Kingdom Hearts Destiny Islands recreation

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Sweetangel0467 polycounter lvl 6
I'm livestreaming the process on this project over on twitch. Come round and have a look.

Disclaimer:
models & textures from Destiny Islands © from Square Enix
rip provided by Murugo

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  • Sweetangel0467
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    Sweetangel0467 polycounter lvl 6
    Hey all!

    This is a space i'd like to dedicate to my finds on a project I've been meaning to do for over a year now.

    I started the project from scratch, literally, where I would model and texture all the assets you'd find in Destiny Islands.
    Here's some ref for those that aren't familiar.

    This is the concept art ^
    This is what you'd find in game v


    I started creating a few bits and pieces like the sky, this island and the palm trees you'd find on it:



    Quickly I realized that this was fun and tedious at the same time and that I was quite impatient to get to the real nitty gritty bits..

    So I got busy rethinking my plan on this Destiny Islands project.

    I'd come to the conclusions that what I'm mostly interested in doing with this project is recreating processes and techniques that devs used whilst working on this game. What better way than to try and rip the meshes and textures from the game myself and building it back up again from there saving a lot of time modelling everything perfectly from scratch and nobody believing me I'd have made it all myself.

    Copying is flattering and a great tool for learning but I'm constantly finding myself getting mixed feelings of being uncreative and that I'm putting my time and effort into something I couldn't put on my portfolio... By recreating shaders, vertex coloring and finding solutions to problems I've never faced before I'm hoping to expand my skills so I can apply them to my work on mobile games.

    SO! I started my ripping journey a few months ago. I went and dabbled into quite a bit of software to rip meshes straight from the game.
    First scene I've ripped is also the first 3D scene in the game:

    Unfortunately I got met with a lot of cleanup that would take me ages to do. I had to realign the uvs of Sora to resemble him just a little bit more.

    Although everything was super messy I did however come to some interesting finds.
    That Snow White floorpiece? It's a blend of 4 256*256 textures and an outline mesh. Most likely this was done to keep details looking crisp. I don't envy whoever had to make that though, haha.
    resetting the xForm would give me weird flipped meshes as well at random:

    This one is especially beautiful, unfortunately rotating the camera a bit would show just how distorted the character is and that the backside is missing, not to mention the uv mapping was completely mangled.


    All these finds were cool but brought me really far away from my initial goal of recreating a full environment. Whilst documenting my finds of ripping assets on social media someone pointed out to me I could just find ripped meshes of the game online that someone else had already done.

    I then came to this lovely page and got ultra excited to delve into the little nooks and crannies of this RIP of Destiny Islands, the original location I wanted to create.

    Finally I could get to work!

    The time it took to cleanup this mesh was also not insignificant but a whole lot less crazy than all previous attempts. It took me a few evenings to sort out all the meshes as they'd been split up almost per polygon making my 3ds max scene laggy AF.

    I've tried to document some of it by livestreaming on twitch although the quality has been low due to abysmal internet speeds in my area. I've decided that this wouldn't stop me as well from sharing cool insights about game development processes and that I needed to hold myself a bit more accountable by streaming for other people to see.

    Here's a sneak peak of the scene after cleanup...

  • Sweetangel0467
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    Sweetangel0467 polycounter lvl 6
    Even though the preview of the ripped environment showed some vertex colouring I haven't been able to find any in the imported mesh I got in 3ds max. The size of it was crazy and flipped upside down for some reason as well XD

    All vertex painting that you'll see on this thread will be done manually.
    At first I'd thought that lots of parts in this environment were done via vertex colouring. Like this area here:

    Turns out that I was right and wrong. They're actually layering meshes on top of each other and then using some vertex colouring on those to blend between all of them like so:


    This also means I've been met with a lot of zfighting.
    As I'm recreating this in the Unity 2018 engine I'm having some serious z-fighting issues. Any tips on this would be greatly appreciated. I know transparent meshes can be helped by changing the buffer amount but I've been met with some strange depth buffer glitches if I make my whole solid mesh a transparent one just to make it filter between.

    On that note, I decided on the Unity 2018 version for the fact that it features the new "Graph Shader" editor, a node based shader program we've all been dying to see in the engine.

    After getting my feet wet in what nodes this editor provides, I started working on the texture sheet animation of the waves. Something that has always mesmerised me in the game itself, here's a gif from the game :


    The rip shows there being various meshes coming together in this dense section of the environment. Combined with seeing the texture maps:

    I knew there'd be some sort of shader that would disconnect these from eachother so the sand and the wave's shadow would multiply together and then the water wave itself would be painted on top of that in unison.
    After some fiddling I got this:

    here's a snapshot of the wave setup:

    it's not working correctly. The "flipbook" node is being fed the dimensions of the sheet which is 4*4 but it's only cycling through 4 images of the 16. I'm currently cracking my brain on how I can manipulate the time node to go through 1-16 to then reset again. I'm no coder and my training has gotten a bit rusty as well. Any tips on this, greatly appreciated once again :smile:
  • Sweetangel0467
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    Sweetangel0467 polycounter lvl 6
    Another interesting find was how they made a small mesh alongside the beach just so the solid parts would blend in well with the sand.
    See below:

    The amount of work that goes into this sort of stuff is really quite mesmerising.
  • tinyworlds
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    tinyworlds polygon
    Really interesting thread, keep it coming :)
  • Sweetangel0467
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    Sweetangel0467 polycounter lvl 6
    Thanks for the encouragement tinyworlds 💪 So I've been in contact with the guy from http://noclip.website and got him in contact with Murugo, the person who ripped this scene in the first place. He's got the whole of Kingdom Hearts put into the website now and OMG I'm crying ;__; so beautiful. Its literally everything I've wanted. Debating on leaving this research where it is for now. I still have things I can learn from it though in my spare time.

    Go have a look at his website. Its absolutely amazing :3


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