Sunday, January 21, 2018

Millennium Falcon 3D Model Part 6

Nothing like winter break and a new Star Wars movie to inspire development on this project. Spent a decent amount to time trying to narrow down the end-goal of this whole thing. Flight simulator? Interactive walkthrough?

I reviewed some older Star Wars games like X-Wing Allaince and SWG: Jump to Lightspeed as a template for how I wanted the experience to feel - with the added challenge of trying to add a virtual reality spin to the interaction.

Started writing some mission manager scripts to generate scenarios similar to SWG's space duty mission (destroy and escort). Fighters now have a notion of primary mission targets (in this case the Rebel corvette) and secondary objectives like fighter groups (i.e. the player) and X-Wing Alliance style duty roles to prioritize: Superiority (fighters first, then primary target) or Strike (Primary target first, fighters second).


Revised X-Wing cockpit and more AI duty behaviors: January 10, 2018


But as I've found in the past, just working on the 3D modeling is plenty fun!

Working on the front armor plating: December 20-23, 2017

In my last update, I started texture mapping the interior. But after a while I got annoyed with how I modeled the meshes a year ago. So I ended up remodeling much of the interior trying to keep the sections more universal and modular than I had previously done.



Revised, textured, and baked lighting: January 19, 2018


Planning out the cockpit corridor: January 20, 2018
Another motivation for the complete redesign of the interior is that I had previously scaled the exterior to 31 meters long (latest canon length for the Millennium Falcon is 34 to 35 meters).

I probably did that to reduce the boarding ramp angle into the corridor so that the exterior boarding ramp can still have a 20 degree incline and still have the interior corridors low enough in height so that the floor plane can be above the bottom gun turret. But that caused other restrictions on how tall/wide the interiors could be.

I managed to get the angle at the top of the boarding ramp to under a 35 degree incline (which allows my Unity character controller to go up the ramp without sliding down). As a result, the overall corridor radius is smaller than the film set and slightly compressed in some places. Also the gun turret is readily visible from the corridor as the floor is just above the back wall of the gunner's area. I would have liked to have the corridor vertically centered on the turret tunnel, but the entry ramp would be unrealistically steep.

Spacing compromises: January 21, 2018
Reworked lighting and cockpit corridor: January 21, 2018
As a tribute to how much I improved over the years, I think the new corridors look much better than the old ones and took me a weekend to do rather than a few weeks. Key modeling tidbits I picked up since was better use of shared meshes, modeling pipes, and overall experience with dealing with curved and angled corridors.

Also on the interaction side, been working on VR style flight controls using a wand. This of course requires an actual flight stick model. Partially inspired by the mid-season finale of Star Wars: Rebels Rebel Assault - where there are a number of shots of the cockpit of T-65 X-Wings. The flight stick concept art is also prominently shown in the Rebel Recon video for the episode.

X-Wing flight stick: January 13, 2018
I had previously modeled the controls of the Millennium Falcon's gun turrets and I'm now working on making those actually usable with the Oculus touch controllers.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Millennium Falcon 3D Model Part 5.5

Quick pre-The Last Jedi update to the lighting (now real-time) with blinking lights, interactable switches, additional tracking (for the chair), and textures and lighting fixtures in the corridor.




Textured corridor panels, baked lighting adjustments, corridor light fixture details: December 14, 2017




Lighting and interaction test in the CAVE2™ virtual-reality environment at the Electronic Visualization Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Chicago: December 15, 2017

Just a quick video over a lunch break and in between a refit of CAVE2 (some of the displays and tracking cameras behind the camera were down) to celebrate the release of Episode VIII: The Last Jedi. Went to see the movie later that evening.





Saturday, August 5, 2017

Millennium Falcon 3D Model Part 5

Boarding ramp and revised corridor: July 12, 2017

Cockpit corridor panels: July 12, 2017

Exterior and engine redesign: July 16, 2017

Starting turret interior: July 16, 2017

Revised turret seat: July 19, 2017

Scaling with Stormtrooper model: July 19, 2017

Turret panels: July 31, 2017

Turret panels: August 2, 2017

Turret panels: August 5, 2017

Monday, July 10, 2017

Millennium Falcon 3D Model Part 4

New post after over a year! Focusing on other projects like Enterprise, research work, being lazy on writing posts, Breath of the Wild, Mass Effect Andromeda, etc.

Hoping this summer to get back into it.

Baked Lighting Test: June 12, 2016
Playing around with Unity's baked lighting system. Apparently one of the last screenshots before I shifted projects last year.


Star Wars 40th Anniversary: May 24, 2017
In celebration of the 40th anniversary of the original cinema opening of Star Wars, updated the Death Star hanger model to use the emergency lighting as seen on the season 1 finale of Star Wars: Rebels and added a Darth Vader model in homage to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

Also felt this was a fitting time to finally take a CAVE2 picture with my Kenobi "Redeemer" lightsaber which was a gift to myself for completing the PhD qualifying exam last year.


During May and June I did a significant amount of work rewriting the space flight mechanics and starfighter AI. Once those were completed, I finally did a push to implement important UI elements such as head-up-displays, targeting systems, and a radar.

TIE Fighter Play Test: July 2, 2017
Since Rogue One and season 3 of Star Wars:Rebels had come out since I last worked on the TIE fighter, there was much more reference material for the cockpit displays.


X-Wing Play Test: July 4, 2017
Just a quick port of the new TIE fighter UI components into the old x-wing cockpit.


Exterior and Boarding Ramp Overhaul: July 10, 2017
In early July, I started work on adding more exterior details to the Millennium Falcon - specifically the armor plating. However the current state of the model has enough inaccuracies, that I started overhauling most of the exterior components.

This work is based off the production plans of the Millennium Falcon from Empire Strikes Back acquired from Star Wars: The Blueprints.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Millennium Falcon 3D Model Part 3

Revised cockpit: May 20, 2016

Right on the heels of a rather hectic semester, including passing the PhD qualifying exam, I present version 2 of the Millennium Falcon cockpit. Most of the modifications are based on the earlier CAVE2 virtual reality tests which exposed some scaling issues with the model as well as experience gained by modeling such a detailed space with angled panels.

Opposed to the original model where the cockpit walls were modeled at that angle, the new version are actually separate panels rotated into that position. This made it much easier to place switches, buttons, and lights using the panel's local coordinates.

Also since the original model I've found two major reference sources that have vastly improved the detail in this model:

  • Joshua Maruska's Millennium Falcon model
    • Used his cockpit walls as scale and detail reference
    • Also for the captain and nav seats.
    • My Nav seats used his as a reference as the originals had far too many polygons for my use.
    • The Captain's seats are currently his. Haven't decided if I'll model my own or keep them
  • StarWars.com The Force Awakens 360 Panoramas
    • These have been immensely helpful for getting the details of the cockpit and especially the main cockpit console

Completed side wall panels: May 23, 2016

Cockpit console: May 26, 2016


In a change of pace from 3D modeling, I worked on finishing the turret interaction I had started on in January and implement the wand controls so that I could test this in CAVE2. As a testament to the development of the CAVE2 Simulator most of the interaction was tested using the simulator augmented with a Kinect for hand and head tracking. This translated to directly running on CAVE2 without any sensitivity adjustment to the controls.

This was one of two CAVE2 Unity demos using a new version of my cluster sync code. Details and probably a video in the next update.

Cockpit console: June 4, 2016

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Millennium Falcon 3D Model Part 2

For this modeling project, I'm continuing to use the Blender Project Timer extension to keep track of how many hours I've actively spent modeling this thing - although I won't be able to track the time spend working with the model in Unity.

AG-2G quad laser cannon: Jan 3, 2016
Passenger ramp door: Jan 3, 2016

Putting the pieces together: Jan 4, 2016

I suppose I'll also mention I typically have my Star Wars soundtracks on loop while I'm modeling. If I really want to be inspired, I'll be sure to jump to either 'Follow Me' or 'The Falcon' tracks from The Force Awakens.

Finishing up the starboard panels: Jan 8, 2016
Detailing up the starboard panels: Jan 9, 2016
Replacing the previously mirrored textures on the port side: Jan. 9, 2016
Millennium Falcon Cockpit after 33 hours: Jan. 9, 2016
Entrance corridor lighting test: Jan 9, 2016
Turret ladder: Jan 10, 2016

Landing Gears: Jan 10, 2016

Passenger Lounge: Jan 10, 2016
With the addition of the passenger lounge, I'm really beginning to tackle the usual challenges of modeling the Millennium Falcon - the interior sets are too large to fit in the exterior ship model. At least with the original film Enterprise I didn't have to worry about that too much (The one exception being the Klingon bridge from The Motion Picture redressed to be the Enterprise torpedo bay). Although the 2009 Star Trek monstrosity of a starship is worse mess in terms of scaling.

Passenger boarding ramp: Jan 10, 2016
The boarding ramp is still a bit of a mess. The ramp is steeper than it should be, but if I made it any more level, I wouldn't be able to fit the corridor around the turret column.

Nearly complete cockpit wall detail - 42 hours: Jan 12, 2016
Starting the dashboard: Jan 13, 2016
Control levers: Jan 13, 2016

By this point I was having some doubts of how I was modeling the dashboard. Unlike the cockpit and exterior shape, I was having difficulty finding the dimensions of the console. After some visual testing in CAVE2, I eventually found an existing accurate 1:1 scale model of the dashboard which was commonly used for physical 1:1 scale replicas of the Millennium Falcon cockpit.

Turret testing: Jan 15, 2016
I took a break from modeling for a bit while I was mulling over the potential scaling issue with the interior cockpit. Using some of the same code from my previous starfighter tests, I also refined the targeting computer display which my X-Wing used.

Starboard docking port: Jan 22, 2016
There's been some debate over what these things on the side of the Falcon are. Typically listed as either docking ports or the escape pods. I went with docking ports for multiple reasons: 1) Several escape pods were jettisoned before the Falcon was captured by the Death Star in A New Hope and the exterior looks the same. 2) The Ghost in Star Wars: Rebels typically docks in space using similar looking attachments. 3) I managed to design the interior of the passenger ramp to work as a corridor to the docking port. 4) Later found out The Force Awakens Incredible Cross-Sections also labels them docking ports. Although the YT-1300 is known for its customization options so they could be either depending on the configuration.

Lounge progress: Jan 23, 2016

Rough mapping of the remaining interior space: Jan 23, 2016

More on the revision of the cockpit scaling in part 3.