Beyond Good & Evil 2: Fan Project

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Artdeck vertex


 For the last couple of weeks I’ve had this idea floating around in my head for Beyond Good and Evil 2, a little project to keep me busy during the holidays and spice up my portfolio a bit. It’s a game that’s very close to my heart and basically motivated me very early on in life to become a game artist. So with my search for an internship starting soon I wanted to add something to my portfolio that could display that passion. This will also give me the opportunity to grow and display my work on here to hopefully get some feedback what works and what could be better (tips are always welcome).

So please let me know if you got feedback/ideas/etc :D 

Goals:

-Build a world based on the Dutch culture infused with elements from the Beyond Good & Evil world

-Make it fit within the currently known plot and lore of System 3

-Modeling in Maya

-Texture workflow in Substance Painter & Designer

-Build it in UE4

 

Lore:

At the end of the 21st century the countries that formed the Benelux Union, Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg officially merged into one country the Benelux. Their governments & resources merged and their mother language became Dutch, these negotiations of the language was something that withheld the merging for many years because the three countries couldn’t agree which one of theirs would became the official language but after a lot of discussion the decision was finally made.

The Netherlands have always been a culture surrounded by the creation of Dikes and land to protect themselves from the oceans that surrounded the land, their history of dike building goes as far back to the Roman era. They even created a whole new province in the Ijsselmeer called Flevoland, so when the earth was on the verge of overpopulation they started creating whole new masses of land for people to live on. It became their number one industry within the Benelux.

When China and India became the two superpowers of the 22nd century they started colonizing many different star systems, from earth-like planets to giant ice planets. The Benelux was brought on board by the two giants to help them with the planets that were covered in oceans and make them viable for colonization. Next to a vastly growing business the Benelux got a planet within System 3, an ocean planet called Exo-0227 that only had small pockets of land, mainly islands. The planet was later renamed to Flevo.

But when the creation of Hybrids began for slavery conflict arose between the business partners. The Benelux couldn’t agree on slave labor and were firmly against it. Their history was already blackened by slave labor a few centuries ago, a mistake they vouched and promised to never make again. Due to contract obligations they stayed business partners until all the work was finished. They parted ways after that. In the years to come the Benelux started to grant asylum to Hybrids that got away from their “masters”. They were granted homes and jobs within the many home worlds controlled by the Benelux. The court gave the hybrids basic “human” rights a few years after the first asylum seekers came to Flevo. But word traveled quickly of the safe haven the Benelux created for the hybrids and it didn’t take long before there were too many.

Many cities created Havens, a city zone for hybrids and the poorest of humans to live. These havens were crowded parts of the city, claustrophobic and dense city areas packed with giant apartment building. It was nowhere near perfect but many hybrids were at least happy to have a home.

 

Planet Flevo:        

90 percent of the planet is covered with water, only small landmasses cover the almost endless oceans of Flevo. Due to the planet’s orbit around the sun the climate is known for its extremes. While the seasons are earth-like, wind speed and storms aren’t.

Due to a lack of giant continents the planet is known for the giant storms that occur from time to time. While it’s rare for these types of storms to happen often, when it happens the oceans become very wild and the waves get to extreme heights.   

 

World Design:

I want to design the city based on the architecture of Amsterdam, mainly the canals of the city and the many different houses around it for the wealthy/rich districts of the world. I want to display a beautiful canal with different houses, shops and props bases upon the different things you can find in Amsterdam. But I also want to play with the futuristic setting, like hologram ads, posters and ads for hybrids. I especially want to sneak in some Easter eggs regarding the first game, items like mDisks and food like Starkos and K-Bups.


I want to create depth by adding verticality in the design, think of the city in a few layers. The serene beautiful canals on top and the lower incomes at the bottom. I envision the poor part of the city really dense and claustrophobic, all the different people and hybrids stacked together in giant apartment buildings with little room to spare. I want to have stark contrast between the two parts of the city to display a conflicting world.


I will update this page with concept art, models and ideas that pop up in my head. If you're still reading all this then thanks a lot for your time and hopefully i'll be able to share some stuff later this weekend.  :smiley:


 

 

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  • Artdeck
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    Artdeck vertex

    Planet Flevo: Unreal Engine 4

    So this weekend I worked on a few things, mainly my first piece of art for the city but I also prototyped the planet in Unreal Engine 4. I wanted to play around with my idea for the planet, because a lot of my design choices will rest heavily on that so it made sense to start with that. I already had the idea for the planet in my head, the colors and main geography were already there but it proved tricky to get it right.


    I experimented with the texture for the planet and I stumbled a lot. Mainly with the scale of the Polar Regions, It started out way too small and fractured. So I tried a few things to fix that, same goes for the size and amount of islands. It’s not my final texture design( i want to add detail later on) but I wanted to have a base on which I could work, the file could easily be changed within Unreal Engine 4 later but I wanted to set up the material.

    As for the material, it’s fairly basic and simple but I can easily change a lot of settings, from the size and color of the atmosphere to the panning of the textures. It works, it’s not complicated but then again I’m not an experienced UE4 user (that’s one of the reasons why I want to build this project in it).


    And this is how it currently looks and moves within the engine it self. It's a start and it gives me a better sense of the world i want to build, it was also a great way to experiment within UE4 with the basic material functions. The music is obviously not mine but i still want to make a note for it, it's from BGE itself and is called "redemption". 


    Blocking out the city:

    After prototyping the planet I started working on ideas for the city, which I currently call New Amster (a nod to New Amsterdam but not sure if it’s my final name haha). My main idea for the city when I started was that it should be based on land creation and dikes; it’s something that’s a big part of the Dutch culture and our specialty.

    So how I envisioned the creation of these cities that they start with almost nothing, maybe a small piece of land to start building on. Giant walls will be placed in a round shape, the inside part of the walls will be the base on which the land will be created and giant machines pump the water out from the middle. Ground and sand from outside the walls will be used to fill up the empty space. Once this is all done the creation of the city will begin. When a city is build it can always been expanded by adding new walls and districts, this makes the cities on Flevo dynamic because it can always adapt. So with this basic idea I started blocking out 


    I blocked out the city a few times, because i really tried to make sense of the scale i envisioned for the city. I wanted to make the poor districts of the city really dense and claustrophobic but I wanted to give a lot of space to the richer districts. So while blocking out the city I gave the poor districts a grey color and the richer districts a red color. So in the first block out the richer districts were way too dense and more claustrophobic than the other one. Also the scale didn’t feel too city like, it felt more like an outpost, so I redid it. 


    The second block out still had the problem of the richer districts being too crowded and there were too many open spaces in the other district, which should have been the other way around. I removed a bit of the richer district to give the other one more space, I also lowered the walls a bit with each region so it felt like there was a bit more height variation. I also wanted to give a symbolic nuance of the richer district living higher than the rest of the city.


    With the third block out I added a lot of more building to the poor district while also playing with the height variation to give it more of a city feel. I made the buildings for the richer district smaller to match the building sizes in Amsterdam while also removing a lot to make room for parks. It also gives a nice contract between the two districts. This became my final block out which I used as an foundation for the concept art.


    The city of New Amster

    So creating this took way more work then i expected, mainly due to the fact i'm not that experienced with drawing environments. But my two goals of this part were:

    -Base the colors and mood on the planet i made within UE4

    -Show a good and stark contract between the two district.

    So below you can see the final result and a little breakdown of my process. If you have any help or feedback please don't hesitate to let me know! Thanks again if you read this whole thing haha.



    My next steps:

    -Sketch a few more pieces for inspiration

    -Brainstorm list for assets

    -Make assets in Maya

  • Artdeck
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    Artdeck vertex
    So i've been silent for a few weeks due to my trip to spain visiting my parents and finishing some other stuff for my study, but for the past two weeks i've been working on this project again and i'm ready to share some new stuff i've made. 

    I've started with testing out some building blocks in Maya, but i'm still not really satisfied with how i'm handling the creation of the building. I would really appreciate any kind of feedback or tips regarding the modelling and texturing of bigger assets. I've been struggling to find a workflow that would give me the flexibility to texture multiple parts of a building without the textures becoming blurry. Next to the building blocks i've made some assets for the environment, bridges, walls for the canals, etc. 



    I also experimented in Substance Designer to make materials i can use in Substance Painter and UE4 for my assets. I really need to give a shoutout to amazing people from Allegorithmic for having great tutorials, made my jump into Designer a lot easier and learnable. So i've made two materials so far, a brick material and a floor material for the city, both using the same base design in Designer.



    I've also messed around quite alot in Unreal to understand the basics a bit better, coming from Unity it was quite a turnaround for me but i'm loving it a lot so far. Also i've imported the basic building blocks multiple times to adjust the scale and work around some errors. I placed the building multiple times to get an idea of the scale i'm trying to have. 



    After that i've finished up some assets in Painter with the materials i've made in Designer, they are not that great but i'm certainly trying to learn from past mistakes i've made. I'm thinking of redoing the bridge because of the issue i'm having with texturing bigger assets, i really have no clue yet how to approach that. After finishing them up i placed them in Unreal to see how the materials hold up in my scene. 


    That's it for now, please let me know what you think and if you have any tips regarding the workflow please let me now.

  • CybranM
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    CybranM polycounter lvl 5
    I like how in-depth you go with showing the workflow and the project looks cool.
    About the wireframe models you showed, they seem poorly optimized, is that because theyre just blockouts and will be fixed later or for some other reason? (tiling textures or similar)

    Looking forward to seeing more :smile:
  • Artdeck
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    Artdeck vertex
    CybranM said:
    I like how in-depth you go with showing the workflow and the project looks cool.
    About the wireframe models you showed, they seem poorly optimized, is that because theyre just blockouts and will be fixed later or for some other reason? (tiling textures or similar)

    Looking forward to seeing more :smile:
    Well the building blocks for the buildings are certainly not done yet haha, because i struggle a lot with them because i'm not really sure how to approach them in their design and texturing. The others are 'finished', most of them have a few LOD's but some of them, like the bridge, have a higher polycount because i want to use them in UE4 with vertex painting. But if you have any tips how to better approach this i would love to hear it!
  • Artdeck
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    Artdeck vertex
    So a little update for this project. I've been busy in the Blueprint System of Unreal 4 to create a system that will allow me to generate buildings and gives me the freedom to choose the style, height and pieces. So again, thanks to a lot of Youtube Tutorials i've managed to get something to work. Currently this blueprint allows me to change the following in the main scene by changing some values:
    • Amount of floors
    • Foundation Style (which 3D model. I can place assets within the blueprint which you can choose from)
    • Floor Style
    • Roof Style
    • Door style
    • Window Style
    • Texture style
    This gives me a very welcomed design flow within Unreal, in which i can place a lot of building in a small amount of time while also having the freedom to adjust them. So the basics for this are done but i have a few things i want to add to this blueprint:
    • Chimney style (with an option to turn on or off a particle system that emits smoke)
    • Details (think of a hotel sign, vines, extra design details for the building itselfs)
    • A smaller variation of the current assets in width, so not all the building are the same width. 



    I also found a solution for my building blocks problem (i didn't know what the correct way of texturing these blocks would be, without losing too much detail). I've decided to work with Material ID's so i can work with tiling materials on the buildings and i was planning to add extra details by using Decals. I've made some materials in Substance Designer for the building, a concrete and brick substance that i'm planning to use. I also went back to the design of my bridge because the texture looked very poor up close, so i decided to use the same Material ID technique I've used on the buildings which gave me a nice little boost in quality. 
  • Artdeck
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    Artdeck vertex
    So a small update on this project, i've been on a small break due to some study responsibilities but i managed to get some new stuff working. I completed the following tasks:
    • UV mapping for the foundation and floor building blocks
    • UV mapping and texturing of the windows (though some need some refinement)
    • Model for an Ivy prop, with differtent LOD's (i wanted to test this system out)
    • Some material testing for holograms that i can place within the world

    Next stop is texturing the roofs/doors and brainstorming on some props for the worldbuilding of this scene.

  • Artdeck
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    Artdeck vertex
    The current status of the project. Been working on a lot of small stuff, from decals to materials for the landscape. 
  • Artdeck
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    Artdeck vertex

    So I wanted to update this blog a bit, it has been quite a while (November woops) but that’s because I’ve been using other platforms to share updates on the project as well. And I really want to use this one for the detailed write up about my process, decisions and current status. But sadly due to the workload of my study, this project, work and my internship search it kind of slipped by me. But okay, let’s start with the update and like always feedback is really appreciated!

    Current state of New Amster:

    So during the months of December and January I’ve been working on the project in a slower space and frequency then I did in the months before. That’s mainly due to some responsibilities I had regarding work and my study, but I still managed to work on it from time to time. So when I started this project, my goal was always to broaden myself as an artist and teach myself how to work in Unreal Engine 4 and broaden my knowledge of Substance Painter & Designer, but in January I also added Zbrush to that list.

    I’ve worked with Zbrush before a handful of times, but I’m not satisfied with either my knowledge or skill within that program so I decided I could fuse that with this project but more on that later on in this post. For now I want to focus on the planet Flevo and the city New Amster.

    Blockout test of city streets:

    Regarding the layout of New Amster I’ve been struggling on a few fronts, the logic behind the layout, how to make my workflow faster without losing a lot of quality and how to make the streets stand out more. So I started experimenting on how I could make a ‘larger’ city with the current models I had by making a few material instances so I could give some color variation to the buildings, so they would be a bit more ‘unique’ and by making one street block by hand so I could duplicate it and use it as a beginning point for the other blocks.

    This was also a test to see if the engine could handle it without crashing and to my surprise it could (while it did need a few seconds of thinking). So with this method I could easily fill a larger area without losing too much time on it and with the help of the material instances I could easily change the colors and texture style of the buildings to make sure the repetitiveness was as low as it could be. So in the end I could fill up my scene with a lot of buildings and give it a sense of scale. However, I used brackets for the word unique for a reason, while they do look different, the style is still the same and the scene is clearly missing a lot of landmarks to give a clear indication on what street you are. So I needed a solution for that.


    Skyscrapers test:

    I thought of two clear solutions for that problem, one I’ve tested already and the other one is still a work in progress. The first solution is to break the clear horizon line between the buildings and the background (the city walls). I made a test asset for a skyscraper to be both a landmark and a breaker of that clear horizontal line. So far I like the results in what it achieves but I’m not a fan of the current style, so that still needs a lot of work and thought.

    My second solution is making a few special buildings(churches, theathers, garages etc) to function as clear landmarks for within the city. But I still need to brainstorm on that part, to see what would fit and what the worldbuilding idea behind the buildings would be. But they are definitely needed!


    Lightbaking and Realtime Lighting

    A quick overview and why I decided on Realtime Lighting instead of lightbaking. So I did a few tests before deciding what I wanted to use, because obviously my knowledge about this engine is still limited. So the pros and cons for both options (correct me if my findings are incorrect).

    Realtime Lighting:

    Pros:

    ·         Light can be dynamic, it can change and it will work with a day/night cycle

    ·         For bigger landscapes the best option

    ·         Looks very cool in motion

    Cons:

    ·         Resource heavy, asks more from a system

    ·         Shadows are lower in quality

    ·         Quality control loss, you can have some weird artifacts with certain models that aren’t double sided.

    Lightbaking:

    Pros:

    ·         Shadow quality is a lot better

    ·         Because the shadows are baked it asks a lot less from your system

    ·         You can search for the perfect lighting conditions

    ·         You can use the emissive materials as a light source as well, these will be baked. This especially would be cool with futuristic tech and holograms

    Cons:

    ·         Rendering takes time

    ·         Changing a light setup and testing is a lot slower

    ·         Awesome on smaller areas, painful on big landscapes

    ·         Your light can’t be dynamic

    So while lightbaking definitely has it’s pros, the cons are not acceptable for a bigger area like New Amster. I would also like to experiment with the Day & Night cycle because it has potential to really add something to the scene. And this cannot be achieved to my knowledge with lightbaking (at least not as easy).


    Day/Night system:

    Regarding the day & night cycle I’ve been working on, I need to give credit where it’s due because I learned a lot through the videos of the youtube channel Virtus Learning Hub / Creative Tutorials. I’ve build my foundation on their knowledge and I’ve expanded it with a lot of trial and error. I’ve added a Fog/Atmosphere parameter and night light so far. I want to add an function to switch of the streetlights within the scene when the day cycle is enabled. But I’ve added that on a ‘could be’ list, I want to make sure the world is done first. I’ve learned it’s pretty hard to stay focused on one task when building a world of this size so pardon my messy approach.



    Planets:

    I’ve only worked a little bit on the scene with the planets because my main priority is New Amster. I usually work on this scene when I need a little break from the other one. I’ve added a emissive texture map for the Planet Flevo so you can see the cities during the night while also adjusting some of the panner speeds (the clouds, landscape, etc.) but I am still experimenting with it. There are a few things I still want to add, from space dust to little asteroids but also a new and improved skybox. 


    DomZ Recreation:

    So at the beginning of this post I talked about how I wanted to add ZBrush to this project as a learning goal, I started this goal in January when I was doing research about Zbrush sculpting. I really wanted to improve my work in Zbrush so I could use the models within my project. New Amster is missing a lot of character atm, not only in the literal sense but also in its world building and I figured adding more organic models like statues could really enrich it (my biggest wish would of course be adding a character at some point).

    So my first practice within Zbrush was a statue. So far I’ve worked on base models that I made in Maya (like a Jade figurine) but this time I wanted to start from scratch in Zbrush. While the first result isn’t a complete failure, I did learn a lot by messing around with this model and making a lot of mistakes. The second model I made was a reimagined version of the DomZ (the enemy from Beyond Good and Evil).  I had two rules for this model, while it’s my version of this enemy it should recognizable as the DomZ and it should be a more realistic version of it. I tried to keep the same silhouette and color scheme as the original to keep it recognizable but added my own ideas on top of it (like the eyes which is inspired from the DomZ Priest).


    model


    Kell, the hybrid

    So the last model I wanted to share is Kell, a hybrid between a Human and a German Shepard. Hybrids are such a big part of the universe of BGE that I figured I should be able to make models like these so i challenged myself to make one myself. I’m happy with the results, there are a lot of things I would approach differently, mainly his clothing. As for his background story:

    ‘His name is Kell, a hybrid bred in one of China’s many Hybrid Labs. Their purpose towards society was to serve the police officers with their daily duties. But the program got shutdown when complaints started to arrive that the hybrid species of this kind was too intimidating to be used for law enforcement. People felt ‘unsafe’ and threatened by just walking past them so the program was terminated and the hybrids of this kind were taken back and destroyed.

    Only a few managed to escape to ‘safety’, Kell is one of them. For a while he wandered the slumps , entered the illegal hybrid deathmatches to collect all the units he could get but still he barely made enough to feed himself. But slowly he made a name for himself, getting noticed by the local underworld scene. Nowadays he functions as a collector for one of the bigger players in the underworld, Zhou Yuzhu.’




    That's it for now ^^

  • Artdeck
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    Artdeck vertex
    So i made a video with an overview of the current environments that are within the project. A lot of assets are still pretty rough but hopefully it gives a good overview of what i'm working on. Also someone gave me feedback that some of the shots within the video are a bit too long and I've  noted that for the next video.


  • another caveman
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    another caveman polycounter lvl 5
    crazy how you're keeping it alive! Will give this all a read. Let me come back with thoughts! I really liked the original piece of art Beyond Good and Evil is, and enjoy watching your progress on this keep this thing up!
  • Arisoner
    Holy crap, dude. And you're planning to apply at Ubisoft? If you ask me, I think you're basically set with all of the work you've put into this project.

    Story-building
    World-Building
    Character-Creation
    Concept Art
    3D Modelling

    It's like you've got all of that down now. Flevo has me extremely interested, especially when it comes to the Hybrids. Keep up the amazing work, dude! I'm so tracking this.
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