Sunday, July 17, 2011

The road is paved with polygons: Mass Effect mode go!!!

I’ve pulled no punches in saying that I’m obsessed with Mass Effect. If Mass Effect 3 is even half as good as it’s predecessors then I’d have no problem saying it’s the best Video Game trilogy ever.

During Mass Effect 2’s development, and after, I’d created 3 separate models: A Krogan, an Assault Rifle and the Cerberus SR2 Normandy. Two of the three I don’t feel I truly finished, but rarely am I fulfilled with my work anyways…so nothing new!

I didn’t want to spend an absorbent amount of time on any of them – especially the Normandy and the Avenger Assault Rifle. The Krogan was another matter, not only did it take far too long; I never completed it before becoming disinterested altogether.

I actually had to guess while creating our turtle looking alien friend here. Images of Grunt were hard to come by; Mass Effect 2 was a few months from release. I just went with what little I could find.

He does look a little odd, too chunky in some areas. I did have a texture – it turned out so awful I just dropped it. Creating textures has never been my strength, which is part of the reason why I gave up modeling.

Both the Avenger Assault Rifle and the Normandy SR2 faired better…I kind of finished them -- yeah for commitment! It’s weird that I modeled the most hideous gun from Mass Effect, so why did I choose to sculpt it? No idea, but it happened. I give myself a strict timeframe on some projects: a day and a half to finish. I only work on anything for about 2 hours before I have to move on to something else. Any longer and the stress from not making it perfect is overwhelming. So I rushed this one some – can you tell? I could have done better, no doubt, but I just wanted to be through.

I put some love into the Normandy. A little more care and detail goes a long way. If you can see it that is -- a lot of the texture work is impossible for the naked eye to see. It’s actually one of my most polished ventures ever…still the final image doesn’t expose that. I felt the render looked bare so I threw a random NASA space photo in the back, and then illuminated the Normandy orange. A noise filter and motion blur give it a look of slight movement.

I tried to emulate something that you’d see in game. While I didn’t quite achieve the look I envisioned in my head (when do I ever?) the final image isn’t bad.

After the Normandy I was going to model an Asari (the blue tentacle-headed, lap dancing aliens), and I did have some ideas on the overall design. It didn’t take shape to my disappointment. I had a hard time grasping what I wanted her to look like, and when I did settle on an appearance I wasn’t able to take what I had in my mind and translate it to 3D. Argh, it happens that way sometimes.

It didn’t help matters that my PC had a heart attack and stopped working for 5 months. Oh so fun.

Obstacles stand in everybody’s way; luckily we’re not talking about the fate of the world here, only a series of one’s and two’s in a computer. Like anybody who has some semblance of artistic talent, you have more unfinished work than finished work. And feeling satisfaction for completing something isn’t common – it’s more relief that you at least are to a stopping point.

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