Friday, April 15, 2022

Death Star Tiles Update

It's sometimes funny when the right moment happens where you find an excuse to dig up a project exactly 9 years old and give it a few days of work just for the fun of it.

While drawing 2D pixel art of Death Star surface tiles dates back even further, I started doing 3D renders of it back in 2013.

April 11, 2013 - Original six tiles derived from my old Kilk @ Play pixel art

April 21, 2015 - Textured except for one

Actually the very first post of this blog described the early Unity + Blender work I did on Project Starfighter. The original tile set was textured so I could use them in a procedurally generated Death Star surface. Ironically given my work at the Electronic Visualization Laboratory, the only tile I never finished modeling is the one on display at the lab..... until now:

April 12, 2022 - Starting detail work, one quad at a time

April 13, 2022 - Quad Two

April 14, 2022 - Quad Three

April 14, 2022 - Completed Tile

Of course now this tile is vastly more detailed than the other ones. Maybe too detailed for my needs, but it was a fun modeling exercise for a few days. Plus more 'greebles' to add to my digital library. Always fun to look into the craftsmanship that went into these old physical models - all the kitbashing and random parts clearly from model tanks, planes, etc. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Spring Break 2022 Mini-Project


For spring break 2022, just to shift gears a bit from my thesis work, I decided to implement another mini-project in what I like to call "Video Game Fundamentals" where I've made a small project focusing on a particular game mechanic. In the past I've done an X-Wing style flight simulator and first person shooters.

For this project, I focused on a turn-based RPG combat system based on Star Wars Galaxies. For the back-end combat logic, it used many of the documented combat equations found:

The character models and animations I got from Adobe Mixamo. Which made a good exercise in importing existing models with character animations, Unity's animation system, and Unity's NavMesh Agent system to handle the AI movements and "aggression" when a player gets close (though the latter is not in the above video. May document that feature as this prototype progresses.

The above video highlights, a default primary attack, cooldown timer, a special attack, and accuracy values. Each of those also are connected to a particular animation: Idle, Punch, Uppercut (Special), Hit, and Death.

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Tatooine Flight Test


Inspired by The Book of Boba Fett: Chapter 5, I reworked the existing CAVE2 Mars demo and combined it with a scene modeled after the Tatooine map from Star Wars Galaxies.

Unlike the Mars demo, which has only has a few single rover models, this used a full Unity terrain with over 1000 separate models on it. Plenty of LOD scripts and clever rotating the world, shifting the world around the player to make the transition from the surface to space.

Created a custom splat map to generate the Tatooine planet surface. Replaced the model for Mars's Phobos and Deimos with a more standard moon model and tweaked the orbital parameters to match the classic Tatooine pan shot from Star Wars: A New Hope.

Added additional details to Beggar's Canyon to include Stone Needle, buildings in the canyon walls, and the service ramp Anakin Skywalker notably flew off of in The Phantom Menace (and was also features in The Book of Boba Fett).

Just a quick combining of existing projects for fun. Also been looking for an excuse to code this sort of thing for a while for CAVE2.

Monday, November 1, 2021

Halloween 2021

Based off of a "I got vaccinated" photoshoot/CAVE2 video I had done earlier this year, I reimaged the idea of "attacking" a Covid-19 virus in VR with a more Harry Potter theme.

I already had the Hogwarts costume from a Harry Potter birthday party a year back. Most of the background is actually from the Hummingbird VR project. I used the Orchard 2 scene and re-lit in into a nighttime scene. 

Threw in some custom wand particle effects and appended some MakeHuman beefy arms and googly eyes to the Covid-19 virus model.

Added two spell effects: a basic lumos ball to light the scene and the more flashy beam one.

A fun behind-the-scenes image showing some of the fans and camera setup I used to make the image. Using the floor fan to blow the back of my cloak for "dramatic" was a fun, but ultimately a subtle effect due to how dark the scene is.

Interestingly this was one of two Halloween CAVE2 photoshoots I did this year. The other being a Star Trek themed one.

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Millennium Falcon 3D Model Part 12

In celebration of the theatrical release of Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker, a new CAVE2™ video:

Developed in just a few days using mostly existing models from my Starfighter project (Millennium Falcon, TIE Fighters, Stormtroopers, blasters) as well as a number of interaction scripts (Stormtrooper AI, TIE Fighter AI, blaster effects, lightsaber deflection logic).

The terrain was also reused from my Halloween CAVE2 picture (based on The Rise of Skywalker teaser trailer). That terrain is based on NASA topography scans of Wadi Rum, Jordan where Rise of Skywalker and Rogue One were filmed. Zooming around Google Earth, this seemed to be the specific location the Rey + Kylo Ren fighter scene was filmed.

Halloween 2019
Jedi robe, cloak, belt, and lightsaber from my trip to Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge in Orlando on my way back from presenting a paper at SUI 2019 in New Orleans.

For the Halloween photoshoot the terrain, Star Destroyer, and TIE Fighters were placed in the Unity3D scene. However, other than the dust particle effect and the camera projection the scene was otherwise static. Any of the animations and interactions would be added in December.

Some of the new elements specifically built for this video was the Imperial Lambda Shuttle. Which I has started a while back, but didn't finish. I completed enough of the exterior and a bit of the interior and boarding ramp for use in this scene.

Existing model: December 16, 2019

Additional front and boarding ramp details: December 17, 2019

Other additions to the Millennium Falcon 3D model since my last post. The backlog is due to writing and presenting my PhD preliminary examination on December 2, 2019 followed by scrambling to work on a CAVE2 image for the 40th anniversary of Star Trek: The Motion Picture and finally The Rise of Skywalker theatrical release on December 19, 2019.

Engine details: September 12, 2019

Upper airlock: September 12, 2019

Upper airlock: September 12, 2019

Radar dish: December 10, 2019

Radar dish details: December 10, 2019

Underside details: December 19, 2019

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Millennium Falcon 3D Model Part 11

During this update my Blender project timer surpassed 200 hours! That's 200 active hours working on this Millennium Falcon model from basic exterior, interior layout, and exterior details since December 2015.

I've been working on the last major exterior section of the ship: the very detailed mechanical panels on top of the engine section. Reference for this part is a mix of technical drawings and mostly pictures of the large studio model.

Engine Panel Detail: August 28, 2019

Engine Panel Detail: August 31, 2019

Engine Panel Detail: September 2, 2019

Engine Panel Detail: September 9, 2019
Even with the mesh mirrored, this is probably one of the most detailed and visually impressive models I've done to date.

Completed Engine Panel Details: September 10, 2019

Monday, August 26, 2019

Millennium Falcon 3D Model Part 10

Uploading a backlog of progress from the last year.

Side equipment bay details: November 1, 2018

Cockpit armor plating: April 21, 2019

X-Wing landing gears: August 7, 2019

Cockpit tunnel armor plating: August 24, 2019

The edge equipment panels that surround the middle section of the Millennium Falcon was modeled based on a number of resources. Most of the equipment panels on the front-starboard side are based on screencaps or production photographs of the actual physical Millennium Falcon exterior set as seen in The Empire Strikes Back and The Force Awakens. Some were based on photos of the studio model from one of the museum tours.

The remaining panels were designed based on existing 3D models of the Millennium Falcon from various games such as Star Wars Galaxies: Jump to Lightspeed and Battlefront (2015).

Some panels like the one pictured below is actually derived from a production screenshot of the VCX-100 model (i.e. The Ghost from Star Wars: Rebels) used in Rogue One. This segment will eventually be used for my 3D model of the Ghost, but modified versions of the mesh was used to fill out the sections of the Millennium Falcon where I didn't have good reference material - mainly on the port side of the ship.

Side equipment detail panels: August 25, 2019