[UDK] The Pit (Working Title)

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polycounter lvl 11
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Ryan Smith polycounter lvl 11
Hey Guys,

I've started a new environment piece that i'm going to use to dump all of my technical environment art skill into.

I've been working professionally at Digital Extremes for 6 months now, and I've learned a helluva lot from some of the most talented people I've met in the industry so far. Furthermore, I've been submerging myself into the world of advanced HLSL shading, and I've been developing some really useful techniques for adding extra levels of realism to materials that make procedural blending and variation almost effortless.

This scene will serve me as a compendium for all of my technical and environment modeling knowledge, and I hope this thread will inspire and spur many discussions on how things were made.

One disclaimer: I'm using a higher polycount on most props than would generally be accepted in the industry. It's my way of having fun with my art, and shouldn't be considered as an acceptable professional practice. One should always strive for optimization.

So I'll kick the thread off with some highpoly renders i've recently finished. I'll add more when i get home from work, and discuss layout and some of the pre-production procedures I went through.




Background on Environment


The environment is currently called "The Pit". The universe would take place in a pre-industrial era, where stone and metal was handcrafted for architectural and decorative purposes. Magic is practiced by the rare few who are able to master the complexity that it requires. The pit is an underground prison that was constructed to hold in the land's most powerful criminals and villains. However, because it's impossible to make someone "unlearn" magic, the only possible remedy for containing these dangerous mages is to lock them in a cell constructed with magical elements that will help keep them imprisoned.

The Pit will be set after a mass breakout. The goal will be to tell a story that clearly indicates that someone extremely powerful was able to break out, and leave havoc and destruction behind him.




Here are some of my first presentation renders.

hZSvr.jpg

utkDP.jpg


I have some actual in-game shots on my home computer, so i'll post those later today, along with some new shader tech I've developed to go along with it.

Cheers!

Replies

  • Mistry10
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    Mistry10 polycounter lvl 8
    i love it. turn around and give me a hug !
  • JasonLavoie
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    JasonLavoie polycounter lvl 12
    MMmmmmmMMMMMMMmmmmmmm god you make me feel so good when i look at your art Ryan... can't wait to see more!
  • A-Train
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    A-Train polycounter lvl 8
    Nice form and silhouette man. I'm digging the details on the arch! Can't wait to see more progress shots.
  • Paul Pepera
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    Paul Pepera polycounter lvl 9
    Sweet modeling; have you done any high level concept work for the environment? I would be interested in seeing what sort of context these models will fit in.
  • ae.
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    ae. polycounter lvl 9
    Looking ace ryan! cant wait to see this piece progress :D
  • teaandcigarettes
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    teaandcigarettes polycounter lvl 10
    That's looking sweet already :) Bookmarked :thumbup:
  • BlvdNights
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    BlvdNights polycounter lvl 8
    Loving the work! I really like the concept as well.
  • kary
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    kary polycounter lvl 13
    Great overall goal, and the first shots already show the potential of realizing it. Look forward to the in game stuff :)
  • chadabees
    This sounds like it's going to be a great thread to keep looking into. You have a well thought out idea for your environment, and I am loving those first renders.
  • Ryan Smith
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    Ryan Smith polycounter lvl 11
    @ Jay, Mistry, AE, Kary, Tea and Chad: Thanks fellas :D

    @ A-Train: I'm really going for interesting silhouettes. Thanks for noticing!

    @ Paul: I haven't really done anything in terms of 2D Concept, however i did block out a sketch environment in UDK, then i just use my imagination to fill in the rest.


    Here's some more on the scene. It's going to be a circular environment to keep it from being square and boring. The prison cells will be the next layer behind the arches. I'm still working on the lowpoly for that, so it should make it into my next update.

    Notice the deposit map of built into the shader. It takes any faces pointed upwards in worldspace, adds an influence from the normal map, and auto blends a texture map in. It's something that just gives it a little extra detail and realism, and is nice because it's automatically spread throughout the scene. If you want to look up more of the parameters of these type of shaders, click on the Up-Vector-Blending link in my signature.

    Yx5Zg.jpg

    QEPAF.jpg

    Now, if you're wondering how I did the bricks in the above image, let me help you out with a little example below.

    c0QZj.jpg

    To avoid using 9 texture calls in my shader, i had to combine the 3 AO maps, and the 3 Height maps into 2 separate RGB maps. IF i REALLY wanted to i could have stuck 3 of the Height maps into the Normal Map Alpha, but I was too lazy.

    I then made a custom entropy-shader (which is based off of the entropy shader model that I show you guys how to make in my 3dmotive.com training DVD) that enabled me to vertex paint in 2 separate layers of damage. I wanted to use the deposit map technique with this shader as well, but unfortunately you can't use a transform coordinate node as well as a vertex shader constant node in UDK due to lack of real-time interpelators (according to UDK's documentation). So to gt around this problem I realized that the material is going to be used on a mesh that is always going to be parallel with the world up axis anyways, so I could just grab the positive green channel values, and manipulate that to use as my deposit map mask.

    Here's a quick HD Demo i put together to show it off, because a video is much better than a screenshot :D

    [ame]

    Cheers! :D
  • JasonLavoie
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    JasonLavoie polycounter lvl 12
    Man Ryan, completely blown away, you are thinking so far outside of the box that its incredibly inspirational. Really pumped for you man, I think you have something quite uber in the making.
  • Bal
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    Bal polycounter lvl 12
    Great effect, and very nice assets, looking forward to seeing where you're going with this!
    Isn't this kind of blending pretty expensive though, especially with the 3 normal maps?
  • skullsplitter
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    skullsplitter polycounter lvl 15
    Awesome work, I like the style and the feel it conveys :)
  • pr1mus
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    pr1mus polycounter lvl 8
    Damn nice work! I have to got into UDK as fast as possible.
  • Alberto Rdrgz
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    Alberto Rdrgz polycounter lvl 9
    this is jaw droppingly sweet!
  • haiddasalami
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    haiddasalami polycounter lvl 10
    Nice workaround...will remember that if I need to do any shaders with world up axis. Always get nice info out of your threads :)
  • Jeff Parrott
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    Jeff Parrott polycounter lvl 15
    Slick stuff man! Thanks for sharing.
  • e-freak
    The shader looks slick but not too sure how expensive that thing is - looks like alot of expressions :/
  • Ryan Smith
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    Ryan Smith polycounter lvl 11
    Thanks everyone for the comments!

    e-freak and Bal - I took this screenshot just for you ^.^

    hC2SW.jpg

    Shader complexity reads just fine. That material is only 73 instructions right now, However, when i add a diffuse map to it, it will go up to around 76-80, but I can live with that. You have to start worrying about instruction count and fill rates when you have complex effects going on, where translucent materials overlap and blow up instruction counts in certain areas. Also, it's possible to get away with a higher instruction count if the shader doesn't take up much screen space... because remember the Video Card only has to do those extra instructions for each pixel that the mesh takes up, so if it's a smaller part of the scene, it's okay... However it would suck if it took up say, 80% of the screen, which it wont.

    Edit: Addendum- Another thing you have to think about is having 5 + texture calls in a shader is kind of standard, especially when looking at Epic's shaders. Their BSP shaders alone usually have a Normal Map, Diffuse Map, Detail Normal, Tile Breaker, and often times, a specular map. Albeit tile-breakers and detail normals aren't 1024x1024 (they are usually much smaller). If worst comes to worse i'll just throw the Height Maps into the normal maps' alpha channels.
  • Bal
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    Bal polycounter lvl 12
    Virtuosic, cool, thanks for the explanation.
  • Autocon
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    Autocon polycounter lvl 11
    Looking like this is going to be a great project Ryan. Thanks as always for sharing so much info with all of use. Very excited to see this project progress :)
  • Ryan Smith
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    Ryan Smith polycounter lvl 11
    Quick update on the day's labor.

    Got the cell doors in engine, thinking about making them larger and putting them on a different elevation then the floor. Was thinking making steps leading down to another level around that outside wall.

    nVRp4.jpg

    93Q9v.jpg
  • Jesse Moody
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    Jesse Moody polycounter lvl 13
    Ahh nice use of the RGB channels there sir. Did some stuff like this with damaged / ageable stuff in the past instead of having a ton of different textures and usually in the end it's all the same anyways.

    Good stuff.
    Can't wait to see more. :)
  • JasonLavoie
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    JasonLavoie polycounter lvl 12
    Hmmm... I can say that when I was doing that Demon Throne scene (also a cylindrical design) I found that if there is too many repeating structures / forms, it really tends to get boring, and you tend to lose interesting details since after awhile everything looks the same.

    If there was any way you could kill some of the symmetry, or the cylindrical shape, I think that will make this environment much more interesting.

    I know its just the start but I thought I'd put in my 2 cents.
  • paulsvoboda
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    paulsvoboda polycounter lvl 8
    This is looking great! Really excited to watch this one progress.
    That shader looks really interesting and is doing a great job to break up that texture. I don't know if you've said this before but what general colour scheme and light setup are you going for - daylight? overcast? nighttime?
    Good luck with this.
  • Ryan Smith
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    Ryan Smith polycounter lvl 11
    Jay - Ya man I agree that circular symmetry is boring if I don't break it up. I'm planning on making a destroyed version of the prison cells, and other decorations and props will add to breaking things up.

    Paul - Color scheme will be warm. Think of a desert city, similar something like the original prince of persia. Light setup is in the air right now. I can't decide whether i want to go for more natural lighting during the day, or torch light at night. I play around with lighting more than anything, so we'll see what happens.

    Jesse - Thanks man, hopefully I finish this one.
  • dtschultz
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    dtschultz polycounter lvl 12
    This is looking really good. I love the detail in those arches! Thanks a lot for sharing what you are doing with your shader. That's such a great idea. One I will have to look into.
  • eyo
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    eyo polycounter lvl 8
    Hey dude, thanks so much for showing your process, really looking forward to see where you go with this area. What were you thinking for the floor? some kind of bad-ass tile using your shading techniques? I would love to see grated pits/trenches to break up the space and give'er some depth/parallax.

    keep going!
  • Ryan Smith
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    Ryan Smith polycounter lvl 11
    DT - Thanks man :D

    Eyo - No problem, glad to share things here and there. The floor will definitely have some of the vertex shading stuff i've been developing. Maybe i'll put together some advanced shaders for the pitt stuff as well.

    I tightened up the graphics on level 3.

    lrSie.jpg

    q61Qr.jpg


    I havn't begun texturing yet, i save that for later... so everything is being shown with an AO map on it.
  • Thegodzero
    Looking good man, i'll be keeping an eye on this for sure!
  • SanderDL
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    SanderDL polycounter lvl 7
    Could you lower the depth of field a little? It's a little overblown (for my taste anyway).
  • eric.
    Looks really awesome so far Ryan!
  • Lee3dee
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    Lee3dee polycounter lvl 12
    Looks great Ryan! Thanks for the other tutorials you have previously made, they are very helpful!
  • Quack!
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    Quack! polycounter lvl 13
    I love the combination of tech and art. Very motivating stuff.
  • PogoP
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    PogoP polycounter lvl 9
    Yeah definitely lower the Depth of Field.. Unless the player is extremely short sighted :D
  • Ryan Smith
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    Ryan Smith polycounter lvl 11
    Thanks guys :D It's good to know that the tutorials are helping people out!

    lol i knew i'd be getting guff on the DOF! It's just for those screenshots, i wanted it to look like i was actually photographing the architectural detail. I won't have it on anymore after this i promise!
  • shotgun
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    shotgun polycounter lvl 14
    Coming along nicely, this can look really great with proper texturing.

    The corrosion on the outer-ring of bricks feels a bit unrealistic, with too sharp of an edge to those holes. Maybe a more collateral damage rather than individual deformation would work better, they've probably worn down over time After they've been cemented, after all.
  • Joseph Silverman
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    Joseph Silverman polycounter lvl 12
    Stonework is very, very cool. Im someone who's not very interested in environment art and i'm still really digging this.
  • proximity
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    proximity polycounter lvl 9
    is it possible for me to have your babys?
  • kary
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    kary polycounter lvl 13
    Very nice Ryan, going to be interesting to see how you are going to push selling it as a prison, but damn does it look nice for such an early stage :)
  • Ryan Smith
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    Ryan Smith polycounter lvl 11
    Thanks Guys :D

    Proximity: That depends.


    I have more heathen magic for you. This time i made a hybrid between my entropy and soft sufface transition material, and i'm pleased to announce this is my first demo of these types of shaders in an actual practical enviornment.

    The instruction count on the shader is 69 instructions.

    [ame]

    Cheers :D
  • build.
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    build. polycounter lvl 9
    Your shaders truly are heathen magic!
    Inspiring stuff, everytime I watch one of your shader videos I want to bust out the material editor and make some feeble attempts.

    :thumbup:
  • d1ver
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    d1ver polycounter lvl 11
    That Is Awesome! not much more to say here.
  • kary
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    kary polycounter lvl 13
    Great vid Ryan. Shows off how intuitively your shaders mirrors nature, great stuff :)
  • POFFINGTON
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    POFFINGTON polycounter lvl 9
    excellent excellent work. Always impressed
  • Visceral
    would be cool if you could show that material setup, kinda like how you did that mater materia tutorial. helped me a bunch and im sure this would too ;)
  • Grey
    Love your vids Virtuosic, got them bookmarked as well as your youtube channel. Im really gonna have to buy that tut on 3DMotive of yours. The Pit is looking great man, cant wait to see what other sorcery you create!
  • Abe_hokage
    very impressive stuff indeed!
    painting directly in UDK is a really great feature!
  • ajr2764
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    ajr2764 polycounter lvl 8
    I previously only browsed over this thread and I just revisited it and actually saw what you have going on with your material setups/ shaders. You have some great tutorials on youtube that Im watching now, very inspirational and informative. Your progress on the environment is looking good as well. What are you planning on putting as the center piece on those platforms?
  • tyl3r
    Love where this is heading! Great inspiration here for sure! Great use of the UDK material setup to produce some great looking and realistic results!

    Would you mind posting up some wireframes of your low-polys as well?
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