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Nimrond's Wooden Lion Chair

Discussion in 'Developer Work and Blog posts' started by Scottie, Apr 23, 2024.

  1. Scottie

    Scottie Master Artisan SOTA Developer

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    Salutations!

    I'd meant to post this a bit earlier, but alas life seems to get in the way (honestly, I've had my nose pressed onto FAR TOO many different grindstones, and it's been difficult juggling everything)! But I've been wanting to create THIS particular item for quite some time! Back in the days when a lot of local player events were going on in Austin, I was honored to host quite a number of our players at my own humble home! As a result, they were able to get a gander at some of the interesting artifacts that fill my house, and especially some of my favorite relics of furniture, costumery, and other decorations that I've always enjoyed taking to SCA encampments and wearing when attending medieval and renaissance fairs both near and far! One type of furniture I have always treasured (and which is often commented upon by guests) is my late medieval-styled, lion-headed, wooden folding chair ...of which I was lucky enough to acquire three!

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    Mine are not true historical artifacts, but instead the result of some really good work (I believe coming out of India, at the time) which was being sold at a place called Pier 1 Imports long, long ago, back in the late 80's, when I first joined the SCA! You can still find chairs like this being sold from time to time, but CERTAINLY not at the insanely low prices I got mine for when Pier 1 decided they were done carrying them, and sold them all of for the stultifying price of $15 EACH!!!!! The design is based on one of the MANY different styles of these chairs, such as the Sedia Savonarola, which was a late medieval folding chair that originated in Northern Italy and became popular during the 15th and 16th century! Certainly go check out such chairs online to see the plethora of styles that existed!

    I really wanted to capture my own particular versions accurately, for the sake of those who wanted to relish something familiar from my home "in-game". As such, I realized it was time to get some good visuals of one of them for texture creation and reference during 3-D build-out, so I knew it was time to take some decent photos! Normally, for things that come from my imagination, I like to hand-paint stuff even if referencing other imagery, but in this case I really wanted this piece to come out "picture-perfect", so I sacrifice my artistry to follow the real-life object from my home as closely as possible... Please note that there were some "casualties in the kitchen" when I snapped these photos, because ...like an idiot... I set up that grey felt background by stacking some heavy bowls on the corners, which promptly got dragged off by the weight of the felt, which then sent one of them crashing to the ceramic tile floor to shatter into a thousand foot-lacerating shards (which, of course, took me 10x longer to clean up than it did to actually take these (and a half-dozen other) photos... Ugggghhhh!)...

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    None-the-less, with punctured feet tended to, and photos taken (goofy lion face and all), I was ready to move on to the next step! I'm one of those weird "old school" computer game-environment artists who likes to create my texture BEFORE I do any modeling of the mesh... I'm literally imagining how I want to eventually UV-map my as-of-yet-unmade 3dsMax model AS I'm assembling the texture-map, for the sake of making sure I'm using the texture space as efficiently as possible while still being able to use desired portions of it in a "tiling" fashion. Doing so means that I can extend the UV coordinates of the mapping off one edge from bits of the texture as it wraps smoothly back onto the opposite side. This allows me to have deeper pixel density for certain elongated areas of the mesh with a smaller texture, which is something that painting a texture onto the the mesh, and then algorithmically unwrapping it explosively to "auto-fill" a texture square simply doesn't do! I come from a conceptual place of wanting to potentially use portions of this texture map for other things later, if desired, and it's really hard to do that if the texture is "generated" through algorithmic unwrapping, which makes it too "uniquely fractured" to practically use it for anything else... Going this route ALSO helps ensure that I'm able to get away with using only one smaller texture for the whole thing, making the end result more efficient and potentially less of a burden on frame-rate if they're all over the place... Anyway, THIS was the end result!

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    Next up, the build-out in 3dsMax! I initially start by bringing a few select objects I've made in the past into my empty scene, which I'll use for size and pixel-density comparison as I start crafting my new item. After that I love projecting my finished texture-map onto a totally flat plane, and sizing that plane up until certain elements (such as the back, the arm-sides, and the flat seat "ribs") are essentially the size I want them to be for my final goal. To save time on mapping them by hand later (which can be a REALLY arduous process), I adore cutting those pieces out of my plane and "folding" them out into more rounded shapes like some kind of printed craft-paper sculpture (similar to the full-head masks you can see about halfway through the video for "Actual Cannibal Shia Labeouf" ^_^)... Once I create and suture together all the basic elements, I turn off the material for a moment, and then continue assembling the whole form by duplicating any pieces as necessary, while scaling them up and down as needed to make sure I match all the photo reference I took, while simultaneously comparing them to existing, functional chairs already in the game (for the sake of achieving later functionality). Once it's all assembled, I then turn the material back on and fix any UV mapping as needed for final results! I often render it using the built-in 3dsMax renderer just to make sure things are all good...

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    With all that accomplished it's time to take it into Unity for assembly of the prefab, along with creating a material for it within the editor, and addition of all the collision, any SFX, and whatever other functional elements it requires. There's a LOT that goes into something even as simple as this looks to allow for it to be placed and merely sat upon by characters "in-game"... Even with all the care I took creating it, another person had to go in and do some tweaks to fix the little node that allowed the sitting animation to look "just right", and THEN a third person even had to touch it YET AGAIN because a tiny thing the second person changed cause it to become un-place-able in the actual game and had to be fixed!!! Such is the delicacy of proper asset production!

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    Anyway, when all was said and done I was really happy with the outcome, and I'm hoping you enjoyed my little creative journey I took making something for you fine folks that I've been wanting to make for quite a while! As always, I'm not exactly sure how the "powers that be" will be making it available to you all, but I do know that it should be coming your way fairly soon! Thanks again for your interest in my endeavors!

    Scottie ^_^
     
  2. Duke Gréagóir

    Duke Gréagóir Legend of the Hearth

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  3. that_shawn_guy

    that_shawn_guy Bug Hunter

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    Incredible work!
     
  4. Barugon

    Barugon Avatar

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    Maybe we'll get a crafting recipe this time.
     
  5. Beaumaris

    Beaumaris Avatar

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    Nice work!
     
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  6. majoria70

    majoria70 Avatar

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    Very nice work as always @Scottie. I love to see what you're working on. :)
     
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  7. Isabel Ayin

    Isabel Ayin Avatar

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    The chair is beautiful! Thank you for sharing the creative process with us again, even though my design knowledge was left with Photoshop from 1990, I love knowing the ins and outs of SotA.
     
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  8. Belladonna Rose

    Belladonna Rose Bug Hunter

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    I remember back at Sotacon 2018 watching him work on a Viking type bow and some other Viking design stuff. It was amazing to see his detail and designs. So seeing him take things and recreate or make is always fascinating . Keep yp the good work Sir Scotty
     
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  9. Cirsee

    Cirsee Avatar

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    That came out perfect! Thank you, Scottie, your process descriptions are always a delight to read and view.
     
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  10. Scottie

    Scottie Master Artisan SOTA Developer

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    Thanks so much, everyone, for the wonderful compliments and interest in the process! I'm so glad you like seeing some of the behind-the-scenes-efforts it takes to bring things like this to life inside the game!
     
  11. Fiero Steele

    Fiero Steele Avatar

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    Awesome!
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2024
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  12. Winfield

    Winfield Legend of the Hearth

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  13. Barugon

    Barugon Avatar

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    We did get a recipe for a rather simplified version.

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