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weasel.acuh5o
08-18-2006, 10:25 AM
hi all,

this is my take at the blizzard comp. it's a wow-instance-entrance style environment set in the starcraft universe. to be more precise, it's a zerg infested terran weapons lab, with the zerg basically sucking out all the info in it (guess I'll go with the name data miner in the end). the pyramid in the background is some ancient xel'naga artifact and more or less the reason why there is a weapons lab in the first place.
the tiny red spot in front of the bunker entrance are space marines (done in 3 mins, gonna be reworked in the end), so this thing is pretty massive. in order to convey this feeling in-game I though it'd be great it the player would be brought in by dropship, see the thing from the air, be dropped off and realize how big the zerg really is. all the eyes (the yellow spheres atm) would look at the different party members/dropship when actually coming closer etc to create an eerie atmosphere. I seriously doubt I can convey any of that in the final render, but at least I'll try. let me know what you think, total nonsense or good idea? I hope you get what I mean, but bottom line is that I want to show that I put in at least some thought and didn't just model another generic environment.

now, if I didn't get it terribly wrong, we're only allowed to hand in a single picture of whatever we're doing, so I decided to put some emphasis on the composition. unfortunatelly, that mean that I won't just need the environment (bunker, zerg, ground, rocks etc), but some more things that won't really fit into the polycount (space marines, maybe a dropship for size reference; mountaints in the background). I'm more than just a bit unsure if that's ok (I'd put it in the comments for the picture for sure), but I don't want to just put the whole thing in a piece of desert. it'd be great if you could tell me if you'd consider that cheating. (see third shot for an overview)

one more thing: I'm still fairly new to 3d and quite uncertain about intersecting geometry. I know that it's definitly not a good thing, but it'd be a pain to make sure all the objects in the scene just barely touch and don't intersect. any professionals here that can give me any advice on how much I have to avoid interseting geo?

specs so far: about 4800 polies, not including the marines and the mountains. not sure about the textures, but it's probably going to be something around 1024x1024 for the bunker (including the creep on it and the entrance), a 1024x1024 for all the zerg stuff, one or two 512x512 for the environment and a 512 for the temple, all diffuse and spec. might seem high for a shot like this, but after all ppl would get pretty close to most parts were it in a game.

oviously, some small props in the environment are still missing, I'll put them in once I get the big parts and the polycount down.

thanks for the help in advance, florian


this is what the final shot will roughly look like:
http://weasel.acuh5o.com/posted/2006_08_18_dataminer_01.jpg


skylight render, so you can actually make out anything in the big brown blob that is the zerg:
http://weasel.acuh5o.com/posted/2006_08_18_dataminer_02.jpg

overview shot:
http://weasel.acuh5o.com/posted/2006_08_18_dataminer_03.jpg

jfalconer
08-18-2006, 10:43 AM
This sounds like a great idea. I believe its ok to submit more than one render/view of a character/scene though. Take as many renders as you want that show it off to its best effect, its all technically the same submission - just make sure you don't send them something over the file size limit (5mb iirc?). Will look forward to seeing this come together. Good luck getting the environment completed in under 5000 polys though (maybe just get rid of the mountains by making the pyramid sitting atop a huge cliff ledge?)...

edit: I assumed if I even enter this comp I would submit a .rar file containing different renders but I guess I should doublecheck their rules...

weasel.acuh5o
08-18-2006, 10:50 AM
Take as many renders as you want that show it off to its best effect, its all technically the same submission - just make sure you don't send them something over the file size limit (5mb iirc?).


just checked up on it - the 'one at a time' thing is kinda odd, I guess I'll have to wait till someone here actually submitted theirs.

(How many files can I attach to my submission?

One! System limitations of the contest only allow one render/file to be attached through the submission field at a time.)
good idea with the cliff, but it might be a bit hard to show in the render... I guess I'll have to see how many polies I have to spare in the end and see what to do then :)

weasel.acuh5o
08-18-2006, 11:14 AM
edit: I assumed if I even enter this comp I would submit a .rar file containing different renders but I guess I should doublecheck their rules...

I don't really get it myself. I guess they just want to avoid ppl sending in dozens of useless shots... :/

I was wondering if they'd kill me if I make it a 2000x3000 picture including the render, some detail shots, wires and some explanations though... :p

Praetus
08-18-2006, 04:52 PM
the mountains in the far distance, since you can't interact with them, what about painting them on the skybox or a plane with alpha mapping? That could help nail the polycount down. Either that or make them and texture them, then apply a scrrenshot of the,m to an alpha plane or something? I don't know, just ideas. Anyways it looks cool and I like the direction your going in. I'm very interested in how you're going to texture this. The concept makes me think of something out of Lovecraftian literature.

weasel.acuh5o
08-18-2006, 05:05 PM
the mountains in the far distance, since you can't interact with them, what about painting them on the skybox or a plane with alpha mapping? That could help nail the polycount down. Either that or make them and texture them, then apply a scrrenshot of the,m to an alpha plane or something? I don't know, just ideas. Anyways it looks cool and I like the direction your going in. I'm very interested in how you're going to texture this. The concept makes me think of something out of Lovecraftian literature.

thanks for the comment. I thought about the mountains in the background, and you suggestion is probably the way I'll go... I'll model and texture them the same way I do the rest of the env, then render that to a background map and add a sky etc to it. it's still cheating in a way (since I actually render them), but I guess it's ok in this case, since I don't want to break the style in the background.

texturing will be fairly straightforward. I did some test on it, and it's going to be some WOW comic style (seems easy enough so far). and yes, definitly will have some lovecraft/alien/tyranid style :)

Praetus
08-18-2006, 05:20 PM
You were wondering earlier about intersecting geometry as well. What I've been told is thatgame engines nowadays can handle it pretty well but you'll still want to keep it clean. If your Zerg guy intersects the mountains that's fine, but make sure it's just enough to show he's melded with it. You'll want to cut any faces that go too far in because it will lower your polycount and also it wasted texture space since you won't be seeing it.


So really, you won't need to "snap verts" or anything like that so much, but you will want it decently close so it's not a waste of faces or anything like that.

In 3d nothing is cheating. I've seen characters that look stunning for renders to only find that the back of the character wasn't even modeled. It's all about the final shot. Many MMORPGs use LOD modelling techniques. It makes environment pieces "snap" a bit as you get closer but whatever you can do to conserve resources is the way to go.

Slybones
08-19-2006, 05:59 PM
I'll model and texture them the same way I do the rest of the env, then render that to a background map and add a sky etc to it. it's still cheating in a way (since I actually render them), but I guess it's ok in this case, since I don't want to break the style in the background.

This isn't cheating at all, most games have a skybox with prerendered stuff in the background. Look at Guild Wars Factions' character selection screen for an example of good skybox usage in a MMO type environment. I really like the way this is shaping up and cant wait to see the texture for it. Organic environments are hard to pull off in low poly and I think its shaping up really nicely :)

weasel.acuh5o
08-20-2006, 07:29 AM
thanks a lot for the comments. very helpfull, gotta love cgtalk :)

anyway, I'm still refining the polyflow a bit, everything looks a bit more orangic and fluid now. I'll post the final geometry shots this week, can't wait to start texturing.

weasel.acuh5o
08-29-2006, 08:30 AM
everybody brace yourself, more stupid questions.

I'm done modelling with the main parts, got about 150 tris left that I'm going to spend on some foliage later. I unwrapped the bunker and all the zerg/creep next to it (basically everything except for the ground, the rocks and the temple), mirrored where possible etc. I don't want to use and tiling on these parts, so it takes up quite a bit of space. I divided all that up in two uv maps.

I'm not quite sure what resolution to go for. it's going to be either 1024 or 2048 for either of the uv spaces - but 2048 seems a bit like overkill for a 5000 poly environment, while 1024 doesn't give me the detail that I want. the rest of the scene doesn't bug me much texture wise, but I guess it'll be a 512 or 1024 for all the rocks, another one like that for the temple and a few 64x64 or 128x128 for the ground blend map.

I included the wires for the final model and a closeup with some rough colors on a 2048 test map. still missing lots of detail, but as you can see the resolution is, compared to the marines, already pretty low. should I skip the whole 'this could be in a game' idea (which would mean taking the 1024 I guess and wouldn't work at all imo with this poly count/model scale anyway) and just go for a generic low poly scene to show some low poly modelling skills and handpainted textures with lots of details (with 2048 maps) that would allow me to takes some nice (ish) detail shots?

any help is appreciated. thanks in advance guys. :)

anway, here are the wires (http://weasel.acuh5o.com/posted/2006_08_29_dataminer_02.jpg)(a bit too big to post) and the image:
http://weasel.acuh5o.com/posted/2006_08_29_dataminer_01.jpg

weasel.acuh5o
09-13-2006, 10:25 PM
not done yet, but at least somewhat on the way.

lost the temple, no time to texture it anyway.the other texture are being worked on atm, most of them are going to be touched up (again). some are obviously a bit better refined than others, but I'll get to that, so no need to tell me about that. :)

the mountains in the far background are 3d at the moment, for the final image I'm going to put them on a backplane though. I'll add some distance fog too, so the background won't look quite as confusing as it does right now (sorry for that). polycount is about 4900 right now, gonna use the rest for small improvements here and there and maybe some foliage.

comments more than welcome, I'm curious what you guys think of the general direction.

in case anyone wants a larger (1500x3000) image, here you go (http://weasel.acuh5o.com/posted/2006_09_13_dataminer_01.jpg). I'm probably going to hand it in in that resolution too, it's a bit hard to make out anything in the smaller ones.

http://weasel.acuh5o.com/posted/2006_09_13_dataminer_01a.jpg

weasel.acuh5o
09-17-2006, 08:36 PM
after basically staying up for a night clicking the 'submit' button after every goddamn timeout I got, I finally managed to send it to blizzard... although due to the lack of confirmations (aka timeouts all the time) I now have to emails stating that I submitted. neat trick, timeout for confirmations. ahem.

in case anyone's still interested, here's what I submitted. I added some text to the final one, but am too tired to upload that version to the ftp right now... it's not what I wanted it to be, but I just ran out of time. maybe I'll put some more time into in the next week or so.

cnc welcome, looking forward to it.

final image is slightly larger and can be found here (http://weasel.acuh5o.com/posted/2006_09_17_dataminer_01.jpg).

http://weasel.acuh5o.com/posted/2006_09_17_dataminer_02.jpg

TychoCelchuuu
09-17-2006, 09:28 PM
Really neat. The only thing I'd say it's lacking would be really bright highlights, maybe from a specular map, to make it seem shiny.

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