Saturday, 27 April 2013

Rain and Stuff

So I know it's not much but I thought I'd just do a quick update has I've got everything finally in with lightmaps and collisions so I feel like it's going well more than anything. So bits that I've tweaked since my last update; I've worked on the rain emitter a little more so that it has more directionality to it though it still needs more work as I keep going back and forth on the opacity, it's either too distracting or not noticeable enough.

Other stuff is that I've made the fog more dense so that it feels like there's more moisture in the air. Though looking at it now it feels too blue, I should maybe tone down the colour on it. And a very slight thing is that I changed the fabric signs to red as the blue was blending far too much with the sense. Too much blue everywhere. It's only a small thing but I feel it actually does quite a bit. 

So this weekend I'm going to try my hand at some procedural animation for the fabric signs and the lanterns so they blow a little in the wind, give it a more natural feel. That is unless I get distracted by working on fun fx.

Friday, 26 April 2013

More Bits and Pieces

Right, so I spent my morning trying to fix some rendering errors with my ground attack thing to only discover that I couldn't get it to go away so I'm sure it'll be something that I'll have to look into later for when I inevitably have to rerender this out. No idea why it spawns two emitters on top of each other a fraction of a second apart but oh well. 

So this is the AoE type ground attack that I've been working on that I was talking about yesterday. In the first video it's just the normal one but in the second video I was experimenting with staggering the timing for a greater sense of impact. It's supposed to be that there's an initial hit then a brief pause before the main impact explodes outward. I think the idea is sound and would give the effect greater presence but I think I'm off with the timing as it isn't gelling together properly. 

So improvements. Obviously I've mentioned the timing. But I think the overall effect lacks that energy and impact you'd expect from an effect like this. I'll have to readdress the textures and see if I can't get some fast panners in there to maybe try and give it that energy. The other major problem is that I don't like the rocks that shot out. It's supposed to be the displacement of earth from the force of the impact but I think I've over done it. I think it would work a lot better if I tried something more subtle like a large indented crack where just some of the chunks of earth round the outside are sticking out.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Some Quick Updates

So I've been working on a few things recently just between projects. One is like an AoE ground attack and the other is this kind of ice spell. The only thing is that the videos I rendered out for the AoE seem to be having some troubles with spawning emitters on top of each other so I'll have to retry rendering it out tonight and try and fix the problem.

But on with the show I guess. I've had this idea rolling around in my head for a while, and especially after playing DotA I admit. But it was a good opportunity to learn about how ribbons work and how to implement them. So I worked up a really quick concept to just kind of help me visualise it. Below is my concept and a quick render of where it's out.

I apologise for the poor quality of the video but I can't seem to get ribbons to render in UDK, I had the same trouble with the previous gas station project. I'm only really just started with it so it's got a long way to go. A real big problem I see is that it lacks luster, it's not got that great sense of energy that something like this should have. But some things that I've seen that need changing is the centre point. It needs more too it to convey that sense of energy but also I think it's a little too long. The sparkles last too long around the centre, I want them to live longer as they leave a trail but they need to die really quickly at the centre. And the other thing is that I need to change the whispy ribbons that come from the centre, I think it's too expensive to have so many ribbons so I'm thinking I'll make some kind of whispy mesh for those parts.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Some Other Projects

So I've not updated this blog with other projects that I've been working on other than the environment. The idea of this is to have a gas station that gets by a RPG causing an explosion then burning for a bit before it triggers an even larger explosion.

I had to render the second video as the actual render from UDK didn't render out the ribbon data on the RPG so that's why I had to do a screen capture so that's why it's a little worse quality.

Initially I was having a lot of trouble understanding how the flame would expand and grow over time so I just whacked out a quick sketch just to clarify things for me so I'm not so stuck in my head with things.

But I've got some really great feedback about this and now I've got a better idea of what to work on and where to take it. So it's all good :)

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Brief Update

So just a brief little update of what I did yesterday. I've put in some rain but I think it's barely noticeable so I need to make it more visible and increase the quantity. I just think that it doesn't gel with the rain shader, the shader shows a much heavier rainfall than the particle emitter.

I also put in some fog to add some atmosphere into the level. I think it compliments the steam and the wet damp feeling well. But I think it might be a bit overpowering right now so I'll probably go in and tweak it. 

The next thing that I feel I need to address is the lighting and colour palette, it's just not popping right now. So I think that I'll take it into photoshop and play around with the contrast and hue/saturation and try and see where I want to take it.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Bit Of An Update

So I realised that I've not updated my blog in a while. Mostly that's because I've been working on other projects the past couple of weeks (that I'll make an update for soon, probably over the weekend) but even so I've made some minor improvements. 

Since you've last seen it, I've got the rain shader up on almost everything (although I'm still working on generating some of the textures for it and then I'll need to finesse it). And I've started to reimport things with their light maps so hopefully it'll start to look a little nicer and then I'll get to work and polishing out the lighting.

So I still have ways to go. I've still got to finish off making light maps for everything and then finish off the rain shader completely and then hopefully I'll have some time to just dive in and make some fx to really help sell the environment.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Pipes Galore

Ah so I've finally got all the pipes into my scene. It took me a lot longer than I had expected, probably due to laziness and apathy more than anything, I just couldn't look at anymore pipes. So here are just a couple of shots showing all the pipes in level.

And this last one is what they look like from ground level. You can't see them all that well to be honest but I think they give the scene this sense of compactness, which is what I liked about these types of alleyways in the first place. And once I've got random bits of steam and running water off them I think they'll add a great deal of atmosphere. 

But the most important thing is that with this comes the last of the assets that need to go in. Now obviously I've only populated the alleyway but the areas that I'll block off will simply be done by me duplicating sections of the level so it won't take me long to fill those out later on in the project. So my task for today is to get the Up Vector working on my rain shader and hopefully I can generate the flipbook ripples for the ground textures and get that in and that should be the rain shader almost finished. 

However I think this is the last I'll look at it for a while as I've been feeling really stagnated in my work. So now that I have everything in level I can afford myself a break and make some big explosions cause at least that's fun :)

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Some Little Bits

Just thought I'd shove up some little progress shots. So yesterday I just spent the day doing a few tweaks here and there. I created some new diffuses for the role up doors so that now it doesn't look like the same one repeated over and over. I also made some emissives instead of simplying using the diffuse again, what it was just to see roughly how they'd look. But at least now my bollards don't glow. And I also generated a cube map, I know it's a little early to be doing it but my rain shader looked awful with a sunny sky cube map I'd borrowed from UDK just to see if it was working. 

I also remembered that I'd not shown that I had put all the signs in my scene yet. It's only a sort of temporary placement as they're a little too statically placed. I'll probably move them around and the like today when I finally get round to putting all the pipes in level.

So that's my major task for today, to try and finally get some of the pipes in level. First assets to be finished last to go in. I also might get bored and tweak the steam as it's very WIP at the moment. And who knows, I might even get bored enough that I build the rain particle.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

A Little Progress

So I've started working on the lighting a little bit to try and get it closer to what I had envisioned, it's obviously not there yet, not even close. But at least it's a step in the right direction. I've got the overall colour scheme better and I've put in lights to back up emissive light sources but now I feel that they're a little too bright and kind of wash out the scene so I'll have to go back and finesse them. 

I have also made a start on the rain shader. It's only really a base right now but it just helps me to know where I've got to take my scene. I've still got to generate a tiling flipbook normal for the ripples and once I've done that I can then work on the normals more as they seem a little intense. Once I've done all that I can then go and do the work with the up vector stuff so that the shader will show either ripples or running rain water depending on the direction of the normals.

So stuff that I've got to do still; I've still got some assets to place in scene like a lot of the pipe work. I also need to start on some of the FX like steam, I think that will bring in a lot more of the mood and the like. Plus it's fun.

Monday, 1 April 2013


So I took the screenshot and did some paintovers to get a better sense atmosphere and mood. It's only a quick thing but it helps me to know where to take it. But I was still having some trouble with the lighting and colour palette.

I went back to my reference to find good images of mood and lighting to help inform my decisions on lighting. As you can see below I've been just using some overlays to get a quick sense of how it will look.

Below is an screenshot taken from Bioshock because I really liked the colour palette and mood. Even though it's not accurate to the reference I've collected I think it's a much nicer tone for my level. 

 I think the lighting and tone in these last two is much nicer than the ones that try to adhere to the reference. I've found this very useful to help understand where I need to take my level now. Hopefully it can get me on the right path now.


I know I've not updated in a while so I thought I'd take some time to just show where the projects at at the minute. I've started to put my assets into the scene now. I think it's definitely been improved by taking a step back and redoing it but I have cut it down by half so that it's not so noticeable that I'm reusing a lot of my assets. Saying that I do need to make some new textures for some of the so it's not so noticeable, especially the roll up doors.

So here it is as of now. I'm not too hot on the lighting and the colour scheme so I have taken a screenshot with it having neutral lighting and I'll do some paintovers playing around with the colour and atmosphere.