Hello again everyone!
As promised, another element of 'The Blog' series :) This will be similar to the previous, with a couple elements of animation design processes mixed in with Dracon Interactive news!
What topics are we discussing today?
UV Mapping, and Texturing of 3D models. (That's the animation bit if you hadn't guessed.)
Dragon Lands, Hero Rising and Fatal Core progress.
So, UV Mapping / Unwrapping.
From what I understand, this is the process of rendering a 3D model in a 2D plane, for the purposes of texturing and other graphical awesomeness. An example of this can be seen in everyones year 4(ish) classes. Remember when you made those boxes, using things called "nets"?. Nets are essentially a UV unwrap. They represent all that the person can see on the cube, on a sheet of flat paper.
I have done some UV Mapping before, on simple stuff, and it is without fail, ridiculously annoying. You try and get all these surfaces to play by the same rules, but they don't want to. You can do it perfectly, by assigning each and every face its own bit of 2D space, or you can use things like Box and Sphere unwraps, where you just overlay whole areas and hope for miracles.
By rendering a UV Map, I can import the result into Photoshop, Quixel or any other image software so that I can begin texturing. With the knowledge of what faces take up what area, I can assign colours/textures/patterns to areas that I want to look certain ways. The aforementioned Quixel is awesome for this as it does a lot of it for you, but the knowledge of how to do it in Photoshop is really useful.
Last week we talked about the Treasure Chest that I am making. I have settled on a Medieval Scifi kind of art style (trying to make the rest of the scene work now), but as my teacher correctly predicted, its a ***** to UV Unwrap. Heres an example of my progress so far...
While I have modified these pictures to make certain elements easier to view, these represent the UV Mapping process. The top picture shows the chest on the right, wholly selected. I have then done a rough UV Map, resulting in the window to the right. The lower picture shows the same, except I have selected a bunch of faces on the top of the chest. You can see that the corresponding faces in the UV Unwrap have been highlighted red. This is however, a terrifically bad job, as the UVW is not even on the object, which results in stretched textures, which look absolutely beautiful (horrific).
Now, as previously mentioned, this is essential when texturing. The simple explanation of this step is that I would export the above UVW. Probably to Photoshop. Once their, I put the UVW on the bottom layer. Now I can begin to overlay the UVW with what I want to be present on each face. I can do flat colours, saying "this face will be grey, this black and the blue, with a bit of red over here", or I can go for a more detailed outlook such as "this area will be metal, so a slight gradient from black to grey, with scratches and a bit of shine". The more detailed, the more realistic. Later, I can combine my albedo (fancy name for colour), texturing with my Specularity (fancy name for shininess, or how light reflects off the object), and my Normal Maps (bumpiness). This will result in somewhat awesomeness, depending on how good I get :P. This project is almost coming to fruition, so I am going to be unwrapping and texturing the chest soon. The screenshots above were a quick example I whipped up, but I have a little more topology control, etc, to resolve before I move to that stage.
Enough of that. Well done if you read all of it, I hope you feel educated.
Onto the Dracon Interactive News.
Little work has progressed on Hero Rising. With the advent of university, this game has suffered a bit. I have done a bit more efficiency work, and aesthetic work on the explore levels, but overall this is nothing major, and nothing that has been uploaded. I am excited to graduate so that I can get to working on this again!
We have moved onto Dragon Lands MKIII. This has involved some drastic changes, like moving to 3rd Person and redesigning the inventory system. For those familiar with my work on Dragon Lands, this will not come as a surprise. Movement systems are working better than expected with the new change however, and work on UI, Equipment and Loot will be coming soon.
My main project at the moment, working with Fatal Team. This has proceeded vigorously, with new Swarm AI, the beginnings of a new Elite AI and integration into the 2nd Greybox level done in the last week alone. This goes along with some new logo work, and tweaking of gun behaviours. I have also implemented weapon mods! As the player arrives at the settlements, they will be offered a choice of 3 mods. They may choose 1. This will help supplement their skills as they progress through the game, and will add to replayability. I am considering adding ranked mods from simple/common all the way to rare, to further this effect.
Finally, a piece of awesomeness I forgot to mention when I was talking about things I was going to talk about. Think of it as an easter egg :P Dracon Interactive is currently designing a social media / webpage header to suit its logo. We are consulting the same artist, so high hopes on quality. It will also help us dispose of this fairly generic blurry thing we have going on at the moment.
Thanks all for reading! About a 1000 words, but you soldiered on :)
Thanks for all your support guys,
CEO / Founder Dracon Interactive