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Questions about creating a tank mesh for a game

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Hi, I was modeling a tank mesh but these problems came up. Please Help: 1.> In separating the turret from the base, should I just make them 2 different meshes in the same file or do I need to attach a skeleton to it to keep it just one mesh? 2.> How about the tire tracks? Do you animate the wheels and animate the tracks separateley? I need advice on how to make the tire tracks animate just like how they do it in real life (the loop-alike movement of the tracks). Thanks a lot in advance.

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Use 4 seperate meshes, the turret, the body and two tracks.
You can use translation and rotation matrices in local space to position the parts.
Using skeletons is a bit overkill for non-organic animations.

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A tank will typically need a lot more than 4 parts. You will need something like the following

  • A tank body
  • A tank turret
  • A tank cannon
  • 2 tank tracks
  • 5-10 tank cog wheels inside the tracks

    Each of these components need to be moved separately, though that doesn't mean they need to be separate models, I guess that depends on what model formats you have available. Its easy to imagine a hierarchical based file format which allows geometry to be connected to other geometry in the model in a hierarchical way.

    If you do go for separate models for each, you will need some way of positioning the pieces in the correct place, this would require some sort of vehicle stat system.

    The tank tracks are quite a tricky thing to implement realistically. You cannot just rotate a track model, as the tank moves, like you can with wheels of a car. If you did, you would end up with a strange looking tank indeed. You will probably need some sort of scrolling texture, or if you wanted to go ultra-realistic, you could make a very large amount of linked metal blocks, so it would look something like

    Doing that would be very difficult though, and pretty inefficient. Another option may be some sort of vertex animation, so you actually have several realistic models of a tank track at different stages of track rotation, and you swap between different frames of the animation. That would look quite nice.

    All the wheels should move with a speed that is relative to the speed the tank is moving, and they will all need to be rotated individually.

    You also probably want to make some a suspension model on the tank, so you can have cool recoils when you fire the weapon, and it will look nice when you go over bumps in the terrain.

    The cannon needs to be seperate from the turret so that you can pitch it up and down, and also give it some recoil when it fires.

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    Thanks guys for the replies. The animation for the tire tracks is what I was thinking about a lot. Thanks for the suggestions.


    Since you've provided me with a nice shot of the tire tracks, can i ask if you know any websites that have hi-res (at least 800x600) of close-up tank shots? And probably a site with explanations of the parts of the tanks.

    Thanks a lot in advance.

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