Image shamelessly half-inched from chUmbaLum Soft's Half-Life Model Viewer.
Modeling for Half-Life is like modeling for many other video games. However with some restrictions which I will get into later in this article. This will be broken down into three easy to digest (even for a Headcrab!) sections. These will be expanded on with new resources, programs and info as time goes by. If you know of anything we could add, whether it be website, resource, info, or program. Please contact me at my Address (also shown below)
- Further Reading
Now, I bet you're asking. "But gee Dylan, what programs are there?" Well, you just hold on and grab a pen, some pad and a coke as I begin to give you a break down of some of the most popular programs like an M16!
Milkshape - is known for being made with Half-Life modeling in mind. It is a cheap and easy to use program at only 35USD. Many, if not all beginners to general modeling, not just to Half-Life use this program. Its well designed and great for Low to Medium poly models (0-2500 Polies). Anything higher can get slow and unstable. (Also dependent on Version and Computer). It is very useful as it has several basic features like UV coordinates and UV editing. However it lacks the more sophisticated features of advanced programs. For example, it can be used to animate, but care must be taken. As while good to practice on. It lacks advanced features such as tweening, which programs like 3DSMax use to filter and smooth out animations. Therefore your animations will almost always be blocky and robotic. I'd suggest a more advanced program for animation jobs, such as previously mentioned, 3DSmax.
Out of Barney Heads
Blender - Is a freeware modeling program on the GNU license. It is an surprisingly solid program, however I have found it harder to work in, and not as user friendly as Milkshape. With menus I find to be daunting, it is for me at least, not very user-friendly. I am not much of a modeller and I find Blender to be too daunting for me to use, and thus all of this makes my experience with it limited. However, this should not stop you from trying this program out. As the work and examples people have done with it is simply amazing and it is a great stepping stone from Milkshape. It is able to model much higher poly models while remaining stable than Milkshape and can be used to animate. Powerful and free, it rivals many of the more expensive modeling programs. What are you waiting for?
Out of Scared Kleiners
3DSMax - Is arguably the modeling tool. Used by almost every professional game studio and serious Modder. Typically used to make very high poly models. Very expensive however with a free trial. It is very advanced, with animation tools such as tweening to produce realistic fluid animations. It also boasts a variety of powerful plug-ins and tools. Including a very advanced model smoothing filter. This program is basically your BFG9000 for every kind of model or animation job you need to tackle. Accept no less but the Best. But you might have to break all your piggy banks with a crowbar to get it.
Out of Shotboxes
Now that we got our hands wet in the vast sea of modeling programs, it is time we actually learn how to use our new gifts. Kind of like teaching Grandpa how to type on a computer. Except, less Screaming, PTSD, and SWAT Vans.
Now, we can't exactly rip Tutorials out of the hands of their oppressive owners, but we can however give a link of websites and descriptions of their tutorials. So bare with me as you go through this boring list of boring tutorials, on boring websites. Gee, feels like school doesn't it?
FPSBanana - Besides from being the goddamn Juggernaut and central hub for almost all modding (especially related to Counter-Strike) This site hosts a plethora of tutorials not just for Modeling, but for almost everything you can think of. Expect to see us refer to this website a lot. Extremely well designed with a strong sense of community, you'll be hard-pressed to not find a tutorial for your needs here. There is something for everyone here.
WaveLength - The site might be a bit old, out-dated and dingy, but it's still a unique resource. Full of Tutorials for several games including Half-Life and Half-Life 2. From coding to modeling this site has a lot of things and should not be missed. This is an oldie, but a damn goodie. Though, it is very old and has a lack of new content, as it is no longer updated. Give it a look, you'll never know what you'll find in every section.
It should be noted that the websites I have listed, are ones I have used for several years. However, the programs I listed, I have not used all of them. I have barely used Blender or 3DSmax. However, From talking to people who have used them much more than I have, I went and pieced together this info. If you have ANYTHING to add-on, feel free to email my Address.
Tween - Tweening is where the program automatically and smoothly animates from a set frame to another. For example. you have a ball on the left on Frame 1, and on Frame 30, you make it all the way on the right. If you use tweening, it will realistically, smoothly, and automatically fill in the frames 2-29. The possibilities are limitless.