We have updated Milestone 3 – Proposed Final.

The files include:

  • PowerPoint presentation of MS3 (download link)
  • Executable file of the Proposed Final Cinematic (download link)

    Still a little bit left we want to put in the cinematic before we are done like the logo and credits when the cinematic ends.
    However we did add it for the Youtube version of the cinematic but the In-game version will need some more time to implement it.

    When playing the Executable, after the cinematic ends (black screen and the music stops)  the player is able to fly around in the level using the “WASD” keys.
    This state is not quite fixed yet but works. We also added the ability to turn on and off a few torches in the level by pressing the “1” button on your keyboard.

    If time permits we will try to fix the free roaming part some more by adding things like camera movement speed options, fixing some collision issues and overall polish. But seeing as this is getting outside the original scope of the project we will have to finish the polish on the cinematic parts first.

The clock is ticking and right now we are wrapping up the levelbuilding.
The lighting and camera settings like depth of field, color tinting and so on still needs some of polish so that is what we will put most of our focus on from now on.

Lighting has been and continues to be a challenge to get “right”.  We want the scene to be slightly dark so that the torch light can illuminate the scene better and draw the viewers eye to it since it’s an important part of the story. But at the same time we don’t want it to be pitch black since we want to show off the environment we have worked hard to create.
Right now the level is a bit too dark in some places but here are a few screenshots of the current state of the level.

 

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Daniel Ax:

I thought I would explain the workflow I have used for creating the assets during this project and talk a little about what happens behind the scenes.

Any assets starts out with the creation of a reference for the model and the textures. Once a reference has been decided on I will block it out in Maya. I then create a lowpoly basemesh and UV map it. If the lowploy mesh (which is what the highpoly will be baked onto) has very sharp angles (somewhere around 90° or more) I will make sure to separate the UV along that edge and keep those edges hardened. That is to avoid grading in the normal map by using hardened edges while not having them appear in the normal map. Which would be the case if the UVs were not separated and the edges were still hardened. We try to avoid grading as UE4 does not like it and it can cause issues with the lighting.

Before creating the highpoly model I will decide if the model needs to be sculpted in Zbrush or if I can create height details on the normalmap in the texturing process instead. I make this choice because sculpting the model in Zbrush will take longer and require an extra step in the workflow than simply painting height values in the texturing process. And since we’re on a tight schedule I would save valuable time by not sculpting in Zbrush.

An example of this are the metal bars. Since they are not very “organic” in their nature it makes more sense to have bumps, scratches etc in the normalmap whereas old wood is more organic and look much more convincing if the edges are worn down and have cracks.

If the asset needs to be sculpted in Zbrush I will to through that process of sculpting the highpoly from a lowpoly basemesh and then bake the normalmap in Maya using Transfer Maps. I bake the normalmap in Maya because I think it gives the best result compared to xNormals and Substance Designer. It also makes editing the meshes and correcting errors quicker since you don’t have to jump between applications.

If the asset is something that does not need to be sculpted I will bake a normalmap for it from a beveled and smoothed highpoly copy of that asset. I will also in some cases (if the assets is in multiple pieces) “explode” (move the parts away from each other) the mesh before baking in order to avoid artifacts caused by parts of the mesh being too close to each other.

Once the normalmaps have been baked I will flip their green channel in Photoshop because normalmaps baked from Maya will have its green channel set for OpenGL while UE4 uses DirectX. This can of course be changed in UE4 and Substance Painter and Designer can handle both, but I do it for the sake of consistency.

I then import the model and the normalmap into Substance Designer and bake Ambient Occlusion and Curvature maps for the object, these will be used later to drive certain effects in Substance Painter. I import the model and the maps into Painter and set up the maps there before I start the texturing process. I use a metal/roughness workflow instead of spec/gloss. Any details such as scratches, bumps etc I paint as height information in Substance Painter, which is then baked down on the normalmap.

With the texturing done I export the maps to Substance Designer where I connect the maps and set up a base material for them, which will be the material used in UE4. I then publish the material as .SBSAR file, which will contain all the maps, compressed and set up with its material. This makes importing, sharing and handling the materials and textures for an asset much easier as you are only dealing with one file per asset, instead of one file for each map used. Textures packaged in Designer like this will be “parametric”, meaning you can do all kinds of useful things with them even once you have imported them into UE4. For example we can change the resolution of all the textures hooked up to a material in UE4 on the fly, without having to re-package them and re-importing them.

There’s a lot to be said but this gives you all a glimpse of my workflow with the assets I have created for this project.

 

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Daniel Rocque:

Things are heating up as we near the deadline and we are finally starting to catch up with the delays!

Here is the new model for the main hall doors and what it looks like in the level.
I changed the design on the doors a little but still kept the main things I liked about the first one.

MainDoor

I had to make some changes to the lowpoly model when creating the normals maps since the metal sunbeams crossed over an geometry edge.
At first I created a transition ramp (shown in the picture below) but then decided to just add the metal edge and sunbeams to the normal map.

sunbeams

Daniel Ax:

We can feel the 3rd milestone steadily approaching as there are yet a lot of things to do. A few more “lesser” assets need to be creted and implementet, the VFX, SFX and animations also need tweaking. Meaning the days from now leading up to the final milestone will be long and intense.

In other news, we are currentely also implementing the already finished assets into the latest version of the level and will be posting pictures of that soon.

Also, what would any environment be without a few barrels idly watching from a corner?

Now with 100% more wireframes.

 

barrel_asset barrel_asset_wire

 

Daniel Rocque:

Here are a few more assets! The floor panels were done a while ago but never made it into the first asset post. The floor is first made with a tileable texture of the panels with a few missing ones, I can then add the loose panels assets onto the floor for height and variation in patterns.

I’m still tweaking the metal attributes and scratches on the pillar and I’m going to add a relief to the middle metal piece going up the pillar but other than that it’s done.

The character models lowpoly (seen in the picture) is UV mapped and has it’s base normal map on it. Although due to the delays last week he is yet to be textured. I’ll wait with the texturing until I have finished up this weeks assets  since I don’t want to rush though it too much.

PS. Some of Daniel Ax’s assets have yet to be implemented into the current level build so there are still a lot of placeholders in the pictures below for things that are done (like the prison bars, tables and so on)

mountaintileable_floorfloor_panels treant wip pillar

Daniel Ax:

We’re still hard at work with the asset creation, I have for the most part finished all the furniture, right now I’m working on the torches and windows for the hallway.

Our common issue with grading in the normal maps have popped up again now and then, meaning that some assets need to have their normals re-baked. Although time consuming to a certain degree, this have also taught us a few valuable lessons about baking normalmaps and how to avoid this issue in the future.