MDU115 BioShock Drill – 3D Asset Production

This is my postmortem blog post on the things I struggled with and the overall process that I used to create my 3D interpretation of the BioShock Drill.

Reference and Sketching

To start off the process I did a bunch of research on the drill itself. At first I had no clue what I actually wanted to model, all I knew was that I wanted to do something that was an iconic game weapon. It came down to the drill and the portal gun in the end, and I went with the drill. I collected a fairly large amount of reference images and then went to work sketching my own version on Photoshop. I wasn’t creating an exact replica of the drill but instead I did my own take on it.



The sketching process was fun, and I took different parts from each drill in the reference.


To model the drill I used a helix spline and then extruded it. Because I changed the radius of the tip and base it ended up spiraling downwards, in a cone shape, which is what I wanted. When extruding and bridging it off this caused it to create more of a drill bit instead of a drill with a thread like the reference and my model sheet had. I ended up sticking with the result as I personally liked it a lot and it was a drill bit, which made sense with the concept of the gun. Capping off the hollow ends of the drill bit was probably one of the hardest parts of the whole 3D model. I added other objects with the same amount of sides and then proceeded to target weld them to the ended vertices.

I created the rotor by making a a rectangle and used a bunch of cylinders all attached to each other to remove the wholes with a boolean. Making sure there were no N-gons was probably the most time consuming part of the rotor.

One part of the modelling process that made it difficult is connecting the meshes. I know it isn’t necessary but for some reason I had it in my head that they need to be connected through the mesh and not just attached, as if gravity was a thing it would technically all fall apart.

UV Unwrapping

Thanks to the 2017 version of max it was super easy to unwrap the model. I loaded it up and added a uv modifier onto it. All I had to do was select the whole model then break by poly angles. After that I just rendered the template out then proceeded onto texturing.


The texturing process was super fun because Quixel is an awesome program. I loaded metal textures onto the different parts of the drill, and a material ID that I had rendered helped a lot with that. I baked my own ambient occlusion in xNormal however I discarded it as Quixel’s was pretty good. I went with a complimentary colour scheme of yellow and purple, even though it wasn’t like the game and it wasn’t realistic I felt like it did the model justice. After all it was my take on the model.


Rendering was done fairly quickly thanks to the Quixel render system. I did want to have a render of each mode such as wire frame, ambient occlusion, normal’s, etc, but I was against time at this point so I didn’t go through with the process.



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