The People's War - WW2 VR Experience [UE4]

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Doxturtle polycounter lvl 3
The People's War is my final project I will be completing at the University of Hertfordshire. Its set during the Blitz bombings in a typical family home, its goal is to serve an interactive living museum piece in VR. During the experience you'll be able to explore the house and garden, the experience will end with you taking shelter in the Anderson during an air raid, getting a look at what many families faced throughout the war. 

Here are some moodboards to give you an idea of what will be in the final environment:




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  • Doxturtle
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    Doxturtle polycounter lvl 3
    So far I have completed most the basic environment for the Anderson shelter. 

    Keep in mind that this environment is heavily work in progress, I've still got a lot of little changes I need to make to this area but at the moment I am calling it like 80% done. I need to add some patterned blankets over the white ones to make it look less like a hospital, I have a duvet mesh with a blanket over top on the top bunk but its a bit hard to see, I want to get nice checkered ones draped over. I have a lighting glitch on the left that I need to look into, I need to tweak lightmap UVs on a few objects to fix some seams, I need to add bolts along the top of the shelter roof, add flames to the candles, add the emissive maps, lots of over little things that should be done within the next couple days. 





  • danr
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    danr interpolator
    this is a really cool idea. I grew up on stories of my nan and grandad's Anderson shelter. I assume this viewed from a fixed position?

    maybe a few more 'lived in' touches - its good that you've correctly not sucumbed to the temptation of griming everything up, this would be quite a new prefab after all. But how about the leftovers of the previous nights visit? Half eaten liver sausage sandwich, a newspaper (sourced textures, to really help establish the period), etc. A branded tin can and brown ale bottle for the candle holder too, little details like that which can really speak to a place and time.

     Also thinking of a couple of options, one where the door is open and you can see the garden (give it a solid sense of place), and/or another where if you've got resources for really good sound design, have bombs dropping in the distance, with dust particles dropping with each thud, maybe even extinguishing the candle. VR is ace for self contained stuff like this. 
  • Doxturtle
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    Doxturtle polycounter lvl 3
    Thanks for the comment :) they're definitely all good ideas. I will be working on this at uni until like March/April time so I have a while to polish this, at the moment I was just aiming to get most of the larger props in. I'll be sure to get more of the storytelling elements in as I get further in. I've been planning to add a period label to the bottle so I'll do that soon.

    I've only started to think about the camera positioning recently, I am currently siding towards having a fixed position, as if you are sitting on the bench, otherwise your head would be right up at the roof as they are barely tall enough for 180cm guy. From that position you can see most the interesting parts of the environment looking around. 

    For the final experience my plan was to have a relaxing daytime setting where you can just roam around and take in the place, then have a more dramatic night time air raid too. So you'll be in the shelter experiencing the bombs dropping around you in VR, I definitely want to get some nice atmospheric effects going on during that. 

    The experience will likely have 2 modes

    1. Free look/explore mode - start in kitchen, can exit into the garden where you can look around or continue to inside the anderson shelter. Just a nice, relaxing exploration of the environment on a bright day. 

    2. Air raid - start in kitchen in the evening, a kind of homely relaxing environment, music on etc, air raid sirens go off, you go through the garden seeing search lights and anti air explosions above, you enter the anderson shelter seated on the bench and wait out the air raid as bombs go off around. I am thinking of some kind of dramatic ending where you hear a bomb falling, and explosion and your screen cuts to black. Leaves a cool cliffhanger and a bit of a jump scare at the end. All this stuff is still kinda rough so I am open to any ideas. 
  • Olingova
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    Olingova polycounter lvl 3
    Looks good so far! Yeah deserve some more live in stuff instead! Maybe some kids toy could add dramatic parts to that environement; stuffed animals; comics or something..
  • Doxturtle
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    Doxturtle polycounter lvl 3
    @Olingova Thanks, Ill be getting more props in over the next  couple weeks, need to get some more usable stuff like matches, a toilet, newspapers etc. 

    Just a little update, you can see the checkered blanket I did last night. I am going to be doing a few more different patterned ones to get a bit of colour onto the smaller beds. 


  • Doxturtle
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    Doxturtle polycounter lvl 3
    A few quick props for tonight:

    A chamber pot, comes with stains. 


    I got a pretty decent enamelled cast iron smart material out of this prop so I can use it for a ton of the pots in the kitchen


    I plan to scan some little bits of food scraps to put on the plates just to add a little bit more life to them. I didn't want to add too much grime to the texture as I plan to reuse these throughout the kitchen too.


    Finished the last of the beds with another sheet, pretty happy with how the fold turned out on this one. Works nicely with the potted light for some nice highlights.


    An overview of the new props. I need to update a lot of the props with custom light-maps as I am not getting amazing results right now, but for now they'll be fine. 

    The next week is going to be focused on blocking the rest of the environment so I probably won't be getting much final art to show. 
  • Doxturtle
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    Doxturtle polycounter lvl 3




     am feeling pretty happy with how believable the room feels at the moment, obviously in the final scene the shelves will be a lot more cluttered. The kitchen is a bit bigger than your average kitchen, just for gameplay reasons, otherwise it would be quite hard to move around and would feel cramped. I need to make a more realistic window frame structure, at the moment I've just thrown in a generic one. It feels like theres some dead space at the moment with the walls, they'll be a bit less bare once I get some props up on them. I'll eventually have stuff like aprons hanging from hooks, pots and pans etc. 

    My goal for the rest of this week is to get proper meshes for the room structure and then start working on the major props in the scene. Preferably I'd like to have some of the major props (table, cupboard larder, cabinets etc) done and in engine. 


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