Here is the final level walk through and a breakdown of the matte painting
Some images of the final level and assets
Since the level is going to feature two characters, it has been apparent that while one of the characters have been featured, a.k.a the Inventor, the other has not. That character is the main character, the Robot.
For the Robot, a basemesh was created in Maya that was later exported to Zbrush for details and texture with polypainting. The highpoly was then exported to Xnormal where a normal and diffuse texture was created, with clean-up in Photoshop and creation of specular map.
Rigging and animation was done as well for both subjects. The Robot has two animation sequences, walking and an idle. The Inventor has only one. Rigging was done in Maya.
This week has been spent getting the rest of the 3D assets done.
The house is mostly done. Some lack of details in certain areas and the textures aren’t the best they could be. I am thinking of adding secondary textures to the building to get a more unique look to each texture, but that is something I will consider later if I get time left over (which I probably won’t).
I’ve made 3 more textures in substance for the house and game level. The textures aren’t that visible on the house but they are working quite well in the game engine. I reused most of the wood panel texture to create a painted wood texture that is used on the white parts of the house.
I textured the mountain using layered shaders. When I textured the mountain I realized I had a bit too little variation in my textures but since I have less time now I can’t really make original textures so I just used CrazyBump to generate 4 more tiling textures.
I UV mapped the entire thing and painted the masks in Mari. I used 2 UV sets, one which the masks used and the other that the tiling textures used.
The result from using this workflow gave a more organic look and was quicker than the way I had textured the foreground. Unfortunately I can’t really make any changes to the foreground as I’ve rendered more than half of the frames and it would take too long to re render.
The background matte paint is starting to near completion. There is some work to be done on it and I hope to get most of the details in place this weekend so I can just make minor adjustments to it later.
Work on the Inventor character is finishing up with only some fine-tuning left regarding the texture maps which were created using Polypaint in Zbrush and later extracted with Xnormal using its native bake highpoly vertex color tool. The specularity map was also created the same way. Some back-and-forth was also required to fix small errors and problems in the mesh. Animation and rigging has been put on hold til most of the texturing work is done, while a rig does exist and can be used and skinned quickly.
With the assets, work has been done on optimizing them to save geometry and the following shading issues that occured due to the optimzation. After that, work has been focused on creating normal maps using Zbrush. Work that is left is lighting and shading on all assets.
For this update, the focus has been on finishing the main NPC, a.k.a the Inventor, both the high- and lowpoly using Zbrush and Maya as tools. While some more details are needed on the highpoly to create a better normal map (cloth textures, seams etc), we felt it was necessary to create a lowpoly model as well and test how the animation would work in-game, which worked quite acceptable.
Lowpoly version( without normal map)
This week I worked mainly on the matte painting and finishing the house model.
The matte painting is slowly progressing and getting better. I did a bit of photobashing to get the values I wanted and painted the shapes of the landscape. There is still work to be done on the matte painting but most of it is just details that will be added with more photographs.
The foreground is pretty much done for now. The foliage is paint effects and is animated. The ground became a bit flatter than I anticipated but it will have to do for now. The lighting on the grass is the lighting I am going to use on the house as well, I just didn’t have time to add the proper lighting to the house yet.
I tried rendering the grass at 1080p 32bit and It took about 20 minutes per frame so during 1 night I rendered about 50 frames. I am planning on rendering 500 frames. I will have to render on multiple computers to get it done in time.
I am pretty sure I am behind schedule but at the same time I fell like all the hardest parts of the project is over. At this point most of the upcoming things to do are straight forward and easier to do. The house mainly needs to get UV mapped and then the textures that I’ve made using substance can be applied. I’ve made ground and foliage so I’ve learned a process so I can make it much quicker for the middle ground.
I was kind of dreading using mia_material as a shader earlier this week but I think Maya 2015 view port 2.0 has been improved so it’s actually possible to see what the material will look like in the viewport. So I could pretty quickly turn my textures for UE4 work in mia_material.
So far with the the worldbuilding, we have finished up all the base meshes and corrected the scale and decided what needs to be Zbrushed. in order to generate Normalmaps, which is currently being done.
We have also updates our Whitebox with all induvidual assets in order to have more control over how large the room would be and how to place our assets.
The scale is pretty much done, so is the changes to the project we had to do in order to get everything to work.
we encountered an issue with rotation from maya into UE4 which we are looking into during the weekend.
Next week will be focusing on shading and material creation for both the character and the assets, together with lighting with Adam.
Here you can see how the scale will be, The extremly high roof is to give it a massive feel, with the main lightign from the windows.
Up from a corner in the room; the room is quite large, since we wanted to avoide the room feeling to shut-in. The only basemesh we lacking at the moment is pipes going throughout the room.
The massive Bay-Windows; the matte painting that Adam will create for our outside will be fully visable from this window, However the path to the window will be obstructed by assets since we want to control the field of view of the player.
We had to make big changes to the whole project earlier this week due to feedback which included the rebuilding of key aspects, which meant that we had to rearrange our schedule to accommodate for fewer animations, no voice-acting and more focus on asset creation and environmental immersion. This meant that this week’s focus have been on creating basemeshes for all the assets that will be present in the final level as well as modelling the characters, mainly the main NPC a.k.a Inventor:
The next step is to take the basemeshes into Zbrush for normal map creation through addings details such as wear-and-tear.
Wall of content warning!
So these last few weeks I’ve been making stuff for the project but pretty much nothing of it has been visible here on the blog. So this is going to be a well needed update on my end of the project.
So my primary task for the project is to create a nice looking pre-rendered matte painting of the house the gameplay takes place in. The pre-rendered shot will work as a sort of establishing shot and starting screen.
The other thing that I work on is creating a nice environment that is visible outside the window that will be entirely rendered in the game engine.
So my biggest challenge is making multipurpose assets that can be used both for the mental ray pre-rendered video clip and the Unreal Engine 4. Also keeping the same look on but different quality.
Here are some of the designs I made in the first 2 weeks of the project.
I had a rather clear image of what the type of climate and colors the shot would have but I was struggling deciding on what composition to use and what the building would look like.
The next to last image is a paint over that Lane Brown did of the sixth image.
The design that is decided on now is a hybrid between the two images with red borders.
The image at the bottom is the 3D block in.
During the tech dev I mainly worked on the different ways I should create the various animated effects for the matte painting. The important part that makes the animated effects a bit harder to make is that they have to seamlessly loop.
My primary concern was making good looking grass without having the wait days for it to render.
Through reading and testing different methods of creating grass, paint effects grass seems like the obvious choice when it comes to quality and speed. It’s probably not going to be the most original looking cg grass but it will work fine for this project I believe.
During this last week I’ve been working on textures, modeling and on shading for unreal 4.
This weekend I downloaded Substance designer and learned how to use it for making tiling textures.
These are the textures I’ve managed to make so far. They are some of the primary textures that will be seen both in the game and pre-rendered sequence.
The normal map is a bit strong at the moment but it will be an easy fix.
The Substance material looks almost identical in UE4 as in the Substance viewport which is really nice and makes the process of having to tweak the texture after it’s done almost none existent.
I also tested combining the materials using a mask that I painted using polypaint in ZBrush for these stone and dirt stairs.
I will try using the same technique later but using Mari for painting the material mask instead of ZBrush polypaint which was a bit difficult to use since I had to imagine what the materials would look like when I painted the mask.
I was interested in seeing if I had screwed up my first plant that I made 2 days ago or if there was shading issues. It turned out to be both. Unreal 4 supposedly doesn’t have a very good way of shading foliage as of yet so I looked online and found this forum thread on grass shading.
My grass is still missing normal maps and animation which will improve it a lot I think. I’m also going to changing the normal direction of the grass to make it look a bit more dynamic and less like planes.
The lighting is not baked in the foliage since the Uv map is a bit messed up at the moment.
I am also probably going to remake 1 or two of them so i get a more plain grass feel to it and less like shrubbery.
The focal point since MS1 have been to construct a fully functional prototype level that is fully playable from start to finish. The reason for this is, of course, to test if the ideas we had from the start will work, both from a storytelling point of view and a gameplay view.
Since we didn’t have any experience with UE4’s Blueprint system, it took a while to get used to it. The important scripts we needed was:
One of the problematic areas was how to time the main NPC a.k.a the Inventor to walk away at the correct time. We solved that using a animated triggerbox that slowly moved towards the character model as he talked and as soon as it touched, he would start to walk towards a dummy character we had placed in the second room using a blueprint called ‘Get actor location’ that would make the Inventor walk towards the dummy’s position. A similar problem was in the end cinematic where the main character was planned to walk outside. Here we also placed a dummy pawn outside and used a ‘fake’ pawn that we teleported to the player’s position to take its place, as we had problems getting the player character to walk out. The dummy pawn would thus use the same script as the Inventor by walking towards the pawn outside the house as the door would open.
Friday January 30th
This week we have mostly focused on testing scripts and creating prototypes to see if our level will be able to be created the way we want it to. Suffice to say, most have been a success even though fine-tuning still remains. The scripts that have been made are for how to combine different cameras to create multi-camera cinematics, script to open a door by collecting object, how to have a menu at the start of the level etc.
Waking up: Robot Odyssey – A UE4 Game Level
Greetings everyone and welcome to our blog where we will post updates and other fun things as we work on our specialization project here on Gscept. As our project, we have chosen to do a game level in Unreal Engine 4 which will feature a charming house on top of a hill belonging to a brilliant inventor of robots. The level will feature the inventor; a fully animated character as he greets you welcome to your new world. You will play his creation, a small robot, in first-person, and your task is to explore the starting room while keeping the lookout for valuable object for your eventual journey to the outside world.
The level will feature: