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Gaming Hacks by Simon Carless

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Create a Vehicle Model for Unreal Tournament 2004

Make and import game-suitable 3D artwork.

If you’re hacking new behavior into your favorite game, you’ll eventually need to build, beg, borrow, or steal some new art. Tweaking the gravity and weapon damage ranges can only take you so far. Creating your own artwork is the best approach, but you’ll need a modicum of talent and some experience with a graphics program such as Maya PLE, which comes with UT2004.

Tip

Maya PLE comes with many tutorials, and they appear when you run it the first time. It’s worth your while to read through them.

With that knowledge in mind, there are some specific steps to understand when creating art for a game. Let’s walk through the creation of the ‘Cuda (a 1969 Plymouth Barracuda) from our UT2004 Clone Bandits modification (http://www.demiurgestudios.com/CloneBandits/). Figure 7-5 shows the modeled image.

The ‘Cuda model

Figure 7-5. The ‘Cuda model

Modeling Considerations

There are a few things to keep in mind at the modeling stage. The ‘Cuda’s nose points in the positive Z direction, with the center of its chassis (as opposed to, say, the bottom of its wheels) at the origin. Originally, I placed it higher, with the bottom of the chassis at the origin, but eventually lowered it to help characters exit the vehicle in predictable ways.

You don’t have to combine the meshes that make up a vehicle before exporting it to Unreal. For ...

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