Last week I mainly worked on folliage. The goal was to create an art level which looked exactly like how the end result would look. My job was to make all the plants in there.
After that I’ve adjusted my material from earlier to look more cartoony with less values. I kept only the big and medium details and used a noise generator that olmo created to have the more cartoony look.
Finally I’ve made a presentation that we could use for the milestone we had. I took some slides from the art document and some from the pitch doc what still remained of the initial idea and then adjusted and made some new pages as well.
With the milestone quickly approaching, we had to nail down the style of our game. We had an internal deadline to have a small environment fully worked out by the first milestone. In the previous weeks we were making our materials way too realistic, while we were actually trying to achieve a more stylized result. Also, the first tests with sculpting environment assets were not up to the standard we set for ourselves. The result: we had to remake almost all the static meshes in our game. It was a lot of work, but I’m happy about the result.
Example of environment assets. They are stylized but still take advantage of full PBR shading.
We also finished the design of an important aspect of our game, the Fusion Points. The goal of every level is to reactivate a Fusion Point and bring the environment back to life. They basically are the big milestone points in the game. Because of this, we wanted to have an iconic design for this object. I think it worked out pretty well.
Sculpt of the Fusion Point Mesh.
When all the assets were ready, we had to put them together in an environment. We wanted to have dramatic, directional lighting in combination with small environment light in the scene itself. Another important element was the height fog that obscures the depths of the pits where the player jumps over. All of this creates a mysterious and adventurous atmosphere that we’re pretty happy with. The only thing we dont know yet is what we are going to put in the far distance of the levels.
I spent most of my time during the holidays on the Graduation Project milestone, so my work-output wasn’t spectacular for the Game Projects course.
After a lot of thumbnailing, I finally have a main character silhouette that I am happy with. She will have a slender build, to accentuate her speed and agility. However, Her upper legs are very big, to make her high jumps believable. The cloak has been a constant design element since the beginning of the project, although it has become less all-encompassing as before. She will have some robotic parts and some organic parts, but everything will be covered. She doesn’t have armor because the game has no combat.
Examples of thumbnail-designs for the main character.
Another thing I worked on was the procedural generation of noise maps for stylized textures. The material definition has become a bit too realistic in the latest weeks, so I tried to develop a node that can be used in Substance-software to generate grunge maps. These maps are designed to be used for the creation of more stylized textures. This is important because we will need to finish our test-scene by next week.
Some examples of stylized grunge-maps generated by my substance node-network.
Example of a metal-material generated with my custom noise functionality.
Last week I’ve been busy creating some procedural materials for in our level. I’ve watched a lot of tutorials as well because it was my first big and complex material in substance designer. In the mean time I have tried to find a solution for a problem that occured to me as well. The problem was that I couldn’t save, open and adjust a material anymore. After I saved my material and closed it, it was locked for some weird reason. I had to post on a lot of forums and I’m currently mailing with an allegorithmic staff member to get the issue fixed.
This was a test material to see if it worked but the problem was still there like you can see written in the yellow text.
So that was it for the problems of this week, now onto the exiting stuff!
These are 3 different setups of the material I’ve created. It is certainly not perfect yet and it will need more work to really make the material ready for the final result but at this point it’s far enough that I can start using it already. You can make the tiles clean, dirty, add moss, let the material don’t have tiles at all, make a lot of tiles. It’s all adjustable in Unreal Engine with a few sliders!
This is how I’ve created it:
It looks a bit messy but if you go over it it’s not that hard to understand at all actually.
And finally some screenshots from the diorama where I’ve added plants and the material!
Last week I’ve made a new test level. I’ve made this new one because the old one became obsolete because of the tweaks on the character movement. It became way to small for the double jumps and dashes implemented.
This week, I tried to finalize the style in which we will make the 3D assets of our game. I experimented with aesthetic choices as well as workflow options. I ended up sculpting most assets in Zbrush, and baking the normals in 3DS max.
WIP of the asset sculpts.
I also explored the ways in which we could use modularity in our levels to make as few assets as possible. The final result of all this work is a small testscene to illustrate the aesthetic and scale of the game. There is still no material definition however, that will be something for next week.
Due to the Sci-Fi setting, a small number of assets can be used a lot.
An important part of our game’s aesthetic is the cloak of our main character. We would like to make it move in a realistic fashion with the help of PhysX. The idea behind it is that the character’s nimble movements get enhanced by the fluttering cape.
Although the PhysX engine is pretty robust, a lot of technical tweaking is necessary to make it work in a real-time environment. I used a simple testcharacter I already rigged and attatched the cloth asset to the skeleton. The trickiest part is setting up the collisions for the cloak, to make sure it doesn’t clip trough the character.
PhysX Cloth Setup in 3DS max
PhysX Cloth setup in Unreal
After I set up everything in Unreal, I imported some test animations and quickly made a functional Avatar based on the third person template in Unreal.
Previews of animations in Unreal with PhysX cloth enabled.
Playable Character in Unreal with PhysX cloth enabled.
There is still a lot of tweaking to do, but the base functionality is there.