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THRONE ROOM-The Master Of Puppetz-Rurouni Strife

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So, I'm very much in the idea stage of the project but what I have so far is pretty much all I need to figure something awesome out.

It's only the greatest song on the greatest album of all time.


I'm not sure exactly what the full depth of the subject matter is yet (style, full scene, etc), but I do see the part of the throne room. And with some time and references and brainstorming, it'll come together. But right now I just needed to get the thread started.



  • Rurouni Strife
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    Long time no update!

    Part of my entry to the Throne Room competition will be what are essentially blog posts with lots of images. As I'm working through this project, I want to document everything-from my idea phase all the way to my final project's presentation. Considering my project is a bit more abstract and will rely a lot on my own creativity (something I've sorely lacked in with other personal works) I think documenting everything will help myself, help any contest readers, and hopefully be a ton of fun!

    Last night I finally had the time and energy to put some effort towards Master of Puppetz. Previously, I focused on writing up many different ideas for what I wanted this project to be before I settled on some imagery I had in my head that was inspired by the Album Cover of Master of Puppets. Last night, I sketched some of those ideas out. On the left hand side of the image are the steps from my brainstorm for subject matter, and the right is the sketching I did last night.


    After speaking to my brother and just rembling on about ideas, I settled on what the Master of Puppetz Throne is. You-the player/subject/whatever-are locked in a padded cell in a Sanitarium. Outside your cell door you see nothing more than a wall, a floor, a ceiling, and perhaps another cell. But at the other end of the cell is a door that leads you to where the Master of Puppetz rules from his throne atop the rise of crosses. It's very strongly derived from the imagery of the album cover, and the idea of the padded cell came from the song "Welcome Home/Sanitarium".


    I usually do a story/theme write up for personal projects. The requirements and subject matter of the Throne Room contest has done that for me. However, I'll add in what wasn't covered by the contest page or the previous paragraphs.

    Terrain-None, interrior
    Flora: Some grass and flowers on the modular grave sites
    Style: Realistic
    Focus: Throne and Modular graves are 1 and 1a, everything else needs to remain superior quality designed to compliment Puppet throne and Modular graves
    Tech: Unreal 4
    Naming Conventions:_BC (albedo), _N (normal), _MM (Material Mask with Roughness, Metalness, AO, and Height Maps as needed).

    Next Steps: Rough Blockout
    The next steps I have are to blockout out the shapes and flow of the room, as well as experiment with the modular grave sites. I'll use the blockout as a rough guide for further concepts as needed before I begin creating actual models and textures.

  • Rurouni Strife
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    Rurouni Strife polycounter lvl 10
    With a short break in my work schedule thanks to my primary client this month needing to catch his breath, I took advantage of the freed up hours to greybox my designs-specifically the modular cross grave sections-and to use them and simple geometry to build up a rough scene. In the procoess of doing this, I discovered weakness in my mental concept that's prompted me to step back and say "yea, I need pictures from sci-fi and fantasy throne rooms to build this out any further."

    Here's my existing greybox shots:

    From left to right you can see I sort of tell a story in the flow of the scene. Establishing the full scene, then the main Throne Room, the path out of the cell to the room, the main floor for the commoner, and a high shot behind the throne to show the other side of the room.

    Since this will be a dimly lit scene, I'm not sure how necessary a licencing will be over the main room. No doubt I'll make at least a temporary asset or group of assets for it to test it at least. I also like the feel of the hallway of gravestones. I need to adjust the scale and sizing. When I was at turbine, one of the grave assets for the Gotham Heights (I think that's the name) map had what was termed "the baby coffin" in it due to the size and scale of the grave. That's...kinda going on here.

    The main throne shot is exactly what I saw in my mind. Imagine the strings of the throne attaching to the cross graves that will be lit by a green spot light...It's just eerie even looking at it in such a simplistic form!

    The problem is everything else. See how empty it is. There's nothing to show what other purpose this room has. It's simplicity is NOT a goal here, there must be more. Pipes, tubing, computer consoles, more pillars. I'm not sure. All I know is that it needs MORE and needs to feel more like a grand hall that the Puppet Master sits in.

    Lets take that further right now. The Master has his strings in the grave-crosses (also referencing Disposable Heroes). Perhaps a massive Battery pack in the room with many tubes shooting everywhere provides the power to the room. Controlled by a console? Perhaps there is no ceiling, or only a ceiling above parts of the room because in this insane hallucination, the constellation Orion is worshiped?

    Those ideas need to be combined with more conventional Throne Room designs. Once I hit a medium between the abstract story and conventional, working designs, I think I'll have more to work with, to fully concept from, and within a week be able to start full production.
  • Rurouni Strife
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    I truthfully didn't expect to have much time to work on this during the week. Happily...I guess anyway...my clients have had to review some work, so I had yesterday and today to spend time working and reworking my initial Maya greybox and layout.


    -I ditched the angled view. I decided that with this project, anything that's going to make the construction of the scene more difficult with no benefit should really be cut.
    -The size of the room is smaller, but also more interesting with curved walls. A side note-I may not need walls at all. The idea is to have "darkness be the walls since this is all a hallucination anyway. Or is it? If there are no walls, I'll need to make special floor meshes so the floor can be curved.
    -Pillars are scaled better
    -Major revision the the baby coffins! I had an idea last night to simplify the "baby graves" by removing their encasement. The crosses are mounted on the wall, while the graves are in the floor. this makes it more visually appealing as you don't have so much information at the same level of the screen, thus letting your eyes flow. From a hypothetical gameplay angle, you can walk easier :)

    After reworking the greybox, I did a concept. This is a bit embarrassing to show as I'm not a concept artist and I'm definitely not that great at normal art (all of this is due to a lack of practice really). But after a recent evaluation, I've realized that I don't always choose good colors. So, I went to http://paletton.com/#uid=1000u0kllllaFw0g0qFqFg0w0aF to come up with a color scheme. Considering that I tweaked the color choice after doing one concept it was already worth it. I by tweaking the scheme in the concept, I saved myself time instead of tweaking a large amount of base color maps. Not everything is in the concept, and that's ok. none of these greyboxed assets are done or final clearly. I don't know what type of sculpture/stature I want in there. But I have enough information to begin the basic meshes that will comprise my scene. Side note! The green is a representation of the lighting that'll be going on. I tried lighting in Photoshop but it liked to crash on me...


    The second concept image is just me marking up notes. I highlighted meshes or rough textures that will be made, made notes about the throne location (I want to possibly move it back and make it higher on a second set of stairs...not MUCH higher but higher), notes about linked modular assets, and so on.


    I don't expect I'll be reworking and re-concepting a third greybox though. At this point, I'm moving to prototyping Unreal assets. These will be greybox meshes that are more detailed than what exists currently. I'll build up the scene enough that the spacing will be figured out, the placements will be near final, and I can test if the idea of the Throne being surrounded in darkness will work or not. If not, at least I have a good idea for walls (I doubt my need for a ceiling still.)

    Next week (post Valentines Day) I expect to launch into full production on this project. It's definitely been challenging but my focus on pre-production work I think is and will continue to pay off.
  • Rurouni Strife
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    Valentines Day was two weeks ago, and I was hoping to have this Greybox done not long after that. But as it usually does, life happens. Work happens. So, I'm behind my personal schedule for this project and with new projects I've signed on to work for, It's going to be a struggle to get this done in time for the competition. But that's my goal and I'm going to do my best to make it happen.

    If I don't-I'll finish this on my own time and continue to update via my blog at http://rose3d.com/blog. That site needs some updates too.


    My reasons for greyboxing in Unreal was twofold. First was to quickly check sizing of my meshes and to confirm everything worked. So far it does. If anything, I'll need to increase the size of some of the flooring parts but I won't know until it's textured. Second is the quick updating that will occur once my base meshes are done. It'll be a quick swap within in the engine-place once and I'm done!

    I also did a preliminary lighting pass and post fx pass. It's nothing good but it's kind of is a proof of concept. Because I'm not planning to use walls, I needed to test out if I could achieve the look I'm going for as early as possible. It works pretty well, I'm planning to move forward using the darkness as my walls. The goal is aesthetics and atmosphere, not play-ability!

    So, that's my quick update. Hopefully I'll be able to adjust my schedule accordingly and be able to spend my nights working on this.

  • Rurouni Strife
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    Rurouni Strife polycounter lvl 10
    It's a sad realization when you know you're going to miss your goal, or delivery date (you really shouldn't miss due dates).

    As I've been working this week, I realized that I just don't have the time to finish Master of Puppetz in time for the competition. I work full time as a freelance artist. I was originally intending for March to scale back and for me to focus almost the entire month on this project. However, I also live in the states. In Boston. Boston is expensive. I like having financial security and for a freelancer, that means saying Yes a lot. And sometimes, you can come across some great people and cool projects like I have so far. This year has started out with a bang and my momentum as a freelance artist has not really slowed. I want to keep that momentum (and income) flowing as long a I can, especially since in April I'll be paying the United States Government a hefty sum of money.

    I swear, we aren't as friendly to 'small businesses' as we say we are. If you're a large corporation however...

    This does not mean I am stepping away from the project! Oh no. Metallica and their music is too personal to me, this project is too personal to me, and it's been a lot of fun to make so far and I'm still working on slowly refining the greymeshes and the scene itself. This is such an abstract work of art that it's pushing me to continue to create the throne in all it's dark, strange glory.

    In this update, I've crated the normals and base color for the main lower level floor meshes as well as the normals and base color for the aisle way cross and grave mesh. I also refined some block out elements. FIrst, the POI that's at the stairs will be based heavily off of the artwork for Somekind of Monster, and on the far ends Lady Justice will be in the larger POI fountain thing.


    At this point, my goal is to keep working and updating until a few days before the contest submission. At that point, I'll be taking all of the posted content here and move it over to my blog.

    My blog is hosting the images, so I hope they stay!

    Having to delay this project and miss the throne room deadline sucks. But if it makes for a better art piece, then I don't care. I want this to be excellent.
  • Rurouni Strife
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    Rurouni Strife polycounter lvl 10
    In case the previous post wasn't clear, I will be withdrawing my Throne Room entry. All of the information posted here will be moved over to my Blog at http://rose3d.com/blog and updated there as often as I can.

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