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
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    WilliamB_Art triangle
    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
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    WilliamB_Art triangle
    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.
  • Apocrs1980
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    Apocrs1980 polycounter lvl 2
    Greetings Polycounters,

    I have still been diligently plugging away at refining and adding in assets for the game.
    Been going back and forth with the lighting but ultimately, I like the default lighting much better.

    Here is another shot of the area with some of the assets I have finalized set up. I'm liking the over all feel of being an abandoned graveyard out in the deep woods.



    For now, back to plugging away at asset creation :D

    Thank you all for taking a look!

    ~Apoc
  • Apocrs1980
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    Apocrs1980 polycounter lvl 2
    Another update, I have redone the larger scale trees, added them in to see how the fair so far I'm enjoying how everything is turning out.

    My day job pays the bills but it's not doing what I love, which is games, so coming back to work on this project during every small amoutn of free time I get is enjoyable.

    once again thanks everyone for taking a look as I slowly progress further.

    ~Apoc
  • Apocrs1980
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    Apocrs1980 polycounter lvl 2
    Good evening Polycounters,

    Figured I would post another update, just got my raw iron fencing for the graveyard area done, little by little piece by piece it's coming together and I love watching the scene come to life. B) 


    Thanks again for taking a look!
    ~Apoc
  • Apocrs1980
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    Apocrs1980 polycounter lvl 2
    Hey all,
    another update and more progress, just got a few more details and tweaks done on the materials.
    I'm over all happy with the quality I have been getting with the industry standard packages + UE4.
    Loving the way the engine handles for sure.

    Below I is part of the graveyard I have been working on, so many more tombstones, benches, and I have been sculpting a large gazebo style sarcophagus. Always nice having challenges and even better when you can over come them.


    As always comments are welcome and thank you for stopping by to check out my work!

    ~Apoc.
  • Apocrs1980
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    Apocrs1980 polycounter lvl 2
    Good Evening and Salutations Poly Counters.
    Been a while since my last post and I wanted to share some pictures of my progress.

    So first off, I've been messing around A LOT with UE4's lighting, learning what the various features do etc. etc.
    That said I needed to see how the materials looked in the day light since I can't have the materials break once the day cycles.
    That then led to a TON of tweaking with the materials and creating an over all master material with a bunch of features which can be turned off and on.
    I have been doing a lot of modeling to get the final assets for the grave yard done as well and a few assets that I have gone back and redone.

    So, with that said I come to the current state, which is this:
    over all I'm very happy with the new assets, the bifurcated tree, the new grass, fencing and such. Just is starting to make my older stuff look dated...so going back and tweaking them to bring them up to par.

    C&C is always welcome and thank you all for taking a look as always.

    Cheers
    ~Apoc.
  • Olingova
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    Olingova polycounter lvl 3
    Looking great! For more visibility , giving the player a torch or something like that could give you a really cool feeling; a lill orange point light would do a really interesting contrast with the cold scary world
  • Apocrs1980
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    Apocrs1980 polycounter lvl 2
    @Olingova Thank you very much for the feed back,
    I do think we plan to have a light source at the location of the character at some point.
    I agree, the lighting will make everything look so much more visually interesting. :smiley:
  • Apocrs1980
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    Apocrs1980 polycounter lvl 2
    Small update,

    Figure I would show off my new asset....a fallen Branch. Took me all day but I think it turned out super sexy!


    Now for some much needed shut eye and tomorrow on to more trees and moss decals.

    Cheers all!
  • Fabi_G
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    Fabi_G triangle
    Cool project  :)

    Noticed your ground-materials blend a bit soft/blurry:


    Do you use height-maps for the blending?
    (see topic Height-Lerp: https://docs.unrealengine.com/en-us/Engine/Rendering/Materials/Functions/Reference/Texturing )
  • Apocrs1980
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    Apocrs1980 polycounter lvl 2
    @Fabi_G Thanks much, those areas are from landscape painting a different layer blend in attempting to break up the pattern.
    However, I've been staring at it for so long it's become lost on me.
    I will go back and have a look at the height maps and see if I can get some better definition. 
  • Apocrs1980
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    Apocrs1980 polycounter lvl 2
    Another update,
    Tweaked Hight maps, post processing, and added a few more assets.
    I"m over all like the cooler damp tone to the map befitting of an old graveyard.



    Thanks again everyone for taking a look. :)

    ~Apoc
  • Lurcisia
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    Lurcisia triangle
    Amazing work! Really makes me wanna play the game right now hehe

    A lot of the things I had in mind were mentioned before, however (and this may be personal preference), I think the blueish/purpleish tones you had going on in the older screenshots were a lot more appealing. When you go with warm tones it feels like its washing things out because of all the greens (trees, grass, plants, etc), also I believe the blue gave off more of a creepy vibe.
  • Apocrs1980
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    Apocrs1980 polycounter lvl 2
    @Lurcisia Thank you for the honest feed back.
    I agree, the original cold feel was what I wanted for the zone so I have been spending a lot of time on messing with the various lighting and LUTs. 

    Also have figured out a great pipeline for foliage which I am very happy with.  Here's where I'm at currently:
    (Apparently the website won't allow me to upload a pic from my phone) :P 

    I appreciate everyone's feed back, it's been quite helpful.  
  • Apocrs1980
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    Apocrs1980 polycounter lvl 2
    Update on progress so far. I've spent a considerable amount of time on learning UE4's lighting system.  Messed with just about everything in each light volume to get closer to a desired result.  

    So far I have strongly focused on daytime lighting as I think once nailed down and understood, it will make work on night time a little easier ( could be totally wrong on that) but for now have got it to a state that I am happy with: 

    *apparently I still can't upload photos on polycount*  :#

    https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/167462564156932097/485509470022008850/unknown.png

    But all that's left is to tweak some of the specularity of my metal material.
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