Saturday, July 6, 2013

Transformers What-If: Behind the Scenes

Hmm, where to begin with this one? First of all I'd always wanted to see what the Transformers would look like SHSO-fied, especially movie Optimus because he's so complicated.
I've been a Transformers fan for a really long time, so I'm familiar with the characters and I felt I could create an alternate game pretty easily. In the end, this project took a few weeks to finish, which is an awful lot of work.

So, first I'll talk about the character models.

Movie Optimus
Movie Optimus took me a whole day to model and I created every texture from scratch just for him. I got a few reference photos of the real movie Optimus and scaled it to SHSO sizing, copying almost every part of him, and simplifying it. He even has a tiny Autobot logo on his chest!

I needed more then one hero to play as, so I also modeled G1 Optimus! I used fan art from around the internet as reference, and faithfully duplicated him to a tee. I cheated a bit though by reusing the same texture for the pipes as I did for movie Optimus, and reusing his hands.

Shockwave's model was based on the War of Cybertron videogames. I copied Shockwave's chest texture almost exactly. I reused Optimus's hands again, even though Shockwave usually has claw-like hands, because I was originally not going to show a mission picture and so I only needed to show him from the waist-up.

For the car forms I tried to reuse as many parts from the robot models as possible to sell the idea that they turned into the cars. G1 Optimus actually comes closest to transforming, but I had to remodel a lot to get movie Optimus to fit into his truck form. The end result was worth it though, since he really does look like a mini movie Optimus truck!

In order to create each screen, I carefully copied from SHSO screenshots and relied on gradients and overlaid textures to complete the final image. Shanix is the main currency that the Transformers use, and Galactic Credits are like the equivalent of silver. I didn't know what either looked like, so I made shanix look like sticks of gold and silver and credits like silver coins but with the Decepticon Cybertronian letter for "E" on them. Notice how the hand you use as a mouse pointer in the game is Optimus's.

To make the "Courage" booster pack, I took an image of Optimus and used Corel Painter X's Sketch filter. Then I made another image of Optimus where all the colors were flat, and combined that with a toon-shaded version of him, and that's how I got that final result!

The mission image is one of my favorite images in the What-If. I modeled Transformers versions of the pick-up barrels and a giant eye-like spotlight to stick behind Shockwave.

The wheel hubs are an interesting story because, despite how small they are, I spent more time working on them then any other element of the user interface graphics.

It was fun to think up different icons for the hub and each part of the hub represents a different part of the game. The gear represents the settings, the axe represents the store, the fist is for missions and the Autobot icon is for the heroes in the game.

In the actual SHSO game, they just flipped the hub icon they created horizontally instead of making a new one. A bit lazy, to be sure, but it made it easier on me because I only needed to model one. When it was all said and done, the hubs were 15% the size that they used to be. Oh well.


Well, that's it for my Behind-the-Scenes of the Transformers What-If!
I have two What-If Bonuses to complete before I go on a What-If break for a while.

I saw that White Phoenix was made available for a week but I didn't report on it, sorry if you were expecting a post. Anyway, if she truly has more powerful attacks then I'd pick her over normal Phoenix any day, since I like her costume more.

I hope you had a happy 4th of July!

-- SHSOFan.