Making Melody: Sword

Weapons play a key role in any game that revolves around fighting in some way. They are an essential component to connecting players to the digital world that they are stepping into when they pick up a controller or click clack on a keyboard. Pulse is no exception to this. Weapon design was at the center of much of the early development of Pulse, as it influenced much of what would come to be core gameplay features.


Melody was our first character and functioned as our “Guinea pig“ for a lot of different aspects of the design process. Early on this allowed me to explore different concepts for her weapon. I drew inspiration for all of our characters’ weapons from both musical instruments and renaissance weapon designs. I needed to find a happy medium between form and function. As a rough and rowdy, yet elegant fast attacker, I figured a hand and a half sword would be fitting. As a team we really wanted to show how interrelated music is to the world of Pulse. Before melody was a sculpted character, she was a treble clef to the team. We also from the beginning wanted Melody’s Sword to be inspired by melodic instruments such as guitars or synthesizers (The musical inspirations for two alternative versions of Melody’s sword textured by Jamie). Incorporating these shapes and ideas into the overall form was imperative to me.


Breaking down a weapon into its individual parts is step numero uno for me when I begin a new model. Swords are broken up into four main parts: the blade, cross guard, hilt, and pommel. This is how I broke down each aspect of the sword’s overall design. It was easier for me to break down, test, and implement important visual aspects of the design. The elongated treble clef that partially covers the blade acts as a down swept cross guard perfect for a sword made for chopping. The star shaped pommel is another call out to Melody as it is the geometric shape that represents her character.


Swords are simple yet extremely elegant weapons, the level of detail and proportions of Melody’s Sword are designed to capture that sweet sweet sword swinging feeling while also working with our zoomed out ¾ camera angle. Melody’s Sword would go on to be a major influence on the rest of the weapon designs in Pulse. It’s blending of important design elements became the standard in which I compared all future weapons on the project.


- Collin Drilling



Melody's sword, with a grand piano skin.

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