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CAD Midterm: A Windmill From La Mancha

For my midterm, I wanted to create a 3D asset for my New Arcade game, and after some brainstorming decided I would try a windmill, which I use in the game to propel the player. I didn't want to make just any old windmill though, and in my search for inspiration recalled the saying "tilting at windmills." The phrase means to doggedly engage in some kind of pointless activity, and comes from the Spanish novel The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha written by Miguel de Cervantes in the 17th century. In the book, the titular Don Quixote, a middle-aged man obsessed with already-outdated notions of chivalry, goes on adventures with his more grounded squire Sancho Panza. In one such journey, he encounters a group of windmills and charges towards them, believing them to be giants.

It turns out those windmills are real, and that a number of them still stand today. In the province of Ciudad Real in modern day Castile-La Mancha are some ten of the windmills that Cervantes described in his writing. I decided I would go ahead and recreate one!

Using the above references I tried to recreate a windmill. I realized midway that especially since the windows and doors open directly inside I wanted to add a simple interior, too, so I looked for some references of the inside of a windmill, too.

My final results are below:

Of course, my work didn't end at creating the model, I wanted to use it in my game. With some work I was able to replace windmills I had downloaded online, but there were some issues in the process that I realized I have to account for in advance next time I build my own assets.

To start, when I imported my object to Unity, it was rotated the wrong way – that's most likely because Unity uses the Y-axis for height, while Fusion 360 uses the Z-axis.

When it came to rotating the windmill, I realized I didn't know how to get Fusion 360 to export the windmill animation that I made, so I made a simple rotation script in Unity. However, it turned out that when importing into Unity, the pivot of the wind sails axis would shift slightly off center, so rotating about the (in this case) Y-axis would actually cause the sails to revolve about the axis. I had to fix this by creating my own pivot in Unity, but this was an imperfect solution since I couldn't measure exactly the center of the sails either. How could I fix my export or workflow accordingly?

I'm able to use my windmill as an asset in my game, so I'm pleased. But I realized how difficult it is to create an asset that can be used in other contexts. I also settled for some default materials when creating the render, but I think it's worth looking into more realistic textures.