Learning The Basics of Maya

Progress of modeling an airplane

Over the past few weeks I have been learning the basics of Maya with the Introduction to Maya 2013 course by Digital Tutors. Most of the course was review for me from Blender and Inventor, but it was very helpful learning where menus are located and the shortcuts in Maya. The course takes you from simple concept art (shown in the base layer in the image above) are teaches you the techniques to model and animate an airplane. I found it encouraging following along with the project and seeing my model progress.

I need to remember that I will not be using NURBS models with Unity 3d, but need to focus on polygonal modeling. This is where you may want to change your path if you want to model for movies as NURBS modeling will be perfectly acceptable in that field.


To review my knowledge of Maya and 3d modeling I decided to work on a small project. I remembered some old concept art I had of a sword and I had a go at modeling and texturing it.

fantasy sword with markings

Sword Concept Art

UVs layed out on sword

Unwrapping UVs on the sword for texturing

Concept For My First Game

While it’s hard not to follow what my heart wants to do and get started in on an epic RPG featuring multiple kingdoms and lands, I’m going to start small for my first game. This way I will be familiar with the process of taking a game to market before getting started on a larger project. That doesn’t mean I will create a lame and boring game though!

Target Audience

Choosing a target audience now may help with decisions later. For example, if my games is made for children, I probably wouldn’t want too lengthy of a story, if any. However I will be going after a mature audience who are casual gamers.

Quick Idea

My first game will be a survival shooter in a top down perspective and follow the story of a zoo who’s animals are escaping. The player will play the role of the zoo keeper and have to navigate each level shooting the hordes of attacking animals to ensure they don’t cause harm to the player or the nearby town. The game play will be highly story driven.


Above, I quickly laid out the general focus and idea of the game. Now I need to refine that idea further into a storyboard.

[insert game play sketches here]

Concept Art

Now is also a good time to make some concept art. I think the felt texture and basic color set will create a unique feel for the game and will complement the story in an ironic way. The basic cube shape and simple textures will keep modeling to a minimum. I do need to be careful that my game doesn’t cross the line where the felt characters are not visually appealing. They will have to be styled ironically but not have a super cute look, which wouldn’t be appealing to a mature audience!

concept art felt cube animals