Thursday, December 4, 2014

Making Weapon Props from EVOLVE Part 1: Introduction

It all started with a phone call...

Back in the last days of July, I was neck deep in a handful of projects and all of them had looming deadlines.  That's when my friend Jason called me from Make: magazine.  The call started simply enough:

"Hey, are you busy?" he asks.

"Always," says I, "what can I do for you?"

"We've got this project..."

The gist of the conversation was that 2K Games was in the middle of a big push to promote their upcoming game EVOLVE, and they had a big booth going around to all of the big conventions and game expos with a lifesize statue of one of the game's giant monsters.  What they needed was a series of weapon props.  Four of them.  One for each class of hunter that can play in the game.  So they'd asked Jason if they knew anybody who could make props for them and he knew just the right guy.

He emailed me a link to this video:

After I'd watched it, I told him I could readily make any of the weapons, costumes, or creatures that appear in the trailer.  They just had to pick what they wanted and let me know when they needed them.

Once they'd made up their mind, it seemed simple enough.  I just had to build these four pieces:
Single Page Reference

No problem, right? 

Then came the real challenges.

In order to meet the deadline I'd have about 25 days to make all four.  Okay.

They had to be durable and lightweight enough to allow convention goers to pose for photos with them.  Tall order, but very achievable.

The staff at 2K was thoroughly immersed in all of the logistics and preparation for the tail end of the convention season and wouldn't have much time to answer any questions I might have along the way.  Every conversation would have to be fast and filled with very detailed questions and answers, but I can handle that.

And the best part?  Twenty days into the already short timeline, I was due to be in Japan filming a car commercial after finishing another project that I already had in progress.  Oh boy!

Long story short: it worked.

My crew and I pulled together and knocked it out of the park.  The whole project was like drinking from a fire hose, but all four pieces were built to millimeter accuracy, painted to match the in-game weapons, and ready for delivery with almost a day to spare:
Evolve Hunter Weapon Lineup in the Workshop 2

Evolve Hunter Weapon Lineup in the Workshop

If you were at PAX Prime in Seattle, you were among the first people to see these props in person:
PAX Prime Display

If you read Make: magazine there was also a spread in the latest issue that showed each of the finished pieces and a brief overview of their construction. Over the next few days, I'll be writing individual blog entries detailing the construction of each of these four pieces.

I'm exceptionally proud of the finished props and I'm looking forward to walking you through the process that I used to turn bits and bytes into real-life stacks of awesomeness.

Stay tuned...

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