Saturday, 23 February 2013

Full Steam Ahead....

I've finally all the building segments in place now. Yeah it's not finished yet and they'll bit a lot of finessing left to do to get the right blend of materials and making them look right together as well as just tweaking some of the buildings positions just in case there are some gaps. 

My next task is just to finish up on the last couple of tileables and then try and make the street look coherent. But I'm also started on the modular pipe bits and I'll get on some variety of roll up doors on the go. That should start to bring the level together a bit more. Plus I'm probably just whack out a place holder skydome just so I don't have to look at black emptiness.

So this is just some stuff I've been working on for the past like week or so. I've just been doing some initial tests for some steam effects for my level. I'm hoping to have a lot of quite standard effects in my level to demonstrate that I can do the basics well. It'll be a lot of rain and water and then plenty of steam and maybe some sparks and things like that.

I'm not particularly happy with this. It's supposed to be steam from like a burst pipe. I don't think the effect quite carries the same energy and silhouette as would be usually seen. I think the texture I used was too whispy and that I'll be better off using a fast panning texture and stretching it out to give that energy bursting out as well as keep a much tighter look.

Much happier with how this came out but I still think that the texture isn't quite there yet. For the level I'll definitely go back and completely redo these. I'll also play around with getting good renders for flipbooks. That's definitely an area that I need a lot of work with.

As you can see in these renders. These were done in FumeFX and it's something that I really struggle with. It was supposed to have the big billowing effect that you'd get from a pryoclastic cloud or with smoke from a fire but I just can't get it to react properly. I think it diffuses and dissipates too quickly. I don't know, it's definitely something I'll have to keep going with until I can get not only better textures but also good flipbook textures.  

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Tileable Fun Times....

So I should really get into the blogging a little more. But it's been a very slow week and I've kept distracting myself with other projects that are taking a lot of my time unfortunately. But that's all stuff to do with smoke research and all that jazz so it's not like it's wasting my time, just eating a lot of it :/ 

So this week I've been getting on with the actual production side of things. Starting with all the wonderful tasks of making tileable textures and repeatable assets. It's boring and tedious I know, but once I've got it done my level should come together fairly quickly. 

And here's some of the tileables. I've still got a fair few to make and these ones still have errors that need tweaking like just some tweaking of values in the speculars and toning down some of the normals.

And here's how they'll all look, hopefully a lot, a lot, better once I've made all the materials in UDK and sorted the tiling offsets. These are actually all the buildings that'll make up my alleyway. I've tried to add a fair bit of variation to make it feel unique but ultimately I'm trying to get across the best idea in the shortest time. I can just use these to repeat them along the alleyway switching out the materials to make them feel different. And of course they'll all have different shop fronts and the like on them as well as hopefully it'll all come together nicely.

One area I am concerned with is the harsh lines between materials. I'm hoping that once I've plastered the scene with assets like piping, wires, vents etc. it won't be so noticeable. It only worries me because where with previous projects I'd just slap decals or using vertex painting to add a lot of variety and blend the transition areas better; I'm reluctant to do with this project. I'm not sure how decals would look when the rain shader is applied to the materials underneath, I imagine that they'll really stand out. And I know that the shader will be fairly expensive anyway without adding vertex shading in. I suppose that's something to think about when the time comes though.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

And So It Begins...

It finally begins then, well it technically began like a week ago but I have a tendency to forget a bit about the blog :/ But that'll all change now that it's started fully. So here's what I've been up to this first week.

I used some of my initial blockouts and stuff to just create some really quick paintovers just so that I can think about placement and stuff like that. I only really did some quick line work as it was all I really felt I needed to do to get an understanding of where I'll need certain assets to be and how the gradation of levels will work out. 

But as I'm not all that great with the whole concepting thing I prefer to move onto blockouts in max. 

So I carried on from my initial blockouts and quickly decided on width and scale. I had a real trouble getting it to be the width that I was looking for. It ended up being such a small margin between being too thin and compact to being too spacious. I also exaggerated the height; in reality these alleyways only extend to the second storey but I wanted a much more imposing sense of scale so I bumped it way up to like five or six storeys. 

These two were just me playing around with overall composition for my level. I know this is very early on and not something I should really think too much about until like actually putting the level together in engine but I just want to start thinking about a final screenshot. But I've not been thinking too much about it, just trying to bare it in mind more than anything.

Just starting to think a bit about asset placement and how to build the level up a bit. Mostly using primitive shapes to judge variations in scale and depth. Trying to break up the linearity of the level by having different levels extrude into the street so that you start to see less straight lines.

This is what I've spent the last few days working on. Trying to just populate my blockout a little with some more detailed shapes. So far I'm quite happy with how it's all coming together. Obviously there is a lot that I would like to do to it but I think it's better that I think about the details of it as I'm building assets and putting it together. I'm thinking that I would probably like it more if there was more going on on the upper levels, try and make it feel much more cluttered above the player.

I used a lot of repeatable assets whilst building my blockout. And it got me into making up an asset list as I was going of things that I would need and assets I could reuse. At the moment I'm thinking of using almost all repeatable assets, that will obviously be altered in UDK through use of material instance constants to break up a lot of the repetition. I want to do it this way as I think it'll very beneficial to my workflow but also so that I can get the level built quicker and move onto the elements that'll be the focus of my project.

 And here's a quick screenshot of how the blockout looks in UDK once I've added in the signs and stuff. Obviously it's only a quick blockout and slap job lighting but I think that it's got a lot of potential when it's all done and I've actually considered lighting.

My tasks for this weekend and next week are to start making all the tileables and start working on some of the more modular assets like pipes and vents as this should be able to build up quite a strong base fairly quickly.