[UE4] Hallway Complex

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griffitii polycounter lvl 2
Hi all,

I haven't posted in here in a while because I a) created a new account to better match my other media outlet names, and b) I've mainly been posting work updates in Discord. I thought it would be good for me to get additional feedback on my project through Polycount (hence this thread) and to engage more with the community here too.

I've always found it difficult to work at home but over the last couple of years I've used Twitch to stream while I have been working. This has been a great way for me to commit to creating artwork in my spare time and I've managed to produce some good portfolio pieces by sticking to a stream schedule. I stream twice a week (for a couple of hours each) so expect frequent updates to this thread. If you're interested in seeing how I work and communicating your feedback with me live then please head over to my Twitch (or Youtube) channel and chat to me through that. I stream Mondays and Thursdays at 7:30pm GMT.

https://www.twitch.tv/griffitii
https://www.youtube.com/griffitii

Thanks for looking in!

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  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    This project is actually inspired by a previously unfinished project:



    This was meant to end up being a hallway environment and was my first venture into UE4 back in 2014. I decided to take the theme of this project (industrial) and create a bigger, more expansive environment from it. For reference I'm looking at films like Iron Sky and the city of Zion in the Matrix. I also have a Pinterest board full of industrial reference and another one with more refined images that I'll be looking at for this environment:

    https://www.pinterest.co.uk/griffitii/environments-industrial/
    https://www.pinterest.co.uk/griffitii/project-ref-hallway-complex/

    I love the idea of function over form and having corridors and areas surrounded by and covered in pipes and cables. I'm going to be taking a very modular approach to this environment so that I can reuse as many assets as possible but also mix up the environment so that it's not obviously repeating.
  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    These first few posts on going to be back dated as I started the project already and I want to post up my progress so far and as I continue.

    04/02/2019

    I started working out kit elements and decided on a grid dimension. I found that 3m x 3m (xz) x 6m (y) was a good sized element space to fill. To keep with the industrial look I want but also provide space for the player and additional elements this size gave me plenty of space to work with. Here is my first block out with a couple of kit pieces inside of Modo:


  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    07/02/2019

    When I came back to this layout ^^ I wasn't particularly fond of it. It's very flat, samey and quite a boring space but I did like the verticality created in the lower area of the level. I decided to make the environment fill a smaller space but focus more on this verticality:



    Already there is much more interest with walkways bending around corners, climbing up, down and across. I also added in a water plane to make it feel like the player is at the very bottom of the world.
  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    11/02/2019

    Continuing on with the verticality, I expanded the environment outwards and upwards to form structures. I also walled the complex in so that there is a definite end to the area. My making use of new kit elements to add a bit more detail to areas around the level:


  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    14/02/2019

    More expansion with the kit both horizontally and vertically. There are four exits around the level, one on each wall. I've linked these up to the main medley of bridges. I've also added in a tunnel at the water level as an entrance/exit to the place. I think this makes the world leave more connected and part of a bigger world.


  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    18/02/2019

    Further additions to the level with the kit especially around the outer edge of the level. I also got the block out into Unreal to check that everything looks and feels right to the player. I often stay in Modo until this point as I find it quicker to layout and test out the kit. If I move to Unreal too quickly to test a kit then I feel like I'm locking myself into it. Staying inside of Modo allows me to make new kit parts, modify existing ones and test them very quickly.



    So far so good!
  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    20/02/2019

    Added another tunnel entrance (perhaps this area is one of many interconnected places), finished the outer rim of the area and added in some larger pipes to help push the industrial look of the place.



    I think I'm in a good position now to focus on the individual kit parts knowing how and where they are being used in the environment. I'll be breaking each part down into elements and creating multiple variants that I can piece together in different Blueprints in Unreal. This will really help keep repetition to a minimum.
  • garcellano
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    garcellano greentooth
    This kind of reminds me of a Deathmatch type of map from Doom. Nice work so far.
  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    Thanks man. Yeah a few people have said it's giving them a Doom vibe and I'll definitely pull some reference from it. The look I want will be more used, worn and dirty/grimy but the structures and silhouettes in Doom will be a big help.
  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    Started to break the layout down into a kit of reusable parts. I went a step further and broke each part down into more elements. Doing so will give me more option for variation in the future as I can swap out individual elements for new ones rather than the whole piece.


  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    Another stream, another update! I managed to get the kit parts into UE4 and assembled into Blueprints. I then took these and began tracing over my original layout adding new parts as I went. Shouldn't be too long before everything is laid out in Unreal and we can say good by to the original blockout.


  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    Created two proxy metal textures, a master material, two instances, and started applying to meshes. I want to get an idea of scale and UVs so thought it would be a good idea to start looking into that now. Additional kit parts have been created as I've expanded the layout.


  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    Continued laying kit parts out. Really need to start fleshing out the scene with detail meshes but I want to finish the layout as best I can first. Added in supports, girders and the tunnel entrance.


  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    Thought I'd continue with my environment this evening as I had some free time (wild Friday night in!) Firstly, when snapping BPs together I'd introduced a small offset so I rectified this so that everything snaps together in whole numbers. I started expanding more of the layout and went away from the original block out so as to make it more interesting. I also added in the second tunnel entrance and outlined the middle buildings with parts.


  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    Added background wall kit parts and some detail to them and they've made a world of difference to the layout. I can now layout out larger sections of the environment without making it look too repeatable. I wish I had made them sooner as I think I'll go back to other sections and utilise them in the building designs.


  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    Moved away from the straight (boring) outer edges by adding another tunnel and making more interesting layouts from the parts I already have (those background pieces break up the scene so well!) I'm really looking forward to adding model and texture detail to the scene!


  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    Had a spare hour this evening so fleshed out the last corner of the area by created a space for docking. Linked up the walkways and broke up the waters edge with a few other parts. I swear this is the last extension horizontally! It's all vertical from here on out!


  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    Doing this layout is quite therapeutic.. I've created an open space in the last corner, added a secluded walkway (potentially an area with lifts in it), and started pulling up the background walls so that they join the bottom of the upper walls.


  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    Added in some ramps to break up the main walkway section. I think additional ramps will help but it's added a lot for such a small change. I added a lift shaft to the back of the dock area and covered the area with a roof. I also extended the outer walls up. It's really starting to look like a place now!


  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    More layout. This time I built up one of the central buildings and started on another. Once the three central buildings are capped I can finish off building up the outer walls and adding in unreachable walkways and buildings in the above space.


  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    Finished off the second building. Made it look more under construction and additional prop-age will help with this. Started building up the third building and changed up the exterior a bit by adding in an interior walkway and an extended viewing platform.


  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    Finished the third tower. This one is a lot chunkier than the others so will help with landmarking and skyline breakup. I also built up more of the surrounding walls will straight and overhanging elements.


  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    Had a week off because of the BAFTAs and extended CGMA work. This evening I made a fair amount of progress with the scene by extending the outer walls and adding roofing to areas of the map. Still a fair way to go with the overall scene but the level is really coming together now!


  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    I created the BG buildings and walls from the parts I already had added them to the scene. Aside from a few holes that need blending/patching up that's the block out DONE!


  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    Did a first pass on the lighting setup this evening: updated reflections, updated materials, changed BPs to static meshes, added a skydome, tweaked the directional and skylights, did a light bake. All boring stuff but very necessary to getting good lighting results going forward!


  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    Took the top section off as it was stopping a lot of sunlight entering the level. Adjusted the sun angle. Updated the fog. Added in a railing and some proxy pipe meshes to help fill out the environment (this makes it look and feel much more like a real place). Added an emissive cube BP (containing a point and spot lights) to help block in artificial lighting. Again, big help in making the level feel like a place.


  • jaker3278
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    jaker3278 polycounter lvl 6
    I Like the verticality you have going on, good work so far, what texturing technique are you using?  
  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    @jaker3278 Thanks! I really wanted to create an environment with more verticality this time so glad that it's coming through. I'm going to use the custom vertex normal workflow and rely more on tiling textures as there's a lot of assets to get through. I'll have to add in some unique assets in the foreground so these will be uniquely unwrapped but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. 
  • jaker3278
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    jaker3278 polycounter lvl 6
    @griffitii That sounds good to me, I payed £5 for a script for 3ds Max  https://gumroad.com/discover?query=improved%20face%20weighted

    I have tested it a little, works on very complex meshes and is fast. Good luck with the rest of your project. 


  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    @jaker3278 Thanks for the link to the script. Alas I work in Modo but the program has pretty good tools for the same thing. I both scared and excited about the rest of the project!
  • jaker3278
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    jaker3278 polycounter lvl 6
    @griffitii What type of unique assets are you going to use? Nothing to be scared of just enjoy the process. 
  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    @jaker3278 let's just go with I'm apprehensive about how much I've bitten off with this one! I've got a plan though :) The unique stuff will probably end up being story telling and set dressing elements. I haven't locked down an asset list for this stuff yet but one will form as I spend time working bits up.
  • jaker3278
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    jaker3278 polycounter lvl 6
    @griffitii Segment everything up and do it in stages, you probably are doing this already , then spend some time on polishing before you publish, check out my project if you have time. https://polycount.com/discussion/210519/ue4-wip-drone-control-ship#latest
  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    Floundered this evening as I was avoiding the elephant in the room that is figuring out this blueprint shiz. Added a lamppost mesh and some wiring. Pulled the lights out of the Light BPs so now the lightmapper doesn't crash.


  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    Had a go at the Blueprint spline stuff this evening with interesting results. I've posted to some forums as I'm having difficulty with which nodes I should be using and implementing the right meshes at the right time. The left image describes what I want to do.


  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    Created a pipe kit with straights, corners, junctions, covers and detail meshes. Created BPs of sets of them and started placing them around the scene. They fit in the environment (which is good) but have highlighted how manual the process will be without a BP spline that generates them. I'm going to have to do a bit more digging!


  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    Experimented with making a pipe generator in Houdini but couldn't get Houdini working in UE4. I need to look it to this as it's a powerful tool and would be perfect for this project. I used the rest of the time to make railing sections and updated my BPs with them. Already it's beginning to feel like a place.


  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    Out with the old and in with new.. pipes! I've been toying with Houdini over the last few days and finally managed to get a Pipe Generator working in Unreal. Big thanks goes out to people on the stream for nudging me in the right direction on getting it to actually work. Using this project to build procedural systems is going to be great!




  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    Sorted out the parameters on the pipe generator so the values are easier to work with in Unreal. Sorted out the UVs although I'm still getting a seam. The image shows what kind of pipes I can get with the one generator.


  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    Been on holiday so I've had a few streams off. Started by thinking about the detail on the floors of each section and blocking out some meshes. I've also been juggling with the idea of either creating lots of individual parts and having a BP array to pull them together or modelling all the parts together and then using a BP array to add set dress. Need to do some research!


  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    So after a few streams of floundering I'm making a bit of progress. I explained my need for a mesh variation system to a colleague and they created a widget that let's me randomise meshes from an array at the click of a button. There's a few kinks to iron out but it shows a lot of promise. I also experimented with how I can better illuminate the darker areas by using projected adverts like those of Ghost in the Shell and Blade Runner.




  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    Got a script update so the random variation now works with nested BPs (the script looks for SMs with a defined tag and then chooses from the array list to replace the tagged SM). Simple yet very effective. I adjusted some of the dock SMs and added a level floor (under the water). I also started defining the modelling. I'll be going down the vertex normal route and utilising tiling textures as much as possible.


  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    Did some photobashing/paintovers last week to try and find some art direction.


  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    Created a tiling brick texture using a proxy texture from Substance Share and world aligned texture nodes in the material (with the help of google). Exported the scene to do some quick versions look dev versions inside of Modo and suddenly realising that it's looking a bit too similar to another portfolio piece of mine. Can't decide whether this is good or bad (probably the latter..)


  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    So after weeks of not knowing what to do next or which direction to go in I finally just made a start on something. I created a rough trim sheet in Photoshop and then used the trims to flesh out the straight walkway section. It feels good to have chosen one mesh to tackle and just have a go at it.


  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    Created another trim sheet in the same way as the previous stream. Used the new pieces to create two new mesh variants. Got both trim sheets into Substance Painter (very quickly) and exported some PBR textures out for them. Setup meshes and trim materials in engine to see what they look like at this stage.


  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    Added more variation to underside of walkway segments (removing sections, adding bars and panels) and already it feels more industrial and 'put together'. Fixed the random mesh script error: change by specified tag was missing.


  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    Extra modular propping tonight in the form of pipes and wires. Same randomisation setup with 3 variants of each. The pop of colour helps and the wires help make it feel a bit more connected/grounded.


  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    After flicking through an art book this evening I got super inspired to crack on with the scene so I made a corner piece in the same way to the straight pieces (trim sheets). I also made wire and pipe corner kit part and set up the widget stuff to randomise them once new meshes have been created.


  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    Before I get too far ahead with the proxy trim sheets and kit I thought it would be a good idea to start modelling up the trim sheets and checking them against the test bridges. Here's what I was able to do in an hour to show the workflow and speed of making this kind of thing!


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