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

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