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Building an environment - Evil Genius hidden forest base

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  • adam
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    adam polycounter lvl 15
    Right, so SpeedTree is a tool to quickly make trees. Placing them in your scene is an entirely different method. (This is what I wanted to figure out.)

    Thank you!
  • cow1787
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    cow1787 polycounter lvl 12
    I haven't messed with the UDK as much as I've liked to yet, either. But I've been reading through all the UDK papers and i'm in about the same boat you are, haha.

    Not entirely sure how the trees are painted in, but if you decide to - or ever need to - do it manually, you can change a few settings in the mesh's properties to have a min/max and random rotation and scale when you press ALT+S+CLICK. Give it a quick read through and get back to us with results!

    http://boards.polycount.net/showthread.php?t=69345&page=3
  • flaagan
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    flaagan polycounter lvl 14
    With all the other goofiness you've got going on, why not make one of those plants in the river's edge concept a hidden microphone?
  • adam
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    adam polycounter lvl 15
    flaagan - hahaha that's not a bad idea!

    As for placing the tree's, I'm already aware and well tuned in that regard, I was just thinking Speedtree was involved in that process if/when you use Speedtree - and I'm glad its not :D
  • DrunkShaman
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    DrunkShaman polycounter lvl 10
    adam wrote: »
    Right, so SpeedTree is a tool to quickly make trees. Placing them in your scene is an entirely different method. (This is what I wanted to figure out.)

    Thank you!

    TBH, if this is your own concept (and not the company concept you work at) good practice is to model your own tree, rather than using a speed tree modeler. (I just over looked and figured that it is another scheme for lazy people) :D Like it is pretty much telling you, if you cant make trees we will make one for you or provide you sticks and leaves to customize it.

    Than again its your own call because its your own project my good Sir. Adam.
  • adam
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    adam polycounter lvl 15
    I'll do whatever is best for the project ;)
  • slipsius
    you should definitely have one of those fake rocks that have a spare key in it...

    all this high tech stuff, easily avoided because of a fake rock key would just be hilarious. even evil geniuses forget their keys once in a while.
  • ZacD
  • adam
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    adam polycounter lvl 15
    The goal is to share every process along the way. Especially with the stuff that'll be 'throw away' work. With that in mind, continue reading.

    I was pretty tired after work today and ended up plunking myself on the couch for a tv marathon. I only managed to try out one idea I had for the textures and their style so I did it on the textures I'd use for the cliff faces.

    The diffuse and normal have been filtered (Dry Brush, then Reduce Noise) while the Specular remains the same. (Small note: I did these textures waaay at the beginning of this project, a few weeks before I posted. Back then they were 'photo real'.)

    The way the cliff faces will be constructed are as pieces I can place on top of the terrain. Since terrain in Unreal (and most engines) is just a tessellated grid you raise and lower points on, I need a mesh set I can use to get the hard lines you see in my concept (and hard transitions from ground to cliff to grass, etc.)

    So tonights is 2 fold: Do 1 piece and duplicate it a bunch of times. If the result is at least 'OK' then I know it idea should work fine.

    Do a quick pass on existing textures of mine to see if I can nail a process down for achieving the look I want, knowing full well the textures themselves could a.) Not look like rock in the end or b.) Be throw-away work.

    The textures themselves feel off - as Eraserhead told me on MSN they feel a bit like brain matter and not so much like rock. I some what agree, but still think the results are neat for a rock surface. I'm going to be doing proper textures for this sort of test the next evening I come home and am not completely wiped from work but in the mean time, check these out:

    forestbase_styletests_rocks01.jpg


    forestbase_styletests_rocks01b.jpg
  • Slipstream
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    Slipstream polycounter lvl 15
    It does look kinda weird at a distance, but that's a neat effect at close range

    When you're handling static meshes like that, is it better to use a tiling material that can be applied to a number of different meshes or bsp? Or should each of those get there own texture sheet specific to that mesh?
  • adam
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    adam polycounter lvl 15
    I'm just using a tiling texture applied to a surface. From there I cut some details in to the mesh to accentuate the details of the texture.

    Oh ya! One of the things I wanted to learn - the advance blending method - I've got nailed down :D [EDIT] I was going to link to a photo of the grass blending at the top of the mesh seen in the images above, but Dropbox is refusing to finish uploading the 800k file. Grr! Ah well.

    forestbase_styletests_rocks01c.jpg
  • adam
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    adam polycounter lvl 15
    I have a question for proficient Mudbox users out there: Is it possible to create something I could use for the normal map of a tiling texture? I know this is possible with zBrush, but I am wondering if Mudbox can do the same thing???

    EDIT: I'm also hoping people might have work flow ideas on how this could be done using Mudbox and Photoshop magic.
  • EarthQuake
    you just want to sculpt a tile in mud? A simple way to do it is just go right at it, try to think a little about the detail you put on the edges, bake it to a plane and then go in and clone stamp to get a tile going as you would from a photo or something.... you wont get correct AO out of it this way, but you can use crazybump to make up for that
  • adam
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    adam polycounter lvl 15
    Yea I am looking to do the normals for my cliff face texture in Mudbox, bake it out and use that to create the final material. This would replace what you see above, and read like rock instead of brain matter.

    So you think I could start with a plane, do my rock surface on that then just stamp it up in Photoshop to make it tile properly? Hmm.. dirty! (Just like I like it.)

    I'll give this a go tonight.

    I was thinking I could also do 1 or 2 rock models/surfaces in mud and just copy & rotate them around until I have enough to fill up a plane, then bake that.

    Either way - cool shit. I'll try this tonight or @ lunch.
  • vahl
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    vahl polycounter lvl 14
    actually the texture looks completely random it doesn't even look like stylized rock to be honest one thing you can do is actually have a modular set of rocks textured uniquely and all tiling and fitting together (there are many tricks that can help achieving such a result, many of which we have discussed together quite often, including the one with the double normal map, which you can do in unreal too). also, having real good ref of a nice looking rock panel would be a good thing, athough I'm sure you DO have refs, none seem good enough since you got this result. I probably sound quite harsh, but you know how I am :)

    oh, also,
    make it playable
  • Joao Sapiro
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    Joao Sapiro polycounter
    yeah doesnt seem like rocks at all, more like dry chocolate mixed with bark ? would be awesome to see your photoreal textures as well , to see the 2 versions . Keep at this man !
  • adam
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    adam polycounter lvl 15
    Thanks for the 2 replies fellas :thumbup:

    Generally this is why I don't post stuff like this (or why you'd show your lead EVERY step) as it can be misinterpreted, commented on out of context, or the plan for the object is not completely 'seen'. However, I want to be transparent with this as much as I can as I think that's a good way to achieve the ultimate goal of this project.

    The 2 images above were posted to show the results of 2 tests I did using an old and shitty rock texture that was never meant for cliff faces. Those tests & results, were:
    • ..1 quick material tests I did for nailing a process of material creation down. (Using a higher frequecy specular on top of a rather differently styled diffuse & normal map.)
    • ..1 piece of geometry that was cut and conformed to the shapes of the tiling texture underneath. YES the texture was shit - as previously mentioned - but the result of cutting and conforming to the texture worked nicely (not really shown within the image).
    So, once I have a rock & cliff material set I am happy with, I will be using the above to processes to achieve the look I am after. In addition to those 2 points of process, the 3rd will be to use uniquely unwrapped rocks that are of a smaller size than the faces to compliment the larger cliff faces.

    Based on this, here's whats next:
    • Complete a PROPER cliff face texture set.
    • Create the materials for this set within UDK, using the technique I used above to see if the results are good.
    • Move on and detail a couple of cliff face pieces using this set.
    • Worry about the smaller pieces later, as there's bigger fish to fry once this is done.
    Hopefully this clears things up a bit!

    EDIT: Oh ya! This is more or less the look of cliff face rock I am planning on going with. I like the square nature of their shapes and that its rounded at the top (where it moves away from the camera.)

    TL;DR: I agree with vahl & jonny and it looks like I didn't clarify that in my post from last night.
  • bbob
  • Clockwork
    Well, I thought that rock face/panel worked out nicely, I understood it was a WIP/test, and it was a good start.

    Sculpting, texturing, tiling, sort of related links:

    http://www.brameulaers.com/tutorials/generic_wall_tutorial/generic_wall_tutorial.html
    http://osart3d.wordpress.com/home-page/tutorial-creating-perfectly-tiling-meshes-in-zbrush-for-use-in-videogame-environments/
  • adam
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    adam polycounter lvl 15
    Ah awesome! This will be very helpful :D
  • adam
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    adam polycounter lvl 15
    Small update tonight for everyone with what I am up to. Tonight and lastnight my focus was on A.) Actual rock surfaces I was going to use, and B.) Testing an idea on capping all elevated terrain with these rock pieces.

    So tonights post is just to show the idea of capping all elevated terrain with these rock pieces and to use this technique to create the cliffs I want from my concept.

    Pieces like this - with a set of smaller rocks to create stronger silhouette - will pretty much be my solution for the cliff faces/rock surfaces in this scene.

    There's also some modulated blending happening between two rock textures.

    forestbase_styletests_rocks02c.jpg

    forestbase_styletests_rocks02d.jpg
  • adam
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    adam polycounter lvl 15
    Here's a shot of what these look like in Max, and a brief (read: VERY) description of how I made them, and what I am working on next/tomorrow:

    forestbase_styletests_rocks02max01.jpg
  • bugo
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    bugo polycounter lvl 12
    looking very rocky! lemme ask, why are you using hard edges on the rocks? or its just the lighting going on?
  • Clockwork
    Because rocks have hard edges?
    I don't know, but IMO smoothing everything does not look good.
  • adam
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    adam polycounter lvl 15
    Thank you, and good question!

    It's about 70/30 at the moment. 70% smooth, 30% hard edge. It's just something I did earlier tonight and liked. I just tested them completely smoothed and am not sure if I like it as much as the hard edges make them feel even rockier..
  • Anuxinamoon
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    Anuxinamoon polycounter lvl 11
    Dude, those concepts are epic. I laughed when I saw 'owl DESTROY' haha and the 'blast off fail'. Totally genius!

    Love those rocks too. I always had a hard time with rocks. Those look great!

    Looking to see more textures :3
  • natetheartist
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    natetheartist polycounter lvl 9
    I must say, the tiling is heavily apparent on the rock-face.
  • Eltrex06
    looking good, i'm really liking how this is turning out, but i have to agree with nate, it looks really tile ish
  • roosterMAP
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    roosterMAP polycounter lvl 9
    good job on the rocks and tree's. this is something special. i cant tell!
  • adam
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    adam polycounter lvl 15
    I'm not worried about the tiling on the rocks at this point. If - when its entirely dressed, lit, blended and placed its still noticeable - then I'll worry about removing it ;)

    Thanks guys :)
  • JasonLavoie
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    JasonLavoie polycounter lvl 12
    Damn adam, those rocks look ace, thanks for the quick breakdown too :)
  • Mark Dygert
    oh man how did I miss this? This is looking great, a bit ambitious but then you really don't half ass stuff.

    Looking forward to seeing more!
  • sampson
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    sampson polycounter lvl 9
    on ths http://dl.dropbox.com/u/17188/forestbase_styletests_rocks02max01.jpg image
    how did you go from flat plane to that?? did you use zbrush or just standard modelling methods?
  • adam
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    adam polycounter lvl 15
    I made a plane that held the texture completely, no tiling. From there I cut in where all the edges of rocks were in the texture, then added more edges to pull and push shapes out.
  • DrunkShaman
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    DrunkShaman polycounter lvl 10
    adam wrote: »
    Here's a shot of what these look like in Max, and a brief (read: VERY) description of how I made them, and what I am working on next/tomorrow:

    forestbase_styletests_rocks02max01.jpg

    .........wow...awsome!
  • easterislandnick
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    easterislandnick polycounter lvl 14
    Hi, What is your rock texture like, is it a generic texture that can be applied to any geometry or is it baked out from specific geometry. I am creating boulders at the moment and do not know if I am going to do rock specific texture or a more general texture approach. Does that make sense?

    EDIT - Should have read the whole post, all ready been explained!
  • Rick_D
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    Rick_D polycounter lvl 12
    I demand more.

    That is all.
  • whats_true
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    whats_true polycounter lvl 12
    Solid as always mate.
  • adam
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    adam polycounter lvl 15
    So, not much work over the weekend. I believe I'm getting sick (again, dammit) as Friday night and Saturday I was getting stupid-bad vertigo and still am up to me writing this (only not as bad).

    The goal was to at least get started on some flora for the cliff faces; decorators. So, yesterday I knocked out a bush model and a flower model, as you'll see in the pic below.

    I'm aware of the seams on the rocks but for this project I'm using some awesome advice Eraserhead gave me once, and that is to move forward and not get hung up on little things. It's an awesome approach to take when working something out, as you'll always have time to come back and fix up little nuances like that. This approach may not be for everyone, though.

    Ok, enough jibber jabber!

    forestbase_styletests_rocks03a.jpg
  • JasonLavoie
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    JasonLavoie polycounter lvl 12
    mmmmm... rocky and delicious...

    fp__homer_drool.jpg
  • LoTekK
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    LoTekK polycounter lvl 12
    Just wanted to say that this looks yummy. That is all. :)
  • bbob
    ooh, thats some sweet, sweet shrub lovin'!
  • hawken
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    hawken polycounter lvl 15
    so, who's gonna make him an evil genius player model?
  • bbob
    That actually sounds very tempting, hehe..
  • Eltrex06
    ohh very nice really liking the flora, not sure about the flowers but that's a personal opinion. ohh well :)
  • adam
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    adam polycounter lvl 15
    Ha! That would be interesting...
  • JasonLavoie
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    JasonLavoie polycounter lvl 12
    Hey adam, can I see the leaves setup you have... is it layered or is it just on a plane sheet? (for individual ones)
  • adam
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    adam polycounter lvl 15
    Sure, in a couple of hours I'll snap a picture of the max file for you (on my lunch).

    I can tell you though its a bunch of layered planes and a couple of core 'trunk' pieces in the middle, which I might remove in the end.

    Right now they weigh in at ~500 triangles each.
  • Gilgamesh
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    Gilgamesh polycounter lvl 10
    Really need a decent tut on how do to flora and fauna because it's really my weakest area, yours looks pretty damn good.
  • LlamaJuice
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    LlamaJuice polycounter lvl 10
    ^This.

    I'd appreciate to see how you approached it, 'cause I've failed several times before with it.
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