View Full Version : Dominance War II: JamesMK

02 February 2007, 07:23 AM
OK - I'm not yet sure if I will be able to finish this, or even start building anything actually, it all depends on what happens in terms of my general workload - but for now, things are looking good, so with a bit of luck...

As per usual, I'll handle the story, background info and design considerations in writing before starting to doodle any sketches.


I'll design and build a very sneaky operative called Bork Voidberg. As a civilian, he is the honorable grand master of the secret Blue Smoke Association, one of the few remaining non-commercial groups of people who still know how computer technology actually works. The general public's knowledge of these matters dropped to a whopping zero percent around 3007, coinciding with Microsoft's release of Windows Whassaa 3005. By the year 3106, the zero percentile was more solidly established than ever, and wasn't planning on going anywhere.

Thanks to this nerdy background, Mr Voidberg is often employed by the military forces of CGSociety for various stealthy black-ops such as making feedback loops in enemy headquarters CCTV systems, implanting trojans in alien motherships, building custom network adapters and protocols in order to make it even remotely feasible to interface with alien motherships in the first place, and rerouting the interplanetary 24/7 MTV transmissions in order to help less evolved civilizations to get rid of that crap.

His all-time favourite trick is recalibrating enemy missile guidance systems, causing them to launch their firepower upon themselves instead of their intended target. The CGSociety appreciates this particular method a lot, since it saves a lot of cash, and because it's so incredibly hilarous to see an enemy missile silo blow itself up.

The Voidberg design

Bork is fully human, of remote asian decent, quite old and wrinkly (your standard wise yoda kind of cliché) but surprisingly agile and skilled in the ancient art of silent sneaking and chi-ting, which enables him to perform a wide range of electronic sabotage operations deep inside enemy base facilities. He typically wears a soft duffel-like hooded coat and baggy fleece pants, all made from a custom fabric sporting a very efficient urban DPM texture which blends in well with the most typical enemy architectures.

While the clothes are softly padded in strategic areas, he does not wear any armor as it would make far too much noise. Stealth is the name of the game.

Bork Voidberg basically looks like a rather old but physically fit guy, with a pony tail, thin dangly moustache and dark goggles with integrated flashlight. To picture what I have in mind, think of Robert De Niro in "The Score" combined with Pat Morita in "Karate Kid", Djingis Khan, and any random hippie coder guy from Silicon Valley in the early 70's.


Various portable computer-related gadgets are obviously Bork's preferred weapons, and to carry everything around with ease he's got this fairly nifty backpack - filled with secret black boxes, screwdrivers, bits of cables and connectors. About half of this backpack contains adapters. We all know the problems involved when you, for instance, want to use a european appliance in the US - nothing fits right, and the different standards force you to carry loads of different adapters just to be able to plug in. Well, imagine how it would be on an interplanetary level... Horror, I tell you... pure horror.

In terms of firepower, Bork packs a rather small handgun with a custom silencer and extended barrel for high accuracy. While he can easily shoot the wings off a fly in mid-air from about a 1000 feet (straight from the hip no less), he usually avoids wasting ammo on enemy soldiers and prefers to use it to remotely disable things like motion detectors and surveillance cams.

Well, that's the plan so far. Sketches to follow if time permits...

Once I've got references collected and sketches finished, I'll start off by building a rough volume in Cinema4D, bring that over to Mudbox for refinement. When the sculpt reaches medium-high detail, I'll pull it back into C4D for retopologizing and UV-layout, then finish the sculpt off to full detail back in MB again, and extract my maps. The final painting, rigging and posing will happen in C4D.

02 February 2007, 11:10 AM
Rough doodle coming up... The main challenge will obviously be to keep him inconspicuous (for stealth reasons) while somewhat cool looking at the same time. I'll have to get back to you on that later :D

As you can clearly see, I still can't paint AT ALL, so further development will be done with penciled thumbnails and more importantly while sculpting later on - I'm just so much more comfortable with 3D. Basically, the abomination below will not have much in common with the finished model....

You can probably see at least the general direction I'm going in, i.e. no extravagant "wheee!", but a rather muted appearance.

02 February 2007, 11:38 AM
Haha, great concept! It's good to fight on your side :D

02 February 2007, 02:44 PM
have fun bunny, real ace drawing there


02 February 2007, 04:17 PM
...Is it me ? it Brian?...noo...he rminds me of someone thought...hhehehe...waaar!


02 February 2007, 05:14 PM
can you translate that for us mortals? :scream:

02 February 2007, 06:10 PM
hehe, love the background story ; )

look forward to seeing how he fleshes out!

02 February 2007, 08:03 PM
lol happy slaughter old friend! go go go wabbit ^^

02 February 2007, 11:43 PM
coCoKNIght - Yay... are you sure about that, btw? I would have thought my sketch would immediately make everyone run away screaming and ask for amnesty in one of the other forums...

Squibs - Likewise, and suuuuuuuure...

Dimitris - Ok, you got me, it's you, a.k.a. Mr PotatoHead

coCoKNIght (2) - I very much doubt it

bonzepeet - Happy to hear that. I'm basically just here for the background story... now they tell me I actually have to model stuff too! :surprised

AngelxX0rs - Greetings - Great Eon painting btw!


omfgz... I've started roughing out the base model. It's only at approx. equiv. 2400 tris (but all quads at the moment of course), so there's plenty of room for detailing. This base will be severely sculpted once it's done, and it's quite likely that I'll have to do a re-topo on it after that, so I haven't spent too much effort on the poly flow, but it's reasonably clean and easy to work with so far.

Since I'm not spending polys as fast as I expected, I'll do a slight deviation from my initial description - the backpack will be treated as a permanent non-detachable and be part of the main 6000 budget. Since he was initially just going to have a small handgun, I'm pretty sure I could cram an additional weapon in the 1000 budget instead, so I decided to give him a high-tech crossbow as well, eventually. It would fit his kind of missions perfectly, since it's a fairly silent but quite powerful type of weapon.

Anyways, below is the current status of the base mesh.
Right now it looks a bit too much like he's wearing a tuxedo actually :D Fear not, however... I'll tweak that out once I get to the sculpting phase. If you have any crits regarding volumes and proportions - this is a good time to mention it.

02 February 2007, 10:50 AM
Further stuff added, and some of the previous stuff tweaked.

Polycount at this point: approx. 4500, which leaves 1500 for the backpack and further details. Smooth sailing...

Current status:

02 February 2007, 11:04 AM
nice stuff, looks smooth. wow u almost done soon :D

02 February 2007, 12:21 PM
nice wires ma, looks interesting :)

02 February 2007, 01:55 PM
Wow that's quite fast! Keep up the pace.

02 February 2007, 04:04 PM
...Is it me ? it Brian?...noo...he rminds me of someone thought...hhehehe...waaar!


I heard that

thought it was his brother to be honest

02 February 2007, 06:51 PM
Your are going so fast, you have almost completed the model:) I like the concept:thumbsup:
Nice start on modeling All the best:thumbsup:

02 February 2007, 11:59 PM
Squibs - Naaaaah... all the fun stuff is yet to be done

tastatura - Thanx

Yung - I'm trying

flyingP - 'tis possible, I'll have to ask him

madshooter - Nope, loooooooong way to go - this is just the somewhat dull groundwork


OK, looks like the main 6K mesh is done (minor tweaks will no doubt be made). Will move on to the weapons, and then do all my UVs.

After that - high res sculpting bonanza!

Anyway - current status (including support for extra sporty Fu Manchu moustache and stereotypical chinese beard):


02 February 2007, 12:01 AM
looking pretty sharp so far! good work, speedy ; )

02 February 2007, 12:12 AM
james, i recommended this to 1st angel, and I urge you to do the same, get rid of the sharp 90o angle changes like around the trench coat and such, even if you are not going to use normal maps, especially on the inside of the form, its a dead giveaway of blockyness resulting from the fact that its game art, i would make that area flush with the body, and then it would allow for those polys to go elsewhere and the texture to make up the curve of the coat, the only place big blocky stuff is good, is for mechanical stuff. good start none the less.

02 February 2007, 01:15 AM
this guys starting to look an awful lot like my brother-in-law...
nice idea though

02 February 2007, 09:48 AM
bonzepeet - Goody

zeke3d - I'm a bit on the fence there to be honest. On the one hand, yes, I agree that the excessive blockyness could be a dead give-away that it's low poly game art - on the other hand, I personally think that layered stuff simulated only with paint and normals but no real difference in height can be just as much of a let-down... so it's more of a damned if you do, damned if you don't kind of scenario. But that's just my take on it. Perhaps I'll go for middle ground and soften those edges a bit, keep the layered approach, but without the hard phong breaks. Thanks for bringing it up though - makes me think twice about it :thumbsup:

ScudzAlmighty - That's a bit scary, isn't it? My apologies :D


No updates today. Have other work to attend to, I'm afraid. I knew it would come to this one day or another, that's why I've kept the pace up for as long as I could! Next update will probably be sunday or monday.


02 February 2007, 07:01 PM
.......and here's the sunday update. Spent some time doing the UVs for this guy. Managed to pack them pretty well, although there's a certain amount of wasted pixels too - not sure if I can optimize much more however, as that would probably mean pulling points around to to such a degree that it would introduce some amount of distortion instead. We'll see...

Anyways, plain vanilla checkerboard test and UV chart dump below:


02 February 2007, 07:11 PM
i think dont think you have that much wasted space. but you can actually mirror certain areas of your model and make those bigger so that you have more pixel density in there. that way you can have more detail texture in more visible areas like the head, torso and upper arms, etc.

it looks like right now you have pretty much every symmetrical element with unique uv space which may not be necessary unless ofcourse you want absolute unique texture all over.

02 February 2007, 12:15 AM
hey james, no crits on the UV work outstanding job. I use that exact style, and like to leave a little spacing for miping.

02 February 2007, 07:59 AM
Man..u do progress fast with this....:eek:!

02 February 2007, 12:38 AM
mashru - Indeed, having identical UVs for symmetries would save lots of space. The tricky thing here is potential problems extracting normal maps with overlapping UVs - so I went for the safest option. And I usually want stuff to be asymmetrical when finished, so it's pretty much set up the way I want it.

zeke3d - Well, good to hear! And yep, definitely a good idea to leave some space for edge bleed / mip sampling error prevention as far as I've figured...

Dimitris - Just warming up :D


Built Bork's crossbow today, but it's not quite polished yet, so I'll post that later.

In the meanwhile, I started sculpting a bit on the highres. Mere humble beginnings at this point, and I've focused on the head for starters. Trying to get a good kind of grinning war face going here, but it's slightly tricky when there are no visible eyes - it'll have to happen in the mouth area mostly:

02 February 2007, 01:00 AM
A heavy machinegun would fit well to his war grin with bullet casings flying at head level :)
rattattata! :scream:

02 February 2007, 12:50 PM
coCoKNIght - Yep, an oversized chaingun or something would probably be the perfect crowd pleaser. But I just can't make myself do that... Whenever I try to go for the typical gung ho stuff with huge megaweapons, I cannot seem to stop thinking about that Simpsons episode where Nelson (the 'haha' bully) is drawing "a robot with guns for arms, shooting a plane made out of guns that fires guns" :D ... and that's one hell of a turn-off... Sooo I'll stick to my initial crossbow for the time being.


A few tweaks aside, the head is now fully sculpted. I could probably step it up another notch or two in terms of subdivisions and finer details, but I have a sneaking suspicion that it wouldn't really add much, as there's only so much information that can be captured in that little corner of the final normal map. So, I'll be moving on to the rest of the body next.

Current high res head:

02 February 2007, 05:16 PM
fast modeling buddy.

02 February 2007, 06:19 PM
Nice Job, Model looks great already:thumbsup:

02 February 2007, 07:19 PM
Great work man!
Your speed is inspirational.

02 February 2007, 10:48 AM
CUBISIS, madshooter, Frostics - happy to hear that, dudes


Made a first pass at the body and backpack. Will most likely spend a few more days refining and detailing, but here's the current state:

02 February 2007, 01:51 PM
Ah... what the hell - backpack detailing (probably final):

02 February 2007, 04:58 PM
coCoKNIght - Yep, an oversized chaingun or something would probably be the perfect crowd pleaser. But I just can't make myself do that... Whenever I try to go for the typical gung ho stuff with huge megaweapons, I cannot seem to stop thinking about that Simpsons episode where Nelson (the 'haha' bully) is drawing "a robot with guns for arms, shooting a plane made out of guns that fires guns" :D ... and that's one hell of a turn-off... Sooo I'll stick to my initial crossbow for the time being.

tehe, and that's a good thing. I was in no way suggesting that you give him the oversized chaingun. It's just what I assossiated with that facial expression and the goggles. If I was suggesting something, then it was more that you might want to rethink that expression, 'cause I don't see that if it fits too well to his fighting style. However I cannot know for sure 'cause I don't know what's coming up next, what pose you've planned for the winning pose.
Nice details on your latest update btw! :thumbsup:

02 February 2007, 08:06 PM
Aaaaah, sorry Fabian, I seem to have made a totally backwards interpretation back there :surprised - making a 180 turn, and I definitely see your point as you intended it, and it's quite possible that the facial expression indeed will turn out to be the wrong one. Although the final pose will be somewhat dynamic, it might not necessarily go well with him making a face like that. I'll have a closer look once everything is in place, and change to some other expression if the grin doesn't work.

02 February 2007, 01:37 PM
The normals have been extracted to a 2048 sheet. 95% fully OK, but I had to do some minor retouching in some areas where the basemesh had insanely obtuse angles (maybe 130 degrees or more) and that resulted in some small artifacts in the map. Nothing that some 30 minutes of painting couldn't fix though, but I'll have to remember to avoid those next time, or at least not sculpt on them...

Map (scaled down obviously):

And mapped back to my original 5968 tri mesh:

Next up is the colour map. That is usually where things start to go out of hand as far as I'm concerned, so it will probably be a while until I return with updates... :hmm:


02 February 2007, 10:39 PM
wow man...awesome work so far!
his face rocks! gets me everytime.
keep up the good work!

CGTalk Moderation
02 February 2007, 10:39 PM
This thread has been automatically closed as it remained inactive for 12 months. If you wish to continue the discussion, please create a new thread in the appropriate forum.