Archive for April, 2011

Kampfpistole Z

Posted in 3d models/textures, LT_Commander's Stuff, Nirrti's Stuff with tags , on April 30, 2011 by Nirrti

Figured I’d post this here since I wanted to make a proper render with the “not worn/old” skin LT_Commander did for the KpZ.

Portal 2, the PSN, and the Kampfpistole

Posted in LT_Commander's Stuff, Rants on April 29, 2011 by ltcom

Hi, I’m Lt_Commander. I’m a computer engineering student at Louisiana State University, and I make textures as a hobby.

When Portal 2 was announced as a cross-platform release, I had no intentions of getting it for my PS3. I don’t play many PS3 games as a whole because I can’t stand the controls and trying to navigate on a television screen across the room is never as good as a monitor at eye ruining distances. When they announced that Portal 2 was going to be free on the PC if you bought a PS3 copy, I changed my mind. Because I got the game in between computers, I had my first play through on the PS3, and I was thoroughly impressed. The controls were simple and intuitive, and the visuals were great. Furthermore, being able to link my PSN account to my steam account to chat and co-op was a definite plus. On the whole, Portal 2 for the PS3 is great…

…unless the PlayStation Network is down. For those of you living under a rock, the PSN was hacked. No co-op, no steam friends, and now I have to check my bank account to make sure I don’t get any “extra” charges. Why Sony decided to wait a week to tell 11 million people that their credit cards were at risk is a decision that is beyond me. It’s almost impressive, in a charlie foxtrot of fail sort of way.

But I digress. Portal 2. So, without being able to play co-op, I decided to install Portal 2 on my new computer. I thought the visuals were impressive on the PS3, but they are noticeably less impressive then the PC version. Granted, I can crank all the setting to max and I have a 24” screen, but still. Playing the second time was just about as fun as the first, and I don’t have to worry about steam losing my credit card info (yet). I’m sure that once PSN is back online, I can get some use out of my PS3 copy, but until then, I’ll stick to PC. The game is great, I loved the backstory, and the ending is possibly one of my favorites in recent history. I don’t like it for its plausibility, but for its over the top comedic value. Many people say that they went too far, but I could not of thought of a more clever solution. That fit with the same game that had a 10 ton door covering a utility door.

In other news, I finally got a chance to sit down and finish the texture for the kampfpistole. I’ll just give a general recap on what it is: a flare gun that the Germans converted to a small grenade launcher for anti-tank operations. Not very effective and pretty impractical, sure, but it’s a grenade launcher pistol. Awesome.

Kampfpistole SDK

SDK View

Generally, when I work on textures from scratch, it’s from a model that Nirrti made and UV’d. We have a pretty good workflow. He builds models, I give advice in the conceptual phase in terms of what to model; in the construction phase, I’ll l give iterative suggestions based off of the latest WIP, and he even listens to my suggestions sometimes! When it comes to textures, I do some work, upload a pic and get berated and nitpicked until we end up with a solution that both of one of us can agree upon. All joking aside, we do work well together. We’re both fast (unless one of us puts the project on the backburner) and we both have a good eye for details.

For me, the Kampfpistole was a chance for me to try some things I rarely do. The textures are 2048×2048 uncompressed, and the total size of textures comes to around 70MB. For me, that’s huge. I released a pack of 30 textures that amounted to less, and I advocate texture compression. The only other time I’ve ever kept files this huge was when I textured a tank the size of a house. On the plus side, I had a chance to really hammer out the fine details, like the manufacturing stamps, or the detail of the grip.

Kampfpistole Details

Another thing I hate doing is working with aged or bare metal. This texture has both. I find plastic materials are much easier to work with, in comparison to metal. Unpainted metal has a very certain look and replicating that on a flat surface can be difficult. Even worse, you need to know the best settings for phong and specular maps. Luckily, Nirrti is great at fine tuning these. In order to illustrate that the diffuse is just a small part of a good texture, I set the base to black and let the normal and spec maps “shine,” so to speak.

Kampistole, textureless

The aging on the paint was more of an experiment then anything. Playing with new techniques is a double edged sword. If you never try something new, you’ll never get any better, but you can really screw up bad if you go too deep into uncharted territory. I think it came out pretty well, but I plan to do better on it in future projects, and I’m satisfied with how it came out here.

I’ll leave you with a picture of the excellently modeled Kampfpistole ingame, thanks to Nirrti.

Kamfpistole

P.S. garry, fix the phong so I can use exponent textures. Thanks.

Big tanks and Valve playtesters.

Posted in Rants, Reviews, Rossmum's Stuff on April 26, 2011 by rossmum

Hi. I’m Ross. I get mad a lot, swear pretty much every other word (unless I’m trying to be civil, in which case about every tenth word) and am known for writing such long rants on how bad the gaming industry is getting that I break my blog’s format and it won’t linebreak any more.

I made a big tank. It’s not the best, but after four fucking years of procrastination, piecemeal work and redoing pretty much everything except the most basic shape of the hull twice, I am beyond caring. Here it is.

PzKfw. VI Ausf. B

It's a Tiger II, otherwise known as the King Tiger! Amazing.

Originally the plan was to get it into Red Orchestra, but the slow pace of work coupled with my autistic perfectionism resulted in Capt. Obvious finishing his first and mine going from a respectable 3,000-ish polies to 5,000-ish to 15,000 and in the final few days of actual work, 35,000. Yeah. 35,000. Don’t even ask, I don’t know. The wheels and gun take up a lot because those parts are seen close up a lot ingame but I will be absolutely damned if I can figure out just how this thing got to that many. I have no idea what (if anything) this will ever be used for, since it doesn’t even look that good. It’s moderately accurate I guess, so at least it has one thing going for it.

ANYWAY ENOUGH ABOUT THAT SHIT,

While Nirrti was pleading with me to post (because surely no reader can resist me)(Yeah, Right. N), I read his most recent article. I was his co-op partner for what I believe was his second playthrough, and we had a good time (even if I was running on practically no sleep, and therefore had to be prompted to do anything). Like him, I really enjoyed the game and I particularly enjoyed the ‘Old Aperture’ areas for their style, their history, and probably most of all their architecture. Half-Life 2‘s Combine Citadel was impressive, but not since Halo (as in, the first and best) have I been so awestruck by architecture. There’s really something hauntingly beautiful in the abandoned salt mines that became Aperture Science, and I can’t wait until someone gets the maps working in Garry’s Mod so I can make awesome pictures with them.

To reiterate: I loved Portal 2. I had to tear myself away from the game to finish the last touches on the King Tiger, and the only reason I’m not playing right now is because I managed to distract myself with a Minecraft project instead. I will say this, though: if I wasn’t hostile towards Valve’s playtesters before, I am out for blood now. Anyone else remember the E3 demo for the game, where they demonstrated some incredibly impressive and challenging-looking test chambers? Where the pneumatic diversity vent was actually, oh I dunno, being diverse? You could reverse its direction and use it in conjunction with a portal to hoover up turrets, debris, or anything else you felt like hoovering (presumably including your co-op partner when they annoy you one too many times). All of that was gone from the final product, and even the end-of-game test chambers felt contrived and too easy. I’m not especially good at puzzle games as I overanalyse things far too often, but I only got truly stuck maybe three or four times in the entire game, and even then only for a few minutes. Valve’s playtesters apparently got stuck on a hell of a lot more because Valve ended up removing everything interesting from the game (it was confusing their playtesters) or challenging (it was too hard for their precious little snowflake testers to figure out).

I’m not sure who Valve are using to playtest their games, but it’s pretty fucking clear to me that they need to stop and find someone else. I shudder to think how long the list of ‘things axed from Valve games because of idiot playtesters’ is by now. Thanks, you fucks. I always wanted a pet houndeye but now I have to kill them all. Fuck you.

I think I was going to rant about something else but I don’t remember what. Also you are all probably bored to death or something, because the internet tells me anything over five lines at 1920×1080 is a “berlin wall of text” and totally unreadable. Fuck you kids, do they not teach you to read at school any more? What are you jerkoffs doing to our education system?

Recent happenings…

Posted in Nirrti's Stuff, Reviews with tags , , on April 26, 2011 by Nirrti

So, haven’t made a post for a while, figured could post what’s been going on lately.

Obviously, Portal 2 was released, played through it a couple of times, enjoyed the story, music and gameplay the game presents. Could’ve had more advanced/challenging puzzles though.

Shown here are the Co-Op characters, P-Body and Atlas, plus GlaDOS.

The Co-Op is pretty fun, although sadly, Portal 2 basing on the fun and enjoyment that comes in solving the puzzles, wears of rather quickly due to you remembering the puzzles. The game itself does feel like a true sequel though, atleast mostly. There are some things amiss, like less surfaces you can place portals on, and, like I earlier mentioned, the puzzles felt less challenging. There are a lot of good things in the game though. the music/sound design is a good example, employing valve’s earlier used “modular” music style, also found in Left 4 Dead and it’s sequel.

I do like the style of the old Aperture Science

There's just something really awesome about the retro style.

The overall feel of the music feels exactly right for the areas, and giving off strong vibes in the right spots. There’s also a lot of new gameplay elements, the gels probably being the funniest. All in all, it’s a very good game, more than probably my most favorite game from valve so far. The ending is satisfying and the Co-Op brings something refreshing and humorous into the game.

I’ve also worked on the CAWS, albeit pretty slowly. I’m not that good with making textures, so this is pretty much the best I can do

CAWS textures (not the best looking textures)

Also been working on small stuff for Galactopticon, fixing stuff and so on. Here’s the current thread on Facepunch about the mod; Click here

Other than that, pretty normal. Weather’s finally warming here in the North, so expect possible pictures of Finland or something, I dunno.