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"Costa Del Sol" - Spanish Town Unreal 4 environment + Tutorial + VR - Dev Journal

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Minos polycounter lvl 13

Yo!

Thiago Klafke here, sharing updates on my next personal project, "Costa Del Sol"!

This environment is inspired by the Costa Del Sol region in Spain. I fell in love with the architecture of this place right away. I love how bold and straightforward the shapes are and how the color pops come from plants, props, and organic elements.

My main goals with this environment are to finally deep dive into Substance Designer, create a fun VR space to explore, and document my entire journey to turn into a tutorial that will stand the test of time!

Concept 

I'm not recreating any area specifically but creating my version taking inspiration from these places:

Here's a top-down sketch with the main points of interest. The player starts down in a tunnel, walks up to the street, and has the coast to one side and the town surrounded by rocks on the other. I want to have a strong sense of directionality and leave some "hooks" to expand the environment later to make the VR version more fun to explore.

The first Dev Log video on my Youtube channel explains more about this part if you are interested:


I then created a kit with primitives and simple shapes that I'm using to quickly blockout the level in Unreal 4. My main goal for this phase is to get a rough idea in place. I will then replace all this geometry with "real" geometry and iterate on the whole map in stages. Think of it as a progressive JPG loading, where each pass enhances the entire picture at once.

View from the rocks

The backdrop will be much more populated later on, but I want to make sure I get the idea across.

An archway

The church.

A view from one of the apartments towards the Church plaza, showing the coast in the distance.

The main street where lots of commerce will be.

Another shot from the main street.

The town carved into the rocks.

A view of the backdrop.

Dev Log #2

I also recorded a new Youtube Dev Log, where you can see the blockout in action:



Tutorial

Tools come and go, but knowledge persists no matter what. I still use many of the techniques to build maps from when I made Counter-Strike 1.6 maps. I want to bring that knowledge to a new generation of artists while updating these techniques to the cutting-edge of contemporary environment art. 

I will occasionally open pre-order windows for this tutorial, so everyone who follows my work can get it for much cheaper. I see it as the equivalent of investing in a small company before it grows and reaches its full form. A small investment early can have huge returns later. Well, in this case, by getting in early, you can get A LOT of value for the best price possible.

So between now and Wednesday at midnight (California time), the first 100 users can pre-order the "Founders" edition of the tutorial (intended price point: $300) for ONLY US$50!

This edition will be the complete one and pack a significant value and bonus content that you won't find in the standard version.

Pre-Order Now Here!

* You are only charged the moment the tutorial goes live!

This tutorial has been an insane amount of work, and I won't be discounting it any time after release, so don't wait if you want to lock down the best price ever :) Next time I open the pre-orders, the price will go up slightly.

Mailing List

If you want to stay up to date and get informed when the pre-order windows open and receive exclusive content (like my recent email on How you can make a higher salary at your current job), you can subscribe to my mailing list! I message people very rarely, and only when I have meaningful content. 

Stay in touch

Thanks for reading!

Thiago

Replies

  • Minos
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    Minos polycounter lvl 13
    Hey everyone! Time for a quick update :D 

    I've been working on the back alley area and I'm finally happy with the compositions. This area posed an interesting challenge, and I learned quite a bit about what works in VR and what doesn't (tip: lots of random lines, stairs that go up and down cause instant motion sickness 
    🤮). I redid this area twice, but now it feels amazing in VR. No motion sickness and navigation is much better, because I have different points of interests. I'm planning to do another Dev Log video soon focusing on what I've learned in VR, for now, enjoy some screenshots!


  • [HP]
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    [HP] polycounter lvl 13
    Oh sweet, looks awesome thiago!! 

    *subbed* :D
  • warby
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    warby polycounter lvl 15
    Wise choice. Little dreamy picturesque villages were always my favorite settings in counter-strike maps.
  • shabba
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    shabba polycounter lvl 11
    I wonder if, in "design_blockout_05.jpg" it'd be cool to see that church turned more to a 45deg so the shape/lines of its roof, and orientation open up that shot, and leave potential to tease the reveal of the vista to come, as some of that vista would be exposed by rotating the building.

    I feel it might be more pleasing than if it was perpendicular to the camera, /w the current lighting, its facade isnt providing enough contrast of shadow anyways

    Cool idea man, looking forward to seeing more! 

    O, unless its a playable interior for the church, then i'd ignore me completely!
  • Minos
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    Minos polycounter lvl 13
    shabba said:
    I wonder if, in "design_blockout_05.jpg" it'd be cool to see that church turned more to a 45deg so the shape/lines of its roof, and orientation open up that shot, and leave potential to tease the reveal of the vista to come, as some of that vista would be exposed by rotating the building.

    I feel it might be more pleasing than if it was perpendicular to the camera, /w the current lighting, its facade isnt providing enough contrast of shadow anyways

    Cool idea man, looking forward to seeing more! 

    O, unless its a playable interior for the church, then i'd ignore me completely!
    That's a cool idea! The church is the next area I will iterate, I will definitely play around with the angle and size. I'm making this primarily for VR, and because the FOV in VR is narrower than on my screens, the compositions look a bit different. But yeah, I'm not a 100% happy with where the church is yet :D Thanks for feedback!
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