In the second part, I refine my idea bit further and create a blockout.
The first part of doing any type of 3d modeling for me is a blockout. A blockout (or blockin or graybox) is used in the video game industry to determine if a level is playable and fun. Basic shapes (cubes, cylinders, etc.) are used to create a level so game designers can “play it” to get a sense of the space without artists spending a ton of time creating detailed props that won’t be used. This way changes can be made quickly before the final design is locked in. Once the final design is locked in, finished assets are created along with lighting to finish off the level and make it look like it will appear once the final game ships. I’ve only touched on the environment art pipeline briefly. 80 Level has an excellent article on The Stages of Environment Art in Gamedev if you want to learn more.
I’ve modeled a few miniatures in 3d for production before, and one of the hardest things to get used to is that what you are looking at on the screen is not representative of how the final miniature will look. Take for example these drone miniatures I sculpted for Megacon Games. And yes, I never cleaned up the mold lines I’m a bad person. Some of the details just don’t read at such a small size. Now that I ‘ll have a 3d printer any day now I’ll be able to avoid a lot of that, but it is worth keeping in mind when sculpting for print at small sizes.
One thing that should help out with sizing issues is a digital caliper I purchased from Amazon. With it I can measure and compare sizes to models in my collection before I print and hopefully avoid some sizing pitfalls. As to the actual size of the terrain itself, I wanted it to match as closely to Zone Mortalis as possible. I did some searches for Zone Mortalis measurements on Google and have a good idea on how big this all needs to be.
Armed with a caliper, a bunch of reference images on sizes, and an awesome Blood Angels Terminator I found on Thingiverse (for Sanguinius!), I had my first blockout completed.
Kinda anti-climatic, I know. This is all necessary to get it all working properly. Next time I’ll do some real modeling and we’ll tackle the floor piece.