Game Design with Timlah – 3D Models

Today, I look through how to do some 3D Modelling on Blender, a free Open-Source software suite which allows you to make wonderfully detailed models. Or… Whatever I made. Read on!

As I’ve been working towards the game I’m making, which now has a working title (Search Within), I decided that since I’m making a 3D game with 2D sprites, the thing that’s going to take the most time is all of the the 3D Models that are going to be in the game.

One tricky little bit I’m perceiving is the X Y Z axis of a 3D model compared to the XY axis of a 2D model. An interesting point with this is that even all of the objects could potentially be bigger than the sprites. But, I thought I’d look at the modelling software Blender and show people the process of using Blender to make a single 3D Model. In the last Game Design with Timlah, we looked at the free assets on the Unity asset store.

Blender start up
You may have noticed the black square thing to the left of the square. That’s a camera, used for rendering.

This time, let’s look at the process of making something in Blender! First things first, let’s boot Blender up and have a look at the basic GUI that we’re presented with. One thing you’ll notice is how… Empty… It looks. The large area is just a square all by itself. How sad for that square. Let’s work to make the Holy Symbol for our game! We’re going to begin with that little square and it’s going to help us by becoming a whole new object.

An interesting point with Blender is you can also use it as a games engine. I intend to check out the Blender Game Engine one day, but I’d heavily recommend Unity for the amount of support that’s already there. We’ve already seen the Unity Asset Store, which will be useful for me whilst I’m making the actual game. I’m still brushing up on my JavaScript throughout the weeks, so it may be some time before I begin the games logic.

Cube with plane through it

When you press the space bar in Blender, depending what you’re focused on, you can get a menu to appear. Make sure your cursor is in the main design part of the application, press space and then type “Add Plane” or just “Add p” and it should appear. Next press S and type 1.5. By doing this, we’re telling Blender to scale the object to 1.5 times its current size. I know that the Plane would start at the same size as the cube, so by multiplying its size by 1.5, it’s going to be bigger, big enough for a base.

We’re going to put this plane directly underneath the cube. We could drag it down, but that’s incredibly inaccurate and I’m sure many people will say that’s not the best way to design. Keyboards are useful for designing, the mouse is useful for sculpting. More on that later. Currently, both the Cube and the Plane are placed at global position 0. This means the direct middle will be at position {0,0,0} in Blender. To move the cube, let’s right click it to select it and press G. Do not move your mouse, but instead press the axis you want to move it in. We want to move it “up”, so we will press Z then 1. This moves the cube up 1 on the Z axis and it places it directly on top of our Plane. You should end up with something like this:

Cube on Plane

Okay, so that’s all well and good but this is still just a cube on top of a piece of cardboard… Kind of. What can we do with this? First of all, let’s begin shaping this object some more. I’m going to select the cube, press S then type “-.9” Exactly like that. This scales the object down to 0.9 of its original size. From here, we’re going to begin to shape this object. Press the tab button with the cube still selected and suddenly the whole thing becomes orange. If we press tab again, we go back to the orange outlines. So what’s this all about? The tab toggles what mode you’re in: Object and Mesh. Back in Object mode, press down shift and right click on the plane. It selects both the plane and the cube and on the left hand side, we’ll click “Join” It is now one object! Now we’ll toggle back into Mesh and we’re going to join the two meshes so it really is one object.

We’ll select two points of the mesh. We can really select wherever we want with this, but we’re going to select one of the points on the plane and one of the bottom points of the cube. We’ll press F, then we’ll do it on another two points, following this around. We should end up with 4 lines, joining the meshes together. Select 4 points, which are contained within the lines and then press F again. You’ll end up with a face, like the below.

Face Tool

Doing this for all four corners, we can now manipulate our object further until we eventually get a final product. After a lot of playing around, I thought I’d make the symbol relatively simple. An orb on top of a podium of kinds, nothing too fancy and quite easy to distinguish from other objects that will be in the game. I ended up with the result below.

Symbol of The Faith

I thought I’d have a bit of fun with this, so providing the game gets released and people manage to have a look around, there’s an Easter Egg inside of the Symbol of The Faith… Are you keen to see it? Well, okay, since you asked so nicely:

Blender Monkey

Okay, with this post done, I’m going to have to get on with making a lot of 3D models to add into the game. If there’s an object you’d like to see in the game, let me know in the comments below. If you’ve found this post insightful as to how to use Blender in any way, please give me a like and a comment – Let me know if these posts are interesting or not. I’ll try to make as many of the objects you guys suggest in the comments. As always, comment below, over on Facebook or on Twitter.

Author: Timlah

Certified gaymer with clout. Developing games and writing worlds. Loves people, but loves games and anime a bit more. Sorry people.