Pipe Dream Art Tests

polycounter lvl 9
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Zipfinator polycounter lvl 9
Hello. I've never posted any WIP's or anything on this forum before but of the few that I browse I've seen the best criticisms come from the community here, so I thought I'd post some screenshots of my progress on an art pass for my Source mod, Pipe Dream.

Pipe Dream is a puzzle mod using a chamber based map system (Similar to Portal) but instead of being based on Portals it's based on pipes and liquids. The color of the pipes corresponds to the material and gameplay mechanic it's used for. For example, Blue pipes emit water which floods chambers and raises light crates. Yellow pipes emit steam which can be used to boost you over a gap or catapult you up to a higher area faster than a ladder. Similar gameplay mechanics such as Portal style crates and buttons are used to solve the puzzles along with some new mechanics I'm not ready to reveal yet.

Anyway I've done a few gameplay tests and the puzzles were turning out well so I decided I'd get the art pass out of the way so I can focus on puzzles for the next few months.

Here are the latest screenshots I've taken.

pipedream_arttest_mapbattle0058.jpg

pipedream_arttest_mapbattle0059.jpg

Here are some older tests in the same Chamber.

pipedream_arttest_mapbattle0053.jpg

pipedream_arttest_mapbattle0055.jpg

Please ignore the Portal models as they'll be replaced with new models later.

I really need some help coming up with ways to spice up the ceiling and maybe the walls a bit more. I was thinking of adding some large vent/fan openings in the ceiling with a very thin mist coming out.

I also really need some help nailing down a lighting system and tweaking the color correction. I liked the color correction with more of a blue tint but people at another forum I've posted these on didn't like it too much. If you have any other good ideas to make it more interesting I'm willing to try them out.

Thanks!

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  • SHEPEIRO
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    SHEPEIRO polycounter lvl 12
    cool, portal meets mirrors edge so far with the colour co-ordinated pipes, maybe a touch of mario in there


    for ceilings maybe look at carpark or warehouse ceilings,
    i like the idea of portal vs mario, maybe concrete painted in mario style murals etc etc

    11990880_2750d6d234.jpg?v=0
    DSC00113.JPG
  • Zipfinator
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    Zipfinator polycounter lvl 9
    I was going for the Portal/Mirror's Edge mix so I'm glad you noticed that.

    Anyway someone else suggested a Truss system to me but I personally don't think it would fit into the underground chamber type environment I'm going for. If none of the other ceiling details I try look good I'll try it out though.
  • gsokol
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    gsokol Polycount Sponsor
    that sounds like a fun concept. Looks pretty cool so far...your lighting is pretty nice.
  • ZacD
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    ZacD interpolator
    Definitely needs more mood, it doesn't feel underground.
    With the clean white walls people are instantly going to think its a portal rip off.

    Obviously you want it to be easy to read and use bold colors. Maybe you should look at some of the mirrors edge underground levels.

    24y1frd.jpg

    dmqqv8.jpg

    2hpi1c7.jpg

    jsztjo.jpg
  • Zipfinator
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    Zipfinator polycounter lvl 9
    I was actually going for a Portal feel. And if you take a look at Portal again the walls are actually very stained and dirty. Portal 2 is very clean like my textures though but I had these textures from before Portal 2 was announced.

    Anyway thanks for the Mirror's Edge reference images. That's actually where I got the inspiration for the lighting system in the green pictures. I'll take a closer look at them later and see if there's something I can use in the chambers.
  • divi
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    divi polycounter lvl 9
    i'd try it without the colored wall tiles because they make one color very dominant which results in the rest getting lost. some very very light "dirt". really just a hint of stains to bring in some reds maybe. animated fans in the ceiling and maybe even a few in the walls would be very awesome. some geometry for the lightsources like in the ME screens could help to aswel. you seem to have some already, but they don't read too well. not sure if they are lightsources or just grey angled blocks.

    i think i'll watch the progress on this :)
  • Zipfinator
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    Zipfinator polycounter lvl 9
    It used to be without colored walls but I like the colored walls there. They emphasize what the main mechanic/liquid used in that chamber is. I'm definitely going to try out the fans in the ceiling/walls soon because they seem like the best way to detail it while fitting into the environment.

    As for the light sources, those grey angled blocks are brush placeholders. I've got a model made for them but I'm not going to post it until I get a better glowing effect coming from the light source.
  • Zipfinator
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    Zipfinator polycounter lvl 9
    Got a sprite system and a model on the lights and tested out some new Phong settings on the pipes. Better or worse?

    pipedream_arttest_mapbattle0061.jpg

    Going to try out some ceiling details now.
  • Harry
    if one of the players' weapons (tools?) isn't a brightly coloured wrench i may just be a little bit sad
  • Zipfinator
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    Zipfinator polycounter lvl 9
    Well the way I had the mod planned before was the player was equipped with a wrench and a blow torch. I decided to get rid of all tools and the HUD to give it more of a Portal feel and to streamline the puzzles a bit. I think it was the right decision because you don't want a wrench you're barely going to use blocking your screen during all of the puzzles. Anyway it was a standard red rusted pipe wrench so you would have been disappointed.

    I'll be uploading pictures of the ceiling tests in a few hours. Been redoing/optimizing some of the models I've made so far but I've decided to save that until the chamber is more completed.
  • Zipfinator
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    Zipfinator polycounter lvl 9
    pipedream_arttest_mapbattle0062.jpg

    It doesn't look too great right now but I'm going to reskin the models with a chrome-like texture. I think it'll fit in well then.
  • JohnnySix
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    JohnnySix polycounter lvl 11
    I'd tone down the white on the walls maybe, as everything is really blown out, and if you're doing to have the hud using additive colour, then it'll be invisible on any of those surfaces , that and the light sources blend into the walls/floors, so it's not easy to tell where they come from.

    Could be my Gamma, so forgive if this comes out too much the other way- but a quick adjust in photoshop just to show what I mean :

    pipedream.jpg
  • ZacD
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    ZacD interpolator
    having the hue and saturation on the walls the same as the pipes isn't working too well. I like the fans, an underground place would really need to have decent air flow.
  • Zipfinator
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    Zipfinator polycounter lvl 9
    I don't get why you hate the pipes being the same color as the walls! It's to emphasize the main mechanic you're manipulating for the puzzle which in this case is toxic goo. What do you suggest other than having it the same color?

    Anyway here's a picture with new color correction. I'm going to re-texture those fans to be less dirty and see how it looks with 1 fan per 128x128 hole.

    pipedream_arttest_mapbattle0063.jpg
  • ZacD
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    ZacD interpolator
    have it the same color but the saturation less intense?
  • garriola83
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    garriola83 greentooth
    looks good
  • crazyfingers
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    crazyfingers polycounter lvl 9
    I really dig it, simple and elegant, generally how puzzlers should be.

    Dunno how you'd feel about going over the top, but what if the ceiling was glass, and you'd actually be looking out into water:

    ga-clive-aquarium-tunnel.jpg

    would help bring the whole concept together.

    I'm sure there are plenty of water shaders you could get your hands on and just throw it in there, not sure how easy it'd be to find one meant to be viewed from the bottom of water though, but the effect is close enough either way you look at it.
  • Zipfinator
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    Zipfinator polycounter lvl 9
    Something like that would look nice especially with the correct caustics but I'm going to stick with the chrome fans for now. That sort of takes away from the underground chamber feel. I'll write it down though and keep it in mind for another section of the facility or some other use I haven't thought of yet. Thanks for the suggestion!
  • Zipfinator
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    Zipfinator polycounter lvl 9
    I've started a simple platform/lift model.

    platform_01_render1.jpg

    platform_01_render1_wire.jpg

    Currently it's 588 Tris but I'll make a LOD model to take out the small beveled details around the window parts. Glass will be added into those holes using a brush in engine.

    I think the middle still needs something but I'm not sure what. Anyone have any suggestions?
  • Zipfinator
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    Zipfinator polycounter lvl 9
  • Snader
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    Snader polycounter lvl 9
    I feel it's too plastic.

    If you look at similar environments:
    mirrors-edge-third-person-582px.jpg
    mirrors_edge_green_utility.jpg
    portal_screenshot_1.jpg

    You see that though they're minimalistic, and pretty clean, they're still worn and lived in.

    You also seem to have plates placed quite randomly, instead of on a grid, and every surface looks about the same material.

    Somehow I feel you skipped research and concepting and went straight to modeling.
  • felipefrango
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    felipefrango polycounter lvl 6
    I love the direction this is going and I have to say I agree with most of your decision, inclusing the colored walls, seems to be a smart gameplay decision. Can wait to see more updates.
  • loganfredericksen
    Instantly was reminded of mirrors edge. I really liked the way ME looked though :)
  • Avanthera
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    Avanthera polycounter lvl 9
    yeah, keep the colored walls, the first screens pulled my attention really fast.
    especially the blue levels, blue wall bits, blue pipes, blue lighting and then yellow.
    though I think it needs something more, maybe some more colors that are just part of the environment? just to break it up a bit.
    good work
  • Zipfinator
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    Zipfinator polycounter lvl 9
    Thanks for the comments.

    I've decided to restart everything though. I need to gather more references and plan things out a bit more so I don't end up redoing things multiple times. I have a clear vision of where I want this to go now and while it may get rid of some of the things you guys like now such as the colored walls I think it's the best decision.

    I'll post some simple concepts in a week or so after I've studied some reference shots a bit.
  • SHEPEIRO
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    SHEPEIRO polycounter lvl 12
    just to throw a spanner in the works i dont think the issue is your assets, although your surfaces look un-textured and could do with more "material" to them, i think your greatest problem with the level was the lighting, if your going for mirrors edge/portal style then use the lighting to guide the player, dark where they dont want to go light where they do.

    i fancy throwing something together...
  • Zipfinator
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    Zipfinator polycounter lvl 9
    That's pretty much how it was though. Lighting was used along the path that the player will walk at some time during the puzzle. There are more problems than lighting too.

    I've already decided to restart all of the assets anyway. I've already got a fairly good design document in the works.
  • SHEPEIRO
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    SHEPEIRO polycounter lvl 12
    you used too many lights this flattened the lighting making it difficult to tell where you are supposed to go to iw ould cluster the lights around important points, doors, switches platforms etc, and make the clusters stronger from start to finish along the puzzle
  • Zipfinator
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    Zipfinator polycounter lvl 9
    I'll test something like that out once it's time to light the new chamber art style. Gathering references and coming up with an overall vision of the new style has been working well so far. I have a much clearer vision of the final chamber than I did when I had started the art for those previous tests.
  • Zipfinator
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    Zipfinator polycounter lvl 9
    Very early in game WIP shot made of all brushes. I'm already liking the direction it's going though. Lighting is there just to light the map but tell me if you guys have any good ideas on how to light this. I have some good ideas based off references on how to make the pipe systems a bit more interesting.

    artest0002.jpg
  • SHEPEIRO
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    SHEPEIRO polycounter lvl 12
    had a we play with the lighting based on your first layout, as i said before trying to lead the player, uplighting areas with lifts etc red light is the entrance bright white is where to g, slightly cliched but it works

    also i would suggest getting a fairly decent 1st pass on the lighting while at this point, if you get something good it can really help everthing else, far too often i see lighting bunged in last, get it right or nearly right early on and actually it can carry the scene

    Untitled-1copy-1.jpg
  • ZacD
  • Zipfinator
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    Zipfinator polycounter lvl 9
    Wait, you like his lighting system or my new art test?

    I'll start messing around with lighting for this new chamber system because you're right that I should be doing the lighting a bit earlier. Plus doing lighting tests while it's still one solid color will help.
  • ZacD
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    ZacD interpolator
    Oops, I like his lighting/scene, makes it seem like a classic puzzle game with an obvious start and finish.
  • Zipfinator
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    Zipfinator polycounter lvl 9
    Oh...

    Well can you comment on the picture I posted above his? I'm testing out some other styles and it'd be good to know which you guys like better. The new one I posted may look a bit too complex for a puzzle mod, but the floor plan is still very simple and I'll be sure to block the player from being able to access any strange parts such as underneath the scaffolding. I think it's much more interesting to the eye and it opens up more possibilities for ways to detail the chambers a bit without making it too complex.
  • ZacD
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    ZacD interpolator
    scaffolding could work, not sure about the wall with cylinders though.
  • SHEPEIRO
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    SHEPEIRO polycounter lvl 12
    not sure about the scaffolding, i think one of the reasons portal worked so well is that the chunky shapes didnt detract from the puzzle elements
  • Zipfinator
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    Zipfinator polycounter lvl 9
    Those cylinders are just clunky brush placeholders for a tank model.

    Anyway I agree that the scaffolding may seem a bit clunky at first glance, but it makes the environment much more interesting and open. Once there are pipes and tanks that match the style of them along with proper lighting I think they'll enhance the environment much more.

    Also Portal required very simple geometry with a low amount of detail because of the Portal gun. If it were any other way you'd have barely any places to place portals on all of the walls and the ceilings and such. The puzzles in my mod mostly require the floor and parts of the walls which is why I'm going to keep the path of the floor very clear and simple. If you compare the pictures the new test is the same puzzle layout as the last one. The floor layouts are nearly exactly the same which is nearly all that matters for the puzzle, but the new one is much more interesting in my opinion and it doesn't look as much like a copy of Portal (Although it's moving a bit close to the ME look now).
  • Zipfinator
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    Zipfinator polycounter lvl 9
    I've been doing some tests with the lighting over the last hour. I really like where it's going but as you can see the scaffolding is causing some awful shadows to cast all over the walls. I'm going to disable the shadows on them and see how it looks.

    artest0003.jpg

    artest0004.jpg
  • Zipfinator
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    Zipfinator polycounter lvl 9
    I found a leak in the map which was why the shadows were so dark. Fixed that and changed up the floor lights so not as many awkward shadows were cast on the ceiling. I like the way this looks quite a bit now.

    artest0006.jpg
  • nrek
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    nrek polycounter lvl 10
    The image does look kinda cool right now but I don't think it would be very fun/easy to play. Without having any dark shadows its very hard to tell what is what and the level becomes very falt. In unreal there is a "squint" mode that you can turn on to help focus on the readability of the scene based primarily on the lighting and silhouettes of objects. Give it a try, I think the button is a little S next to the viewport movement speed button. I would strongly consider taking SHEPEIRO's advice on the lighting.
  • vcool
    nrek wrote: »
    In unreal there is a "squint" mode that you can turn on to help focus on the readability of the scene based primarily on the lighting and silhouettes of objects. Give it a try, I think the button is a little S next to the viewport movement speed button.

    It's Source :)

    Without textures it'd kinda hard to read Zip.
  • Zipfinator
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    Zipfinator polycounter lvl 9
    This was just a basic art and lighting test but now that I'm happy with it I'll start doing some texturing tests. Also I am taking Shepeiro's advice on the lighting. The scene above only has lights where important puzzle progression areas are. There really aren't any models placed yet though so it's not that obvious, but once the puzzle related models are added in the lighting will make more sense.
  • Zipfinator
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    Zipfinator polycounter lvl 9
    Tested out some trusses on the ceiling and I like them quite a bit. Also I deleted the angled wall parts as they caused lighting errors and didn't look great. I'm going to try to mix in some more ME elements to fill up the area beneath the catwalks instead of using those angled slopes.

    artest20000.jpg

    Going to start doing some more lighting tests now. I like the way these angled lights look and how they attract attention to important puzzle elements but it needs more lighting overall.
  • Zipfinator
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    Zipfinator polycounter lvl 9
    Been working a bit slow which I need to fix, but added in some pipe systems and some ME style supports for the pipes. I'm going to retexture the pipes and add a tiny bit of grime to them. The whole clean steriile thing isn't that great of an idea and it can still look clean without being completely one color.

    artest20006.jpg
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