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[FINISHED] Soaring Seas - The Floating Town of Little Neptune

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-FINISHED-



-ORIGINAL POST-
I'm currently putting together a stylised house as part of a college project. I'm currently blocking out the house, playing around with the silhouette and going through iterations of 3D model > rough paintover > 3D model > rou - you get the picture. I'm still figuring out what design I want to pursue for the doors and windows, and I want to throw in some other assets later on to help indicate the coastal setting, maybe a fisherman's house (crab cages, fishing rods, etc.).

(Iterations so far, back left is the earliest version, front right the latest)

(Latest & first iterations, left to right respectively)



Not really feeling the chimney I've added, I'm not sure if it sticks out too much from the overall silhouette - I might look at other chimney designs. I'm thinking of a doing a more polished paintover soon, to start planning out colour palettes and finalising the materials I'll need.

Nothing much to show so far, but I'll be posting updates to keep the ball rolling.






Replies

  • lovingsaskia
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    lovingsaskia polycounter lvl 6
    Looking nice. Maybe have the Chimney come out from the back of the house? Adapted from this maybe  
    https://images.app.goo.gl/2gYeyjW39jXdjBdi7
  • Mixsup
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    Mixsup triangle
    Thanks for that suggestion Saskia, I think it's putting me on the right track and I'm much happier with the shape of the building. The previous chimney was too thin and too rounded - it didn't mesh (ho ho) with the more blocky shapes of the rest of the building.


    I'm thinking of throwing in some geometry to break the chimney at the back, perhaps a brick trim or a wooden beam.

    I took the opportunity to tweak the silhouette a bit more. With the addition of the chimney, the silhouette slopes up and out (very slightly), something I've tried to continue from the side view as well.

    I think for me it's time to get cracking on a more polished paint over and explore those materials and colours a bit more.
  • Mixsup
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    Mixsup triangle
    I'm slowly starting to peek my head out from the written work on our course. I'd played around with some colour variations, before landing on a blue/white/brown pallete:



    I then assembled a quick enviromental shot that was put together in the past three days. Not in the least bit useable as an in-game environment (tessellation everywhere!), so I'll have to go back and optimise the hell out of this scene. Looking forward to getting past an upcoming deadline - it'll give me much more time to really knuckle down and get the house and environment up to scratch.




  • Crazy_pixel
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    Crazy_pixel interpolator
    Lovely project. I like the direction, I can imagine that wooden steps will lead to a small fisher boat ... 
    Keep it up! :)
  • Mixsup
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    Mixsup triangle
    Heya, it's been some time. I ended up taking the project in a different direction, shifting the idea from a coastal setting to what will be a more fantastical floating island set up, with a backdrop of flying submarines diving into ocean planets to search for fish to bring back to the island. On the island itself, I'm aiming to get a fishmongers in the courtyard and a docking area for the flying subs beyond the stairway.



    I've spent the past two weeks barreling through foliage (using a fantastic shader by Simon Barle) and updating placeholder materials and models. Still got loads to do - lighting pass, vista objects, skybox update, actually getting geo back into the dock area, small props, signage etc.




    Now I really ought to get to bed.
  • KatharinaSuhany
    Hello there!
    Really like the look of the scene, but in one of the pictures (I think it is the second one when seen from the top) the wall and awning intersect near the pond. Maybe make the wall a bit lower there :) 
  • Mixsup
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    Mixsup triangle
    Hello there!
    Really like the look of the scene, but in one of the pictures (I think it is the second one when seen from the top) the wall and awning intersect near the pond. Maybe make the wall a bit lower there :) 

    Thanks for the reply! Yeah, that was a case of me sloppily throwing in a placeholder awning, the plan for that is to simply push the awning further from that wall when it comes time to make the asset.

    I've spent a bit of time today reworking the wall and archway above the steps, making modular parts for it. Really happy to start properly plotting in the section. Still unsure of the roofing covering the archway, I'm missing the more stylised curvature from the earlier blockout, and I'm gonna work the clock back into the design, as a separate model to slot into the modular roofing I've used.

    I'm also thinking that brick material is starting to get overused, so I'll go back to a rather slapdash plaster wall material and give that some love. Loads of work left to do, but I think the next thing I should tackle is the building with the awning. This is planned to be a fishmongers, complete with fish counters, a sign and I think some good ol' barrels should help out.



  • Mixsup
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    Mixsup triangle
    I was stuck in work over the weekend, so just a small update. I've been working on an updated plaster material, and tried to work in exposed brick. It was a lot of fun figuring out adding a raised lip where the edges of the holes are, along with chipped paint at the edges. I'll play around with different noises and perhaps adding more natural-looking dirt or dust to the underlying bricks, and then get started on the fishmongers tomorrow.




  • Mixsup
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    Mixsup triangle
    A very quick go at the lighting today, I'm shooting for a vibrant colourful scene that gives off this kind of vibe:

    Lighting is something I've limited experience with and I've only tinkered around with a BP skysphere, skylight and directional light so far, but I'm feeling better about the environment already.

    I've put the plaster material to work with the fishmongers building, and have constructed a pillar and a few wall pieces to get the main structure in place. Alongside that, I've got an awning and some counters to fill out the storefront (just need to fill them out with fish trays). Next up I really want to place a sign above the awning, then I'll move on to filling out the dock area (the shambles of a space beyond the stairway arch).



    The sky sphere feels a little dull in comparison to how bright the scene is (I think this is more evident in the first screenshot), but I feel like it's a much needed step in the right direction.
  • Phoenix995
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    Phoenix995 greentooth
    look cool! the only thing that jumps into my eye comparred to the moods you have is, that your blue wall for example or the red roofs, are very saturated... maybe i would reduce that a little bit :)
  • Ashervisalis
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    Ashervisalis veteran polycounter
    This looks so cute! I think the street is pretty flat. would be nice to see a brick popping up a bit here and there.
  • Mixsup
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    Mixsup triangle
    look cool! the only thing that jumps into my eye comparred to the moods you have is, that your blue wall for example or the red roofs, are very saturated... maybe i would reduce that a little bit :)

    Thanks! I've dialed the saturation in a bit on the roofing and walls, doing this also emphasised how much the foliage sticks out - I might tone down the values and colours there to help balance things out.

    This looks so cute! I think the street is pretty flat. would be nice to see a brick popping up a bit here and there.

    Thanks for the reply! I agree with you there, the floor isn't reading quite how I want it to yet. I recently tried using the material's height map to push the geometry of the street both in ZBrush and Maya, but neither experiment panned out all that well. Instead, I'll just cut up the geometry and push out some faces to give the floor more visual interest. Prior to that, I'm thinking of revisiting the road/path material, using a much less noisy base colour texture and larger shapes - combined with more geo to push those shapes, I'm hoping the street will start to come to life a bit more.

    I was planning on adding store sign at some point today to the fishmongers, but I instead decided to focus on the bits of grey still hanging around in the scene first, namely the fish statue.


    Outside of the birch tree trunk, it's been a while since I've used ZBrush for anything beyond an edge wear pass on basic shapes. I forgot how enjoyable sculpting can be, taking a sphere and two cubes into a fish with wings was fun.

    Originally, the idea was that the statue would serve as a guiding element toward the archway. However, I feel as though it's getting too visually busy where the statue currently is, and the already noisy backdrop makes the statue's silhouette much less readable. I'm thinking of shifting the statue to another location, possibly to serve as a focal point beyond the archway.

    Regardless, I'm pleased with how the statue's looking so far, and I'm glad to say goodbye to that blockout version!


    Also a quick question on workflow for anyone out there - I ran the sculpt through ZBrush's decimation master and tidied up some of the unnecessary geometry in Maya to get the low poly (6000 tris). Is this approach common in game production, or would a re-topo by hand be preferable?
  • Mixsup
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    Mixsup triangle
    Took a stab at a kiosk, which turned out a bit... well it'll receive a second pass. Also gave the floor a once-over and swapped out the old paving for a more flowing design that follows the map more smoothly - it still reads a little flat, so I'm gonna have to pump in some more stones both in the middle and sides of the floor.

    Beyond that, I had to get this thing in a presentable state for college, so I spent a bit of time polishing up and capping off some of the rougher, more incomplete areas of the map (fixing UVs, swapping out old blockout meshes), and added a vista rock cluster featuring the house this project started with, cloud cards, and I've positioned the statue to serve as a focal point, and I'm much happier with it's location.

    Updates are going to be on hold for the next week while I catch up with some written work, but I'm really looking forward to diving back into this.





  • Mixsup
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    Mixsup triangle
    Hey all, long time no post. I've still been plugging away at this. I attempted to use the 'ultimate trim' technique for a few of my assets, however I went far too intense in my normal maps and didn't have the 45-degree angle bevels needed to help disguise the harsh 90-degree angles on the models that use the trim textures. I also overlooked the effect my trim textures' AO maps were having on these outward edges. I also wanted to push a stylised look further, so I decided to re-do the wood and brick/stone trim textures I'd been using.

    I've reworked a lot of the architecture to a more stylised, chunky look, revisited textures and updated shaders to allow me to use 'overlay' textures to push for more colour variation (nothing fancy, just a packed texture with various masks). I've also played around with world-aligned textures to help in making the brickwork consistent across modular parts, although as I've added more corner pieces and trims, this has become less of a saving grace for me, although still a useful option to have for those overlays I mentioned. I've also dabbled with parallax occlusion mapping to fake depth on the brick and cobblestone flooring and created more contrasted height maps to make for more interesting height lerp vertex painting.

    The level felt a little awkward to walk through. Both the upper and lower levels had dead ends, making for a clunky layout. I chose to knock open some new paths so that the player could more freely loop around the level.

    - The starting area's been made wider
    - The tunnel previously housed a dead-end wall of rocks, but now splits off in two directions; either back up to the pier/dock area or through a small store that leads out to a grassy area where it receives deliveries. This grassy area loops back around to the tunnel entrance.
    - The upper area with the fish statue has two broken segments of wall, allowing the player to drop down to the tunnel entrance, or clamber along the roof down to the grassy area.


    Next on the agenda is to finallly get the dock/pier area sorted out. Beyond that, I'm going to fix up the starting area and replace the slapped together gate with something more interesting, add more interest to the upper area, iron out some lightmap issues (such as the seams on the walls, and low-res light bake of the swirly arch) then start working my way through some props for the scene.



  • Ashervisalis
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    Ashervisalis veteran polycounter
    I think you should push the tertiary colour scheme you kinda have going on. If you could make the bricks and archway lean more towards purple, that would be neat. Also, what's up with the sky? It looks like a giant sphere is hovering in the sky.
  • Mixsup
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    Mixsup triangle
    @Ashervisalis Thanks for the feedback, I'll play around with those colours and see how it shakes out. The massive sphere in the sky is a body of water. I'm going for a more fantastical world, where towns are built upon enormous floating islands. These towns send off flying submarines and ships to explore and fish in those massive spheres of water.

    EDIT: I've done a quick adjustment of the colours, and I think you're spot on. The bricks and tiles feel more cohesive with the blue plaster walls.






  • Mixsup
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    Mixsup triangle
    Long time, no post (again)! The environment has seen many updates since the previous post. The cafe/restaurant has received a facelift, new wall and roof materials along with a more fleshed-out upper dining area on the balcony, dressed with outdoor tables chairs, parasols and some decorative planters. It's received a less rudimentary chimney and a sign.



    The fishmongers has received similar treatment, I've added a shop sign, along with chalkboard menus outside. The walls have been changed to a glazed brick material and I finally got around to updating the interior. New floor/wall materials, door, stainless steel counters, sink, pictures, lights, a fish display, cheap n' nasty knives, towels, pictures and some decal meshes to fill out the floor and ceiling.





    The area above the tunnel is now covered by a gazebo adorned with some string lights and I've added a telescope for people to gaze out into the sky.




    The dock has been added - bollards, signage, houses, vegetation, fish crates, along with a flying boat and a van (loosely based on Volvo Duett) hovering around.





    I've tried to dress the street with a few props - benches, bins, street lamps, manhole covers, drains and various signs.



    The vista surrounding the scene has seen some love, I've added more defined, cartoony cloud/fog cards around the skies to help glue the massive water planet to the scene a bit more. I've added a neighbouring floating island off in the distance and added more hills/buildings beyond the playable area of the island the player is standing on, to make it seem bigger and more grand than it is.

    The starting area next to the fishmongers has been changed drastically. Previously the player started cramped between the restaurant and a generic buidling. This felt claustrophobic, and also obscured too much of the vista. I've removed the generic building, opened up the area a bit more with a curved wall and entrance gate that leads out to the rest of the island.



  • grumix8
    really nice you should make a very nice anime.
  • Michael_Ingrassia
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    Michael_Ingrassia polycounter lvl 4
    What an incredible masterpiece. Love the attention to details. Your passion for this project shows throughout. :)
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