attack system and is connected with the second emitter.
I had to mess alot with the creation of my own variation of the pulse rifle. The original models technically look very strange. It was necessary to slightly change the main body so that the mag could be easily removed without catching anything, and there was a place for attachment for the cartridge of the alternative attack. It was important not to lose the original authentic look of weapon. Thanks a lot to several people who helped me put all this together - the result turned out to be very efficient.
In search of all sorts of small details that would be able to make a bit of diversity in the design, I looked at a lot of arts of various sci-fi weapons, took some ideas from there. As for the original models from the HL2, in addition to the V and W models, I also looked at the W model from the leaked version of the HL2. That model is markedly different from the one in the final version.
The process of creating textures was also not easy - a lot of manual drawing and dreary matching the color shades, so that it looked like the original.
Here is such a long story, I haven't written that much since defending my diploma work. I will be brief from now on. Summing up, I should say that I am very pleased with what I have done: in the process of work I gained invaluable experience, and bumped into all sorts of mistakes, which I quickly found ways to solve, collected knowledge of where and how to do it right.
Of course, there is still a lot of work to be done - in some places to fix the geometry, or to improve some textures. It took a lot of time to create a highpoly - at first it seemed that it was just me being slow as a snail. And only after some time I learned that building hardsurfaces is a very thoughtful process, and speed comes only with experience, when you put a good hand on this. In the future I plan to finally learn Zbrush, at least at the level of simple use of Pro Boolean’s, in order to further reduce the time to build highpoly.
Taking this opportunity, I express my deep gratitude to the honorable gentlemen from the Half-Life Project Beta community, in particular Kysss, OddDoc and alek - for their help, criticism and pictures of jokes. And of course, thanks to DmitRex for that we're all here together today.
Hope you enjoed!
Original Article by T-braze
Translation by Reinghord