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Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb
 
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  Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb

Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb Development Report (January 17, 2003)


 
 
 

Not seen for over two thousand years, the Heart of the Dragon is an immensely powerful artifact, a black pearl that gives its possessor the frightening ability to shape the minds and wills of others. In 1935, heeding rumors that it lies buried within the crypt of China's first emperor, an underground Asian society called the Black Dragon Triad has joined forces with a German mercenary, Albrecht Von Beck, to find and recover it. Lest this unholy alliance gain the treasure and use it for unscrupulous ends, businessman Marshal K'ai has recruited none other than Indiana Jones to return it to the government of China. Naturally, this task will not be simple; just entering the burial chamber will require traversing the world to acquire and assemble the three scattered pieces of the Dragon Seal, the key to unlocking it.


Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb is the third-person fusion of action and adventure in which our hero, aided by K'ai's stunningly beautiful assistant, Mei Ying, undertakes a far-ranging quest that spans locations such as the jungles of Ceylon, an underwater palace in Istanbul, the streets of Hong Kong and more. Armed with his trademark whip and pistol, Indy can also improvise by using shovels, chairs and table legs as weapons, and also brawl hand to hand against his adversaries, many of whom are skilled in the martial arts. Combining developer The Collective's state of the art engine with a rich story and compelling gameplay, the game is projected to release this spring. In this Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb Development Report, Art Director Brian Horton tells us about re-creating the Harrison Ford title character.


Building a Better Indy


My goal for Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb was to make the most convincing Indy possible, and that meant nailing the likeness of Harrison Ford. The first thing I did was grab as much reference as I could on the actor. I purchased every book I could get my hands on and spent hours on the web downloading his image. The one thing that's amazing about Mr. Ford's face is how different it looks from film to film. I decided to stick with Indy reference; he has a distinct smirk that permeated the Indy reference I gathered. I also decided to narrow my reference to Raiders and Temple of Doom as we were going for an Indy that predates all of the films.


I was fortunate to tap into one of the most complete Indy reference galleries I'd ever seen with our Senior Environment Artist, Bob Donatucci. He had calendars, storybooks, cards and magazines that gave me most of my texture reference. From these pictures, I pulled the most neutral front, 3/4 and profile shots, and started building Indy's head. These different angles were projected on flat planes in Max to get the proper proportions and facial relationships. The face started low, around 800 polys, and I would divide the planes as I continued to massage the specific details.


Usually, when modeling a face or body, I only model one side and mirror the face when I'm done, not the case with Indy. The greatest thing about Harrison's face is the asymmetry, his nose turns slightly to the left, his top lip is higher on the right than the left, and of course you can't forget the scar on the left side of his chin and the mole to the left of it. His eyes were very difficult to capture, the lids are buried under his brow and turn down slightly. On either side of his nose are heavy laugh lines that I modeled into the form as they make for another important landmark.


When the mesh was complete, the head alone was 2,500 polys, more than many of the characters I've modeled in the past. Since I had so much detail in the model, I opted to remove as much shadow detail from the texture map as possible; all I really needed was the general skin texture and color to complete the illusion. A static model of Indy was only half the battle as we have complete lip-syncing technology with our game. The technology will allow us to create eye, brow and mouth movements dynamically throughout the game. We model all of these shapes into the mesh on morph channels. For the mouth, we create all the vowels and consonants as well as different emotional states. When Indy is doing an attack, you'll see trademark Harrison Ford scowls, the same goes for pain, and that unforgettable smirk.


The power of current PCs and next generation consoles like Xbox and PS2 have allowed the artists on this project to create an Indy we are all proud of, we can't wait for you to play him this spring.

 

-Brian Horton Art Director, Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb The Collective


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Today 13. December 2017
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