Today’s efforts have been all about filling the scene with smaller objects to build a sense of detail and realism.
A large part of what will make this experience feel real will be having objects that the player can associate with real world activities.
I’m using my whiteboard kanban board to keep track of what models to create and to keep a sense of progression and as such motivation.
This week the whole of the ground floor has finally been assembled, including all wall, floor and ceiling architecture. Though some major lighting issues have raised their heads.
As can be seen in the video, the use of modular wall sections in Unreal is not supported without a lot of extra work. This may mean i have to take each section of room and join it into singular walls. It’s not a lot of work and luckily I have a few days slack time before my next task completion in my hack n plan.
I did try to find a work around for the issue by posting a picture of the issue on the Epic forums (https://forums.unrealengine.com/showthread.php?134472-Modular-Environment-Seams).
I got a reply that directed me to the Unreal troubleshooting page about lighting (https://wiki.unrealengine.com/LightingTroubleshootingGuide#Shadow_Seams.2FShading_Differences_with_Indirect_Lighting).
Sadly this is a known issue and there is a work around but so far it hasn’t helped much.
So some additional modelling on the architecture is therefore required, but since I have already made headway on my prop modelling it won’t put me too far out of schedule.
So this week I have been working on creating assets and now have the core pieces to construct a test layout of the level. This includes all structural models for the ground floor and a few other models such as tables and chairs.
I’m so pleased with the walls, above you can see the basic models (not final textures) and below you can see the models normal mapped to give more detail.
I’m very pleased with the results and it looks even better when lit nicely and of course some of the little blemishes can be hidden with other assets.
Using these rough untextured models I will construct a storyboard to really lock in the story progression and flow of the level as well as helping to decide on final positions of assets, lights and trigger events.
After watching an interesting documentary called ‘Minimalism: A documentary about the important things’ (https://minimalismfilm.com/) which was inspired by The Minimalists (http://www.theminimalists.com/) Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus. The Minimalism philosophy is the idea of minimising your possessions and as such distractions, this helps to provide a clearer picture of your life and what it takes to be happy. After watching this the game design quadrant of my brain fired into action.
Scribbled ideas for the concept and design.
This documentary really interested me and although I probably won’t be minimising my life (I like my stuff too much) it did remind me a lot of meditation. If you’ve ever tried to meditate and clear your mind you’ll know how difficult it is to keep a clear mind without every little thing slipping into view and becoming a thought or internal discussion.
Scrawled style ideas and list of distractions the game throws at you.
I loved the ideas of that constant struggle for peace and minimalism, so I designed a simple game/experience to demonstrate this and perhaps give your mind something to focus on that could almost be a form of meditation in itself.
If I make this I’ll be sure to send it to Josh and Ryan.
After having a small break from work over the Christmas period I then decided to take a break from University work and recharge by working on some of my own projects.
This time it involved revisiting the much loved survival sandbox type game. I have always had a love for the concept of a realistic game that leans more toward a simulation than game, but the issue that always arises is “When is too much realism not fun?” or “Does realism have a place in games?”, both of these questions are interesting ideas and will perhaps be the subject of a later post, as will a more detailed look at the project I started.
I also watched an interesting documentary on Minimalism and this inspired a game design idea that you can see more about in this post.
Before I knew it my time was nearly up and the beginning of another semester loomed, so back to hard work I went.
Now we are back and our first week is done and already we are pushing on with the final project and as you will see in the next few posts things are really moving forward.
This week after getting a foundation into the basic mechanics of the game I’m moving into the prototyping stage of the level design. White boxing is a strange concept in my mind, but after doing previous projects and modelling the level out then bringing it into engine and it being 3x to big made me realise the benefit.
Using the rough map layout I drew in Photoshop, I begin creating some modular building blocks that match the scale of a standard Unreal human.
This week the beginnings of the level designs are being implemented using a modular building blocks. My entire level will be constructed of around half a dozen generic blocks with varying textures and positions.
I was hoping this would save a lot of time and save a lot of hassle as i’m not the best 3D modeller/texturer, sadly (as always) this hasn’t quite gone to plan. There appears to be some issues with the UV maps of the wall sections which of course is being a bit of a pain to solve.
In the picture above the same piece of wall section is side by side one with and onw without normals maps, I’m quite please with the detail the normals add and of course the amount of polys they save. Though you can also see the issue of the materials not assigning correctly to the window frame and the wall, as if they are almost bleeding into one another.
Hopefully I’ll get a bit of help with this and sort it out and get back on track by the end of the week.