UDK Dungeon Environment

polycounter lvl 6
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Darkmaster polycounter lvl 6
Hello! This is my first environment that I have ever done, and it is also my first attempt at putting anything in UDK. I found a cool screenshot for the new Castlevania game, so I decided to do my own take on the environment. It has mesh painting with alpha blending, a fire effect that I created from scratch, and is fully lit and rendered in UDK. ANY comments or critiques are greatly appreciated! Enjoy!longshotb.jpgfloorshot.jpggateshot.jpg

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  • trancerobot
    That snow and ice needs some dirt in it. I'm thinking the cold stone floor should have some more reflective icy surfaces too.

    Otherwise a good start so far.
  • Mike Yevin
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    Mike Yevin polycounter lvl 7
    Many people are probably itching to say this, but ease up the SSAO or just turn it off. You can find the option in the World Properties under something like "Use Ambient Occlusion".

    As far as the environment goes, I'm a bit confused as to what I'm looking at. Try playing around with the lighting some more, and maybe add a few more splashes of color. As it looks now, its very monotone and hard to read.

    Great work for your first environment within UDK, I just think it needs some more TLC.
  • Darkmaster
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    Darkmaster polycounter lvl 6
    mike,
    what about the scene are you not seeing or are getting confused about? I'm just trying to figure out if the focal point is not defined well enough or if the scene itself is out of balance.
  • cholden
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    cholden polycounter lvl 12
    Snow looks cool, and this is a good outcome for a first attempt.

    You have a lot of hard edges, particularly noticeable running vertically on the columns, but it appears to be on most things. This breaks the illusion of the scene, and says "hey, look at this big polygon right here". The quickest fix is simply work on your smoothing groups. From the looks of it, however, your models are very low poly which is contributing to an overall negative result. I would chamfer a lot of these edges. I'd like to see a wireframe though.

    Lighting is too dark. Most of the bricks are rendering completely black, and all the metal stuff (chains, torches) are just solid black. Speaking of the torches, they aren't giving off any light, the wall right behind that huge flame is still darn near solid black. It could also be that your materials need to be leveled (too dark for lighting to even work because other textures are so bright).

    I lack the technical eye to call out the exact error, but I'm also seeing no shadows. In a dungeon scene, with specific shadow casting devices (hanging chains, bars around the flame of the torches, jail door), they should be quite prominent.
  • Carter
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    Carter polycounter lvl 7
    I agree with everything thats already been said, especially increasing the strength and contrast of the lighting. I'd also try and unwrap the pillars as carefully as possible if your going to use the mesh paint tool on them - theres a seam visible on each pillar thats visible where the snow dosent line up.

    I'd also play around with some decals, on the walls and floor to break up the tiling brick texture you have going it'll push the piece further and its also pretty easy to do

    All in all a very nice attempt at your first environment piece!
  • Mike Yevin
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    Mike Yevin polycounter lvl 7
    Darkmaster wrote: »
    mike,
    what about the scene are you not seeing or are getting confused about? I'm just trying to figure out if the focal point is not defined well enough or if the scene itself is out of balance.

    Well from the screenshots it looks like you are trying to make the focal point the door towards the back of the scene, however it is blending into the blackness of the level. I believe most of why I am getting confused is because of the lack of light and shadow within your level.

    Try adjusting the things a few of us have mentioned and I'm sure I will be able to more easily read whats going on.
  • BlvdNights
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    BlvdNights polycounter
    white-noise-widescreen-edition-.jpg&t=1
  • Mitchell Ford
    For a first attempt I think you did pretty well. the first thing that I would say (and this is for many scenes that I see) is that your scene has no story behind it. You need to work on developing the story behind the scene itself. Ask yourself questions like: that is going to happen, has happened, or is happening in the scene I'm creating? The viewer (a.k.a. us) should be able to read a story from what you have created inside of UDK. I can see that there is snow which tells me a little about what is outside of the walls, but what is the main focus of the scene? right away what I see is the door and then the stone track leading to the door. I think that maybe you could but something in that track leading out the door. maybe some sort of snow sled war machine that a wizard just invented in the castle. I mean its your story that just what i imagined right away. But like I said there are many artist out there, including myself, that has trouble with this aspect, none the less it is one of the most important parts of a scene. keep up the work tho you will get it in time. :)
  • Darkmaster
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    Darkmaster polycounter lvl 6
    fixed1.jpgfixed2k.jpglightings.jpg

    Here's a quick update on my environment. Fixed Some of the snow issues and reworked all of the lighting. Thanks for keeping up with my thread everyone!
  • cholden
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    cholden polycounter lvl 12
    Gosh, I wish I could just open up your level and click all the check boxes to activate features...

    You lighting only image tells us a lot of important things:

    1) Your materials (textures) are too dark. As you can see, even in the brightest of lighting areas, your screen shots are almost totally black. This is NOT a subjective matter, it's a technical issue in regards to how lighting works. In short, there's a point in the levels where a textures gets nothing from lighting. Again, nothing to do with artistic choice, everything to do with technical flaw.

    You can test this by putting your materials on a box and testing the same light next to them. If a standard point light complely blows it out to white then it's leveled too brightly, if it receives no hot pixels at all, it's too dark. This is a very quick explaination, it takes time and a bit of a trained eye, but you have to understand this if you ever want to light a scene in Unreal. The basic texturing tutorials from Eat3d cover this is great detail.

    2. You have no shadows. Either you've disabled them or you have no 2nd UV channel for light maps. If it's the first then shame on you, if it's the 2nd, then also shame on you, but this was an Unreal technical issue you didn't understand. If you don't know what this means then you didn't set it up, and you'll never have proper shadows or lighting. BUT, it's easy to correct.

    Open any static mesh in the content browser > Mesh > Generate Unique UVs... > Apply

    This will generate your 2nd UV Lightmap channel. It may no be as good as a manually build UV set in whatever modeling package you prefer, but it works.


    3. Possible Light Map Resolution is too low. The default is 32, you can see this by opening any static mesh in content browser (same as generating UVs), and adjusting hte number in the Light Map Resolution tab. Be careful. Adjusting this number increases light compile times. Only increase it on large objects that should recieve good shadows. Large floor surfaces are often good examples because they receive the most shadow information. Nevertheless, this should only be increased and tested in steps until you see the quality you desire.

    For example, a building might need a 256 light map. Test build the lighting, and if it shadows it gets still look good at 128, then go with the lower number.

    4. View > World Properties > Lightmass > Lightmass Setting > Environment Color. Set this color to something like a sky color. For night, a dark blue shifted to violet or green could be sweet. Again, you have to TEST lighting to work on it, so adjust this so you don't have SOLID BLACK shadows everywhere. Also, be sure you're Use Global Illumiation check is clicked for better awesomeness.


    More crap: you can enter 'ToggleHUD' in the console to hide that stinking default HUD for taking screenshots. You can also set NoDefaultInventoryForPlayer to True in the World Properties > World Info so you spawn with no gun. Together you render no gun or hud, perfect for working on art pieces.
  • SHEPEIRO
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    SHEPEIRO polycounter lvl 10
    ^^^^^^^^everything Cholden says... also an env like this relies on spec and ref maps...keep it subtle but at least have it... also look at making a sparkle shader (highly tiled norm+ spec noise map) that will give the snow that crystaline effect
  • itsmadman
    Wow cholden drooped some knowledge. Well for your texturing needs more color variation. Unreal is the perfect engine for making things shiny. After u have gone through all the things cholden has said. u really want to look in to how cube maps are done your level can def use them
  • Jonathan Marshall
    I have to disagree with cholden (no offense dude)

    Dark dungeons are what I feel games are lacking. I like the occasional environment that looks a little less Hollywood and more abstract, like you see in castelvania or devil may cry is another game with environments that I love as well. Those first screenshots really made me want to play the level in some way shape or form.

    I will say, I think your colors got a little warm in later shots, I preferred the cold look of the first ones.
  • Darkmaster
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    Darkmaster polycounter lvl 6
    Hey everyone! Thank you again for keeping up with my thread, I really have learned a lot from all of the thoughts and comments presented here. So I watched a TON of lighting video's and some post processing stuff and got some new elements to improve the overall presentation of the level. I have reworked my lighting, changed all kinds of ambient occlusion and shadow properties and I think it is really looking a lot better, but I still want to know what everyone is thinking.

    Once again, as a UDK n00b any useful tutorials or tips are greatly appreciated. Thanks guysupdated2.jpg
  • danr
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    danr polycounter lvl 12
    several valid technical issues outlined above, but i think you're missing a big non-tech one : the snow ... it's blown in through the door, fair enough, but then it's look like it's blown happily around, sticking uniformly to each surface regardless of its distance from the door or whether it faces it or not. Except for the strange handful of places where it's drifted into great fat uniform piles, including directly above the inside of the door - which suggests it's fallen from a hole in the roof (possible i guess, but you could do with physically suggesting this if it's the case. If it's not the case, i don't see why it would happen).

    okay, the physics of doing this completely accurately are going to be hard to grasp and probably also a bit whack due to the nature of the scene, but put yourself in a snowflakes place and check the 'common sense' button on ... at the very least fall off the intensity of the snow away from the door, restrict it to mostly facing surfaces. Drifts are key for this, think about where the snow is going to settle heavily rather than stick as powder. For example - Is the door in use? If not, the snow is likely to drift up around its base quite a bit. If so, it's going to be pushed aside, big streaks in the floor where the iron has dragged it, clumps of broken snow in the nearest corner, etc etc. More physically accurate and conceptually more interesting for that matter. All the details that tie the scene together into something more convincing overall
  • danr
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    danr polycounter lvl 12
    hope you don't mind but i did a quick paintover of howi would imagine blown snow behaving in your scene (just a bit on one shot, it could do with exaggerating and extending somewhat for a long corridor). Weighting it to one side might be an idea, it'd give an idea of prevailing winds outside, maybe unseen shelter. Also, footsteps. Footsteps in snow in games are ace, especially if you differentiate between imprints and snow coming off tread as you cross different material (hello Uncharted 2)

    oh and, you could get a lot more fitting variation across your brickwork if you push the ice. It's too dull white at the minute, and your scene is just too damn WARM for it to look right. Make it cold again!

    snowpo.jpg
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