For my 3D asset design hero piece, I wanted to focus on Feudal Japan weaponary as it would relate to both the blacksmith and Japan themes. My research mainly consisted of collecting different images of weaponary that were part of the time period, mainly different blades, shuriken’s, longbows and poles. I compiled them into a moodboard shown here:
After carrying out my research, I saw a concise pattern that a lot of Feudal Japan weapons they usually use are blades so for my project I wanted to create a katana so I started by working on concept sketches for the sword, using the moodboard as inspiration and also references.
As a quick reminder, the narrative behind the environment design goes as follows:
In our timeframe set in the story, the blacksmith’s has recently been ravaged after an large scale Oni attack, Oni’s are evil spirits that are mainly surrounded in Japanese folklore and they usually come in the form of demons or orcs. This narrative is also meant to show the destruction and remnants of someone’s generational acheivements. This katana is part of the tragic story of the blacksmith’s work turning into a work of malice and horror.
This was my initial design for the katana – I wanted to add different supernatural and horror elements to the design in order to for the sword to be implemented into the Environment Design’s narrative and to also visually tell a story about the hero prop. In the original design, I had a case for the katana. However, I decided against making it as I didn’t have a solid idea on how I would implement it along with the katana without covering the blade itself.
The blue orbs surrounding the katana were just additonal visuals that would make it more clearer that the weapon was cursed but instead I decided to add paper talismans to make it more of a subtle nod to the concept of possession. These are alternate designs I created before deciding on a final reference piece.
At that time, I was still trying to figure out how to implement my katana into my environment so I designed stands that I would model along with the katana. These designs were inspired from games that focused on having the katana as a household item, I chose these because at the time I wanted the katana to be inside the blacksmith’s building or at least a large display piece, possibly advertising the blacksmith’s works.
These katana’s designs were heavily inspired by funiture pieces in Animal Crossing since they are game-ready objects and they also provided an idea on how to possibly present my weapon in a display.
However, At the time, I had very little modelling experience with Maya or Substance Painter so as soon as I started modelling the katana itself I knew making the stands would also be ambitious to carry out. Ontop of this, I had decided to work on the outside area of my environment so I wanted to dedicate my own area to the katana. Ontop of this, my group had decided to work on different areas of the interior so since the building is quite small, there wouldn’t be much place to have the katana be it’s own centre focus so I took away the stand.
I wanted to give the impression that the katana was an threatening item so I wanted to add a sense of foreboding danger to the asset by adding paper talismans and blood to the model itself so I kept parts of the original design.
The katana is also meant to also hold a large significance to the visual story as in the environment, it’s meant to be out of place with the rest of the items. It’s shown visually that the weapon caused part of the destruction by the way it’s presented in the design.
In my final design, I also removed the dragon texture and instead added the wrappings around the handle to make the katana more historically accurate.
My environment design team are creating similar items however within different contexts, some being weapons that were forged in the blacksmith that would be presented inside the building and another member is creating an heirloom tea set that was damaged in the turmoil of the environment.
The correlations with each other assets is that these are meant the represent the blacksmiths valuables, with the high detail in our assets, it’s meant to show that they used to take pride in their work even taking care of something as fragile as a tea set, something that’s usually vulnerable in a blacksmith environment. However, the katana, being their most prized and dangerous project ironically took his life along with the lives he sworn to protect.
Nintendo (2012). Animal Crossing New Leaf, Avaliable Online: https://newleafhq.com/furniture/black-katana [ Accessed 01 April 2022 ]
Nintendo (2005). Animal Crossing Wild World, Avaliable Online: https://nookipedia.com/wiki/Item:Ninja_Sword_(Wild_World) [ Accessed 02 April 2022 ]
Nintendo (2020). Animal Crossing New Horizons, Available Online: https://culturedvultures.com/animal-crossing-new-horizons-katana/ [ Accessed 02 April 2022 ]