Game Art Competition #9


Lekku laid out the rules so well from AndyH last time, I just yanked parts of his thread from last comp. So props to them.

This competition focuses on the basic areas of current games design, while expanding the need for research and creativity.


Game Art Competition #9: “Beasts of Battle”

Topic: Historical/Fantasy Military Creatures. You must design a character that will fit into a historical battle or wartime era (before the 1950’s). Participants should concentrate on accuracy and decoration of the uniform/armor. To inspire creativity, the characters themselves must NOT be human, but rather based on any member of the animal kingdom. It’s up to you how human-like your character appears. An actual chimp, King Kong proportions, or “Planet of the Apes”-like features for example are entirely up to you. Character can be male or female. The characters cannot be riden by humans. A rider must also be an animal. Emphasis is placed on how unique your character appears in uniform. Submissions must be your original work. Stretch your creative muscles.

To give more examples: Ninjas are not allowed, but Samurai are. Medics, Sailors, Warriors and Soldiers also allowed, as long as proper dress is designed. Dragons are not allowed, but dragons are basically reptiles. So a reptile-like being is fine as long as you specify your reference. Insects are allowed…etc.

The model must be 3500 TRIANGLES or less - including their weapons and accessories. Source model polycounts for normal maps (not required) are limitless.

Maximum texture size is 1024x1024 for body, 512 x 512 for the head. If the head, body and/or accessories are included into one map, it must not exceed 1024 x 1024.
If you fit the entire body of the character (head/torso/limbs) on a 1024 x 1024 diffuse map, you can use the extra 512 x 512 map for the armor and accessories. That should keep designs well organized for entries with heavy armor.

That gives you two maps total. One 1024 x 1024, and one 512 x 512. That is the maximum size and quantity allowed. If your design doesn’t show enough detail to justify a texture that large…keep it smaller.

You may use your choice of maps available for game art - Diffuse, Alpha Transparency, Specular, Bump, and Normal Map. There’s a new thread on normal maps, and nVidia has a tool for photoshop to convert from height maps, if you prefer. ORB is a free application and an excellent choice for creating normal maps from triangulated geometry, or simply viewing the maps you converted in photoshop with your textured geometry. You’re not required to use anything other than Diffuse/Color maps, but outstanding quality work is the focus, and whatever you can do to bring you vision to life is a bonus. It’s always fun to learn a new skill.

Same as before, a thread must be started in the appropriate forum so feedback and progress can be posted. As in the previous contest, multiple submissions will not be allowed.

Your WIP thread should be named as follows:

Game Art Comp #9: (Animal your Creature resembles) - (Short Description of Rank or Class, or Era it Existed)


Game Art Comp #9: Giraffe - Civil War
Game Art Comp #9: Killer Whale - Sea Captain

Make sure you post in your WIP thread, so you can get feedback as you progress. Half the fun of the contest is seeing the progression!

Within your first post, please show some sort of concept or reference. Also, share more detail about the rank and period of time the creature represents. In the example of “Captain”, you could specify: “Captain of the Spanish Navy during the Napoleonic era”. Each entry can be a short history lesson.

The contest begins with the posting of this thread, and ends September 5th. That’s nearly 2 months to do your collective thing.
On September 1st, I will create a thread titled “Game Art Competition #9 Submissions”. Your final images (all in the same post) should be posted there for judging. Posting a descriptive link to the images is fine and encouraged, with atleast one image displayed in the post to show off…preferrably the beauty shot.

Please do not make comments in that forum until all entries have been submitted and judging has started. Post comments in the individual participant’s threads.
After I have created the submission thread, you may begin posting the following until the deadline is reached.

Short Description of your Character, Uniform, and Period of Time represented.
A link to your original thread showing progress.
The polygon count (in triangles) of your completed mesh.


  1. A concept image of your selected character and selected uniform. The concepts can be a quick doodle, but should be as clear as you can get them, showing as much of your idea as possible. A reference image of the uniform may also be helpful.

  2. 1 orthographic front view, 1 orthographic back view, and 1 orthographic side view screencaps of the model. They should be viewport captures of the solid wireframe view mode (or equivalent), with no texturing visible. Compile the 3 views into one image.
    Make sure you use default viewport lighting and hide any items that may obscure these screencaps (bones, lights, cameras etc…)

  3. Selection of perspective images showing off your character at different angles, or in different poses (if rigged). Images should be compiled into one picture, and it must be no bigger than 1024x768.

  4. Show us the texture for the character.
    One image showing the color texture used. If you want, you can overlay the UVs on top to show them unwrapped. Also provide links to any other maps used.

  5. The beauty shot. Pose your character somehow, and place him in his enviroment. The character can simply be standing at ease. Render it as you see fit, and use whatever methods you feel will portray it well. Make the image no bigger than 800x600.

I need Judges to volunteer - As always, the system is…

3 points for 1st place
2 points for 2nd place
1 point for 3rd place

Judges are asked to give focused critiques in the areas of:

  1. Mesh construction, flexibility, polygon density, topology.

  2. UVW mapping and texture painting, effective use of normal maps (if used).

  3. Unique presentation of the character and accuracy of the uniform, and overall artistic result.

Current judges are:

Andy H

The winner of this competition will get to choose the subject and terms of the next competition…

AND is donating one Prima Official Game Guide of the winner’s choice for the CGtalk Unofficial Game Art Competition #9. The winner will also have an opportunity to win more prizes from [color=white][/color]

Hope that’s not too much for you. Again, do your homework, and take your time. Ask any questions within this thread.
Now BEGIN, and let loose the dogs of war! (pun intended)


This is awesome, because I am actually already making a character that fits into this category, but I haven’t started him, yet. I jsut got finished with the concept.


2 months is a long time to do this - i really hope this will let the lazier modelers to complete their entries! Dont think ill be entering this comp again cos im busy on my own project, and once thats finished, im gonna try and make the silent hill-style monster ive been thinking of for a while.
Nice project idea though - good to see some scope for original designs.

Im ok to judge, right?

Best of luck, y’all!


Could you combine animals? Say, a half dog, half cat creature? Or even combine aspects of numberous animals together?


GREAT idea ElysiumGX!!

This has tonnes of potential, completely original, and so not fitting into the kinds of things we would’ve ended up with when designing by commitee! I have a few projects I have to do, but you’d better believe I’ll be entering this one! (So no judging from me)


I’ll allow you to combine no more than 2 species. Be sure to list them in the title seperated with a “/”. I was hesitant about this because I’d rather not see every entry have wings.:slight_smile: So if the main creature does not fly, or has no reason to fly…try to avoid wings.

I also changed the time period allowed. It must be before 1950. You can go as far back in history as you’d like. Because of that, I’d rather not see too many WWI, and WWII entries. I’ll allow a few, but I expect the rest to do their homework.:thumbsup:


I like the idea. Time to get those creative gears into motion.


Great comp i’m going to give it a try. i like the 2 months as well. good comp man!



I really like this challenge! I cannot take part, since I am HEAVY into crunch with Halo 2 at the moment…but damn…I wish more challenges were this creative in the future!


Less typing, more working!
The fate of millions of people are in your hands! If halo 2 doesnt make the release date, we will all sob, and then blame you! :scream:

Too bad you cant enter - ive not actually seen any of your work yet - ive never seen a (creative) post on here by you, and your site is always under construction.


Yeah, post some Halo 2 WIP’s why dont you :wink:


How important is the historical accuracy? Rather, is it cool to make a character whose uniform is clearly inspired by say a WWI-era fighter pilot, but not necessarily any specific nation or military group?

I think it would be a blast to make up our own country and army for our critters to represent, as long as the technology and styles are reminiscent of a particular pre-50’s era.

EDIT - Andy H - Bent did most of an entry for the “old school game character” comp i think? Kid Icarus or something like that, I can’t remember.

EDIT AGAIN - Can we do multiple characters, as long as we stay within the sum poly + texture range? E.g. 3 characters, each with a 512x512 texture and ~1000 polys each?

I apologize in advance if the questions are dumb.


I’m in awe… I’m definetly going to join this one. This contest got potential to be the best so far!


Making up your own nation is fine. As long as your uniform has some historical influence, and represents your imaginary country well.

Multiple characters within the polygon and texture guidelines are also fine if you think it’s wise. Some small animals hunt in groups…I can see where that could be creative.

I know my guidelines seem a little strict…but I honestly don’t want to prevent anyone from participating. After all…their just guidelines. In the end…it’s up to the judges to critique your work. But we’re all here to have fun, and maybe add to our portfolios.

Whoever designed the front page icon…:thumbsup:


yeah. yeah. yeah. I’m working on it! :slight_smile:

i would LOVE to enter this comp…but I will have to wait until september when I actually get set free from the infernal dungeon of crunch time!

edit: september will be website time too…


Dargon…give your compliments to him…he provided me with the image to plug the thread with…all Dargon…


sounds like fun. just wanted to get reassurance before i started to dig for reference & go to work… are insects cool? particularly, a praying mantis is what i had in mind. sorry, know you get hit by all these minute knitpikky questions like this, but just wanted to be sure. good idea by the way!


i just wonder… Is it 3d or 2d … and must it be great? :slight_smile:


AWESOME topic! … and I am an ‘Animal forms’ freak!


Why are Ninja’s omitted? Because everyone would make a ninja??