Vehicles, weapons, tools, buildings, trees and other elements are all as essential to bringing a game to vivid life as are the characters. This detailed guide shows you step by step how to create a variety of today's hottest game environments and props using Maya's powerful tools.
You'll start from scratch - the way studio professionals do - and create fully renderable game assets in a series of projects that increase in complexity as you go. Master modeling while fashion an ivy vine and a tree. Learn more complex UV and texture mapping techniques as you design a revolver. Draw on all your skills and create a cool sci-fi gizmo that glows. It's all here and more in this practical, in-depth guide.
Comes with a valuable companion DVD which includes all the project files, and bonus resources.
NOTE: Requires Maya 2009 Ultimate or Maya 2010 to use these files.
This book is well laid out and is fairly straight forward to follow, although not for absolute beginners to Maya. The author assumes readers are familiar with basic functions in Maya and in Photoshop (including layers and masks). This book is most appropriate for intermediate users wanting to get into modelling specifically for gaming.
Video tutorials are included on the accompanying DVD and these really do help to understand the content better. The projects are explained step-by-step, although more details are revealed in the videos than are stated in the book. It would have been nice to have audio commentary with these. They are silent and quite fast to watch, I recommend slowing the playback rate if your viewing program allows. Editor Note: One programme suitable for this is PowerDVD.
I noticed in the first video, that the author had a minor issue with a Boolean Difference action when using a shape to 'gouge' out rough edges on a brick - namely the whole brick disappeared along with the shape. He quickly resolved it and carried on gouging. I also had the same issue and would have appreciated a handy tip in the book about how to resolve it - since it clearly wasn't an uncommon experience.
Some very good tips and tricks are explained for making models with the minimum of polygons - essential for creating game assets. Readers are shown how to use Maya to create the basis of the texture maps, normal maps and bump maps that are needed to optimise gaming models. There is also useful information on how to optimise your UV maps for making better use of available pixel space.
There are some fun projects in the book, some easier than others. The buggy (Chapter 4), for example, could be a challenge for someone who has not used NURBS before. If you only have basic skills in Maya (I am currently in that category) it is worth going through the projects in order of presentation. Chapter 9 offers an interesting overview of Pro Tips and to finish off there is a nice gallery of images in the Appendix.
Michael McKinley has extensive experience in the game industry, and the projects he has included in this book are based on the type of projects that a professional game environment artist would actually encounter. He sets out to give readers a grasp on the process of creating game assets that could potentially be used in real game development. The same ideas are repeated throughout the book on various projects, emphasising the importance and value of getting these right.
I think the author has achieved his goal and provided a useful and enjoyable resource for 3D artists to to begin their up-skill pathway into game development.
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"Computer games don't affect kids. I mean if Pac-Man affected us as kids, we'd all be running around in darkened rooms, munching magic pills and listening to repetitive electronic music."
Kristian Wilson, Nintendo, Inc, 1989