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Thinking Outside the Box:
3DS Tutorial #1: CyberGuy

Vol. 2, Issue 13 
February 23, 2000 

Cyberdude Part 1

Recently on a trip to Australia with Tim Willits promoting Q3A, a rabid fan at a pool hall in Sydney accosted me.  This fan, hopelessly dedicated to the dream of keeping all shooters exactly like Quake, raised an interesting question concerning identifying with your virtual counterpart when playing on-line.  His hypothesis was that since people are acutely aware that they are ‘playing’ on-line and their ‘character’ is a blatant computer generated piece of art, why not make the digital aspect of said ‘computer character’ even more apparent?  Basically he wanted me to admit that devolving today’s graphics to the level they were in the Tron days or pre-Quake days was a great idea in order to better identify with your character.  Well…it’s not and I won’t. 

With the level of artistry, complexity and richness evident in Q3A’s wall textures, levels, and characters, don’t hold your breath hoping to get the graphics anything but better from now on.  The art in Quake III Arena is easily the best in its genre and is only slightly surpassed by games that feature pre-rendered art or ultra-slow game technology.  However, if you truly want to more accurately identify with your character when playing Q3A or most fps games, identify with a box…as in bounding box.  The outer appearance of your character has no reflection on anything other than…how it looks.  In Q3A, all bounding boxes are the same.  All jumping, running, shooting and damage-taking capabilities are the same.  The characters’ looks in are solely for the sake of diversity and aesthetic appeal only.

Still, the discussion did get me thinking about a great first (and simple) tutorial for this column and I thank the gentleman for planting the idea.  Keep in mind this will be a massive affair as I go from point A to point Z and try to make this as comprehensive as possible.  Thusly, each week I’ll post more of it until it’s done…

Here’s what you’ll need to do this…

 

Tools Used:

3DS Max 2.5 (2.0 and 3.0 should work as well)
Character Studio 2.0
PhotoShop 5.0 (or 4.0)

The theme of the character is an unabashed ‘virtual’ character.  But we still need to make him humanoid.

click to enlarge!

Click to enlarge

Now this illustration is basically a schematic for a beefy, heroic-kinda guy with a skeleton underneath.  Using this ‘schematic’ for reference, let’s define some areas of mass or chunks of weight that will ultimately represent the body of Cyberguy.

click to enlarge!

Click to enlarge

I divided the upper and lower areas up for clarity’s sake.  The reason I have some areas blocked out from the front and some from the side will be apparent as we get further into the tutorial.  Now based off the above diagram, look at the next image:

click to enlarge!

Click to enlarge

 

I need you to download this jpg so we can be relatively on the same page when we build Cyberguy.  I’ll wait…hmmm…okay now that you’ve downloaded him let’s get to work.

 

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Credits: Illustration © 2000 Dan Zalkus. Thinking Outside the Box is © 2000 Paul Steed. All other content is © 2000 loonyboi productions. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited, bitch.