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Predator Pack: In The Mechbay With Mark Nicholson


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#1 InnerSphereNews

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Posted 17 December 2021 - 05:30 PM

Greetings MechWarriors,
In this news post, Mark will be showing us the progress and process of creating the 'Mechs and other assets that will ship with the Predator Pack! We hope you enjoy this look at our development process!
Check back for future updates!
The MWO Team
IMAGE 1 - The Hard Point Preview


#2 Mark Nicholson

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Posted 17 December 2021 - 05:31 PM

First, like with the Hunter pack thread, I'll be updating this post with any new images as we go along, but you'll have to read the thread for context. Also, a link to work-in-progress post about the Warden pack.

Second, like the Hunter pack thread, I'll start by talking about weapon placement.

Third, for those feeling ambushed by recent events, I'm willing to share about creating the Rivals pack, if asked.

For the Blood Asp, the weapons were surprisingly easy. We had considered the E variant back when we were first making the Blood Asp, and in doing that, there was some communication lag between what variants we were going with and the artists making the weapons. This resulted in the secondary arm missile hardpoints already being done, so when I got into the files recently to review the model and figure out what I'd need to build, I found they were already modeled and textured. Easy.

However, the missiles aren't the only new parts. It has hands. Only the E has hands, and while there was some work done on a low poly model for them from back when the 'Mech was first in production, it was far from complete, and what time I thought I would save from the missiles ended up being eaten up by hands, which would probably feel more productive if hands weren't effectively optional decoration for Omnimechs in MWO.

Posted Image

For the Shadow cat, things were more straightforward, as this new variant doesn't change the amounts of hands and missiles. It does have a crowded right torso though, and I think this result still feels like I'm shoving weapons in rather tightly.

Posted Image

You'll also notice that the arm mounted lasers are in a different spot. I honestly can't recall the entire history of what happened, but how it had worked had bothered me for a while, and the Cauldron had separately come to the conclusion about fixing it right before I was set to work on this pack. Priority still remains with hands and the ballistic mounts, but any hardpoints without those will see the lasers (and flamers) show up in the primary location at the front of the arm, instead of the secondary location on the side of the arm.


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Image Updates
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I'll be double posting new images below, but I trust you all to be able to scan through the thread pretty quickly and find anything I've posted in blue text. So please do that if you're looking for context on the following images, or any questions I've answered.

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#3 ManicWK9

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Posted 17 December 2021 - 05:54 PM

pls, dont give the blood hands or make it optional.

Edited by ManicWK9, 17 December 2021 - 05:57 PM.


#4 Mark Nicholson

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Posted 17 December 2021 - 06:01 PM

View PostManicWK9, on 17 December 2021 - 05:54 PM, said:

pls, dont give the blood hands or make it optional.


Like all Omnimechs, the hands on the Blood Asp are optional.

edit:
also, I need to add that this is a variant that's existed in tabletop since at least 2010. It having hand shouldn't have been a surprise.

#5 ManicWK9

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Posted 17 December 2021 - 06:06 PM

wrote 2 fast, sry.. ok, thx 4 the update..

#6 Navid A1

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Posted 17 December 2021 - 06:08 PM

I like these posts... these posts are nice.

#7 1453 R

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Posted 17 December 2021 - 06:29 PM

Hands may be optional, but most OmniMechs look kinda weird without them. That Blood Asp came out pretty slick, like how those hands went.

Also THANK YOU for fixing the hardpoint voids on the Shadow Cat. Bloody thing always looked just bizarre with empty voids for hands that weapons kept drifting around...

#8 w0qj

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Posted 17 December 2021 - 06:45 PM

So what happened to the ambush by the Rivals Pack (pun intended)?

Be interested in hearing about this story ;)

FYI, I'll be booking the Rivals Pack sale on 1st-Jan-2022, so as to pad the 2022 sale volume going forward!
(Therefore a few days extension for the Rivals Pack Bonus Event would be appreciated; this currently would end on/about 5th-Jan-2022).

https://mwomercs.com/rivals
https://mwomercs.com...ble-bonus-event
https://mwomercs.com/events/431


View PostMark Nicholson, on 17 December 2021 - 05:31 PM, said:

...Third, for those feeling ambushed by recent events, I'm willing to share about creating the Rivals pack, if asked.


#9 Enamillion89

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Posted 17 December 2021 - 07:58 PM

Wait. W A I T! Hands are optional? Are we allowed to check or uncheck them to appear/disappear on the mech in-game? I hope that made sense

#10 w0qj

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Posted 17 December 2021 - 08:13 PM

Any chance for a future Blood Asp Hero mech, to have a ballistic hardpoint on it's Right Arm?

There's no such option yet; would appreciate this!

#11 Navid A1

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Posted 17 December 2021 - 09:04 PM

View PostEnamillion89, on 17 December 2021 - 07:58 PM, said:

Wait. W A I T! Hands are optional? Are we allowed to check or uncheck them to appear/disappear on the mech in-game? I hope that made sense


Only on (Clan) Omni mechs.

In case the mech has hands and lower arm actuators in its arms you can toggle them on or off (little checkboxes above arm component slots)

Lower arm actuators allow you to move your arms horizontally, free from the torso. Hand actuator does not have an active effect, but serves as a crit pad slot with 7.5HP and can absorb critical damage shots to potentially save other important components in the arm.

You can't have a hand actuator enabled without having lower arm actuator also selected.

If you install any sort of projectile weapon in an arm (PPC, Any sort of cannons excluding MGs), hand and lower arm actuator are disabled by default (if the mech has them as an option).


If you have lower arm actuator active on one arm and disabled on the other arm, fee movement of arm reticle will be limited to 10 degrees to each side of the torso reticle.

#12 D V Devnull

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Posted 18 December 2021 - 12:05 AM

View PostMark Nicholson, on 17 December 2021 - 05:31 PM, said:

Priority still remains with hands and the ballistic mounts, but any hardpoints without those will see the lasers (and flamers) show up in the primary location at the front of the arm, instead of the secondary location on the side of the arm.

Please pardon my being confused (as I'm asking because C-ERPPCs have been weirdly positioned for some time now), but where will the C-ERPPCs fit on the ShadowCat in all these changes? :o

~D. V. "ShadowCat vs. C-ERPPC... Where will they end up?" Devnull

#13 Rho Treska

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Posted 18 December 2021 - 03:12 AM

View PostMark Nicholson, on 17 December 2021 - 05:31 PM, said:

Shadow Cat


First, thank you for your efforts and sharing your processes!

Second, and kinda leaning into what Devnull above asked too... can you please unify the hardpoints on the SHC arms to the new -E standard? It looks pretty bad when an ERPPC is shoved into the lateral slot of a handless arm while a wide, flat stump remains, and that also goes for lasers. Having the weapon on the flat like the -E in the screenshots while no hand is equipped is much more sexy, and I'd appreciate it.

Thanks in advance!

#14 TELEFORCE

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Posted 18 December 2021 - 04:43 AM

View PostRho Treska, on 18 December 2021 - 03:12 AM, said:

First, thank you for your efforts and sharing your processes!

Second, and kinda leaning into what Devnull above asked too... can you please unify the hardpoints on the SHC arms to the new -E standard? It looks pretty bad when an ERPPC is shoved into the lateral slot of a handless arm while a wide, flat stump remains, and that also goes for lasers. Having the weapon on the flat like the -E in the screenshots while no hand is equipped is much more sexy, and I'd appreciate it.

Thanks in advance!


I'm assuming that the PPC will go where the hand will go because you can't have hands or lower arm actuators on any omni arm that mounts a ballistic weapon (except machine guns) or PPCs.

I had no idea there was a Blood Asp variant with hands. They look very nice! For some reason I thought adding hands gave the omni an arm movement range bonus, but that's not the case now? Posted Image Not that it's going to keep me from mounting them wherever I can - it's the only thing that's saving the Cougar from looking silly with the absurdly stubby arm lasers (which totally run counter to the MWO concept art for that 'mech, by the way).

Edited by TELEFORCE, 18 December 2021 - 04:44 AM.


#15 Mark Nicholson

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Posted 18 December 2021 - 10:15 AM

View Postw0qj, on 17 December 2021 - 06:45 PM, said:

So what happened to the ambush by the Rivals Pack (pun intended)?

Be interested in hearing about this story Posted Image


We had an ambitious plan to release the Predator Pack in December, and right before we announced it I got sick with a cold and was in quarantine for 10 days. The MWO team is really small right now, I'm the only dedicated artist, and that was enough to push it from "ambitous" to "completely impossible". So the Predator pack got moved to January, where I think people would have expected it anyway. I'm the bottleneck on getting 'Mech packs out right now, and we started thinking about something we could do with the remainder of the extra month of time we had bought, and yet didn't require as much new art as the recent booster packs. We had original planned for the roughneck and sunspider to be the december free mechs again, and the results you see grew from there.

View Postw0qj, on 17 December 2021 - 08:13 PM, said:

Any chance for a future Blood Asp Hero mech, to have a ballistic hardpoint on it's Right Arm?

There's no such option yet; would appreciate this!


There's a chance, but it's small. Think about our last year's rate of new variants/heroes, and then think about how many other chassis we could do instead of another Blood Asp. Possible, but not likely anytime soon.

View PostD V Devnull, on 18 December 2021 - 12:05 AM, said:

Please pardon my being confused (as I'm asking because C-ERPPCs have been weirdly positioned for some time now), but where will the C-ERPPCs fit on the ShadowCat in all these changes? Posted Image

~D. V. "ShadowCat vs. C-ERPPC... Where will they end up?" Devnull


To be clear, these arm mount changes are happening to all shadowcat variants. Hands will always be replaced with ERPPCs. An arm that depicts a laser and a hand (like the prime, and all it's art) will stay the same, and have a hand at the front, and the laser will stay on the side. Arms with default lasers and no hand, like the A, B, and H right arm, will see them move to the front instead of the side. The hero right arm energy hardpoint will stay on the side at all times, as the ballistic slot is taking the front.

View PostTELEFORCE, on 18 December 2021 - 04:43 AM, said:

Not that it's going to keep me from mounting them wherever I can - it's the only thing that's saving the Cougar from looking silly with the absurdly stubby arm lasers (which totally run counter to the MWO concept art for that 'mech, by the way).


Fixing that crime has been on my list for a LONG time.

#16 martian

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Posted 18 December 2021 - 10:37 AM

View PostMark Nicholson, on 18 December 2021 - 10:15 AM, said:

We had an ambitious plan to release the Predator Pack in December, and right before we announced it I got sick with a cold and was in quarantine for 10 days. The MWO team is really small right now, I'm the only dedicated artist, and that was enough to push it from "ambitous" to "completely impossible". So the Predator pack got moved to January, where I think people would have expected it anyway. I'm the bottleneck on getting 'Mech packs out right now, and we started thinking about something we could do with the remainder of the extra month of time we had bought, and yet didn't require as much new art as the recent booster packs. We had original planned for the roughneck and sunspider to be the december free mechs again, and the results you see grew from there.


Thanks for "Ambush". Posted Image

It is my new favourite 'Mech.

#17 Oberst Jaime Wolf

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Posted 18 December 2021 - 10:58 AM

I Love my Ambush!!! Thx!


#18 TELEFORCE

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Posted 18 December 2021 - 04:50 PM

View PostMark Nicholson, on 18 December 2021 - 10:15 AM, said:

Fixing that crime has been on my list for a LONG time.


Nice to know it's on someone's list :) Thank you for your hard work on this game Mark!

#19 Mark Nicholson

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Posted 18 December 2021 - 05:29 PM

The skin for the Blood Asp was pretty straight forward, gold triangles on black really. Also, never use 100% black. In this case it's actually a very dark green. It's hard to see here, but there's even a 3rd color channel that controls some of the slightly lighter green areas, which I'll demonstrate later. I tried to limit the amount of color in the specular channel on the gold triangles, so that when you change the color, it's not so obviously still gold (unlike the Ambush, where I went all out with specular color).

I'll probably do a short write-up later on in here for those who keep asking about why the can't change the color on shiney things.

Posted Image

#20 Navid A1

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Posted 18 December 2021 - 05:43 PM

Gold always looks fantastic on dark grey, dark blue, or dark olive green.





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