Military land navigation simulation art assets

polycount lvl 666
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Alex Javor polycount lvl 666
A fully functioning military compass for a land nav simulation game. 

This is the game model, I gonna make a high version in zbrush and boolean out the ticks and numbers along the ruler, then I'll bake it and texture. It will be used in Unity so I have to find some magnifying shader for the peep sight. 

The mils and degrees are geometry, but they get baked onto the compass wheel. I used geometry because I find it easier to get the precision I need for this thing to actually work inside Maya rather photoshop.

Shoot an azimuth. The lens here has to be magnifying to work correctly.

I'm not so experienced with hard surface. Let me know if I did something stupid. For the high version I do subdivision without smoothing in zbrush, then on a very high level I slightly smooth some spots. It's a hero prop that will be large on screen and very often so I use plenty of bevels. (note though that the outermost top and bottom aren't seen at all in game, so I didn't bother to bevel them, hence the hard edges)

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  • Alex Javor
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    Alex Javor polycount lvl 666
    Well I made some mistakes, but this will serve nicely as placeholder for now. I forgot to Boolean out the word "meters" which goes on the inside of the top cover. *face palm* Also there should be some small plastic covers that go over the tritium strips on the top cover. 

    I also have some improvements I can make on the normal map. I am seeing a little bit of bad shading in some spots. I need to make an even quads version that I can subdivide cleanly to bake from in order to fix that. I should have taken a little more time and did that too begin with. Any time I try to go fast it always ends up costing time!

    I have displayed this in Toolbag. I'll need to fashion some shaders in Unity to get it looking right there. 

    The compass has about 7k tris, and uses a material each for the body, the compass dial, and the glass parts. 

    For now I will be setting this aside though and moving onto the next asset for this game: a Rite-in-the-Rain mechanical pencil.  I'll use this thread for all the art assets I make for this game.


  • Alex Javor
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    Alex Javor polycount lvl 666
    I don't got enough time to start new model before heading back to work, so I went ahead and fixed the issues with the normal map. Made some other tweaks to geometry and also changed the textures a bit too. 
    I made the green paint slightly smoother and added more contrast on the roughness map overall. I also exaggerated the rough finish on the black plastic as well -- before it all looked the same. I also took off the AO from the white paint area because the degree/MIL numbers were catching too much shadow. I look at reference and the white paint must have some kind of light reflecting/dispersing property because shadows are very faint even in strong light. Or maybe that's just because in 3d environment we don't have true GI or something. In any case, problem solved.

    The only thing I'd really like to do more is make the plastic molding that the tritium bits and the W & E letters fit into. But I need yet another shader for that because the way light goes through plastic like that would be different than any other part of this thing. I don't think it's worth the time right now, but maybe in the future I can explore that just for the fun of it. As it is, this compass will do. 


  • Alex Javor
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    Alex Javor polycount lvl 666
    It's a pencil. Coming up next, a notebook. I'll take my awards now, thank you.


    And I'll ninja the notebook in there too. No need to bump thread for that. Well, that is everything player needs to get from A to B. Everything except the map. But I wait until I get back to my home machine for that. For now I move onto the rucksack.

  • CybranM
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    CybranM greentooth
    The compass looks great but I think the edge wear is a bit too even. The lid edges also look a bit sharp compared to the rest:
    The pen looks a bit too artificial, perhaps adding some more roughness variation and some scratches/wear, especially on the metal tip, would help it look more realistic. Notebook and wood backdrop looks good, I like the small details but it looks weird to have "790" repeat so often.

    The artstation link in your signature is broken
  • Alex Javor
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    Alex Javor polycount lvl 666
    Been working on environment for the game past couple days. Still miles to go before we sleep but with speedtree and megascans it's easy to get off with a fast start.
  • Alex Javor
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    Alex Javor polycount lvl 666
    Some more environment work. Almost all the assets are speedtree or megascans. But still there is a lots of work to be done getting everything working together, and making it perform decently while not having to compromise on the look too much. I am using the old render pipeline still because I rely on a few tools and shaders which aren't updated yet. Plus, all these big acronyms change every week and get pretty damn confusing. It's tempting to jump after the latest tech but I know the game can work with the older tech + I am not making Call of Duty anyway.

  • Alex Javor
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    Alex Javor polycount lvl 666
    Now that I have a little bit better idea what I am doing with the environment, I try to simplify things. Both workflow and the art itself. A narrower color palette, fewer models, etc.

    Here is a fire killed forest. The fire must have came through just a few years ago or less. Many tree's have fallen. It's not an easy place to travel through. Visibility is good though.

  • Alex Javor
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    Alex Javor polycount lvl 666
    Some more environment work. I got to admit, I could just sit here and make forest forever without even making a game. I really enjoy it. I want to take a little hike into the Blue Ridge mountains nearby to find some more inspiration. I like mountains and valleys and big sites like that, but something about the woods has always drawn me. It's an intimate place. It makes you feel alone, but not lonely. BIg places like mountains hit you with awe at first, but when you spend a long time in them, you feel small and lonely. You want to leave after awhile. No place for humans. Not so in the woods.This is home for humans.


  • Alex Javor
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    Alex Javor polycount lvl 666
    We've been doing a ton of testing to get the full 100km world to stream with good performance. Getting close but not quite there yet. I got some iteration done on the environments this weekend. I am trying to focus on composition and colors, so that where ever you go in the world it's going to be a nice scene.

    Everything is generated procedural, though using Vegetation Studio Pro I do have pretty good low-level control on how vegetation is spawned. I'm pretty happy that, taking a walk through the currently 8km world, I am finding lots of unique looking spots. This is important not just for the sake of visual variety, but it will help player get oriented when they get lost. "Oh, I've been here before!"

    I'm trying to find the right palette to really make it feel like brisk autumn weather. At the same time, I don't want everything gray and brown because that does get dull. I've also adjusted the terrain a bit for more height variation. This gives some nicer views, but also will help make terrain association more viable for noobies.

    Iteration on art is also iteration on workflow. As much as possible, I want a fully non-destructible workflow. I want to maximize the ease of iteration. I am not an experienced environment artist, so the more easily I can experiment, the quicker I can discover the best results. It's not so easy when you are using a lot of different third party tools, and dealing with a massive world, but for the most part I've got everything pretty flexible after a couple weeks of working with this as a focus.
  • Alex Javor
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    Alex Javor polycount lvl 666
    Got the full size world running.


  • jStins
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    jStins polycounter lvl 7
    Looking good Alex! Are you using Enviro for the sky/clouds/weather? HDRP (or URP as Unity is calling it now?)
  • Alex Javor
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    Alex Javor polycount lvl 666
    I am using enviro. I am using the old render pipeline -- i have no idea what anything is called anymore cause it changes weekly -- but I chose to stick with that for maximum compatibility. I'm using a lot of 3rd party tools and it's basically impossible to get everything working nicely on one of the new pipelines.
  • Alex Javor
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    Alex Javor polycount lvl 666
    Got the map and it's case done. I'll probably revisit the fabric textures cause I did it kind of lazy. It could look better. I'll probably dig up something made from cordura or whatever that is and take a high res photo to work from.

    The map is done except for that is has no details besides the contour lines. That's because I have to do a lot of playtesting the game first before I decide what will go where. But it has everything necessary to do some dead reckoning.


  • Alex Javor
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    Alex Javor polycount lvl 666
    Some of these tools I've been working on in action. Still lots more to do but we just about got all the functionality there.


     + another type of biome. I took some inspiration from a hike on the weekend and made a muddy, miserable creek. I also tweaked post process and lighting a little bit. I think there is a better sense of depth and space now. Was feeling a little flat or something, hard to describe but things just wasn't quite right.


  • DanikaPuzdrowski
    Hey, this all looks really good, i'm impressed at the vegetation. i'm actually doing something fairly similar and was wondering how you got the compass working? That's something i've been struggling with, any tips would be very much appreciated 
  • Alex Javor
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    Alex Javor polycount lvl 666
    I can't say much about the compass animation. I am working with a contractor who takes care of the programming.

    I do know that we consider world axis of z to be north, and then I think it's not to complicated to lock the compass dials local rotation to always face that way. On top of that a smoothing operation, but I think you can find many examples of that from third person camera tutorials.

    Obviously on the modeling side this means I have set the compass dial as a separate sub-mesh and set its pivot at the right location.

    He (the programmer) also made this on the store, and said it works in a similar way:

  • DanikaPuzdrowski
    ah okay, that makes sense
    i'll have a look at the radar, thanks a lot for the help :) 
  • Alex Javor
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    Alex Javor polycount lvl 666
    I've finished out the level design for a 12km area, to be played by our first public testers. I've filled in that portion of the map with relevant details. It was tedious work but highly enjoyable in a way. Something about the need for careful precision, and then being able to see that precision translate into real results you can use in the game world is really satisfying. This is definitely a fun game to make.

    I'm using natural boundaries to border in the play area. To the south I've added Jack Luck River and Fillerson Pond. These also work as good landmarks to help beginners have an easier time. And they are quite pleasant to walk along side, especially in the moonlight.

    Wanna playtest in about 10 days? Inquire at the discord .
    It's a tough game though. Not for those who give up easily!

  • Zi0
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    Zi0 greentooth
    Land nav simulation gam huh, thats actually a pretty cool idea, nice progress btw.
  • sacboi
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    sacboi sublime tool
    Nice going, getting this to beta in a tad over 3 months?! and the game's title "Land Nav" reflects what it's bassically all about, kind of like cross country orienteering but for 'grunts' :) So anyway, hope all goes well with the testing, not to many bugs, also no crits from me on your hard surface modeling skills which in my opinion is fairly solid.

    Cheers. 
  • Alex Javor
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    Alex Javor polycount lvl 666
    sacboi said:
    Nice going, getting this to beta in a tad over 3 months?! and the game's title "Land Nav" reflects what it's bassically all about, kind of like cross country orienteering but for 'grunts' :) So anyway, hope all goes well with the testing, not to many bugs, also no crits from me on your hard surface modeling skills which in my opinion is fairly solid.

    Cheers. 
    Not 3 months. I was gone for a job. We've only been working on this about 1 month in total. :)


  • Alex Javor
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    Alex Javor polycount lvl 666
    Some work on a diorama type scene for the main menu. Character is placeholder but will have basically the same silhouette. I had an idea to make him real sweaty and then increase the intensity of a light I have near the camera which gives the small reflection on the m16. That way you'll see reflection in the sweat beads. Idea is to make it feel intense, but I think it may look best if it's straight black silhouette. We'll see. But I have higher priority things to take care of so I may not get to that for a minute.

    I'm not super confident about the UI. Just not something I ever do so let me know if anybody has some suggestions. Obviously I am stealing Army colors since it's an Army game.
  • teodar23
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    teodar23 polygon
    Hey man,
    I like the way it is now more than the more intense idea. I think this suggests a rest moment for your character which is in line with the fact that you are in a menu i.e. not in live play. I hope that makes sense.
    There is a dissonance between the menu text (which is military like and in theme) and the sliders and buttons (which are arcade-y)
  • Alex Javor
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    Alex Javor polycount lvl 666
    teodar23 said:

    There is a dissonance between the menu text (which is military like and in theme) and the sliders and buttons (which are arcade-y)

    Good point, I didn't see that but now I do. I'll take a look at some other military games and see what they've done to help spark some ideas there.
  • Taylor Brown
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    Taylor Brown sublime tool
    Looking really cool Alex! Those enviros are lush and lovely
  • Alex Javor
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    Alex Javor polycount lvl 666
    Thanks Taylor. I'm having a lot of fun with it. I should have tried enviro art a long time ago.
  • Alex Javor
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    Alex Javor polycount lvl 666
    Some video of using the instruments to plot coordinates and move to a control point. This video is just for the dev diary. After we release the alpha on friday i'll spend a few days or a week building actual marketing content.


    By the way, we need some feedback noises for using the instruments. Enabling, disabling. Dragging them around. I don't have a clue what sort of sounds might fit. Any suggestions?



    btw, I've got the wrong post process profile enabled in the video. So never mind that, I know it's kind of janky looking. We have a different profile for if you are colliding with certain things and I had it enabled by mistake.

  • Alex Javor
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    Alex Javor polycount lvl 666
    With the correct post process, and some other tweaks to lighting


  • Alex Javor
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    Alex Javor polycount lvl 666
    Version 0.01a is now available for play testing.

    Drop in our Discord to get a download link.  https://discord.gg/jBBDXJd

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