How to Build a Video Game Gun?

How to Build a Video Game Gun?

Emre Karabacak talked about the main stages of production, detailing the creation of his amazing 3d weapon model. The original gun was modeled by Mark van Haitsma.

Emre Karabacak talked about the main stages of production, detailing the creation of his amazing 3d weapon model. The project was part of the internship with Berker Siino. The modeling of the original gun is done by Mark van Haitsma for Destiny.


Hello everyone! My Name is Emre Karabacak and I’m a 3D Environment / Prop artist from Berlin, Germany. I graduated the S4G School for Games in September 2017 with a Diploma in Game Graphics and I am currently looking for a job. Feel free to check out my portfolio on Artstation.

The following project, called “Hawkmoon” was part of the internship with Berker Siino.

This weapon is one of my favorites from Destiny and its complexity gave me a good opportunity to refine my hard surface skills.

Gathering Reference

First I searched for reference to get a better feel for the dimensions and size.

Finally, I found the original model by Mark van Haitsma which was great and very helpful. (Basically, the whole design of the gun is taken directly from Mark’s work for Destiny. It was done solely for educational purposes).


With the reference I found, I created a blockout model with the proper dimensions and the rough shape. I mostly used primitives to save time.

Base mesh / Mid poly

After I was confident about the blockout I created a better-shaped base mesh with more details and resolution.

High Poly

In the following step I used the subdivision method for the high poly mesh and added additional geometry for the details. I also used ZBrush for the complex areas of the model (see the feather on the barrel or the grip). Furthermore I added material properties to see the reflection to avoid surface errors.

Here is an example of how I used supporting edges to get the right shape for the cylinder after turbo smoothing. Very old school technique, but it gives you full control of your edges.

For the very detailed barrel I created an alpha feather mask in Photoshop, which I used to stamp the prepared model. First I imported my barrel into ZBrush and subdivided it to get a higher polycount (around 6 million polygons). Then I set the stroke to the drag rect function and I applied my alpha, so I could easily stamp the details with symmetry for both sides.

Note that it is really important to have an even topology when a mesh gets sculpted to get an evenly detailed sculpt. You can try to achieve this by cutting the mesh in even polygons in 3DS Max or use Dynamesh in ZBrush.

Low poly / Retopo

The low poly version of the model was built and edited referring to the high poly version. I used the freeform tools in 3DS Max to select my high poly as the surface reference mesh (similiar to Topogun, 3DCoat, etc.).

Map Baking & Texturing

I decided to use Substance Painter for the baking and texturing process. It has the neat option to bake only meshes with matching names so that any cage colliding is avoided. Additionally, the Substance Share library offers a large selection of smart materials and smart masks.

I highly recommend the tutorials by Tim Bergholz / Chamfer Zone about texturing.

The early coloring of my high poly mesh was important as well. It gave me the opportunity to separate the parts later with masking by color id.

Final results

After finishing the texturing I started the render process. For this I used Marmoset Toolbag 3, because of its great feature to export and upload the scene to Artstation where interested viewers can look at the assets in 3D. 

I gained a lot of experience and had plenty of fun working on this project.

I really want to thank Berker Siino for mentoring me so professionally during the whole internship as well as 80 Level for giving me the opportunity for this breakdown article.

Emre Karabacak, 3D Artist

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Comments 1


    good job!


    ·a year ago·

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How to Build a Video Game Gun?