With about a week left until the Entelechy competition I have managed to get my block out complete. I've captured all the major forms and the components that I feel are needed there to make sure the device feels totally functional. Below is what I came up with.
Right away it's pretty obvious that I've made quite a few little changes. A lot of these changes were made because of either design flaws or shapes that made sense in 2D but didn't convert into 3D too well. Below are the changes I made and why.
1) The gun runs along a track. It may be hard to see, but the biggest change I made is there is now a ridge that runs around the center piece above the cogs. This was a solution that I had to another issue created by issue 4. The top needed a way to connect to the lower part and still be able to spin around it, so it is now connected to a track similar to that of a roller coaster.
2) The grip area is opened up. I feel this was needed for two reasons, one was to better evoke the feeling that this was a gun, so that shape language was important; the other is because I felt the previous design just wasn't functional and would be too restrictive/uncomfortable to hold.
3) The barrel and chamber front assembly was raised. I felt like the design was stronger with it lower, but when it came to the 3D space, it just wouldn't fit where it was.
4) The supports that connected the top to the center were removed. Somehow I missed the fact that if this were to rotate, that center support would either prevent it from moving or would cut off the user's fingers, I didn't want either of those things to happen.
5) The pipe in front connects to the barrel. I though this made sense in terms of returning gas to the canister on the back. In the 2D design I wasn't thinking of that, but I knew I wanted something to be in that space. Now there is and it's functional in theory.
With some of those major changes explained I'd like to talk about the parts of the gun and why they make sense, essentially, how does this gun work?
From the above angle you can tell that the magazine carries the ammo sideways, allowing it to store 45 rounds around the user's hand. The magazine snaps into place with a little snap button on the main body in front of the trigger. When the weapon fires, gas is released from the boiler in back, down the left side tube powering the gears that drive the top part around.
This pressure does two things. One, it extends the axel for the center gear, pulling it against the spring and between the powered gear and the main gear around the grip. Two, it powers the powered gear in the same way a steam engine works, that piston seen in the center of the image pushes in and out, rotating the powered gear and driving the whole assembly around the magazine. It's important to note that the central gear, when idle, is disconnected from the powered gear, which is always spinning, and is held out, to the right in this image, by a spring.
As the top rotates around the magazine, it collects the next round in line into the chamber. A small metal chute is used to rotate the pieces. When the user is ready to fire again and pulls the trigger, gas is sent down the right side tube to launch the firing pin into the cartridge. The gas that is in excess that travels down the barrel is recollected by the pipe underneath it and is used as additional power to the powered gear.
Of course, I realize that none of this is possible for one reason: there is no way for the trigger to mechanically interact with the pieces on top to release the gas/pressure in the tank. I, however, am convinced that if the rest of the gun is more or less believable functionally, and I just explained why it is, that many people may not even notice that flaw and will find the gun convincing.
At this point I'm considering potentially adding a few more things. One, I may add a third pipe meant to return unspent gas/pressure back to the boiler on the back. Two, I made add some actual, functional sights if I can think of a design that doesn't stick out too much on the silhouette. Three, I may add a few more support brackets to the pieces already present such as the power train in front, the barrel, and the pipes on top.
My primary forms are complete and I have six days to finish my work here. I plan to spend the next three days adding the secondary and tertiary forms. I will spend one day refining all of the geometry and making the high-poly version. I will spend one day making UV's and ensuring a perfect bake. Then I will spend the last day doing texture work.
Next update should be in three days with the final look of the gun.