Author : chriszuko


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Elbagast's Avatar
Old (#1)
If anybody is still visiting this thread after all this time, you might be interested to know that I've since done an updated version of the pack, you can see it here:

http://forums.steampowered.com/forum....php?t=1635660

Otherwise everything below this point is left as it was at the end of the contest.
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Seeing this contest on the TF2 blog got me thinking about things to make, then inspiration hit, so I'm in. I've been wanting to have a go at making some kind of rocket launcher, but was unclear what direction to take with one, until this contest that is...

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Everything has now been submitted. This post now has a set of notes and images detailing the final models below the fake update page image.





The Airborne Armaments - a soldier weapon pack
We all know the Soldier isn't what he says he is, since he was rejected from every branch of the US military. Despite this, his uniform has several elements that show that he considers himself good enough to be among the airborne units. His boots are reminiscent of the paratrooper's jump-boots. His jacket has a high collar, which was a specific modification to their uniform. The screaming eagle motif is actually the insignia of the 101st Airborne Division.

Given how paratroopers were deployed into battle, there was a lot of interest in reducing bulk and weight of equipment. The M1A1 carbine with a folding stock was one of their weapons, and modification of kit along these lines was not uncommon.

While the Soldier has elements of paratrooper uniform already, there's practically nothing of it in his weapons. That's what I aim the Airborne Armaments pack to be - a set of weapons that reduce weight and bulk, since if the soldier considers himself paratrooper material, he's going to have gotten himself the weapons for it at some point.


The Jumper's Trumpet – a rocket launcher replacement

Click for high res version of the below image




I'll be honest, the excuse to do a rocket launcher that's based around the various Bazooka models is the main reason for this pack.

The name is a play on what paratroopers do (jump) though it could also imply rocket jumping, and is also a reference to the origin of the name "Bazooka", which was the name of a novelty instrument that the GI's decided it looked like.

The Reserve Shooter – a shotgun replacement
When your primary fails, deploy your reserve.

Click for high res version of the below image



The name Reserve Shooter is a play on the term 'reserve parachute', since parachute is often shortened to 'chute, and reserve parachutes are often refered to as 'reserve's, along with the shotgun being a secondary/backup weapon. I could call it "the reserve chuter", but I doubt people would pronounce that properly without knowledge of the background.

Ditched name: The Whippet Gun

This name appears to originate from the so called 'whipit' gun, a sawn down automatic shotgun used by Bonnie Parker in the 1930's. The term since evolved to encompass a fully functional pump action/automatic shotgun that has been sawn down either to bring it within gun regulations or to reduce the size and weight, making it easier to conceal. Since law enforcement appropriated the idea for undercover work and the like, I'm going to assume that branches of the military would find a use for it – especially since the paratroopers' gear was modified to reduce bulk.


The Market Gardener – a shovel replacement
Entrenching Tool (E-tool)

Click for high res version of the below image



The Soldier's shovel is an entrenching tool (type M1943), a short handled version of your regular garden implement adapted for trench digging and the like while being easy to carry. 'Entrenching tool' shortens to 'e-tool', a term which I've found evidence of use in WW2 and I've decided to develop one based on a variant that first showed up in 1951, the combination shovel-pick folding e-tool (M1951). This choice is mostly based on the distinct shape it has when folded in pick mode.

The name 'market gardener' is a reference to the weapon's appearance as some kind of deranged gardening implement, and to Operation Market Garden, one of the major operations the airborne units were deployed in in WW2.


Other equipment? - not going to happen
Since the Soldier's model seems to already incorporate one of the most recognisable things about the paratrooper's uniform – the jump boots – I don't really feel I have much to do other than the weapons. Since the model's version are simplified though, I might look into a pair of boots anyway if I find the time, since some of the accessories added to the game have added a level of detail quite a bit higher than the original character models.


Aesthetic Notes
To tie the weapons together visually I''ll be doing a colour scheme that ties them together. I'm hoping I'll be able to find a tone of olive drab (the name of the military green colour) that will complement TF2's existing palette. I'll put a swatch up here once I've figured out my all my colours.

Last edited by Elbagast; 12-17-2010 at 05:52 PM.. Reason: progress updates
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Elbagast's Avatar
Old (#2)
Concept Sketches



Rocket Launcher
The two concepts here are based on real models, but are both a lot shorter than the real launchers. I could have also considered the M20 version but that doesn't differ in appearance to the M9 very much. Overall I prefer the M9 version, since the shoulder stock looks a lot more lightweight than that of the M1 - assuming a shoulder stock wouldn't have too many clipping errors to get away with.

By the looks of things the overall tubular shape is going to be simple to make and differ greatly from the other launchers, and the detailing is going to be where the work is going to lie.

Interestingly the name Bazooka comes from the name of a comedy instrument used by a popular radio comedian.

Shotgun
I made a quick hack job and tested in HLMV, and it works convincingly with all the animations, in both first and third person. Compared to the standard shotgun the length reduction is proportionally similar to the difference between real shotgun models.

Again, it looks like the devil is going to be in the details.

Shovel

After a bit of research I found out that the Soldier's standard shovel is already the most compact design of entrenching tool of the time period. Damn. At the moment I think it's a toss up between an M1910 and the concept marked 'Hybrid Design', which includes elements of the M1943, M1910 and my original idea of a metal-handled tool.

It seems these things are known as 'E-tools', which may be useful for coming up with a name.

Next up:
At this point I'm undecided whether I should work on all three alongside each other or concentrate on completing one at a time. I'll probably look into starting work on the launcher or shotgun first since they'll both need quite a bit of work.
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Elbagast's Avatar
Old (#3)
Compact Shotgun Development Part 1



I decided to work on the shotgun first since I'd need to determine a grip design that looked appropriate but didn't introduce a load of clipping problems with the Soldier's hand. I tried a grip style like the one labeled 'pistol grip' in the above concepts, but it didn't feel right and intersected his pinky. You would see that intersect everytime you reload.

I had a look around for period weapons with ergonomic grips and noticed that the front handle of a Tommy gun had a shape that looked like it would fit. A quick test and it had no issues, so I decided to develop it further, and it worked perfectly! I'll see if I can get some shots showing how it fits in the hand when I get to a point when I start doing colour test textures. That grip also accounts for half the triangles at the moment...

At the moment the pump and the trigger area need the most work. I'd welcome any opnions about the shape of the pump, since I have a lot more freedom in that area compared to the handle and I'm a little unsure about what shape to go for. Ideally something that helps the gun look short, if that makes any sense.

Next up:
I'll probably give the shotgun a rest to come back to it with fresh eyes and start work on the rocket launcher in the meantime.
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Djokson's Avatar
Old (#4)
I really like the shotgun model and the concept art but it seems almost the same to the original weapons to me, this is just my opinion, of course.
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Zipfinator's Avatar
Old (#5)
Looking good! The only thing I'd suggest is finding a way to make your submissions more unique like in that shotgun concept with the shells attached. Right now it looks like a slightly modified stock shotgun. Maybe the texturing would make it more unique but the size/proportions of everything make it very similar to the other one.

Also if you want to go a bit more modern or for something more unique, here's a suggestion for the shovel.



It's more compact, has the fold at the tips and has the serrated edges for more damage if used as a melee weapon (That's actually the real purpose of it for the Military version).

Keep it up! I'll be watching this thread, has some promise so far.
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Elbagast's Avatar
Old (#6)
Yeah that was precisly the reason I thought about at least one attachment for it, I'll be looking into the possibilities.

I did come across the modern E-tool design in my research, though I dismissed it primarily because the handle wouldn't work with existing animations and the shovel head is unchanged from the last WW2 models. They also fold in 2 places rather than one (awkward), and it seems they were first introduced in 1963 (passable). I didn't realise they were serrated though, I may pinch that feature of them, thanks!
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Old (#7)
Bazooka Rocket Launcher Development Part 1



Testing the shotgun was done with a hack-job model before I started work on the real thing, but I couldn't do that with the bazooka so this model will probably get turned into the real thing.

A lot of the detailing is unfinished or omitted, since I'm more interested in clearing up potential animation faults before it becomes a lot more troublesome to do so. As you can see I've found a few. By the looks of things a shoulder stock would have to be quite different to those on real bazookas in order to not clip noticabley.

Next up:
Probably more work on the bazooka so it's a bit further along, at least until the clipping is all sorted like with the shotgun. As for right now, sleep time.
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youngoli's Avatar
Old (#8)
Two things. The rocket launcher concept looks really cool, but I think it should be a bit more stylized in regards to proportion. If you look at the soldier's current RL's they're very distinctive based on proportion. Second, if you can't find a better shovel to use, why not just choose a different tool that soldiers used in WW2?
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yoplatz's Avatar
Old (#9)
Or, you could go with something like this. There's already a shovel, and there's already a pick, but there's not a shovel-pick.
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MacD11's Avatar
Old (#10)
^ OMFG YES!
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Ikimono's Avatar
Old (#11)
Doesn't look very interesting of a pack that you're creating. Nothing looks different enough from the original models to be something that draws attention.

Using real life weapons like "the bazooka" is a rather bland thing to do.
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Elbagast's Avatar
Old (#12)
Quote:
Originally Posted by youngoli View Post
Two things. The rocket launcher concept looks really cool, but I think it should be a bit more stylized in regards to proportion. If you look at the soldier's current RL's they're very distinctive based on proportion.
I get what you mean, but in order to retain the look of a bazooka I'm going to have to leave the main tube alone, since the simple tubular design is part of its own distinctive shape. This means that to keep it in line with the other designs I only have the positioning/proportions of the detailing to play with, which is restrictive, but I don't think it'll be too much of problem.

Quote:
Originally Posted by youngoli View Post
Second, if you can't find a better shovel to use, why not just choose a different tool that soldiers used in WW2?
Browsing kits I haven't really seen much else to go for other than a combat knife, but I'll keep my eyes open.

Quote:
Originally Posted by yoplatz View Post
Or, you could go with something like this. There's already a shovel, and there's already a pick, but there's not a shovel-pick.
<image>
I came across that too, I believe it's the M1951 E-tool. It's definately distinct, but since they're apparently noticabley heavier than the M1943 (Soldier's shovel) type it may not fit the theme of going for lightweight variants, but I'll bear it in mind. I'll probably do a set of tool heads and handles when I get round to the first steps of the meele weapon to see what different combinations look like.

Last edited by Elbagast; 05-27-2010 at 04:21 AM.. Reason: typos
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Rhinokey's Avatar
Old (#13)
lightweigh, maybe a riders crop like gen patton used to swing around

tho maybe theres already one for soldier. i'm not sure
"to tell you the truth other places were way harsher and ones of maximum rudeness."
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Benvil's Avatar
Old (#14)
As for the Shovel I think you should go with the US model or Hybrid model

The "Bazooka" looks great, though
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Elbagast's Avatar
Old (#15)
Bazooka Rocket Launcher Development Part 2



Following up from the first model I looked into ways of solving the animation issues whilst also testing some more details. After finding some better reference material I'm probably going to redo the handles, but otherwise this is somewhat close to what it'll look like.

Next up:
Probably some spades, to get that moving as well.

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I'm pretty sure this post wasn't here when I last posted...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ikimono View Post
Doesn't look very interesting of a pack that you're creating. Nothing looks different enough from the original models to be something that draws attention.

Using real life weapons like "the bazooka" is a rather bland thing to do.
Well if I saw this as bland and uninteresting then I wouldn't be doing it!

I really don't get the comment that real life weapons are bland, since almost every weapon Valve themselves have made have very firm roots in reality, it just isn't always obvious. The same holds true to the community weapons they've implemented so far as well.

And who said I was actually going to call it "the bazooka"? Can't a man work with a placeholder name to refer to his stuff??

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhinokey View Post
lightweigh, maybe a riders crop like gen patton used to swing around

<image>

tho maybe theres already one for soldier. i'm not sure
Hmm...interesting. Officer equipment might also be worth looking into...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Benvil View Post
As for the Shovel I think you should go with the US model or Hybrid model

The "Bazooka" looks great, though
Thanks for the input. Given the relative complexity of the shovels I aim to not dismiss meele designs until I've seen at least a rough version in the flesh, so I'll probably put up a compilation pic of the designs when I get there.

Last edited by Elbagast; 05-27-2010 at 01:12 PM.. Reason: raaar typos
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Xeramon's Avatar
Old (#16)
Wow, this bazooka ist great I hope I will see it in-game
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Graff Pirate's Avatar
Old (#17)
these are great!
Priciple Artist | Terminal Reality| Art Blog|
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Buck's Avatar
Old (#18)
Neat progress
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Emil Mujanovic's Avatar
Old (#19)
This is coming along really nice! Has a very solid TF2 feel.

Keep it up!
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re.wind's Avatar
Old (#20)
That, sir is a *nice* orkish rocket launcher. ;)
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Puffstoole's Avatar
Old (#21)
Valve tends to make the new items have a distinct look from what already exists, so it can be easily identified on the battlefield (think axe and homewrecker, or shovel and equalizer). Your shotguns and shovels could be hard to tell apart from the vanilla version. Your rocket launcher looks great, however
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devioussam's Avatar
Old (#22)
really digging that bazooka dude.
You may call me Noob. Total Noob.
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Elbagast's Avatar
Old (#23)
God damn why did I dismiss this tool...

yoplatz, your suggestion rings true, it looks way more distinct than any shovel variant, and is different enough from the other weapons to work.

E-tool Development Part 1




It didn't really occur to me that the short handle these things have would make the combination e-tool look a lot different from the Equaliser until I'd gathered my reference models together. So I built this hack-job to test it.

It might be heavier in real life but the in-game version sure doesn't feel like it, probably due to the overall length when it's folded like this. Now I just have to build one myself...

Notes about the shotgun
I see a few of you are worried about this thing not looking distinct enough with just the shortening of it. Your're probably right, but I've been looking into ways of dealing with that and have a few ideas. I already have a favourite but I'll give you guys a taste of these things before I go ahead and implement it. I've also come across a potential name for the gun, but I need to find another source to back up that finding.

Next up:
Build a proper E-tool model and look into head/handle shapes.

Last edited by Elbagast; 05-31-2010 at 04:49 AM..
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Elbagast's Avatar
Old (#24)
I've updated the first post with some clarifications to my theme, since my research has turned up some things that influence it.

E-tool Development Part 2




I've gotten quite far with building the E-tool. It has some smoothing errors that need clearing up, some parts need optimistion, there are missing details like rivets, and the handle needs to be done properly. Also this looks like it's probably another shade of green to throw on the discard pile.

I've tested this model in game, and it feels different enough from the others to work well. The little things like the rim and holes on the back end of the shovel part also seem to be quite important in first person, as they seem to draw the eye.

I'd welcome any comments on the handle though, I'm not too sure about the T at the bottom now that I have a model with it in front of me. Something about it feels a little awkward (although arguabely the entire weapon is...).

Next up:
Some love for my now named shotgun.
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Psyke's Avatar
Old (#25)
the t looks a tiiiny bit plain

maybe wrap a cloth or some rubber grip around it?
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