Sunday, June 30, 2013

Slug Thrower Design Process

A while ago, I finished designing and modeling a weapon for a game prototype. This was my first time designing a gun and proved to be troublesome, though I'm fairly happy with the final results. Most of the problems stemmed from my lack of knowledge about guns and how they functionally work.

My first step in the design process was all about references. I decided to spend a good deal of time making sure the design was solid before proceeding on the game model and texturing. I didn't want to rush into the gun only to be disappointed by the design at the end. So I collected a lot of reference photos first (only a few shown below). I was aiming for a chunky pistol/revolver with a 70s, 80s, early sci-fi aesthetic.

Once I had references down, I started with the initial concept in the form of a high poly. This proved better for me to see the forms and how everything will ultimately interact with each other.

While the design overall had a similar feel to my references, there was a lot wrong with this initial concept. The balance of the gun is all wrong. It has too much visual weight on the front of the gun. It was also pointed out that while it looked interesting, the functionality and therefore believability was flawed. There is no crane attached to the cylinder, nor enough room for cylinder to swivel out. The bullet holes in the cylinder also did not line up with the barrel ends, therefore it could not even fire right if it wanted to.

The biggest problem was that I focused on visual design and not actual design of a revolver. I went back to the drawing board and researched blueprints and real world references for revolvers. This brought me closer to my final design and something that looks way better than what I had.

While this is a huge step in the right direction, there was still some uncertainty about how I was going to design the back of the gun. On top of that, I still wasn't happy with the balance of the gun. My next iterations went through redesigns in those areas and included shortening the front barrels and making the handle larger.

With enough tweaking, this led to my final design.

I spent longer than I wanted on the design step, but it really benefited me. The Slug Thrower turned out better and felt more realistic while keeping the aesthetic that I was originally targeting. This made the modeling and texture phases so much more enjoyable. It's aggravating to work on a model and nearly finish only to discover that there is a design flaw that is bringing down the whole piece. I am happy with the final model even though it is far from perfect. Despite this, I think it is a fairly solid model for a first time gun.

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