[WIP][UE4] Lake Agnes Substation

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Synaesthesia greentooth
Disclaimer: I've been working on this for a few months, so it's not a new thread in the sense that I'm posting what I started with. I totally forgot to post here earlier, so I'll just make up for it by showing embarassing college work as the lead-up to its current progress. :D

This project is a 90% accurate recreation of a real-world location that I created as a college project in 2009 as part of our "advanced level design" class at the Art Institute of Tampa. I worked with two other people on this and was the principal modeler, while another artist developed textures for the installation. The last team member was responsible for placing all of it into UDK.

I'm a huge fan of electrical installations. I think they look like metal skeletons, especially at night. With the right lighting, they're very atmospheric and work as great hard-surface practice too!

I always wanted to go back to this project and make it look better, plus have full creative control over the end product, so that's what I'm doing here. :)

Original college work:

The final UDK work makes me laugh looking back at it, but at least I can say I didn't have a hand in this part. ;)

It clocked in at around 50,000 polygons. It was also grossly inaccurate to the actual photo references I took, so yay for rushing to complete projects before they're due!

Some shots of the substation I took:

I'm shooting for a night scene with a spooky ambiance. Here's the work-in-progress inside of UE4 so far.

More to come as I find time to work on it.


  • Synaesthesia
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    Synaesthesia greentooth
    So I actually found some time... Months later! I can shamefully admit that I got into a rut with this project and literally pushed some verts around on a stack of instrument transformers that I just really didn't want to model. Once I finished the modeling, I was able to push through UVs and texturing in short order. Now back to the fun stuff: small details, lighting, and general look/feel.

    Still lots left to do, but much closer than I was last year! :)
  • FreneticPonies
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    FreneticPonies polycounter lvl 2
    So, fuckin wow. That lighting looks, unbelievable. Really awesome.

    I liked the slightly foggy look though. I think it's because the front block building has a really tiled, normal mapped video gamey look. Like the background and transformers and stuff look great. But, I dunno, maybe try adding tesselation or POM to front buildings bricks to get some parallax going, right now it feels kind of flat. Though maybe that's partially due to UE4s crappy diffuse shader.
  • CybranM
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    CybranM polycounter lvl 4
    Lighting looks superb! Would you mind show some of the setup for it?
    I'm assuming its baked lighting with a high lightmap resolution but I'm very new to lighting in UE4.

    Looking forward to seeing more :smile:
  • Synaesthesia
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    Synaesthesia greentooth
    Thanks guys! It's really nothing more than simple dynamic spotlights - I don't generally use Lightmass for my personal work. The street lamps are using estimated values based on a GE M250A with its IES profile, four of which are lighting the substation based on all the reference I was able to gather from my photos of it. I've bumped the lighting intensity a little to make it pop out. I'll bring back the fog - the last two images were a test to see if I could avoid having an additive effect on the background due to the volumetric fog. Definitely doesn't look as good as the earlier shots do.

    @FreneticPonies I'll look into a POM shader for the walls. I think it's more of a material issue, so I'll rework the roughness a bit to make it pop out more. Needs additional wear/tear to sell the believability, too. 
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