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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:

Zapper_Concept.png

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.

Zapper_Orthographic.jpg

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.

Zapper_Modeling.jpg

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

Zapper_Unwrap1.png

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

Zapper_Unwrap2.png

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:

Zapper_Texture.png

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.

SP_Model.jpg

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.

Zapper_Animations.jpg

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:

Sap_Zapper.jpg
Split_Personality.jpg



FreedanStudios.com is the personal portfolio site of artist Daniel Freeman.

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