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HappyDay's blog


pencil Dragon Reborn - Raise Your Flags

bullet_none posted Thursday, 07 July 2016 by FS HappyDay
It's been a (long) while since my last blog post but I haven't been inactive. As you might have seen in chump's post, we do have new flag models for Urban Terror. Here's some behind the scenes info from me on the topic of flags, dragons and logos.

Let's start with flags

They are very similar to the old urt 4.x flags. They consist of a pole, a simple, rectangular flag cloth, pointing to the side and a golden ornament at the top. When I was working on the flags, I considered changing the shape to something more like a banner, the flag cloth hanging down from a horizontal bar. Possibly adding a second, smaller triangular cloth or other variations. Ultimately I stuck to the old, proven design. Different banner versions can always be added later for map specific flags. This time around, thanks to Unreal Engine 4's wind system, the flapping of the cloth is determined by wind sources placed in the map. It is the level designer's choice how the flags behave in each part of the map. Inside, without wind, they might just hang down, while outside they flap like a chicken that is being chased by an angry fox. Here's a short demo showing a moderately strong wind effect.


New to the game are also two cords and tassels hanging down the pole. I think that makes the flags look a bit more interesting and adds a feeling of preciousness and aesthetics to the otherwise rather simple design. The cords consist of a few physics bodies that react to gravity and any obstacles. So they will move, when a player bumps into them, or has a flag on his back and is running around.



Logos
In case you don't have a clear picture of the old 4.x flags in your mind, here's a screenshot to help you compare. As you can see, the logos have slightly changed. The blue team, the Urban Terror Response Team (UTRT) still has the three bullet shells on the striped background, but now resembling the UrT logo a bit more.
The logo of the Red Dragons has changed from a white dragon in side view to a gold and black dragon in frontal view, which in my opinion looks far better. I took both designs from nounou's awesome concept art. Here's one of them, added for your pleasure.

There also needs to be a neutral (grey) flag for some game modes, but I haven't found the time yet to work on that.

Dragon
The ornament on top of the red flag is UrT's iconic red dragon, which received a major update. Here are two in-game shots.

The old dragon was very low poly and had rather skinny limbs. Nonetheless, the pose was quite dynamic and I used the same pose for the updated dragon. The old model was used as a base for dynamic sculpting in blender. In accordance with the new logo on the flag, I added some more horns and spikes, adjusted the wings and added a few tiny fins on the back and tail. A toothless baby dragon, that couldn't even scare your grandma was reborn as a mighty predator, worthy to be symbol of the ferociousness, with which the Red Dragons fight for what they believe in. The high poly model ended up with about 12 million tris. I had to reduce tris count several times during the sculpting process. Editing became somewhat slow after a while (should have bought more RAM). Still, I enjoyed working on the dragon a lot, this was one of my favorite projects so far.

After the high-poly model was done, I used remeshing algorithms and manual adjusting to create a low poly model, which is used in-game. I baked a normal map and an ambient occlusion map from high- to low-poly to fake most of the detail. The model used in the game has about 8500 tris.

Apart from a very awesome flag ornament, we also could use a larger size version of the dragon as a statue in some maps, lobby screens or similar places.

This concludes my little blog post. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed creating the new art.

Have a happy day! :)
comments: Feel free to discuss this on our forums
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