Creating a Modular Weapons System

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The purpose of this project was to create a modular system for assembling complete and varied weapon loadouts in a game engine for three different weapon types, including an assault rifle, shotgun, and pistol. Since this was for a non-environmental modular set, different risks had to be assessed for this project. The findings showed that it is possible to create the potential for hundreds to thousands of weapon variations within a short time with little rework.

Assault Rifle

The design for the assault rifle was heavily influenced by the AK-47. The goal was to create a modular weapon that fit the basic parameters of this particular assault rifle's style, but with pieces that could be shared with a model of a shotgun and pistol. The modular components of this weapon consist of grips, stocks, and barrels, along with a set of universal accessories.

This images shows the alternate textures applied to the basic configuration of the assault rifle.

This image shows the alternate textures applied to the basic configuration of the assault rifle.

Pistol

The design for the assault rifle was heavily influenced by the Colt M1911A1. The goal was to create a modular weapon that fit the basic parameters of this particular pistol's style, but with pieces that could be shared with a model of a shotgun and assault rifle. The modular components of this weapon consist of grips and barrels, along with a set of universal accessories.

Texture alternates displayed on the base model of the pistol.

Texture alternates displayed on the base model of the pistol.

Shotgun

The design for the shotgun was heavily influenced by the Mossberg 500. The goal was to create a modular weapon that fit the basic parameters of this particular shotgun's style, but with pieces that could be shared with a model of a assault rifle and pistol. The modular components of this weapon consist of grips, stocks, and barrels, along with a set of universal accessories.

This shows the alternate textures on the base model of the shotgun.

Alternate texture examples shown on the base model of the shotgun.

Process

Part 1:

The first part of this project focused on where modular pieces attach to these models as well as how they connect to the model. The schedule allowed one week of modeling time for each of the three weapon bodies to account for time spent adjusting the weapons for modularity. All modeling of artifacts occurred in Autodesk 3ds Max 2016. The beginning models were created alongside a human scale figure in order to keep every model within the size limits for being held by a game character.

Part 2:

Each set included a trigger and barrel specific to each weapon, as well as a stock and grip that is modular across the different weapon types. The bodies of the shotgun and assault rifle were created in such a way that each modular piece would snap to a certain area of the weapon by aligning the pivot points, thus allowing proper placements of the stocks and grips. Later iteration allowed for the removal of the grip from the body of the pistol to allow for even more modularity between the weapons.

Part 3:

After separating the grip from the model of the pistol and replacing it with another, more detailed grip, the next step was to create more of these modular pieces until four of each type of modular component existed. By taking the initial model of a modular component, the process was sped up significantly for the creation of the following pieces. While some of the modular components are altered versions of the originals, the stocks were made individually to match the reference polygon on both the assault rifle and shotgun bodies.

Part 4:

Each modular component has four interchangeable models, except the pistol, which has modular barrels and grips, but no stock like the other two weapon types. In addition to these components, the set includes four universal accessories for use on all three weapon archetypes. As the modular components of the three weapons reached completion, a picatinny railing system was created for a logical placement of all four universal attachments. During this phase, the attachments were also created. They include a blade, flashlight, scope, and red dot sight. 

Part 5:

The next step was to unwrap each game resolution model and bake normal data using the high-resolution models. The normal maps for each piece were projected individually, allowing for a more comprehensive use of the projection cage in 3ds Max. After all components had normal data projected onto them, the individual images were combined onto a single normal map to be used within the game engine as well as Marmoset Toolbag. While the main component normal and cavity maps were created in 3ds Max, the finer details were emphasized in CrazyBump.

Textures

Gun Components - Albedo Map
Gun Components - Albedo Map
Gun Components - Normal Map
Gun Components - Normal Map
Gun Components - Metalness Map
Gun Components - Metalness Map
Gun Components - Roughness Map
Gun Components - Roughness Map
Gun Components - Cavity Map
Gun Components - Cavity Map
Accessories - Albedo Map
Accessories - Albedo Map
Accessories - Normal Map
Accessories - Normal Map
Accessories - Metalness Map
Accessories - Metalness Map
Accessories - Roughness Map
Accessories - Roughness Map