Friday, 15 November 2013

Vehicle Project : Part 1

After handing in the rooftop project we were giving another brief straight away. This brief is to create a vehicle of our choosing with a basic suitable environment. This brief has a heavy focus on shaders and material properties. Deadline - 29th November (4 week long project)

As this project had more of a focus on materials rather than modelling abilities i decided to go for a vehicle with a simple shape but had a variety of different surface types. 

My base of inspiration was from Star Wars and the Wipeout games, so by merging the two and playing with ideas I came up with a futuristic flying racing bike. 

After my initial idea was set I went out to gather images for a mood board which I then took onto producing several different silhouettes, all while trying to keep the feel of a very angular racing bike. I took my favourite elements from several different silhouettes which I felt had strong features. I then developed these into a final concept. While producing the final concept I kept in mind that the brief was focusing mainly on materials and surface properties so I tried to incorporate several surface types to the concept. These are:

  • Polished painted metal
  • Rough/dirty metal
  •  Leather
  • Glass
  • Lights
Silhouette Designs 

Basic Concept

My next stage was to create a whitebox of the vehicle. I did this so I could get a strong idea of proportion, form and silhouette as the concept can only give me so much of an idea compared to a white box. As I was producing the white box I felt that some bits of the vehicle lack character and made the silhouette rather plain eg. The front 2 ‘prongs’. To overcome this I added some external plating attached to the prongs, this simple step made the silhouette much more interesting.


From the final whitebox I produced the highpoly of the vehicle. Most of the highpoly is made up of chamfered boxes with little surface detail as the vehicle is made for racing so it has a lot of highly polished surfaces to be as aerodynamic as possible. But some smaller details, such as bolts and paneling seams will be added later through Ndo2 as this will be a more efficient way to add these small details. 

One object I did do a full highpoly model was jet engine. While looking at references on ’ jet engine nozzle’ I realised this was too much complex detail to add into the normal map with Ndo2, so I produced it within Max.  It was relatively easy, as it is just one complex panel duplicated around a cylinder.

Jet Engine Highpoly

Another object I wanted more complex detail was the padded leather seat. I made a simple bash mesh which was then imported into ZBrush and sculpted with a hand full of references.

Sculpted Padded Leather Seat 

The next stage after the highpoly was to create the lowpoly. This was done by using the highpoly as a guide to model the lowpoly on. This was a smooth process but I did encounter one problem along the way – a peer pointed out as it was a bike how the rider would sit on it, So I quickly set up a biped into the position. Straight away this made me realise the seat was too wide as the bipeds legs were in a unnatural position which couldn't be held for very long. To rectify this I narrowed the seat which allowed the bipeds legs to be brought in more, which made the vehicle more usable from the viewer’s perspective. I should have checked this while at the white box stage to save on time, but this is now something I will keep in mind for later projects.

Tweaking model for a more comfortable seating position

Check back soon as I should have an update on my texture and materials .

Monday, 4 November 2013

Rooftop Project : Part 2

So after a very solid 4 weeks of work my rooftop was fully completed and handed in on Friday. It’s been a tough 4 weeks, but I've really enjoyed using CryEngine and I believe it was the best engine for the job. Using it has also confirmed that it’s the engine I want to use for my final major project.

I believe my initial idea from the whitebox/concept was carried through to the final stages relatively well. But there were some issues I overcame along the way.

One of the most time consuming problem I had with the project was learning the engine. Even though I used Cry Engine a bit for the group project last year, the main bulk of that task was for another team member, so the rest of us didn't have as much knowledge for the engine. This led to many issues which took up a large amount of time trying to problem solve. Luckily I thought that this might have been the case so I did plan for these issues to crop up, giving myself a buffer of a few days before hand in. Most of it was learning to export models/materials, material set up within cry and lighting.

One part of the brief was to make the level interactive for the player. My original plan was to have the player run up to the switch on the radio tower and turn it on, while doing so lights would turn on and sparks would fly out. But given the time limitations and limited knowledge with the engine it made it very difficult to do so. Another part I would have liked to add was a little town setting around the building, because at the moment the building is just in the center of the desert which kills immersion when you look out from the rooftop. I do have 2 256 maps left which I would like to use for these LOD buildings and particle effects if I am given time to polish the level.

I’m very happy with the quantity and quality of my texture work, every texture was baked from a highpoly model, which was very time consuming but it paid off. One thing I really wanted to get across to the player/user was the building was recently the host of a large fire fight. The floor littered with debris, bullet casing and ammo boxes along with the walls peppered with bullet holes and cracks really sell the situation.
Part of the brief mentioned that the level should catered towards a 3rd person shooter and as we know, one thing all shooters need is cover to hid behind. I tried to make this as context sensitive as possible by having large army crates, sandbags and flipped tables/chairs as potential cover for the player.


Final screens: