The Sap Zapper project began when a friend approached me to make an asset for the game Team Fortress 2. That was the beginning of a grueling, yet rewarding, four month long process. My friend and I had almost zero experience in digital media.

In fact, this was my friend’s initial concept art. As you can see, I didn't have much to work with:


Our first task was to create an orthographic for the weapon. My friend created this, using a template I designed in GIMP to help him with the task.

Next began the second most difficult task of all: Modeling the weapon.


When my friend initially approached me, he approached me because I was “artistic.” Unfortunately, I had only marginal experience creating 3D models. Over a long period of self – learning and many sleepless nights, the model began to take shape.

After that, I delved into the most difficult part of all: Unwrapping the model.


My first attempts were quite comical. Below is my initial unwrap result (Yuck!):


After much self learning, numerous tutorials, and more sleepless nights, however, I became proficient in unwrapping. The final result was a major improvement:


Texturing the model ended up going smoothly, with no issues. Just kidding. Although texturing took some time, I was quite pleased with the result. The texture was designed to emulate Team Fortress 2’s visual style. I also created a normal and specular map:


With the completion of the texture, the full Sap Zapper model was done. At this point, I had vastly improved my skillsets. In fact, I was able to make another asset, the "Split Personality" hat, in a single weekend!

Disclaimer: The Engineer upon which the split personality is perched is property of Valve corporation, and is only included for context.


That was nearly the end of the major undertaking. My friend and I only had to put the models into the game and animate them. I handled animations, while my friend handled the coding for source engine. We got some pretty janky results at first (below), but we eventually got everything working.

Disclaimer: The engineer and all TF2 assets seen in the image below are property of Valve corporation, and are only used for context.


Thus ended a four month long journey, spanning from 2014 - 2015. My friend and I even added some polish to the items, such as making them "paintable." I learned a tremendous amount, and am proud to have been a part of the creation of the "Sap Zapper."

Special shoutout to Cold Fusion on Steam for these wonderful Source Filmmaker images of our items:

Split_Personality.jpg is the personal portfolio site of artist Daniel Freeman.

Copyright  Freedan Studios .