Creating a top down RPG, critiques welcome.

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Apocrs1980 polycounter lvl 2
Hello All,

I have been the solo artist working on this project aside form my normal grueling day job of being in the health care field. I figured I would post a pic of what I have accomplished so far to get some feed back on the art.

I appreciate critiques/compliments/criticisms on the art thus far as it only stands to solidify that I am headed in the right direction.

This is currently a graveyard starting zone, I have put to gather a small area to test what assets I have finished to assure that they all fit well together and are efficient with no bottlenecks on the GPU/CPU. so far everything runs great.

  

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  • LokiDokie
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    LokiDokie polycounter lvl 2
    I think your models ans textures look really nice. :) I'm not sure if your going for spooky/eriee or just a normal graveyard, but I'd add some mist and make the lanterns glow rather than projecting the light beams across the floor. 

    Looks awesome :) keep it up 
  • Nihilus
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    Nihilus polycounter lvl 7
    As someone thats just started getting into CRPG's this is looking really cool!
    Im excited to see where you take this :)
  • Apocrs1980
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    Apocrs1980 polycounter lvl 2
    Thanks for the feed back :smiley:
    @LokiDokie yes indeed!
    I'm going for more of the creepy, damp, dark feel to the graveyard, going to experiment with some fog cards and see what effect I can achieve. I agree with light-shafts, been experimenting with UE4's lighting a lot lately to see how each change effect the scene. 

    @Nihilus Awesome, I am hoping to create a world that is as visually interesting as it is fun to play.

    One thing I can say for sure, after being at this for a while now I have nothing but the upmost respect for every artist, switching my brain to have to figure out everything it takes to get art in to the engine and make it good is and continues to be quite the experience.

    Last night I made the 1st iteration of a candle I think I will use these as my primary light source in the graveyard area, I still need to make the particle system for the flame :smiley:



    I will try and keep this thread updated with my progress on the game often, as one said "show your work early, and often."

    Cheers!
    ~Apoc
  • Nihilus
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    Nihilus polycounter lvl 7
    Looking nice mate!
    Keep in mind though when it comes to these kinds of games the writing/story and quest design often ends up being the most important thing. How are you planning on integrating it into the environment, any ideas where its going to go?

    (as a wee sidenote aswell I'd crop out your windows toolbar, presentation counts for a lot)
  • RustySpannerz
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    RustySpannerz polycounter lvl 8
    Looks really nice so far! To add to what Nihilus was saying, if you haven't already, it's definitely worth doing a greybox path of your levels and entire game before you get too stuck into the art. Because otherwise you might get 2 years into production and realise your game isn't as fun as you imagined. Although at least starting with the art you get a nice little artists portfolio piece out of it.

    And also if you click the little arrow in the top left there's an option for High Res Screenshot that will take a nice picture without all the UI stuff. 
  • Nihilus
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    Nihilus polycounter lvl 7
    +1 to what RustySpannerz said.

    You could even use this small area as a sort of testbed/vertical slice. Before expanding it into a larger game you could populate this area with quests/characters and writing to give an impression of where you'd like the project to go. Which would also keep it more manageable from a portfolio production standpoint initially.
  • Apocrs1980
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    Apocrs1980 polycounter lvl 2
    Thanks again all honestly, I really appreciate the feedback, sometimes as artists we can't see the forest through the trees.

    @RustySpannerz indeed man, I am working on boxing out the rest of the area, big white boxes screams at my face to be replaced with art lol. Also gives me a sense of space so that if "feels" good when traversing the area, it's been 110% helpful. Thanks for pointing out the hide feature, never looked there to get rid of that toolbar lol, I'm still a newb when it comes to learning UE4.

    @Nihilus Essentially, in this ARPG but it will be nothing like the rest I assure you, can't say too much at this time, been harking back to a lot of my D&D days for inspiration.
    Granted like everyone making their own games I have a LOT of cool ideas, but I have one core pillar of keeping the scope simple since it's only myself and a programmer working on the project, but the story I have planned is anything but, I really want anyone playing this to come away feeling like they really miss the world and characters in it when they finish (hallmark of a great game.)

    I did a lot of quests and area building a few years back for NWO in their foundry system prior to launch, so this has felt much of the same experience except I no longer have to wait on Cryptic's artists to make the assets, I love having the freedom to make my own.

    Working on some fog cards now, and testing it against UE4's particle fog systems, this being top down allows me to really squeak out some higher quality stuff without bottle-necking the processors.
    And then, it will be on to designing some Iron fencing, tree roots, and maybe some POM broken tiles. 

    *sigh*  sadly, there is simply not enough time in the day.
  • RyanB
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    RyanB Polycount Sponsor
    I think you need some more dramatic lighting.  Your levels are compressed into the 0 - 0.25 range.  If you pushed it you could get away with less texturing work, just use silhouettes for distant trees, gravestones, etc.

  • CheeseOnToast
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    CheeseOnToast polycounter lvl 13
    I agree with Ryan, although his example is a bit extreme for my taste.If your values are a bit more spread out over the histogram, you'll also have more wiggle room when you get into colour grading/ LUTs.
  • WilliamB_Art
    That is awesome mate! As an artist, I love the mood of the scenario so far. The only thing I would say is: Try to blend some soil/dirty earth material to that grass if you can, because places like these almost never have some perfect grass areas like the ones on the image.
    And adding a little to what our mates said here before, i really love the art, but it's not everything that goes into a game. Try to be sure that the design works, that everything will be passed down correctly to the player!
    A question that popped up after seeing your work: Are making this game by yourself?
    And, in addition, besides my Environment Artist role, I'm a game designer at the studio I work on (really small indie studio located in São Paulo, Brazil), so, if you need and help, or just want to talk about art or design, for the project (or not), just send me a message, I would be glad to help!
  • Apocrs1980
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    Apocrs1980 polycounter lvl 2
    Excellent feed back guys and gals,
    Much appreciated :smile:

    @RyanB and @CheeseOnToast I'm just learning the wondrous magic of the color look up tables and editing them in Photoshop, pure magic! So I will monkey around with the scene tones some, I do like a dramatic effect for sure. So far I have just been focused on populating and fleshing out the starting zone here. So much done and so much more needed. >.<

    @WilliamB_Art Thanks much, I am collaborating on this with another industry programmer. For me it's an absolute crash coarse in 3d art as I am admittedly a complete newb when it comes to...well... everything, however I do my research so I do not make simple costly mistakes, I hate having to go back and fix stuff! >.<

    So I am the sole, environment artist, prop artist, character artist, and helping out with some effects and the like.

    BTW! @LokiDokie I have finished my fog cards and got them slowly swirling about in the scene, added a nice depth fade to them so they blend in well.

    Also I got my candles lit, nothing like a RAW format pic of a lighter's flame for a candle flame lol.
    May be overkill but I am trying to keep everything high quality as I can get away with :smile: Thanks again all, now back to working on the iron fencing....and various tombstones....and ivy patches.... >.<
  • Nihilus
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    Nihilus polycounter lvl 7
    Looking cool mate!
    As a point of interest have you played Original Sin 2? Its a very similar idea for what youre going at here, albeit with a much brighter and more saturated palette. It may be worth looking into as research to see the sort of detail they use in their environments. And as a very good example of writing and quest design.

    As a small aside one thing that I noticed now is that the tall trees seem a bit sparse compared to the rest of the scene, that may be the intention but I think they could use some branches or other points of interest if they're staying that tall.
  • LokiDokie
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    LokiDokie polycounter lvl 2
    ^+1
    definitely second what @Nihilus said Divinity original sin 2 is fantastic reference for this kind of stuff (also a fantastic game). Your fog looks soo much better, your lanterns still slightly bugging me the way it throws the light across (I'm not an expert on lighting, infact am fairly rubbish XD) bu i think a more circular glow from the lantern might help, I know its not realistically how the light would spread but it might look better than the beams shooting out xD. 
  • Nihilus
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    Nihilus polycounter lvl 7
    I think to some extent the light from the lattern would diffuse into the fog (the only way youd really get beams like that in reality) and diffract round the framework of the lantern which would create a softer glow. But it is a stylistic thing unless youre going for total realism. I would say that the "beams" are perhaps too strong at this point, as in the middle they drop out so the light is having almost no effect, that wouldnt really happen.
  • Apocrs1980
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    Apocrs1980 polycounter lvl 2
    A little more progress tonight, a lot of work spent on clean up and LOD's as well as optimizing materials with additional switches.
    Added some temperature to the skylight and also got some nice paintable puddles added to my material layer blend :smiley:



    Should be able to finish up some more props this weekend.
    Cheers all.

  • WilliamB_Art
    Sorry for the long answer time mate, got lots to do here! haha. About you making the game almost by yourself: That's awesome. And about the progress so far: I'ts so cool, like i said, love the mood. Keep on pushing mate!
  • Apocrs1980
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    Apocrs1980 polycounter lvl 2
    A few more updates tonight.

    My buddy got logic working to fade out any objects blocking the player's view from the camera to the character. (cross section of the tree shown.) :smiley:



    Also working on some brick archways for the scene tonight, got the base section that will also show when the top piece if faded away just about done.
    Lots of work and it's been slow and steady.



    building an archway brick by brick it extremely time consuming but it gives really good results :smile:  I think it's this labor of love for detail that will help push some of the game's assets further.

    Cheers for now all.
  • Apocrs1980
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    Apocrs1980 polycounter lvl 2
    Some more progress, first iteration of the arches done, some more tweaking to get them looking just right but so far happy with the results. Also got a nifty extra tombstone made :smiley: 



    On to more props this weekend.  Thanks all for having a look.

    ~Apoc.

  • Apocrs1980
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    Apocrs1980 polycounter lvl 2
    Hello all, another update, I have got 4 new tombstone assets created and in to the engine.
    I continue plugging away at the kit for this area.


    For now, I move on to the next assets on my list.
    Thanks all for having a look.
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