In Art Spotlight, we invite Sketchfab artists to talk about one of their designs.
Hi! I’m Martti, an artist at the indie games company 10tons. I quite enjoy making digital art, 3D modeling, and animation. Video games are what have inspired me from the beginning.
The Tesla Mech is for the upcoming game Tesla vs Lovecraft, an intense top-down arena shooter for PC, PS4 and Xbox One where you play as Nikola Tesla, bringing his inventions into battle against the sea of nightmarish monsters summoned by Lovecraft.
The artistic style I’m trying to accomplish with the whole game is an atmospheric, cartoonish world with pleasant colors and a touch of grittiness and decay. I thought if Tesla vs Lovecraft was a movie, it would be one of those atmospheric stylized stop-motion films!
As the game is top-down, we have to take that into account when designing graphical assets. For example, we as humans are not accustomed to seeing humans like birds do. This is why we have to exaggerate proportions and movements, to make them look like something.
Blender is what we use, and general interface considered it has become a favorite for me in 3D modeling.
I started on the Tesla model by looking at photos of him. Luckily, Mr. Tesla had very distinct features and hairstyle, so it was fun to caricature him! The whole character and the mech are modeled ”the old fashioned way”, no sculpting involved. I found the method of modeling the head by drawing the features on a plane, mainly using the knife tool, and then moving on to depth by moving and extruding geometry surprisingly handy! There was no need to worry about topology, as the face is not animated.
I did the Mech’s design as I drew a draft of the game’s “box art”, not thinking about the modeling part at all, let alone functionality in the game. I found it easier to come up with something nice looking this way. Thinking too much about the technical stuff while sketching really blocked me artistically. The final model ended up rounder and stubbier compared to the original art because we wanted it to be compact enough to maneuver most areas in the game.
This final mech design looks more like an extension of Tesla, rather than just a metal can he is jammed into. I wanted it to have a defiant expression, and the anthropoid form allows that. We wanted it to have some makeshift feel to it (the loose chords) but also for it to look durable and powerful, like an armored vehicle. Mounting Tesla on top keeps Tesla’s presence on the screen when playing as the mech, which we thought was important.
The pumped joints in the arms and legs I did by giving each pump two bones with a ”Locked Track”- constraint to each other. The idea is that the two ends would be pointing at each other at all times while moving with the parts of the leg they are parented to respectively. The shaft of the pump simply stretches between them, hopefully seeming to pump up and down. (This ends up looking sketchy! The bones don’t maintain a straight line in movement, still looking into this.)
Bringing the model to Sketchfab was interesting. Playing around with materials in 3D settings is easy and fun, and the PBR really amped up the metallic monster feel of the mech! Sketchfab is an excellent way to share 3D assets online and it has all the material options we could need!
Tesla vs Lovecraft is coming out Q4 2017! Follow us:
See Tesla vs Lovecraft in action!