Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Rooftop Project : Part 1

I've entered my 3rd and final year at De Montfort University, and we've already be handed our first professional brief set by Blitz games studio. See the picture below for the actual brief.

We have been allowed to use double the amount of texture space, so 4 1024s rather than 2 1024s. The triangle count of 20,000 stays the same though. Were also allowed to interpret the brief very loosely, So in a sense it just has to be a rooftop in any setting of our choosing.

Most people tend to do roofs of futuristic high-rise buildings I wanted to do something in the other direction. So I’m going for a low rise middle eastern temple/mansion, which has recently been used as a communications outpost for the army.

As this level is based in the middle east, lighting is a strong component which will really sell the level. So the best engine to pick to get the best out of this project for me is Cryengine. An added bonus is that I had a wealth of experience using Cryengine from our group project last year. See Here for blog.

With any project i know time management is the key to efficient workflow. So firsts things first was to make a brief timetable to follow strictly over the next 4 weeks.

The next stage in this process was concepting. So i gather up as many references as possible for a mood board  from there i created some basic drawings and a birds eye view of the floor plan.

From all the references and concepts, i produced a primitive white box so i could get an idea of dimensions, flow and composition. The white box went under several revisions until i was happy with it.

From Oldest to Newest

In my first version i planned to make a large dome in the courtyard, but i later scraped this as i felt it took away the main focal point from the communications tower to the dome. Whereas i wanted the player to always have the tower in view as this was the end goal for the player to get to. I also saw the tower as my ‘hero’ asset so i wanted as much attention on it as i could. Although i did want something in there to give a better sense of the height of the tower. So i made a tower on the corner which has been half destroyed. Having this building would now allow me to place loads of debris around the area, making the level more interesting and selling the point that it was an outpost under attack.

The next reversion i scaled down the rooftops to get slightly more crowded feeling. I also added another set of stairs for the player to climb, this is give a greater sense of height and the feeling of ‘climbing towards to goal’.

Texture planning was the next major step, as i had to sort out what i was going to texture and how much texture space it would get. As well as what texture is going to tile. Below shows how I've split up the 4 1024s.

I split up all my individual assets over the 2 1024s, so i could get as much texel density as possible as these assets are reused a lot throughout the level. All my tiling textures are split between the 6 512s. Then the 8 256s are for decals and alphas,. I decided to do that as alphas are quite intensive, so by keeping the texture as small as possible i would limit the strain on the engine.    

Below is some of the tilling textures present in the level:

Floor Tiles

Wall Concrete
To be as efficient as possible i took a modular approach to some of my assets. So for example the communications tower is a very big piece and it would make no sense to unwrap each individual piece of it. So i decided to make 1 pole, 1 ground connection, 1 pole connection, 3 types of satellites and 1 cable. With all these assets i can create a very large tower in a timely manner. I don't want all the poles to be grey/metal, so to create some variation i plan to use Cryengine to change to diffuse colour of the texture map so i can get orange painted pole in there too.

Military and Communications Assets 
I've approached the windows in a similar approach by creating one window with 2 separate window faux shutters. This is so i can picked between fully closing the shutters, opening one/both or even just not having them.  

Building Assets

Below shows some of the alpha textures i have done.

Plant Pot Bush

Barbed Wire

Next step is importing the assets and level into Cry to get a better feeling for the level. Check back soon.

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