Update - 6 Jan 2020
Peaky Blinders wagon model: Inspired by "The Order: 1886"
Hi, I’m Maximilian Lock a student at Norwich University of the Arts studying Games art and design. I was born in America, Columbus, Mississippi but I was raised in England my whole life. Originally, I was in to fine art but in 2015 I attended an Interactive media course and gained a new-found appreciation for game design. 2015 was also the year I started to reach out into the industry obtaining advice and criticism that helped me get to university. Due to my fine art background I felt more comfortable in conceptual work but with 3D I feel that could advance my skills even further.
I wanted to participate in this challenge because it will give me more experience in creating game ready assets plus it seemed like a fun activity. I’ll do a breakdown of my work process explaining modelling, texturing, lighting and environmental storytelling.
Before even researching I had already jumped the gun. I distinctly remembered the fight with Billy Kimber and immediately began creating the environment. Within the first hour I had a reasonable blockout of the environment however I didn’t consider the scale of the project. Some lectures gave me some advice to focus one model and optimise it. I chose the wagon as it seemed to be the most complex model in the scene.
After my conversation with my lecturer I thought it was necessary to look on Pinterest for references. The Lecturer also suggested what I should aim towards as an outcome for the wagon. This model was from the game Order: 1886 and became the literal foundation for my model. I thought that if I could achieve the same levels of realism found in the game I would ecstatic. I analysed the model and considered how to deconstruct it, for now I was only focused on the model. The environment would be assembled around the wagon. Controversially I wanted to make the environment dark just because of the fear for imperfections but in the end, I chose to go against this settling for a bright atmospheric scene.
The model from Alec Moody on the wagon from "The Order: 1886" was a great reference point:
I started to create a blockout of the wagon model, the original model took 2 hours to create without proper UV mapping. However, in my group sessions where we present our project, I became confused. I had a clear goal to focus on one asset, but the group constantly wanted to add items to the model. At a point I made a I have created a shovel, pile of coal and a tarp that rested on the side of the wagon. Although I think my peer’s advice was sound, I wanted to keep the project achievable focusing on quality over quantity.
I wanted to closely mimic the scene from Peaky Blinders with the Billy Kimber fight sequence. Resulting in me making addition models such as the wall and floor. However, later in the project I remembered I wanted the wagon to be the focus of the scene as it’d be the only asset I’d solely make. The timing of this challenge was good because I had just had my feedback for this term, so it gave me a clear idea of where I should take the project. Three to work on were:
- Management of the scale of the project
- Quality not quantity
In the original level I created it was heavily reliant on the perspective of the camera. This didn’t work towards the goal I had in mind although it was representative of the Billy Kimber fight scene.
From the 4 December I continued to work on the project although I had two weeks off due to health and the festive celebrations. Due to my revelation and goals I was able to change the scene drastically to a diorama to place more focus on my model.
When I started on the 4th Dec, I immediately made a blockout of the Billy Kimber scene. I used a screenshot from the scene and began to break it down into modular components in photoshop. Afterwards making a rough blockout of the environment with a camera that tried to mimic the perspective of the scene.
I liked the environment, but time management, scale and quality were in question leading me to scale down and this isn’t the first time. Initially when making the blockout I started by just getting the general shape and automatically UV mapping the model to get an idea of how the model will come together. I rendered the model in Substance Painter, here the wagon at this stage:
Obviously, the wagon was the hero asset, but I didn’t want to use this as an excuse to go over board on the tri count sticking around the 10 – 20k tri mark. I have found this to be optimal due to a spreadsheet provided by another competition that stipulates the approximate tri count for a variety of models.
Link to the spreadsheet:
The wagon model from Alec Moody only had one view point, so when constructing the model, I built one side and mirrored it. After this I filled in the gaps. Later, I had to shrink the front wheel on my wagon and extend the bench because I didn’t consider the dynamics of the seat height and elevation by the horse once attached. Although I wanted to keep in 10 – 20k tris the first model exceeded this coming in at 3 million tris. I didn’t know how on earth I manage to get to this tris count so I imported it to Zbrush. In this program I decimated the model and then I Zremeshed it and this got the model to a respectable 20k which I was able to further decrease in Maya make the completed model 13k tris.
Once I got to this stage in production, I started to gain requests to fill the wagon up. So, I created a pile of coal, a shovel, wall and floor but stopped myself before veering off the deep end. The wall and floor will be further established in the texture section. Although I would have liked to create some other items to be placed in the wagon, I’m striving to make the wagon the best I can achieve.
I primarily used Maya for the models for low poly hard surface, but I’d use Zbrush for high poly organic modelling unless it was a fabric. In the chance that fabric is needed I'd use Marvelous Designer to simulate the physics to gain accurate wrinkles. Someone suggested learning it a few years back and it's a brilliant program to use. Marvelous Designer was utilised to create the sacks found in the wagon.
With this part I experimented with different assets and textures in the scene to see whether it was necessary to include them in the project. Luckily I felt fine purely relying on my Wagon Model.
Because I had created a brick wall and flooring in a previous iteration I attempted to make the a few textures in substance designer but thought against it because I wasn't happy with the quality, this was another reason why I changed to a diorama.
The brick textures used a combination of tile generators and to give the illusion of none repetition in the colour phase I used a tile generator but with a random illumination. This enabled me to place two more colour into the Scene. Although I colour picked them from the Billy Kimber fight scene they came out incredibly dark, I think this was because I didn't consider the lighting conditions.
I dropped this idea before it was to late but I was going to create the coal piles to place in to the environment to provide more variation. However, at this point I realised that I'm drawing to much attention away from the wagon.
This project was a way to challenge my skills and abilities in 3D design some of which I'm not normally comfortable with, I was able to push through my barriers and accomplish making a 3D wagon asset. This project has taught me that time management, managing your scale and trying to lower the route for entry by making things simpler supposed to more complicated is an easier and nicer approach to asset creation.
Baking and texturing are usually not my strong suit, but I managed to accomplish that and shocked myself on how easy the process can be if you narrow it down.
I'm grateful for this opportunity to participate in such a cool competition and I would also like to recommend looking at Alec moody because his assets and his process are very interesting and informative. I’d also suggest playing “The order 1886” because this is where his model derived from and there are plenty of inspirational assets to pick apart. For this project the games relevance considering it within the designated time period for the Peaky Blinders was crucial for the completion of this project.
Thank you, hope you guys like the model