[UE4] Darksouls Style Dungeon

polycounter lvl 6
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Fozwroth polycounter lvl 6
Hi everyone!

Just thought I would share my latest mini environment inspired by the style of the Darksouls and Bloodborne universes.

It took me 4 days to complete, I wanted to see what I could manage to pull off in a short time frame :) 
its build in UE4 using baked lighting, textured using Substance Designer and Painter, Zbrush for the sculpting and Maya for the modeling.

There are a few props I reused from other previous environments but its mainly new assets :)

Will be posting a video as well in the following days and breakdowns if anyone would like.

Cheers! And happy new year!







The last one is just me having some fun with the background :) 


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  • Swaggletooth
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    Swaggletooth polycounter lvl 2
    This is pretty damn awesome!

    Making a narrow confined space is a pretty great idea for quickly making something that looks so polished and finished, when I periodically do this kind of thing it's always surprising to see how much quicker I've got.
  • Sharur
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    Sharur triangle
    I like it. The only thing is, that if you're going to for Souls style, you should use more orangish-red rather than yellow. Souls games typically favour red-orange-blue palette.

  • Anchang-Style
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    Anchang-Style polycounter lvl 5
    Can you show us the degree to which you broke down the assets to acommodate modularity. 
    Loving the touch with the glowing eyes at the end of the tunnel.
  • zug zug
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    zug zug polycounter lvl 2
    This is insane man!
  • Fozwroth
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    Fozwroth polycounter lvl 6
    Thanks everyone! 

    Yeah small spaces are really fun to do and it keeps it from stagnating and taking forever to complete. 

    Yeah true Darksouls might be a bit more towards the orange hues but I kind of enjoyed the more yellowish lights, its was just something I drew inspirations from :) 

    Yeah sure! I can post a bit of a breakdown this later this week!
  • mats effect
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    mats effect Polycount Sponsor
    Personally I like the yellow lights too. Awesome work man really loving it!
  • shabba
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    shabba polycounter lvl 8
    I like this alot - great job over 4 days of work!
  • Daniel_Swing
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    Daniel_Swing greentooth
    Awesome stuff! You really captured this scene, it looks like art-dump from Dark Souls 3. I'd love to see some wire-frame shots and some more break-down of the scene.
  • macoll
  • pixelpatron
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    pixelpatron polycounter lvl 4
    dope af 

    Lovin' this!!! Get back in there and give us MOAR!
  • rgbeard
  • Benvox2
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    Benvox2 polycounter lvl 6
    Awesome work! Especially in just four days!
  • urgaffel
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    urgaffel polycounter lvl 10
    Lovely stuff, great atmosphere. Now where's that video eh? ;)
  • malcolm
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    malcolm Polycount Sponsor
    This looks great, really like the material response and lighting contrast you got for such a dark scene. Love the colour palette.
  • Fozwroth
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    Fozwroth polycounter lvl 6
    Thanks for the kind words everyone! :) 

    I've been a bit side tracked lately with other stuff but I'm aiming to have some breakdowns and a video ready this week! 
    Yeah some decals on the floor could have helped break it up a bit :) 

    Thanks again!
  • garriola83
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    garriola83 polycounter lvl 9
    Very nice! I thought for a bit that this was actually from the game. Nice job getting the same atmosphere and architecture from the game
  • Fozwroth
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    Fozwroth polycounter lvl 6
    Thanks!

    So here is the video I put together for it, hope you like it! Better late than never I guess hehe... Will be posting breakdowns tomorrow as well! :)






  • Daniel_Swing
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    Daniel_Swing greentooth
    Super sweet! Looking forward to the breakdowns!
  • Kiyamlol
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    Kiyamlol polycounter lvl 6
    Would like to see a breakdown on how you do your walls. They all seamless projections? Good job :)
  • Fozwroth
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    Fozwroth polycounter lvl 6
    So here is a bit of a breakdown of the scene, feel free to ask any questions if anything isn't clear!

    The scene is textured using Substance Designer and Painter, Zbrush for sculpting and Maya for modelling. 


    Part 1
    Lighting & Shading

    Here are a few different render modes for the scene showing the lighting, base color and roughness. I also made a quick specular map from the roughness maps in my shader that lowers the specular values in the cracks and divets of the material so it removes unwanted glossiness in those areas. Its just simply an inverted roughness map that gets put through a power node to create a contrast-y texture map where the lower parts are dark, this is then piped through a "min" Node that ensure no values go over the 0.5 limit - see material screenshots further down.

    The scene is using baked lighting.




    Some assets in the scene are using subsurface, like the candle and the skulls for example



    Here Are some material examples from the scene, the base tiling material that is used for all tiling surfaces, I also have a version where I'm using vertex painting to be able to add dirt and salt streaks to my surfaces, its just a simple lerp between 2 different textures with the vertex color as the alpha.

    I chose to make use of 2 channel normal maps for my assets, to make this work you have to but your normal map to compression setting BC7 and make it linear as well. then the normal map needs to be converted to the correct space again which is easily done by multiplying it by 2 and then add -1, then in the end add back the blue channel by using a derive normalZ. Its usually a good idea to normalize the normal map after these kind of procedures. This can however produce black artifacts if the normal map is way too strong to I also added a control vec3 for that so I could manipulate the channels if any artifacts would occur.

    I chose to pack my texture as follows:

    Tiling textures - Color and displacement in Alpha, normal map is Red and Green channel, roughness in Blue and AO in the alpha

    Subsurface textures - Color and roughness in the Alpha, normal map is R & G then displacement in the Blue and SSS map in the Alpha

    Standard textures without displacement - Color and roughness in Alpha, normal map is R & G then specular in Blue and metallic in Alpha with the possibility to turn off the metallic option.

    These are all the master materials which I created instances of.





    Here is a progress with the different states of the scene before reaching final.


  • Fozwroth
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    Fozwroth polycounter lvl 6
    Part 2

    Level construction kit

    Here are some of the assets used in the scene.
    I chose to make use of displacement for this scene on my tiling materials so the geometry is very simple but pre-tessellated a bit so its easier to get good results in UE4

    I re-used some simpler props from my previous Hunters Dream scene as well as the styles fit together, it saved me some time so I didn't have to "re-invent" the wheel again just because. The grave stones and the metal stakes for example are re-used but tweaked a bit. 

    that scene can be found here if anyone is interested:
    https://www.artstation.com/artwork/xZKvX 

    The basic construction kit:




    Sculpts.

    Some assets went through a sculpt pass which was super simple and mostly focusing on large forms then the rest was added inside Substance Painter.



    Substance Designer materials.

    I created all my tileables within substance designer and did all the channel packing as well before exporting.
    Here are the main 2 materials used:




    Hope someone finds this interesting/helpful


    Thanks for looking!
    Cheers
  • Tzur_H
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    Tzur_H polycounter lvl 2
    scene is looking great, and the breakdown is much appreciated!
    interesting to see that you calc the blue channel of the nrm map in the shader and saving up a channel to pack a different map - is that a more optimized approach?
  • AtticusMars
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    AtticusMars greentooth
    Composition is really unusual, your image is basically split right down the center. At a glance it looks like two different images side by side.

    Don't know that I'd say it's good or bad, it's interesting but it is very strongly noticeable if that wasn't what you were going for.
  • Kiyamlol
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    Kiyamlol polycounter lvl 6
    its awesome how u dont have to do too much microdetail in zbrush anymore and let substance take care of the rest. Saves a lot of time


    well done :)
  • Fozwroth
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    Fozwroth polycounter lvl 6
    Thanks everyone! 

    Yeah that way you save a texture fetch, which also saves on memory on the gpu :) 

    I kinda think the composition works, it was a way I could make it feel larger than it actually is by hinting that there are more tunnels further down into the fog. As you said maybe not the most common approach but I kind of liked it :) 

    Yeah just doing a rough pass on sculpts really saves on time! The rest can easily be added in Painter. 
  • Daniel_Swing
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    Daniel_Swing greentooth
    Awesome! I'm trying to learn as much as I can, so if you wouldn't mind, I have a few questions regarding this:
    Fozwroth said:
    I chose to pack my texture as follows:

    Tiling textures - Color and displacement in Alpha, normal map is Red and Green channel, roughness in Blue and AO in the alpha

    Subsurface textures - Color and roughness in the Alpha, normal map is R & G then displacement in the Blue and SSS map in the Alpha

    Standard textures without displacement - Color and roughness in Alpha, normal map is R & G then specular in Blue and metallic in Alpha with the possibility to turn off the metallic option.
    I normally use 3 images for each material to encompass: Color, Normal, Roughness+Metallic+AO. I can totally see how reducing the amount from 3 to 2 images per texture save quite a lot of resources. However, your packing also means that you aren't including AO for all textures: Is this a necessary sacrifice to reduce the amount of images down to 2 or do you simply feel like it's not necessary for any other materials other than the tiling textures?
    Fozwroth said:
    Part 2

    Level construction kit

    Here are some of the assets used in the scene.
    I chose to make use of displacement for this scene on my tiling materials so the geometry is very simple but pre-tessellated a bit so its easier to get good results in UE4
    Is this something that one could afford to do (performance-wise) for AAA-games (or games just in general)? Or is it just for your own personal projects? I'm asking since it seems to be quite a number of extra polygons and shader calculations or is it even negligible?

    EDIT: Also, why do you sometimes use both single colored specular and metallic at the same time? Is it to alter the specular reflection and not keep it locked to either just white or the base color? And why do you only do this for some textures?
  • Fozwroth
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    Fozwroth polycounter lvl 6
    In my experience AO doesn't do too much for simpler objects since the screen space AO is taking care of most of it anyway, what I usually do though if I feel its needed is that I can try manipulate some other map I have with a few nodes to fake an AO map. Overall I feel like tiling textures need them the most since they need all the help they can get to prevent them from looking flat.

    And yes i would say having 2 maps instead of 3 is almost always worth it. There are exceptions of course, my foliage for example uses a 3 texture setup just because I need a lot of control over the shader and often end up "abusing" the normal map for foliage lol, the 2 texture approach doesn't handle cranked up normal maps very well as it produces artifacts at a certain intensity. Its all about the pros and cons and what is the best for your project.  I myself also like the easier source file setup, its a bit cleaner with 2 maps that are fully packed than having 3 that might not be use to their full potential. 


    Well Displacement is a viable option but not for everything! There are games that uses it for terrain and rocks for example. The displacement can also be based on distance so the cost can be controlled. 

    If real time displacement is too expensive you could always apply the displacement map to a plane to create a mesh in Maya for example and use a reduced version as the LOD0 and then just simplify down the LOD chain. For me it saves a lot of work when it comes to personal projects since I don't have to bother making those kind of setups but I don't think its a "cheat" either as the same result can be achieved in the end with other means.

    Its usually not the triangles that chokes the system, its everything else, shader math, textures, overdraw, vfx etc. It plays a part of course you cant go crazy but its usually not the biggest issue. For displacement its the actual real time tessellation that slows you down not necessarily the actual triangles produced. I'm no expert of course these are just noticed :) 

    Well for metals I usually just set the specular to a flat 0.5 and then let the base color do its thing. But I can also turn the metallic off for my objects and then use the specular to reduce glossiness in cavities of the mesh using the inverted smoothness map function I have in the shader. its just a way to be able to use the same master shader for both objects which makes it easier to manage content. 

    That shader is my standard asset shader that goes on pretty much all props and objects that aren't nature assets. I have another one for foliage, rocks and so on just because they require different things. 


    Hope that helps!





  • Daniel_Swing
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    Daniel_Swing greentooth
    I feel like I level up. Thank you very much!
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