(7/21/22) Hello Polycount! I have started working on a new environment project and am in the early pre-production/testing and planning phase of development. My idea is to create a Queen Anne Victorian house but with a more simplified American style in a Mojave desert setting. This comes from inspiration that I took from my personal life when I used to live in the deserts of Southern California. In my old rural desert neighborhood, most of the houses looked like your typical California style Mojave desert home. But one house in my old neighborhood had been built in a Victorian style which felt pretty unique and made it really stand out to me compared to all the rest. I thought it would be interesting to make a scene similar to the real thing, while of course taking some creative liberties of my own to make mine even more interesting than my source. I also am heavily inspired by the moody atmosphere of the Red Dead Redemption 1 Soundtrack and have been listening to it on repeat while creating this scene. I think it further influences the vibe I want to go for with this environment, especially tracks like "Muertos Rojos (AKA The Gunslinger's Lament", "Gunplay", and "Exodus In America".
Everything right now is a work in progress, even the PureRef file as I collect more reference. I have some goals with this project too, and I wrote them all down on paper. I have begun to test and blockout the house in Blender and create the actual scene in UE4 as well. For my terrain I have used actual real life satellite height map textures as a foundation! I also am currently using Ultra Dynamic Skies plugin for my weather and lighting.
One thing I realized with my last environment, the California Gas Station Environment, was that I tried to make something way too big in scale for my current skill level. I still find it a miracle that I even completed it at all by myself, even if I did have to use a good chunk of third party assets mixed in with my own custom ones to bring it to the finish line. So with this next one I am keeping my scale much smaller by only making the house and the yard/land around it in the camera's eye view look good. This will hopefully cut down on the amount of things I need to make and polish and will end up with me not taking 11 months to complete this environment like last time. I also am debating how I should go about actually assembling the house, whether I should use a more detailed version of the large blockout or go for modular kits for modeling it. I also wonder what texel density I should target, as I want the house to look fairly detailed even up close and plan to have shots on the porch. Also wondering if I should do tileable materials or go the Trim Sheets route with decals added on top of course to spruce things up.
I haven't quite figured out what story I will tell yet, but I have some ideas. I think the house should look and feel deserted, but not so damaged and deserted that it delves into cliche haunted house territory. I perhaps want to tell a more somber and lonely story with this one, especially on the front porch. Not sure what year I should set it in either, it could be anywhere from the early 1900's to current day. Am still in the process of figuring all that out.
(Feel free to critique my blockout so far and give suggestions on how I could make it better!)
(PureRef File So Far)
(List of Goals for this Project)
(Victorian House Blockout in Blender so far)
(First Attempt. Modeled off of a single image).
(UE4 Scene So Far)