Friday, October 3, 2008

Zbrush time

Ok, so my current task for HaloWars is to create a dead tree. I've done several of the trees in the game, so I have a pretty good feel for what it takes to make a tree look good from game view (small textures, low poly count, and alphatest). I wouldn't normally us Zbrush for any small RTS type object because you lose all the cool detail Zbrush gives you when you have to crunch the textures down, but I need to start using it more so I'm going to be less productive than normal. I first had to watch all the tutorial videos from the web because all the teachings of Paul Warzecha had somehow managed to fall out of my brain. After watching those I got to it. Here is my model I imported in from Max with UV's already layed out. Added several SubDivision levels and got to sculpting. Zbrush is really cool and the hardest part about using it (besides the ui), is trying not to put too much detail all over the place. Anyway here is what I ended up with. After importing this object into Max to create my normal map (ZMapper=not nice) and working up the diffuse and spec textures, it actually turned out ok. Oh btw, I used alpha'd poly's to create all the branches in case you were wondering :) Sorry, but I'll post some images of the finished tree once the game ships.

Felt good to use Zbrush again and I'm itching to do more now. How about some rocks!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Age of...biggest game we thought

Not many people were real excited about the time frame of AoE3, but the artists were excited to hear we wanted to make the best looking game possible and not be restrained by the nature of the RTS. With that in mind most of our poly counts tripled from what we had been doing for AoM (now that I look back, I think we tried to go too low on AoM). Age3 was a content monster and ES was hiring as many folks as we could. It's amazing the amount of talented people we could find that actually wanted to work on this game and for this company. We separated the art leads up into different areas of responsibility and I was in charge of the random maps, buildings, homecities, and eventually a thing called Grand Conquest, but it got cut due to time constraints. I originally made that parchment paper looking map for the grand conquest screens, but luckily it wasn't wasted (I spent a month work on that thing). Turns out that was the one piece of my art that got plastered all over the UI and webpage, so that was really cool.

Mock-up images. This early homecity image changed the way the game looked completely. It was the testing ground for all the new shaders that made Age3 look the way it does. Huge kudos to Scott Winsett and Rich Geldriech for all the heavy lifting in that area. Other mock ups include a train, that I worked on for a company intro movie; early towncenter line up; homecity shipment objects and building construction stages.

Mock-up movies. This hand animated barracks destruction mock up was our first attempt at in-game destruction. We used Havoc in the end, but this was kind of where it all started. The stream mock-up was an idea I had using the same tech that created the trade routes. It's a mix of 3D objects, decals, and particles.

Here are some building textures from Age3. I always like showing my textures since that is where I spend most of my time working. I'm not going to post any normal or spec maps from Age3 because they were just black and white CrazyBump creations based off the diffuse texture.