Forgot to make the last post, but here is the result.
You can find the download link in the description in the Youtube-link.
This week was all about special vfx making smoke, fire, water and explosions, and scripted sequences.
I’ve also done lots of scripting making relevant objects load into the level and unloading the entities that isn’t.
Here you can see the fire particles in the background. I made a flag carrier-carolean with a cloth simulated flag. I’ve worked lots with the sound effects and I realized it lots of more work then I estimated. It’s really fun and adds a lot to the atmosphere.
I also made a dissolve shader for the Demons so that they vaporize when shot enough times. It’s just a simple opacity mask and the emissive maps uses the borders of that giving that glowing look.
I’ve finally animated and scripted the last part of the level, when the golem arrises from the depths and destroys the bridge leading to the final island.
Things left to do before friday:
-The speech from the king.
-More looping war-sequences.
If I get the time I’d like to throw in:
-Destroyed brick walls
-The King Carl XI
I had problems with fraps and had to run in a lower resolution in the editor (Also without built lightning.) I blame the Danskjävlar..
This week was all about the final pieces, I wanted to model and rig the golem so that I wouldn’t have to worry about the key features of the game. With the golem done I could finally start with the scripting and animation of the soldiers and monsters, making the world feel alive.
The texturing was quite simple since it’s standing in strong backlight, I also had to light the whole diffuse up or otherwise he was completly black, with just his glowing eyes showing.
A preview of the golem rising, don’t want to give away any spoilers yet 😉
I also tried to attach glow particles and water splash-particles on sockets that I assigned on the golems joints, but that’s something I have to tweak because.
I went back to the carolean and fixed the aim\shoot\reload-animation and made a falling\grabbed animation which were to play as quick as the soldier was grabbed by a gargoyle. I also made 2 cheer animations which is showed after the kings speech.
The only thing that isn’t made by me in this project is the run-cycle. I tried but it looked woonky as shit and the cost of that animation saved me a lot of headache and time. I bought the animation from Mixamo but i modified it using animations layers to make it fit better the musket and that era.
I also took a quick look at the physics assets which I’m going to use for the ragdolls and body parts that will appear when the soldiers are sliced by the demons.
This is the animation flow for the battlefield, as the battlefield is an “ongoing event” I made a sequence that’s 60 seconds long that loops, and hopefully noone will see the repitition.
You’ll see soldiers running along the trenches, and demons flying in the sky. I will add more stuff next week like canons firing into the sky, more soldiers running and more demons flying. Pretty much more of everything.
This is the Animation chart for the first scene, this will only happen once and the soldiers will run off the level and be destroyed to free up memory. The number of soldiers where over 40 and it sure took time to make every soldier run his own path and do his own unique animation, but the result is more satisfying then seeing all the soldiers making the same thing.
I also made the canon cleaner prop and made some canonballs that now occupies the map. GG next week.
This week has been a little about sculpting/modelling and a huge portion of optimizing.
I’ve been making auto-generated LODS of all the objects and customized the culling distance of all the different objects in the map to keep the draw calls and tris count down as much as possible. I also made the castle of three crowns and made all the background object such as the quay which I don’t think anyone will notice, but I believe in level design that you have to think of the details to make the player feel immersed. I made a masked version of the soldier so that I could have more variations of the soldiers.
And I started to sculpt the Golem, As I knew that the golems lower parts wouldn’t be visible I simply cut his legs so that I could focus on the upper part of the body. There will be more ship parts on him until I consider the sculpt complete. I made lots of tests to try out the composition and lightning of the last shot.
I’m still on schedule and soon it’s time for the best part, making the scripted sequences.
Last week I took 4 days off which was well needed and I came back with charged batteries. the week was all about production, I finished the last part of the level, it’s been a little changed in the plan. I no longer going to make the player be able to access the third island, you’ll see in the end why. I also tested out the ability to attach a body to the camera, and it worked without any problems. I’m just going to make a high poly version of the body and the arms.
I also took some time to giving extra detail to parts of the level, in the end I made:
-3 types of roots
-Bricks for the edges of the buildings to hide seams.
-The stone bridge
-New stone stairs for the beginning of the map
-A variation of the buildings, some are destroyed.
It took me two days to complete the gargoyle\demon, from making up the zsphere to the animations. I didn’t have any plan for the looks and just wanted the creature to take form as i sculpted the basemesh. All I had in mind was to make it look dangerous and demonic.
It started as an alien, went from a pig to a dinosaur,cat,lizard,alien, and then finally (In my eyes) a demon/gargoyle.
When the sculpt was gone I made a lowpoly of the mesh that landed on 11.000 tris, did 5 different bakes of different parts of the high poly because I got serious baking issues with the wings,legs and his mouth. I gave the demon the classic glowing red eyes with an low res emissive map. After the texturing part I started to animate the creature and tested the animations in-game.
It still needs some cleanup and timing, also some skin weight painting.
That’s about it for this week.
Next week I hope to be ready with the golem and the castle.
I also got a really nice drum loop from Sebastian Mårtensson that fits perfect into the scene, big thanks!
For the big parts the first and second part is almost done, I’m going to make more house variations and details like chimneys and windows on the roofs.
The essentials for the last part is:
-1 stone bridge.
-1 destroyable wooden bridge.
Everything else is just extra props.
The first part now is now filled with enviroment props, If I have time it would be awesome to exchange that soldier in the middle to Karl XI giving a speech to the soldiers.
I made crates,boxes, house facades, bushes, a statue (Texturing still need some work.)
I also figured out that I wasn’t using light maps for my levels (I didn’t have any shadows at all in the map, only the ambient occlusion). I searched for information about it on the internet and gave the terrain mesh a really big map because it covers 2\3 of the map atm.
I also made auto-generated LODs of the most objects.
This week was all about completing the whitebox model and making some props to try out in the game. I also wanted to try out the scripting with the Kismet-system, the integrated animation system called Matinee and also the particle system. Just to make sure make an estimation on how much time everything will take, it turned out to be easy to get into and I made some basic scripts that’ll turn off the player HUD and attach a snow particle emitter that I experimented on to the player.
Once I started up the Matinee editor and have assigned the affected meshes I made some movement with a carolean and made him play some looping animations mixed with some timed particle effects. It was great fun and easy to use, but the animation and scripting has to wait for the last 3 weeks of this project, can’t wait. I also wanted to get rid of the ugly whitebox texture so I made a layered shader that uses the red channel as alpha channel. UDK has a nice feature called Mesh paint which means that the user can paint the vertexes on any mesh in the level. So I simply paint the vertexes in different colors to get nice transitions between snow and dirt. I also tried out UDKs terrain that uses height maps as displacements. I realized I needed more control of the terrain, especially at the trenches and went for sculpted terrain. I believe it’s going to be better in the long run since the level is going to be split into segments.I modelled,scuplted and textured some planks, stones, pebbles and trench-stuffs. I made them modular so that I could place the same object multiple times on the map but just by making some rotations and scaling it’ll look lika a completely different stone etc. I also try to make the tri count as low as possible and making the objects share texture maps.
All the objects on the image above shares 5 texture packs (Diffuse\Specular\Normal maps).
The pipeline is the following:
-Maya (modelling to get the shapes).
-Zbrush (Sculpting the high poly modell).
-Topogun (Making a retopology, a low poly mesh of the high poly).
-Xnormal (For baking the high poly information into maps for the low poly).
-Mari (texturing the objects).
-Photoshop (For some finishing touches).
-UDK (Importing everything and placing it ingame).I made a great shader that uses the Z-vector (Up/down in the world space in UDK) and makes the “top” parts of the mesh white, faking the effect that snow has fallen on the object. No matter how much i rotate the mesh the snow will always be on top of the object.
When I made the water shader I followed a tutorial that taught me about texture panners in the UDK material system and I just had to try it on some planes making it look like clouds that “move” at a distance, it really helped build the atmosphere of the battlefield.
I had a rough start this week, I noticed that the original scale of the carolean soldier was 75% and I didn’t want to scale every soldier once they got placed in the world.
So I decided to scale up the skeleton with the basic rig I got from the internet.. Big mistake, you should almost never scale skeletons in any game engine since it’s almost never supported.
I got lots of problems with the rigs that I’ve downloaded from the internet and after 2 days I realized it was better to delete it all and make my own rig (something I should have done from the beginning..).
I also included the hat and the rifle with the soldiers skeletal mesh, since all the soldiers will be equipped with those. It’s gonna save me some time
instead of attaching it to sockets created for each of every soldier.
Can I fight in the war, mommy?
I made a previz version of the level to test the scale of everything and to test out how the distances are. It’s funny how 2 metres can make a difference if a distance feels too far or too close to walk.
It’s a scaled down version of the town and I’m going to mix the history by taking the most interresting parts and make it an interpretation of my own, since it’s not historictly correct.
The level take 50 seconds to walk from start to finish, with the scripted events the game will probably take 1½ minute to complete.
I also made a water shader, it still needs more work so it looks like it gets contact with land.
1) Inspirationan speech: the game will start with the captain of the group giving a short speech to a squad of caroleans, which will also fill the player with some background story of the alternative universe.
2)Ambush: Half of the squad will get ambushed by flying demons, introducing the main threat to the player. The surviving soldiers will stand on the ledge while the player has to jump down into the trenches.
3) When the player walks through the trenches he or she can glimpse fights between the caroleans and the demons, if I have time I want some scripted events inside the trenches as well.
4) Bridge: the last distance will be a little breather before the finale
5) A huge earth golem (With parts of the royal ship Wasa) will rise from the canals and scream and cutting the screen to black, ending the game.
Last week when I got a go from Arash and Samuel I started to sculpt the first soldier right away.
I got some good feedback during the whole process of the sculpting. I aimed to get the character under 10.000 tries because I know that I want lots of soldiers running around on the battlefield battling the enemy.
After I made the lowpoly I baked an Ambient occlusion and a normal bakes from xNormals. I’m quite familiar with this pipeline, but this time I tried using cages and it turned out to be really good on the first try. After I got my bakes from xNormals I my AO map and used it as a multiply layer. The texturing still need some work.
I wanted to try out a really simple facerig to see if I could get the soldiers to feel more alive. I also wanted to try to import the animations into UDK and get used to the settings there, it turned out to be a piece of cake and the engine almost makes it to easy for the user (which is a really good thing). I kinda felt like Victor Frankenstein when I saw my characters move around in the UDK-scene (Even though it’s quite a simple animation). Well that sums up for the first week, 8 to go!