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Stefan Engdahl shared his thoughts on the production of weapons for games.
My name is Stefan Engdahl and I’m a Hard-Surface/Weapon artist born and currently living in Sweden. I’ve been doing (or trying my best to at least) art since 2010. I’ve always been interested in game development and started to study game art and design back then. During the three years of my studies, I fell in love with hard surface modeling, more specifically weapons modeling.
Weapon for Game Production: Three Important Points
For me, in the weapon for game production, the number one thing to pay attention to is probably references. A whole lot of them. When you think you have enough, go get more! Sometimes, it can be hard to get some references for older or more unknown weapons but videos can be paused and used too. You can’t really ever have enough of them.
The second important thing for me would be texel density. I know that an even UV might feel nice but in reality, you don’t need as much detail on the right side of the gun as on the left one. Most of the time you see the weapon from the first-person perspective so keep that in mind when scaling your UV-islands. The stock, for example, usually doesn’t show up much at all or at least near the player’s eyes.
Thirdly, keep within poly budget given (if it’s given, of course)! What I like to do is to give myself poly budgets for portfolio pieces just to challenge myself and do not get carried away.
I don’t really have a go-to tool other than the brush tool with different Alphas since 99% of my work consists of painting in masks. I admit that I do use a lot of Automatic edge-wear filters and stuff, but usually, I go in and remove a lot of them by hand to break up the “generated” feel. I also go in and add custom scratches using custom alphas.
User’s Point of View
I do adjust the models taking into consideration the user’s point of view. Usually, I just try to make the iron sights look good in an “aiming down mode”. Real iron sights are usually too small or narrow to work well in video games so I make them more clear to look trough. I know some people, as well as game studios, flip the whole model to make sure interesting mechanics like the bolt and charging-handle are in clear view of the player every time. I understand why they do it and admittedly in game, I don’t really mind it while playing. It’s just not something I’m a big fan of in personal work, so I avoid it when I can.
Rendering & Testing
When I’m rendering stuff for my portfolio I always use Marmoset Toolbag, I use about 3-5 lights and a pretty natural colored HDRI, nothing with too much color that will bleed into my textures. When working on a weapon model for a client, I will test the textures in the engine used in the pipeline so they look good inside it. As for animation, I can’t really say anything about testing it as I’ve just done it for fun a few times to spice up my portfolio, and that’s it.
Stefan Engdahl, Hard-Surface/Weapon Artist
Interview conducted by Kirill Tokarev
The goal of the ClearCut courses is to teach you a solid workflow that is used in the AAA game industry. The first episode covers the process of creating an AAA fire hydrant from start to finish.
Any future updates are included and will be available for download in case they are released. Next episodes are not included.