Portal 2, the PSN, and the Kampfpistole

Hi, I’m Lt_Commander. I’m a computer engineering student at Louisiana State University, and I make textures as a hobby.

When Portal 2 was announced as a cross-platform release, I had no intentions of getting it for my PS3. I don’t play many PS3 games as a whole because I can’t stand the controls and trying to navigate on a television screen across the room is never as good as a monitor at eye ruining distances. When they announced that Portal 2 was going to be free on the PC if you bought a PS3 copy, I changed my mind. Because I got the game in between computers, I had my first play through on the PS3, and I was thoroughly impressed. The controls were simple and intuitive, and the visuals were great. Furthermore, being able to link my PSN account to my steam account to chat and co-op was a definite plus. On the whole, Portal 2 for the PS3 is great…

…unless the PlayStation Network is down. For those of you living under a rock, the PSN was hacked. No co-op, no steam friends, and now I have to check my bank account to make sure I don’t get any “extra” charges. Why Sony decided to wait a week to tell 11 million people that their credit cards were at risk is a decision that is beyond me. It’s almost impressive, in a charlie foxtrot of fail sort of way.

But I digress. Portal 2. So, without being able to play co-op, I decided to install Portal 2 on my new computer. I thought the visuals were impressive on the PS3, but they are noticeably less impressive then the PC version. Granted, I can crank all the setting to max and I have a 24” screen, but still. Playing the second time was just about as fun as the first, and I don’t have to worry about steam losing my credit card info (yet). I’m sure that once PSN is back online, I can get some use out of my PS3 copy, but until then, I’ll stick to PC. The game is great, I loved the backstory, and the ending is possibly one of my favorites in recent history. I don’t like it for its plausibility, but for its over the top comedic value. Many people say that they went too far, but I could not of thought of a more clever solution. That fit with the same game that had a 10 ton door covering a utility door.

In other news, I finally got a chance to sit down and finish the texture for the kampfpistole. I’ll just give a general recap on what it is: a flare gun that the Germans converted to a small grenade launcher for anti-tank operations. Not very effective and pretty impractical, sure, but it’s a grenade launcher pistol. Awesome.

Kampfpistole SDK
SDK View

Generally, when I work on textures from scratch, it’s from a model that Nirrti made and UV’d. We have a pretty good workflow. He builds models, I give advice in the conceptual phase in terms of what to model; in the construction phase, I’ll l give iterative suggestions based off of the latest WIP, and he even listens to my suggestions sometimes! When it comes to textures, I do some work, upload a pic and get berated and nitpicked until we end up with a solution that both of one of us can agree upon. All joking aside, we do work well together. We’re both fast (unless one of us puts the project on the backburner) and we both have a good eye for details.

For me, the Kampfpistole was a chance for me to try some things I rarely do. The textures are 2048×2048 uncompressed, and the total size of textures comes to around 70MB. For me, that’s huge. I released a pack of 30 textures that amounted to less, and I advocate texture compression. The only other time I’ve ever kept files this huge was when I textured a tank the size of a house. On the plus side, I had a chance to really hammer out the fine details, like the manufacturing stamps, or the detail of the grip.

Kampfpistole Details

Another thing I hate doing is working with aged or bare metal. This texture has both. I find plastic materials are much easier to work with, in comparison to metal. Unpainted metal has a very certain look and replicating that on a flat surface can be difficult. Even worse, you need to know the best settings for phong and specular maps. Luckily, Nirrti is great at fine tuning these. In order to illustrate that the diffuse is just a small part of a good texture, I set the base to black and let the normal and spec maps “shine,” so to speak.

Kampistole, textureless

The aging on the paint was more of an experiment then anything. Playing with new techniques is a double edged sword. If you never try something new, you’ll never get any better, but you can really screw up bad if you go too deep into uncharted territory. I think it came out pretty well, but I plan to do better on it in future projects, and I’m satisfied with how it came out here.

I’ll leave you with a picture of the excellently modeled Kampfpistole ingame, thanks to Nirrti.

Kamfpistole

P.S. garry, fix the phong so I can use exponent textures. Thanks.

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4 thoughts on “Portal 2, the PSN, and the Kampfpistole

  1. Looks good, although the rifling is hilarious. Unless I’m seriously missing something here, it should be a fraction of the twist rate you have there.

  2. Good post. I learn something totally new and challenging on websites
    I stumbleupon everyday. It will always be exciting to read through articles from other writers and practice a little something from their sites.

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