Saturday, May 17, 2014

XI. Evolution from Concept to Our First Model

Another piece of the puzzle that is game development. This is a 3D sculpt in progress courtesy of Tim Barry.

One of the really gratifying parts of this project is documenting the process as I see my ideas evolve and take shape. One of my pet projects that should be familiar to anyone who's been following the blog has been to take my friend and play tester, Chuck Hickey, and turn him into a part of the game. From the moment he walked in the door and sat down at the table for his first play testing session he had a fervent enthusiasm to play a Security Officer. With that enthusiasm to crack heads for the corporate Execs combined with his imposing presence I thought he'd make a great character in the game.

Security Officer sketch by Geng Gendall featuring Chuck Hickey's mug.

At the time the pet project started, Sam had just come on to work on getting the core concepts and look of the setting together. With him tied up I asked Geng Gendall if he could take on my pet project of making Chuck a Security Officer based on Sam's Security Officer concepts. He had just happened to jump into working on Broken Contract art of his own volition, so he took what Sam had defined and created a fantastic sketch of Chuck.

Now, with sketch in hand, I knew it was time to take things to the next evolutionary stage and find a sculptor. Originally, I had thought I was going to go strictly with traditional sculpting with my sculptors crafting the models out of epoxy putty, plasticard, and brass or plastic tubing, just like models I came up on. 3D sculpting seemed too technical and out of reach. I had contacts to some traditional sculptors so I tried that route first. My initial attempts saw me come up empty handed. Either they were tied up for at least a month out with other projects, or they just didn't respond - presumably because they're overwhelmed with their current workload.

Aetherium by Anvil-Eight Games. They just had a successful Kickstarter for this cyberpunk skirmish board game. Keep an eye out for the game to drop in the not too distant future.

At AdeptiCon I talked for a while with Brian Niro from Anvil-Eight Games about their game Aetherium, and the industry in general. Brian introduced me to one of their concept artists, told me what forges they used, and was just an open book with a wealth of information. I tried to glean as much as I could from the conversation. One of the guys at their table offered me a model so I grabbed a Nanomei Goliath - a fantastic miniature I might add.

This is a Nanomei Goliath by Anvil-Eight Games. This model prompted me to ask about their sculptors.

A few weeks later, after my initial sculptor search wasn't moving as quickly as I would like, I shot Brian an e-mail asking about the 3D sculptor they were using, pricing, and turn around. Once again, Brian came through with all of the details I needed, a contact, and a ringing endorsement of said sculptor. That's how I discovered Tim Barry.

Tim asked for a profile shot of Chuck. This is the one I gave him.

Tim and I exchanged a series of voice mails, phone calls, and he even dragged me into the world of Skype and we discussed all of the details and I shared with him the concept art and photos of the man himself, Chuck Hickey. Thus far, the experience has been great. He asks for feedback and when I asked him if he could soften the cheek bones and thin the nose a bit, he did it with no problem.

Tim Barry's rendition of Chuck's profile.

For those that don't know, the mustache and hair have to be a little thicker to create a detail that is raised enough to be painted on so that's why they are more pronounced. So far this model is coming along great and I'm looking forward to seeing the rest of him.

-Nick

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