Johnny’s Workshop

May 27, 2008

Streetbattlefield Fighter 2

Filed under: 3ds Max 9,Battlefield 2 — april15th @ 1:13 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

I don’t know what useful and/or exciting things you, my fickle readers, did during the first two weeks of May but a good portion of my precious time was devoted to 3ds Max. The focus of my efforts? Learning how to import, reconstruct and texture some of the more complex models from Battlefield 2 (and its various mods).

After a week of rendering those models and experimenting with different types of lighting, I decided it’d be fun to make a little composition. Originally, the plan was to create an animated scene that I could upload to YouTube but within a few days I changed my mind and decided to do a single frame instead:

Streetfighter 2 and Battlefield 2

An animated version of the scene remains a possibility; it’s just that I’m still hopeless at rigging and preparing the soldiers for this scene would have required a lot more time and effort than I was willing to commit. An experienced animator probably could have done it in no time but I’m an amateur and burdened with other priorities. I still haven’t told my neighbour that I found her cat and that’s something I should have done weeks ago. I’ve also got half a dozen DVD rentals that are seriously overdue.

The idea to recreate Guile’s level from Street Fighter II appeared out of the blue. I knew the Allied Intent Xtended mod included a well put-together F16—modelled and textured by clivewil—and it was probably the availability of that model, more than anything else, that compelled me to try. Growing up, I was a big fan of Street Fighter II, so the prospect of recreating a familiar image and spending a few days reminiscing about my Godlike SFII skills held great appeal.

More importantly, creating the scene allowed me to get better at using textures, Bipeds and the Physique modifier, and required the careful posing of half a dozen 3D models of humans. I’d never tried that before and it seemed a fun way to learn the basics.

Except for the clouds (created in 3ds Max) and the HUD (added via Photoshop), everything in the scene was sourced from Battlefield 2. Well, everything except clivewil’s F16 which, as I’ve already mentioned, was from Allied Intent Xtended, one of the very best BF2 mods going around. Some of the models were tweaked ever-so-slightly because I wanted them to better resemble the objects featured in Guile’s scene. For the most part, though, they were left alone. Battlefield 2 offered the equivalent of virtually everything seen in the original SFII level, so it was just a matter of finding the right objects, importing them into 3ds Max, applying textures, then moving them into position.

3ds Max Scene

The only object that could have been more faithful to the original was the Supply Crate. In Street Fighter II, the corresponding object is a destructible wooden crate (a rarity in video games) and BF2 definitely had one that was suitable but I think the Supply Crate, for this version, has more novelty value.

The scene’s main source of light is a Skylight with its Multiplier set to 1.3, however there are also three Omni Lights; two within the hangars to prevent them from being pitch-black and one in the foreground to increase the overall brightness of the fighters and onlookers. Without the Omni lights, the lighting had a more consistent, realistic feel but video games from that era didn’t really strive for photorealism, so I had no qualms about brightening things up.

As hoped, it was a fun project and though I’m sure it could have been done better, I’m happy with the end result. Happy enough to move on, anyway.

Let me know what you think.

(Click to enlarge)

May 13, 2008

My very first YouTube video.

Filed under: Battlefield 2 — april15th @ 3:09 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

I really don’t care for that title but every time I substitute it with my original choice – “Here’s a nice piece of SHIT!” – I feel guilty for using bad language.

Back when I was deeply immersed in the world of Battlefield 2 machinima, I felt contempt for anyone who posted their work on streaming video sites. I wanted crystal-clear, high-quality versions of everything. For a while there, was the most oft-used of those streaming sites but then YouTube arrived on the scene and everyone started posting their horribly-encoded, low-res crap there instead.

Eventually, I, too, was lured in by YouTube’s siren song but I vowed that I would always provide people with high-quality versions of the same clips. All they had to do was ask. (No-one ever did.)

My very first video was posted almost two years ago to the day and has since racked up 7104 views. To put that into context, there’s a ten-minute video on YouTube called Watching Paint Dry; it’s exactly what its name implies and it has amassed 39,720 views. Quite an indictment on the quality of my own videos.

Speaking of which …

The clip was actually a response to someone’s request on the TotalBF2 forums. The game had just been patched to include vehicle drops and someone had asked whether or not it was possible to exit a flying jet or helicopter and then land in an air-dropped vehicle before it reached the ground. I can’t remember how many times I tried it before finally succeeding. Maybe it was five. Maybe it was fifteen. When you think about all the pain and suffering in the world, though, does it really matter? What’s important is that I had a problem (my abject disgust for low-quality streaming video) and I overcame it … the feel-good story of the year.

November 10, 2007

Battlefield 2 in Real-Life.

Edit: The tutorial on getting Battlefield 2 models into 3ds Max is now available here:

Keen to put my patience to the test, I recently forced myself to learn the process of importing BF2 models into 3ds Max 9. I figure it’s another skill that’ll look great on a résumé; especially when applying for a job in which the ability to import BF2 models into 3ds Max 9 is a vital prerequisite.

BF2 models aren’t as high-poly or nicely-textured as those found in HL2 but they look fairly realistic nonetheless; especially when rendered using HDR Image-Based Lighting:

F35b BF2


I’ll try to do something creative with them soon and hope that Electronic Arts doesn’t sue. Not that you can get blood from a stone …

Click to enlarge:

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