[WIP] Stylised Street Market Environment (UE4])

Hi, I am a third year Game Development student at Falmouth University, specializing in Environment Art. For my most recent project I wanted to try my hand at stylisation, whilst also focusing on techniques like trim sheets, modularity, and exterior scene assembly in Unreal.

In May of this year I went backpacking around Turkey, and was heavily inspired by the street market environments I saw there. The vibrancy and richness of these scenes set on a Moorish architectural backdrop was very exciting to me, so I decided to base my next project on this kind of scene. I went to an area of Turkey called Cappadocia, where ancient cave houses were carved into 'fairy chimney' rock formations. These rock houses were ubiquitous, even inside the town of Goreme where we stayed. I really liked this idea, so I decided to incorporate it into my environment.

First hand reference from Turkey

Along side my personal reference gathered on my trip to Turkey, I also gathered reference from the internet, as I wanted to set the scene in a medieval fantasy timeline. (https://www.pinterest.co.uk/louisjsullivan4/bazaar/). However, by this stage in development I had not really settled on a coherent stylization for the scene, something which I would later realize to be a mistake.

I then started with a simple BSP blockout in Unreal to get a feeling for the composition and structure of the scene. I decided to design it to be like a section of a single-player linear game, in which the player makes there way through a winding street and a stone arched bazaar, into an open plaza area.

Initial BSP Blockout

I started working on a simple modular kid for creating buildings, as well as a couple of bespoke buildings. Once in engine, these started to give me a sense of the feeling of the scene, but upon reflection and crit I realized I needed to define a clear visual style for this world, and stick to that. These buildings were too uniform, and looked a bit more like medieval buildings from a more western setting like France.

Initial Building Sets

One of the biggest challenges of the project so far was the fact I was not working from concept, or trying to recreate a real-world scene, but that I was using reference to create my own environment from scratch. In order to define the scene and it's atmosphere, my friend and fellow student Nathan Bedford (https://www.artstation.com/natbed) offered to do some paint-overs of my blockout. These really helped me figure out the direction to take next with the project, and after seeing these I decided to go back to the drawing board with the design of the architecture, and find a clear style to unify behind.

Nathan's Paintovers

After some research, I found that I really liked the strong shape language and cartoony quality of the Spyro: Reignited Trilogy. Gerudo Village from Breath of The Wild was also a very good reference for me. This was what I kept in mind when redesigning the buildings. I started by creating some brick assets which I could use as trim, whilst also pushing the cartoony shape language I wanted.

New Building Stylisations

I am currently at the stage of pushing this style, and replacing the old buildings with ones more in line with this. I have had crit about the above buildings, particularly the right one, in terms of the brick trim being too uniform and 'neat'. So I am currently working on changing this. I have recently redone the lighting of the scene to get try to capture my desired atmosphere more, and the last thing I did was a very rudimentary colour pass using flat colour materials. 

Current Build: Colour Pass

So this is where I am at the moment! There are still buildings in the scene I want to replace with the new found style I'm pushing. After that I think a fully realised trim sheet and some stylised materials will push this beyond what it is at the moment, which is not much more than coloured blockout. I want to try and nail the feeling of the street before I add the clutter and detailed props like street vendors selling rugs, spices, lamps etc. I also need to look more at the open square area, as I have been predominantly focusing on the winding street section.

Any crit on the project at the moment or what you think I should focus on next would be greatly appreciated! I will update this thread as I make progress.


  • Ashervisalis
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    Ashervisalis polycount lvl 666
    This is looking really cool! I love the colour palette so far.
  • LJ_Sully
    Plaster Material [WIP]

    I've been working on a simple stylised plaster material for the buildings. Working on making it so I can change the hue in unreal and get some believable variations. I don't want too much noise or detail for this in order for a good read. Any crit is appreciated!

    Designer Graph
  • LJ_Sully
    Ground Material [WIP]

    This is the main ground texture for the winding streets in my scene. The idea is that around the edges of the path it will be more submerged by sand, and the central part of the path where more people walk will have the stones more clearly visible. I need to set this material up in Unreal and blend between them to see how it looks, but I am pleased with the result! Thanks to Designer's procedural nature I can go back and change the colour palette and anything else that needs tweaking.

    Designer Graph

    This texture was based off of reference I gathered from Turkey. This particular floor was inside the Hagia Sofia in Istanbul.

  • LJ_Sully
    Ground Materials Implemented [WIP]

    I've been working on implementing the ground materials into Unreal with landscape blending. I have the basic master material working now so I can blend between the stones and the sand, to break up the tiling and draw the player through the scene.

    The tiles are using the same material with a different alpha for the stone shapes. This is probably placeholder as I plan on authoring a bespoke material for the tiled sections.

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