View Full Version : Recon Soldier Mech MKII Custom Character

04 April 2010, 01:38 AM
This thread is constructed for the purpose of adiding me during my second semester module moidule. Below is the run donw of the assignment that i had to complete


Design and make a bipedal custom character that fits the skeletal structure of an Unreal character. You may use an existing character from earlier modules and adapt it for the engine, by doing so you must include progress files with your engine modifications.

The Assignment must achieve the following:
- The character must be based on a human physique but could feature an animal head, robot body, alien textures etc
- The character must have a complete texture set
- The character must be presented via the use of a video
- The character should be tested on a PC / PS3 version of Unreal 3. Ideally both.
- The character should have multiple costumes / feature customizable design. ( (

04 April 2010, 01:39 AM
This assignment will focus around a futuristic Recon Soldier design. Inspiration will came from a variety of different areas, scuh as Star Wars, Doctor Who, Warhammer 40K, and Mass Effect.

The design would be a mix of human like figure with robot/cybernetic limbs and joints. Figure 1 shows certain inspirtations that will be the beses of the design for this character.

Fig.1 -

More research into Warhammer 40K revealed the army of the Tau Empire. Tau Empire design are the certain considerations that would be applied to the character for this module. Simple basic armor, no extruding parts such as backpacks or pipes. Simple, clean design. Figure 2 shows the Tau Empire in more detail

Fig.2 -

04 April 2010, 01:40 AM
Figure 6 shows a collage of the kind of idea that im aiming for. It has taken inspiration from Tau Empire found in Warhammer 40K, and rbot limbs found of General Grievous from Star Wars. The idea is to combine a futuristic soldier and robotic limbs so it fits the Corrupt skeleton as well remains in keeping with the Recon Soldier idea that this project is aiming for.

Fig. 6

04 April 2010, 01:40 AM
Figure shows the stage that i have reached on modelling. It is very roughly done. Any problems will be corrected when the rest of the body has been completed. When other stages have been modelled it will be optimized


04 April 2010, 01:41 AM
Figure 8 shows the current progress of my work so far

Fig. 8

Arms & Waist Belt - Master Chief
Legs - Cybermen
Head & Body - Tau Empire (Warhammer 40K)

Remaining Work

Elbows - The connection between the upper and lower arm looks out of place.
Feet - The feet need to be redone as they currently look out of place and very bulky
Knees - There are different mechanisms for the knees. I am currently deciding which mechanism to keep

The whole model also has to optimized so that form, function, and edge flow is correct. Smoothing groups also have to be applied. The model also has to be aligned with the Unreal skeleton

04 April 2010, 01:41 AM

Fig. 9

Above is the model at its current stage of modelling.

The main changes focus around the central section of body, within the waste. The waist is made up of two sphere objects, one within side the other. This is the power source of the character. The plan is to create an emissive map that can be applied to this section, so that both spheres glow within the engine. An effect may also be applied so that the glow map can pulse; giving the illusion that it is the power source.

The head, arms, legs, and feet have also be altered, although they still need more work done to them. Shoulder pads have also been added.

The character mesh does also need to be aligned correctly with the skeleton which will be the next stage before extra detail will be added. The mesh also needs to be optimized.

Originally I was going to create a model that was to fit the corrupt skeleton, as earlier research implied. However, as the modelling has progressed, I have come to realise that the model would be a better fit to the male skeleton structure. The model fits nicer, and aligns more efficiently with the male skeleton.

04 April 2010, 01:42 AM
I have spent the day importing my basic mesh into the Unreal Editor. Everything seemed to go smoothly, but im currently just looking to see if the mesh animates correctly.

Figure 10 shows my mesh within UT3 games, without a texture applied.

Next stage is to finish off the low poly mesh - hands, boots, optimization

High poly mesh and textures to follow


04 April 2010, 01:43 AM
My work so far


04 April 2010, 01:44 AM
This is the current stage of the whole model (Figure 14)

Boots have had some extra detail added to them

The body has been altered so that there is a better silouette from the side view. An aerial has been attached to the models back. This is to be in keeping with the idea that is a recon soldier

Hands have been added as well. The body has been aligned to the skeleton more efficiently, although it has not been rigged and imported into the engine.

The next stage is to optimize the whole model, and reduce the tri count, before unwrapping and producing an high poly model for the Normal map. The model will also been imported into the engine to test that it works well with the skeleton.

Fig. 14

04 April 2010, 01:44 AM
Ok here are a couple of more images. The first image (Figure 15) shows the whole model optimized to around 9,000 tris.

The second image (Figure 16) shows the whole model with two changable items applied; goggles and Boots. The boots need to be cleaned up as they have been done rather roughly.

Fig. 15


Time to get importing and unwrapping

04 April 2010, 01:45 AM
Ok i have started modelling the high poly model. I have decided against using zbrush due to the lack of experience, and the model being of a hard surface modelling design. Max will be used to produce the high poly model along with the render to texture tool to produce the normal map.

Figure 19 shows the beginning stage. The head and eye have been created to a high poly stanard, which can be seen below. More work to follow as the rest of the bodies high poly model is created.

Fig. 19

04 April 2010, 01:46 AM
Image below (Figure 20) shows my high poly model which will be used for the normal map

I did not use zbrush as i found it easier to edit the models edges in max. I might use zbrush to add some small detail but this might not be viewable within the engine so i might chose not to. Other possibilities is to use textures and the nvidia normal map tool within photoshop to produce the small detail

So far im happy with it. I dont want to ruin the model of the low poly so adding major detail will be limited.


04 April 2010, 01:46 AM
Ok i have changed my custom boots so that they have an extra part at the back for extra support. I have changed this because many people have pointed out that would snap in real life. The new boots can be seen below (Figure 21)


04 April 2010, 01:47 AM
Couple of more images

Figure 25 - Low Poly model with Normal Map applied. There are some probems on the arms. Normal map not working correctly around the lower rims of both the upper and lower arms

Figure 26 - Normal for the Head (Left) and the body (right)



04 April 2010, 01:47 AM
Ok guys this is an image (Figure 27) of my textured model so far. I still have a few more areas to texture and to add detail but i like the way it has gone so far.


04 April 2010, 01:48 AM
Done some more texturing (Figure 29). I believe this is as far as i can take it. I will fiddle around around with the variety of maps but texture wise i dont think i have the ability to add to it within the time remaining. I am happy with it tho. Came out better than i was expecting before texturing was started.

Texture first person arms
Texture custom parts
Import and setup up materials

Then i will be finsihed leaving me time to complete my video diary


04 April 2010, 01:49 AM



04 April 2010, 01:49 AM
Ok some in engine shots of the model and the custom parts



04 April 2010, 01:50 AM
Character Name: Recon Soldier
Faction: E.R.S.S.
Version: 1.0 Final
Compatibility: UT3 with Patch 2.1
Author: Michael Salmon

Recon Soldier is part of an elite task force which holds the responsibility of keeping planet Earth safe from any potential enemies.

The Recon Soldier and the elite group of a selection of MKII Mechs construted for the main purpose to protect and surve

Download Model: HERE (

04 April 2010, 01:52 AM
Any feedback would be greatly appreciated and aid me in progressing with my skills and my degree

04 April 2010, 01:04 PM
Looks pretty decent to me. I think the model progressed nicely. The textures on the the other hand, while average, I feel the details of the mesh get lost or covered up by the texture. In a way, I think I would like to see the robot "before" it gets the camo pass of paint.

I think some the connection areas (the red orbs of the hips and neck) could use electrical links between the orb and what it is connecting to.

quick example...the link created between the two tubines

Also to play of the sci-fi ball sockets, I would probably try having other areas have the same look. Shoulders, knees, elbows...

04 April 2010, 09:14 PM
Hey man! Great work. Looks pretty neat in the Unreal Engine (however most things do, unbelievably neat engine).

About the model; the poster above already covered most of the stuff that need to change in order to improve. To expand a bit on that, let's say what's always being said about 'these cases'; think out the materials and history of the product a bit before going into the texture phase. This robot needs cameo colors, so that's taken care of. But it's hard to tell what material it's made of exactly. Also, how was this thing assembled? It would be great to see some bolts or welds here and there.
What was the use of this robot? I take it this thing has been used in combat? What are his primary weapons, his hands? You need to think about where there would be scratched, maybe even where some new paint was applied. Or where there's just a big dent, perhaps?
The edges of 'plates' tend to have a lot more scratches than the flat areas, that's something to keep in mind.
Also, some references to keep you going:

04 April 2010, 02:06 PM
Hey thanks guys for the great feedback. Im a bit limited by time as this is for a university module which is due in this friday. Wish i had more time lol

This is my first character that i have created for Unreal so a lot of time was spent importing meshes, textures and coding. Having electricty buzzing between limbs was in my concept design, however my Unreal knowledge has restricted me to adding them with the restriction on time. Im going to take your feedback on board and make alterations.

When uni has finished im going to come back to this model and improve it because im quite proud of the work so far, seeing as i started out as a complete novice.

04 April 2010, 12:45 PM
You guys mentioned applying effects to the character. Would you know of any good websites or tutorials that could guide me to applying these to the character?

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