by Philipp Schürz
Finally, the long overdue Character redesign has begun: Our protagonist – the “young man” – is getting a major overhaul. But it’s a long process until the new character is fully integrated in the game. I would like to walk you through some of the steps, from an artist’s perspective.
It all starts with a discussion about what should be changed, why, how and when. This part can take a while and requires a substantial amount of energy.
Then the concept making begins. I put down some really quick sketches, just so there is something visual we can talk about.
Now the second round of discussions starts. Ideally by this time the basic points are settled and I can start modeling. Modeling is one of the stages where I can usually relax a bit. The major design decisions have been made and the rest is just pushing and pulling at edgeloops and shouting at the software, until it does what I want.
After that comes UV-mapping, which is the process of unrolling the 3D surface of the model to a flat 2D texture, so you can paint on it in any old pixel based software like Photoshop. Now I use the UV-Template and paint the texture onto it.
While I’m doing that, I hand over the model to our talented animator/level designer/project manager. And boy, am I glad that he does the animation, because that’s a load of work.
During most of this process, there are still changes being made. When the model is done, for example, we have another meeting to get consensus on the final model. When I am painting the textures, we have meetings for that, to see if everybody is onboard with the direction I am going.
You see, we are working in a pretty democratic fashion. We don’t have that many meetings for everything we do, but the main character is after all a pretty important part of the game, so every opinion counts.