Pikeman Unit Creation

Created by Daniil Solovjov – veteran Plarium 3D designer

Greetings! My name’s Daniil and I’ve been working with Plarium for 3 years. Today I’m going to be talking about the design process of one of the main characters in the game. I’ll walk you through the process – step-by-step, as I reveal how the Pikeman unit was created.

Understanding the Concept

The process of creating a unit requires lots of brainstorming. To get my creative juices flowing, I work with briefs about the unit and build upon that information. Basically, this particular unit was intended to be based on medieval reality and authenticity, not fantasy. That was my starting point for the Pikeman Unit.

Preparing the Setting

Stage preparation is essential to everything that follows. I begin by conducting careful and methodical research, monitoring all similar images and info in the process of creating characters and settings. As a 3D designer, you want to create a sound structural foundation for your concept and build upon it. The Internet is a hive of activity for most anything you wish to create – so I use this resource to find loads of reference images, including the following:

Creating game characters

Now that I’ve got a good idea of my general direction, I envisage a complete image of the character that I want to create. This includes things like the character’s appearance, the character’s movements and interaction with other characters in the game. Now, it’s off to the workstation to begin constructing my model.

The Modelling Process

The model is the character that you actually see as a player. That’s why it’s very important to me to create authentic, realistic and exciting characters. I begin by opening my modeling program – 3DS-Max. My work begins with low-poly, 3-D-conditioned renderings. Once I’m content with the sketches that I’ve created, and associated basic elements, I switch gears to add the finer details. I make sure that I create multiple options for each character element, including things like boots, helmets, shoulders, armor and the like. Take a look at the following character rendering that I created below:

Stormfall behind the scenes

Many more details are required, so my work continues in earnest. I use a 3D sculpting program known as Zbrush, which is imported from 3DS-Max. This is done by using GoZ. After I put the finishing touches on the character – by using sculpting techniques in Zbrush – the transformation looks like this:

Pikerman whole body design

Pikerman face design

As soon as I’m happy with what I’ve created during the sculpting process, it’s time to add some color to the character. In this case, I filled the model with standard, basic colors. Then, I used different shades to dilute the colors via DrawRect and Alphas.

Take a look at the model below – it’s getting much closer to what we envisioned!

Getting ready for final design

As a matter of fact, the above image is one of the original renderings we did for the Pikeman, inclusive of shading, colors and lighting.

Desiging Pikerman on Stormfall

Presto! Now let’s get to even more fun stuff. Let’s make the Pikeman pose by using Zbrush’s Rigging system.

Below is the action-pose! Impressive isn’t it?

Pikerman design

There you have it! A battle-ready warrior for you to enjoy; creating these characters is almost as much fun as playing with them in the game.

In Conclusion

Thanks for taking the time to read up about how I created the Pikeman Unit. I hope that my insights inspired you to perhaps ignite your passion for 3D modeling. Every day is an adventure and a challenge in this type of work – I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Next time you login to play StormFall: Age of War with Plarium you’ll have a more intimate understanding of how your character was created – enjoy to the max.