[UE4] Ice cave

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Luxap polycounter lvl 5
Final!

Thanks everyone for the awesome feedback!
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Hi guys!

Im currently fleshing out a landscape that I have to do for my end exam for Level design and decoration Course at DAE in Belgium.

The story behind it is not fixed at the moment and can change over time.
The idea behind this is that you as an adventurer return to the city of your birth after a long expedition, when you get back through the tunnels that were hidden by your grandfathers you notice that the land has been changed totally by something, the green valleys changed into snow and ice.

Your goal is to find out what did this.

The goal of the exam is to present an intro screen of the game you are going to make, this intro screen has to reflect the game that you are going to play. it has to be taken from a single camera position but can be animated a bit into a video.

Below you can see a little concept of how the scene is going to be in Unreal. Setting a particular mood and keeping the main focus point on the mountain in the distance

The tools that are going to be use are going to be:
World machine
Unreal Engine
ZBrush
Maya
Photoshop
Substance painter ( texture )


I already did some testing In worldmachine as this is the first time I'm going to be using that.
First iteration seen below, the materials are done in Unreal Engine itself using a shader that calculates the slope angle of the terrain ( basic shader only, needs a lot more fine tuning)


As a second test I was looking to get more of a composition in there and getting a closer feel for the concept. The hexagon shaped stones are done Procedural in blueprint ( just drag a box and it fills that box with the input mesh ) inspired by Giant's causeway and such from real life reference. Check out my pinterest board for some examples.
https://nl.pinterest.com/timothydries/exam-leveldecoration/ 


The thing to do next is getting a better environment from out of worldmachine and adjusting the meshes and materials for the scene.

Tips, Comments and tricks are more then welcome (I know there is not a lot to comment on yet, more coming soon ) !

Replies

  • Bonkahe
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    Bonkahe polycounter lvl 7
    I think some simple fog would add a bit of depth to the image, to account for atmosphere.
  • Luxap
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    Luxap polycounter lvl 5
    Owh yeah certainly, but the concept is barely any resemblance in terms of atmosphere. As I am not that good with 2D as with 3D
    I'll adjust it later to give people a more realistic look in what I am creating.

    Thanks for the reply Bonkahe!
  • Luxap
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    Luxap polycounter lvl 5
    Update on my scene.

    Testing out some crystal materials, fiddling around with different type of mesh approaches and material approaches.
    Can use every bit of feedback on these crystals, all comments/critiques are more then welcome.



    As feedback I got that the Hexagon type shapes are going to distract the player, giving it an unnatural feeling, might test out to balance rocks and hexagon shapes.
    Will do a lot of experimenting.


    A preview of the scene now, along with a new WorldMachine height map.
    The particle (WIP) is now using vector fields, also still fiddling around with those.

    Around the fire there are going to be some hunting tools/tent to give the scene a human touch.
    It's a lot of fun testing new thingies and techniques.

    Things to do:
    - Adding a water stream running from the cave outwards
    - Refine crystal shader
    - Refining the fire particle
    - sculpting of the rocks/crystals
    - foliage
    - refining landscape material

    If you have anything to say about the current scene/composition or something please do.
    Thanks!
  • Luxap
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    Luxap polycounter lvl 5
    Update!

    Added a top layer onto my ice shader, which I further adjusted.
    Added a new mesh for hanging Ice spikes, which is still a WIP, going to add a lot more finer detail to the mesh later.

    First going to sculpt some rocks as these are going to the most space in the scene.

    If you have any questions on the materials or such please do ask.

    Updated the scene itself with some particles, all of them need to be finalized still. The main focus is going to be on the meshes next.

    Feedback/Comments are most welcome,
    Thanks!

  • Luxap
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    Luxap polycounter lvl 5
    Update on my progress. 

    Added sculpted rocks to the scene, textured them in substance painter and then added snow over the top parts in Unreal engine.
    Redid the water shader following this tutorial
    https://wiki.unrealengine.com/Water_Shader_Tutorial


    A couple of steps in between previous post and the next screenshot.

    Further adjusted the water shader and added snow on top of the wall meshes.

    Added blue crystals, and took another camera angle.

    Then went on and adjusted the water shader even further and added my previously sculpted ice to the scene.
    Not really that happy with the water yet, so going to see if I can adjust that a bit further.


    Let me know what you think about the materials as they are currently, so that I can fix them accordingly.
    With or without the blue crystals? let me know guys.

    Thanks for the feedback in advance.

  • Luxap
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    Luxap polycounter lvl 5
    Update time!

    Redid the main wall mesh and textures, added more wetness to the scene and adjusted the overall composition. 
    Added a lot of things that I got as feedback, on facebook and unreal forums. 

    Added glowworms, stalagtites/mites and a little waterfall
    Don't know if I am going to keep the waterfall

    Still need to do the textures and maybe some sculpting on the stalagmites/tites.



    Any feedback is more than welcome, still have enough time to find a place for it, thanks a lot!
  • WadeWT
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    WadeWT polycounter lvl 6
    I think you're showing too much of the cave at the moment, your original concept had a lot more of the landscape and I think that told the story of someone returning home better.

    I'm not sure running water makes much sense when there's icicles everywhere.  

    How has snow covered the inside of the cave?  I can understand it falling in around the opening but it's coming in pretty far back.

    I think the glow worms are a bit much at the moment.

    Some DOF could make this look really nice.

    I like the blue crystals.

  • Luxap
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    Luxap polycounter lvl 5
    WadeWT said:
    I think you're showing too much of the cave at the moment, your original concept had a lot more of the landscape and I think that told the story of someone returning home better.

    I'm not sure running water makes much sense when there's icicles everywhere.  

    How has snow covered the inside of the cave?  I can understand it falling in around the opening but it's coming in pretty far back.

    I think the glow worms are a bit much at the moment.

    Some DOF could make this look really nice.

    I like the blue crystals.

    Thanks for the feedback WadeWT!

    I totally agree on the water, was still undecided to keep it in or not, not really convinced of the look either.
    And true, the snow doens't make that much sense going that far back especially when the wind is not directly blowing into the cave.
    Don't know about the camera angle as it now is, I like it this way, but you are right that pulling it more forward is better for defining a sense of exploration, will explore my options.
    Also I will dim down the glowworms and adjust the DOF and such on the final part, as I add a post process volume.

    Thanks! =D
  • Luxap
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    Luxap polycounter lvl 5
    Update time again, placed the snow on more suitable places and adjusted the light that comes from the crystals and the fire.


    Up next adding a placeholder menu, finishing the particles and adding a  human element to the scene.
    And finishing the scene as a whole.

    Thanks so much to everyone for the feedback I got on this scene this really helps me putting this scene up on social media and such.
  • Luxap
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    Luxap polycounter lvl 5
    Getting closer to the end of the project.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=igoN44h8294

    Feedback is still more than welcome people!

    Btw, if someone know a really good capture software that would be appreciated too, thanks!
  • karynatrychyk
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    karynatrychyk polycounter lvl 6
    Nice progress on the scene!
    I know your original concept was about focusing on the frozen world outside the cave, but since you already moved quite far from it, I would suggest giving your cave a slight curve to move the entrance from the center of your composition. Now the blank space becomes a focal point of the image and I find that my eyes travel back to it, missing all the nice details you have around the cave. Here is what I mean:

    Or perhaps you can put more icicles in front of the entrance and make it less symmetrical. Besides you can also get fine lighting effects.

    Anyway, great work!

  • Luxap
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    Luxap polycounter lvl 5
    Nice progress on the scene!
    I know your original concept was about focusing on the frozen world outside the cave, but since you already moved quite far from it, I would suggest giving your cave a slight curve to move the entrance from the center of your composition. Now the blank space becomes a focal point of the image and I find that my eyes travel back to it, missing all the nice details you have around the cave. Here is what I mean:

    Or perhaps you can put more icicles in front of the entrance and make it less symmetrical. Besides you can also get fine lighting effects.

    Anyway, great work!

    Thanks for the awesome feedback! will start on changing the scene itself right away.
    Adding the icicles on the entrance of the cave could prove a bit harder tough, but those are awesome reference photos, so will try to get a good shader for the ice and will then see if I can implement these changes.

    These reference photos are super great! thanks for getting me stoked on implementing these changes!
  • Ged
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    Ged interpolator
    Im not sure what the large white cylinder shapes are in the cave? they seem almost like light bulbs or crystals but they dont blend into the surrounding scenery very well. How about adding some material variety to the walls and floor eg some frozen puddles of water and some water dripping down the walls etc
  • gsokol
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    gsokol Polycount Sponsor
    I think it was a good call to hide some of those hex shaped rocks.  Even still, I feel like there isn't much of a consistent shape language here.  The wear on the rock walls doesn't seem fitting for a cave interior.  They look like the big horizontal shapes you would see on an eroded cliffside.  From there you have your stalactites/stalagmites,  but they clash with the perfectly straight cylindrical looking rocks near the mouth of the cave (maybe those are more hex ones?)  I would lose the hex ones altogether, personally.

    Your crystals are very bright white, which makes them stand out a bit too much.  I think you could darken those a bit to be better seated in the caves, but still have that white, clean look.

    Also, you may have changed your mind along the way, but I'm seeing very little in the scene that tells me this is an ice cave, it just looks like any cave.


  • Luxap
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    Luxap polycounter lvl 5
    gsokol said:
    I think it was a good call to hide some of those hex shaped rocks.  Even still, I feel like there isn't much of a consistent shape language here.  The wear on the rock walls doesn't seem fitting for a cave interior.  They look like the big horizontal shapes you would see on an eroded cliffside.  From there you have your stalactites/stalagmites,  but they clash with the perfectly straight cylindrical looking rocks near the mouth of the cave (maybe those are more hex ones?)  I would lose the hex ones altogether, personally.

    Your crystals are very bright white, which makes them stand out a bit too much.  I think you could darken those a bit to be better seated in the caves, but still have that white, clean look.

    Also, you may have changed your mind along the way, but I'm seeing very little in the scene that tells me this is an ice cave, it just looks like any cave.


    Thanks Gsokol! This is really good feedback I love it!
    I am posting an update below as I failed to read your comment on time.
    I personally really love the Hexagonal shaped rocks in the scene, but on the other hand you are probably right about the overall shape language.

    And you are right about the crystals, noticed that myself too so fixxed that one.

    And about the last point you make also a good one but I think the new screenshot makes this a little more obvious =D 

    Ged said:
    Im not sure what the large white cylinder shapes are in the cave? they seem almost like light bulbs or crystals but they dont blend into the surrounding scenery very well. How about adding some material variety to the walls and floor eg some frozen puddles of water and some water dripping down the walls etc
    Thanks for the feedback Ged, I added some dripping water that falls from the ice spikes (in the new screenshot)
    If you got other tips they are most welcome!
     
    Got another update for you guys, I'm calling this one done for now.


    Got another update for you guys, I'm calling this one done for now.
    This were the screenshots/movies that went with the presentation for my school's finals.





    Still doing some final reworks and currently working on creating the final screenshots/movies for this scene.
    As soon as I am done I will upload them below.

    Thanks to everyone for making this scene together with me!
  • Luxap
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    Luxap polycounter lvl 5
    Done with the rendering of the video, here are the finals!

    A better quality movie.


    Some screenshots 



    I want to thank you guys for the super nice feedback! It really helped me push this project to the current state.

    Onto the next project!

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