[WIP] [UE4] Snow Seige

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JonJo keyframe
Hey Polycount, I'm looking to get some crit on a new game environment project i've been working on the past few weeks. The goal for the project was to learn more foliage techniques and to create a realistic, large scale, exterior environment with some interesting story telling and world building. 

So far, I've been working on a master material for all my assets, so snow builds up on the meshes where they merge with other meshes / the terrain. There's also snow that builds up on top of the meshes depending on orientation, and some other cool features. I've slowly been building a modular kit for my castle which is situated on the hill. Plans for this include a lot of destruction, as the siege will have finished long ago, and this will be the remnants of the battle. I plan to have to give both combatants distinct styles, so Norse Vikings v.s French / German medieval knights. 

Any feedback on any elements of the project so far would be great. The siege camp is pretty sparse and is in a bit of a rut, so any suggestions to improve this area would be greatly appreciated! Cheers

**P.S  I can't take credit for the lovely rocks used to build the mountain, they're from the UE4 Boy and a Kite Demo. Rest has been made by myself **


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  • CybranM
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    CybranM greentooth
    Looks like a solid start, dont have any specific feedback but keep going in the same direction and I think it'll turn out well :smile:
  • JonJo
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    JonJo keyframe
    @CybranM
    thank you, I'll keep at it :)
  • JonJo
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    JonJo keyframe
    Some rather big changes over the past couple of days on the project. After realising I wasn't too happy with the state of the siege camp, I put in some more thought of the duration of the siege, the reasoning for the attack, etc. I concluded that I wanted the siege to have lasted a good couple of months, prompting the attacking to install some semi-permanent artillery positions, as well as some proper mountable palisade walls rather than basic wooden barricades I had before. I also created some extra space for command tents and a logistics area. I might have to clear more forest behind the camp for more tents if the camp doesn't feel populated enough. I also moved the entire camp further back as a comment I received was that the main battlefield was far too small, which I completely agreed with, so I've created extra space here. 

    I've finished my plank kit which allowed me to make some gates, floor pieces, and the palisade walls. I changed the palisade texture to be more inline with the planks, and to unify the wood a little, as the mossy green didn't support the mood I wanted for the scene. 

    I've made some progress with the Castle kit by putting together two wall pieces. One straight, one with a slope. This will hopefully help me construct the wall across the mountain range, building the large border wall I have planned. I'm not too happy with the sloped piece, so if anyone has any good reference of how these types of wall pieces are done in the real world, I'd be really interested to see it! 

    P.S. the lighting and skybox are place holder, just been playing with stuff to see how it feels. Expect it to change frequently as I experiment with different lighting scenarios!

    Any feedback would be awesome, cheers!



  • icegodofhungary
    It may just be the temp lighting but your trees seem to be blending together. I'm not familiar with foliage in Unreal but maybe you could implement some kind of procedural color variation. Push the greens and browns a bit more. The snow, rocks, and props look fantastic.
  • JonJo
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    JonJo keyframe
    @icegodofhungary
    It's just the UE4 default material on the trees leaves at the moment, but you make a very good point about bringing out the browns in the trees, I can probably boost the values and achieve some variation with the speedtree colour node. Cheers!
  • Nuclear Angel
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    Nuclear Angel greentooth
    I personally think the siege camp looks a bit to small, I would recommend to check out the siege camp from the start of the witcher 2 to get a comparison of the size I am thinking of. Right now your camp looks like it would house perhaps 200 to top 300 people. But you got a great start that looks great asset wise. 
  • JonJo
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    JonJo keyframe
    @Nuclear Angel
    I think you're 100 percent right, I need to clear a lot more space for the camp. I've been using both Witcher titles for reference, probably best to reinstall the 2nd game to get a proper feel for the scale of the camp. Thank you, it's the push I need to get it done!
  • Nuclear Angel
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    Nuclear Angel greentooth
    I think if you went out of your way to map out the entire castle and how it is besieged from every angle you can start to envision better how this one section of the siege is laid out. You do not need to model all of it just the section you have now. But I think that could help you to envision what this particular area of the siege camp is used for and its scale and so forth. 
  • JonJo
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    JonJo keyframe
    @Nuclear Angel
    I'll spend the next couple of days working that all out, I think that's an excellent idea. I love the idea of implying that it's just one element of a larger seige, would help make the scene feel much larger. Thanks again, great feedback
  • JonJo
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    JonJo keyframe
    Hey Polycount :) 

    After spending a healthy amount of time procrastination on Mordhau, I've come back to my project to work on some lighting changes and some fabrics.

    I've jumped into Marvelous designer for the tents, and with some help from my friend Dom Marriott , I've been able to put together a tent, and then go on to create a collapsed one. I've got a nice wind effect on the fabrics that I'll show in video format on another day. I've also been re-working the lighting for something a little more dramatic and stylised. The night time fits the more deserted themes of the scene, but I want to compliment the night with some lit fires around the scene and bring just a little life back to the abandoned camp. Lighting and materials still need a little balancing after these changes, but I think it's in a better place.

    Will start working on fixing up my pine trees as they're looking a bit shit. Also need to make some branch textures! 
    Lemme know what you think :)


  • Macebo
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    Macebo interpolator
    I'm really liking the direction you got there. The aurora in the sky is really cool.
    I know this is a wip, but i can throw at you some ideas :)

    add some rotation and placement variation between the tents. right now they look too evenly placed.

    On the tent subject, i'd go ahead and make two or even three different versions of them, with slightly different materials and/or cloth folds etc. to get more organic look and not too homogenous like it is right now. stick some arrows on them, add some holes, blood splatters, grime in the bottom (they look too clean if the battle took place for months).

    On the subject of arrows, add A LOT more scattered in the battlefield. You could make some decals with erosions in the area caused by artillery projectiles as well.

    A fire pit in the center of the camp, with some logs for sitting,  pans, some war instruments (drums etc) could add a lot to the storytelling of the scene since it tells the viewer that there are soldier living and eating in there. The fire from the pit could also lead the eye to a focal point and could add a lot of character to the scene.

    Good luck!
  • JonJo
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    JonJo keyframe
    @Macebo Thanks for your kind words! I hope to learn how to do some skybox stuff later in the project to push that aurora feeling further! 

    Your crit on the tents is spot on, I'll get to adding some extra variation with all the methods you've mentioned. dried blood, holes and grime will all go to help add the story telling I want. 

    The ideas about the fire pit is excellent, I'm lacking a sense of community in the camp and a firepit / bonfire with cooking equipment would help humanise the soliders. I'll start blocking in some of these assets asap! I hadn't even considered doing decals with the arrows, genius idea!

    Thanks again for the detail of your crit, has gotten me thinking a lot further. 

  • JonJo
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    JonJo keyframe
    Bit of a small scene update today.

    Been super pre-occupied with wrapping up uni, so I've been focusing on some tasks I can jump in and out of pretty frequently. I've spent some time blocking out my large and medium size tents so I could continue to fill up the seige camp and create a space. So far, I've completed the outer wall and I've started playing with the elevation of the hill, mixing some interior walls to create some height variation. I'm feeling a lot better about the size of the siege camp now, even if I need to get some more tents to swell the population size. Lemme know if you think there's something off about the top down view! 

    I've also been working on tent variation. I've added a bit more grunge onto the base layer and added some masks in the material so I can enable and disable some ripped holes in the fabric or add some blood on top of the canvas. It's still a little subtle, so I'm looking into some additional methods of adding variety to these small tents. I plan on doing a tent with a door flap open and another collapsed tent for variation as well as playing with the textures a little more. 

    I've also worked on a siege tower using the pieces from palisade and plank kit. Making these kits has proved so valuable in speeding up production on these assets as well as keeping them looking flush. Hopefully I'll find some time to get onto the castle pieces next!

    Cheers for reading, and lemme know what you think! :)




  • WillPowell
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    WillPowell triangle
    Love the snow material and the overall feel of the camp area! Looking forward to what you do with the trees, could be cool to have some tree stumps within the camp to make it look like some parts of the forest were cleared, as the tree line is so close to the encampment.

    Keep up the good work :^)
  • JonJo
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    JonJo keyframe
    @WillPowell
    Cheers! I'll look into putting some of those in, it's a great idea :) 
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