Monday, 26 January 2015

Container Project III - Things are shaping up

This week was the week of fixing a lot of issues we've needed fix for a while but just haven't for some reason or other. Up until now our level lighting hasn't even had a decent pass and blocking out smaller parts of the level has become painstaking but we are cracking through and some things are starting to shape up...

Mike Kelly mentioned to us at this point it's all about broad strokes and what we could do to make the level seem finished, this would help us push through the last part and let us then focus on the details more, so we focused our priorities and tried to fix the big issues in our level.

I added in directional lighting plus the ceiling panels Amber created and the 3D Vines Lucy made, it's amazing how quickly the lighting ties everything together. Also the fog is looking really cool, here makes it look very humid, just as we wanted. In terms of the colours we tried to keep that retro colouring so everything looks slightly washed out contrast wise but still very saturated.

Here is more of the bridge showing off the front window was left quite late but is needed to push the depth in the room, The bulkheads and the ceiling panels also help to bulk out the room and fill up all the empty space.

Here is the corridor in the habitation area filled in the door Amber created from my drawing plus Beth's cryotube. I modeled some trim pieces here for the corner of the rooms to the player can't see horrible intersecting at the corners of the doors.
From now on is pure crunch, seeing as we have a day not working because of our whole team attending VFX festival in London. Really excited for that! At this point there are still a load of things to sort, lightmapping seems to be an issue that keeps cropping up and some more computers need to be modeled for the bridge but I'm confident we can get through it. The level is starting to have a bit of cohesion now and that already makes me excited for when we start dressing it in all the plants and biolumiscent mushrooms we have made.

Next time: Crunch stress, waking up to go London at 4;00 stress and end of project destress

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Container Project II - Modularity is an amazing bitch

Second week of the project and we have been working on a little bit of concepts plus getting into finishing the blockmesh of the level. I had to redo a lot of the BSP stuff I did earlier on because when I tilted the level the local axis of the BSP meshes decided to reset which made things a little bit more tricky, no worries though as I just followed the same layout and used static meshes instead, allowing us to quickly construct the layout of the level as well as switch out the blockmesh for the final models really easily.

Our goal is to push the modularity of the level as much as we can by reusing as many assets as we can. Things like the desks and computers are all made using a few basic parts which could be used to kitbash other assets and keep everything uniform. The hard part is making sure everything fits correctly but it looks really great when an asset just slots perfectly into place, making the small OCD part of my brain really happy.

Blockmesh of habitation area using some test walls created by amber. We were trying out different ideas to what would work for paneling in certain parts of the interior, this was being done alongside the concepting so we could feedback to each what works and what doesn't.

Blockmesh of the bridge, still some elements here which need to be switched to a static mesh. Also some basic 2D vines to show some overgrowth.
Also I spent a bit of the week modelling some computer assets to put in the level from drawings I did, we used a style board so we could design assets without losing focus.

Style board used to create assets, bright, 70s retro styling with bulky elements associated to cargo and shipping containers.
Computer assets I made, these are also designed with modularity in mind as the buttons and screens could be used in different combinations for kitbashing more computer designs.
Next time: All the Modularity!

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Container Project I - It's just like Lego

So back from christmas and it's refreshing to get straight back into the game art graft after just doing bits and pieces of study over the holidays. One thing stand out is that it is pretty darn weird being home now after being in Leicester for so long; my Bristol home feels smaller and getting used to the darts being on every time I'm back there is getting increasingly harder. Sorry dad!

I also did some other random things over the christmas; one thing was playing some horror games in the living room (PT Demo) which was worthwhile because of my mum's and sister's reaction. It's not a good idea to play PT while someone in the room prone to jumpscares is playing scrabble with her boyfriend.


Anyways, then I get back to Leicester and we were given a great project that was teased a bit last year: get ready for container city!

Guys, contain your excitement
For this project we have to create an environment using a basic shipping container as a basis of a level design and concept, we could choose to either go for a dystopian environment or go with more of a sci-fi vibe while trying to push what we could do with the limitations of a modular constructed environment.

So in our group we decided to do some brainstorming and came to the conclusion that we wanted to go for a sci-fi theme so we can push things more in a different direction, the idea we came to was that of a modular-based space station that has crashed into an alien rainforest undergrowth-like environment, with the player starting in a habitation module which has been self contained and is largely unaffected by the surrounding chaos. This would be a pretty cool setting to see deteriorate with my growth as you progress through, it also allows us to really play around a lot with lighting, particles and some more complex environment effects like water drips and floor smoke.

Here is a sample of some of the development work done so far, with some concepts and blockmesh screens:

Bridge blockout, first blockmesh iteration.
Bridge sketchovers, showing the overgrown nature of the ship's interior
Container base iteration, this is meant to serve as a base of the spaceship modules to which bits can be altered or bolted on to the original frame.
Door concepts, we wanted to try constantina style doors as it's not something we have seen done before in any sci-fi designs we've come across, we thought it would also fit the container theme running throughout the environment so I tried some different variations on this and some other door types.
Corridor photobash - here is some colour schemes and photobashing for the corridor environment which helps with the palette and mood for the overgrown areas.

Some Technical Babble

The next thing to do is begin testing throwing things into engine. First when I tried to block-in the level with BSP meshes as I usually do it created more problems than solutions; when I tried to skew the level to make it all twisted like a crashed ship would be it messed up all the local axis of the meshes, which wasn't great. Solving this was to create some modular block meshes of walls, floors and ceilings that would fit within a standard 20 foot container that could easily be swapped out when we had a more finished asset. Also it was pretty good for just speeding things and it let us have a bit of fun with building the level (Which has always been my favourite bit, it's just digital Lego after all.)

Next time: more cool digital lego things, bioluminescence, retro computers and storage containers. (Yes)

-James