Orloth - Final Major Project

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JLHGameArt polycounter lvl 5
Greetings Polycount!

@almighty_gir @TudorMorris and myself have started our final project for our Hertfordshire uni MA.
We are also being assisted by the almighty @Kashaar who has made some kick ass blueprints for me to aid in the quick construction of the city using my modular assets.

We're just in the RnD stage right now but I thought I'd get a thread going, we'll be working on this actively until the end of August.

almighty_gir got me and Tudor on board for this project months ago.

I've been putting together a block out, trim sheets, base textures, and the foundations for the asset pack in the last few weeks. Everything is currently just base textures and a lot of placeholder stuff, but I've put some time in to a small part of the playable area just to test our materials so far, building tests and lighting.
Gir has put together our materials and he's now working on the start of the dragon.
Tudor is roughing out concepts for the whole project.

I'll let the others post their work here, but here's mine so far.
We've got a story about this place, but I'll let @almighty_gir fill you in because this is his baby ;)

Any advice or critique moving forward will be hugely appreciated, and of course if anyone has any questions please feel free to ask.

I can safely say...wish us luck.










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  • Kashaar
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    Kashaar Polycount Sponsor
  • SergeyA
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    SergeyA vertex
    It looks very sharp.
    May be consider adding bevels on the edges, especially on the stone walls, where close up shots are likely. Also consider using displacement textures, it would add some chaos on the edges.
    Great job otherwise, the project looks huge, I wish you luck.
  • Elithenia
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    Elithenia polycounter lvl 2
  • JLHGameArt
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    JLHGameArt polycounter lvl 5
    SergeyA said:
    It looks very sharp.
    May be consider adding bevels on the edges, especially on the stone walls, where close up shots are likely. Also consider using displacement textures, it would add some chaos on the edges.
    Great job otherwise, the project looks huge, I wish you luck.
    Agreed. I will be developing these mesh's further. For the purposes of testing modularity I wanted to get some basic mesh's in to test some stuff out. Due to the scale of the project I'll have to be quite picky about what I bevel and what I use trim sheets for, but certainly the base of the buildings can be afforded some more geo. 
    I was hoping to also get some paralax in the shader, but @almighty_gir says it's too expensive.

    Trying to implement Insomniac's ultimate trim sheet stuff so I don't have to bevel the whole scene. http://www.gdcvault.com/play/1022324/The-Ultimate-Trim-Texturing-Techniques
    Here's my tests so far. Also using height based vertex blending.






  • JLHGameArt
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    JLHGameArt polycounter lvl 5
    Here's how I'm approaching the buildings and hopefully making them all a little bit unique.
    @Kashaar  put together a blueprint for me that takes my mesh's of 3 varying sizes, 4x4, 2x4 and 1x4 meters plus a corner mesh, and in the roof's case a cap mesh. I can drag the blueprint into the scene and grab the Extents handle and make the it as big or small as I want. I can then check the length and width and put those numbers in to each other floor to quickly get the same size.
    I have full control over which pieces are used on each floor. I can duplicate them to make them appear more often, and in some cases I've asked @Kashaar if he can make it so the blueprint uses the 4x4 pieces more often to cut down on it using lots of the smaller sized pieces.

    I'm also putting together a collection of prefabs I can snap on to these buildings to break them up as much as I can, but also have a few props planned to help break them up further.



    The master material (created by @almighty_gir) has lots going on, but it lets me paint wetness and/or snow on to anything.
    We have the base texture plus 3 layers of textures we can blend with, plus the alpha channel for wetness. If i max out the wetness then it overrides the normals beneath so I can paint puddles in.

  • almighty_gir
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    almighty_gir polycounter lvl 12
    Hey all.

    So i managed to rope poor @JLHGameArt and @TudorMorris into helping me with an overly ambitious project for our final major. I wanted to do something grand and epic, and largely a showcase of all of our skillsets. A kind of interactive portfolio.

    With that in mind i had the idea of an elf that the player can control, a dragon they can fly, and a cool castle environment for them to explore.

    I've spent the majority of my time so far working on the material systems, and trying to get them all up and running. Taking advantage of UE4's layered system as much as possible. My role has mainly fallen into tech-art at the moment. But i've been pushing on the art side of things too.

    @TudorMorris has been doing some badass concept stuff for me to work from. So i've been able to make a good start on the dragon, getting all the major forms in, and getting the head shape looking nice. I'll be detailing and moving to low poly over the next couple of weeks.




    Here's the head with scale reference:


    I've also got the head for the elf pretty much done in high-poly. Again, @TudorMorris has done some great concept work for the body and armour so i'll be pushing on to those soon.


  • JLHGameArt
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    JLHGameArt polycounter lvl 5
    Testing some fog and post process settings. Going for a cold wet feel.

    We have to produce a pre-production document, so I'm trying to push a small area to show the look I want to go for.
  • Elithenia
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    Elithenia polycounter lvl 2
    Congrats on the frontpage!

  • Michael Knubben
    I'd say you've nailed the cold/wet look, but I'd add some extra ground-clinging fog. Nice horizontal banks of fog as particles would really enhance the feeling, I think.
  • Mant1k0re
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    Mant1k0re polycounter lvl 2
    Looking nice already!

    Even though the city walls appear to be in semi-blockout state at the moment, I was wondering if you could explain how you approached modeling the crenelation/battlement on curved sections whilst making it consistent with straight sections? I've been working on something similar for a while and I'm bumping my head into a wall (pun intended) trying to figure how to solve this simple (?) issue. Obviously bending or deforming the piece is not an option, symmetry gives ugly results, etc.
  • JLHGameArt
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    JLHGameArt polycounter lvl 5
    I'd say you've nailed the cold/wet look, but I'd add some extra ground-clinging fog. Nice horizontal banks of fog as particles would really enhance the feeling, I think.
    @Michael Knubben
    Totally agree. We've been discussing the best way to do this based on the size of environment. Maybe we can have particles that are only active when the player is at a certain distance to them so they don't slow the scene down when they don't need to be on, and for the areas the player can't access we can use planes to get that look but a fair bit cheaper than using particles.

    @Mant1k0re
    @Kashaar came to the rescue on this one. He has made a blueprint that allows me to use a spline to place my walls where ever I want. It still needs some work but here's how it works. I'll let Kashaar go into the details of the blueprint itself if he wants to and everything it can do.

    Originally I ran into the same problem you are having, how to achieve the curved walls we want without having to deform or have loads of slightly curved wall sections which wouldn't have looked great anyway. For the purposes of blockout I'm just using a bunch of modular pieces combined into one mesh, but the blueprint is supposed to support using multiple mesh's.
    Here is the mesh I'm plugging into the blueprint


    I then drop the spline blueprint into the scene, and place the mesh into the blueprint.



    Then I can grab the spline points, and drag them out, the blueprint will deform the mesh a certain amount until it needs a new mesh to fill the gap. You can add more mesh's to go into the spline, but we're going to work that out a little down the road. 

    All I did here was pull it along the x axis and it filled it out.
    Here's some examples of how what you can do with it.

    Although not its intended use, i'm also using it in combination with landscape to bend static ground planes around the curve of the ground so that the textured stones also follow the curve of the walls.


    For the technical stuff about this you'll have to ask lord @Kashaar, but this is how I'm doing this at the moment.
    Hope that's of some help! 
  • Kashaar
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    Kashaar Polycount Sponsor
    Aye, any questions about that, send them my way! I had a whole page of explanations about this on my portfolio website, but unfortunately that got lost when my Wordpress site got hacked last year :-/
  • Mant1k0re
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    Mant1k0re polycounter lvl 2
    @JLHGameArt
    @Kashaar

    Why, thanks a lot for taking the time to answer. I have to say that my curiosity has been aroused furiously by mention of this blueprint black magic :pensive:

    I understand the basic principle but it's still a mystery to me how the blueprint is preventing visible stretching or deformation of the mesh O.O. I zoom on the screens you have shared and I can't make out anything.  It's a shame the information is lost, I think a more detailed breakdown of the trickery behind this blueprint would be valuable to a lot of people. On the other hand, it's probably not the proper venue for something like this...?
  • Kashaar
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    Kashaar Polycount Sponsor
    Well, there's a lot of trickery and math going on in the blueprint... just to give you an idea of the complexity:



    Linear stretching is prevented through a function that calculates the number of mesh instances required to fill the length of a spline with the least distortions, i.e. it adds and removes mesh instances in order to fit the length of the spline, independent of the spline points.

    It's something I'm still planning to finish up and sell someday, but there are a few decent alternatives to it out there on forums and the UE4 marketplace you might find worth your time :-)
  • TudorMorris
    Some character concept art
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