Wednesday, 25 February 2015

FMP - Building System

So Elliott has got the modular building system working and as timetabled this week was set aside for constructing the first pass of meshes in the environment. The system is great for blocking areas out so far and I'm looking forward to seeing how it helps with making areas pretty, I put this together in an afternoon, clearly there is much to do and will be getting more of that verticality into the scene (nothing has final materials or final meshes on at the moment which is why I'm only showing one colour image). Here it is:

Lighting is going to be really key, the weather I want to achieve is having just cleared up from raining quite hard so its not just grey but it doesn't feel nice, hot and sunny.

I realise I haven't talked about the pipes yet... So when I was in Berlin a couple of years ago I was fascinated by the pipes that cover the city and when I went back to Berlin after my internship I was reminded of the really interersting shape and feel they give the city. It kind of felt like the city was showing its insides, I love it, its full of character. It also seemed to fit beautifully into the city I was designing and if done well I could make the city behind the breakwater feel like its really imposing itself onto the slums, and disregarding the old town that everything has been built on top of. it feels like tendrils of the city's influence over the slums coming through the city towards the water. whether its waste water or taking in water is unimportant right now. I really like the idea that these pipes have become part of the landscape and the slum buildings are built over or around the pipes.

I'm much happier with this layout and direction. I have been struggling recently with the artistic value in the project and now that I've finished working out all the technical stuff with how to make tilesets fit together in the blueprint I can just crack on and make things pretty and focus on the technicality of getting meshes textured to a standard I know I'm capable of...

FMP - Inspiration

So although this isn't my main FMP blog I realise that I haven't been on the ball in terms of documentation recently and so the analysis, feedback and direction have not been very well explained or displayed. Lets get back on track!

First things first as with my previous FMP post I really want to make sure the  previous history of the city is clear. Make the viewer understand that the citizens of the city have built their lives as they can, the breakwater and the city behind have been imposed on an existing place which has built up using the resources available in a standard British town.

A quick paint over of the redesigned whitebox I worked out last week.
The man issue with this to me is that the slums don't feel right as slums. and the overpopulation isn't described and that is the prime thing that slums tell you, overpopulation. It doesn't feel like these people have been push up against the break water because of rising seas. So I went back to the reference, back to the inspiration to try and get the idea of slum living across. Kowloon city is obviously the first thing to look at to get this element across. The history of the city reflects an influx of people into a tiny area of land if you're interested there is an awesome video on the history of Kowloon

  • Verticality, verticality will be key. The level had some verticality because of the surrounding cliffs breakwater and skyscrapers but it wasn't in the construction of the slum. If there isn't much space where do people build? Up.
  • Cables, Power and Food these things are going to be vital to getting a sense that people actually live in this place. This is something that Mike Kelly brought up and looking at the new whitebox layout the buildings submerged further towards the sea it would make sense that these people need to get food somehow, it is a sea side town after all so fishing nets, fishing rods, buoys and even boats will make the city feel like a real place.
  • Mobility and movment the people living here need to have someway of getting about and as the sea wouldn't be too deep in these places and scaffolding is incredibly abundant in towns in the UK making walkways out of scaffolding made some sense. Further more the buildings submurged in the sea having slumstyle buildings built over the top of the building hanging off the edge made senese as well. Some variation in the heights of these will be important.

And Finally I cannot deny the inpsiration I've drawn from Killzone Shadow Fall, unfortunately the more I look at the game the more I can see similarities between their world and mine. I only played it recently after I had the solid idea of what the city would look like and well look at this and you'll understand the realisation that what I wanted to make had already been made
I have now decided to put all of my reference photos in a folder on drive so that I can show them on here, and I'm going to start doing shorter posts with just some stuff I've seen with my camera that will influence the project. In the meantime here's some photogrammetry I did and want to use for the project.

High Poly                                              Low Poly (150tris)

ISS - Getting there

So there is clearly some stuff that's not quite working in this image and its not just the materials. So I adjusted the camera position, rotation and laptop position I wanted to create a strong Baroque diagonal and realised that the laptop is almost sitting where I needed it to. After adusting the laptop now sits nicely in the focal area and the rotation of the laptop creates a nice flow around the image . I feel the image is working compositionally much better now (still think things need some adjusting though) and with the latest pass of materials its improving but still lots of work.

Problem areas:
  • Mag-Lite torch and handle creates a nasty coincidence
  • Velcro material
  • Glass needs some spec/gloss work (just flat values at the moment)
  • The sunlight coming through the window doesn't light the scene as well as before
  • Local reflections are a bit blurry and weird
  • Yellow tape on the tubes at the front needs to be focused on
  • Need some depth of field again
  • More clutter needed!

Update: After some feedback from EarthQuake on polycount and Rich and Kai from Creative Assembly I worked into it last night but not much changed making a new post seemed unnecessary. The electrical tape needs some detailing and work getting some crinkles in the normal.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

ISS - Spec/Gloss Tomorrow

So I started playing around with some lighting and post stuff after blocking in the albedo for all of the extra stuff. Tomorrow I'll get it into Substance Painter for the more detailed albedo, spec and gloss

Thursday, 19 February 2015


The extra stuff is all baked down, still need to do some minor normal details but this weekend I should get the first pass of the diffuse, specular and gloss maps sorted out. the laptop was particularly fun to model and bake, I'm hoping it will have some cool stuff on the screen but that's probably not for me to do.

FMP update tomorrow!

Monday, 16 February 2015

FMP - Direction and Material Update!

So over the weekend I worked on some of the materials after some crit the main issues were that the corrugated metal was basically all wrong. So I worked that up from the start and after that the old tarmac needed some attention the shapes were really overly bumpy and rock-like. I feel this looks a bit better in terms of looking like tarmac but it is losing out a bit on the albedo. When it is vertex painted on the floor with some vegetation growing out of the gaps it should look better. In the image you can see that the vertex painting shader is working now needs a bit of adjustment as it is fading between rather than being a harsh line but that will come. 

Unfortunately the green came out a bit more saturated than I hoped for.
These material improvements did involve sitting in my room staring at a piece of new tarpaulin I found and shining light on it, simply staring at galvanised steel to work out how to create its wierd specularity (which isn't quite there yet)... as these are the clean materials I doubt they will be see as they are now in the final asset pack or the material pack however it taught me a lot and should provide a solid base. I also started working on a material for the edge of the pavement next to traffic lights and around pedestrian crossings. This is a substance render, its still WIP so would love any feedback.

The other important thing about this weekend was that the art direction was bugging me and the whole idea just didn't really feel that great. I feel like I was a bit too locked into the technical aspects and wanted to make sure I make something pretty! and also you know make sure it feels like Britain. So reference gathering started. After scouring the coast on google maps/streetview I realised that the things that are going to make it feel like Britain and feel like the slums have been built around a city under difficult times are all around me, in land-locked Leicester. After going out and getting some reference my SD card decided to corrupt and so I've cobbled together some key things from streetview.

Car Parks would provide a good large area to build a home away from the water's edge. A solid road structure, pavement, yellow lines and glowing bollards will create a sense of a previous city structure before the events leading to the sea level rising. Older buildings having large signs painted onto their brick will give a sense of the heritage of the city along with newer graffiti this will give the place a sense of life. I've made an adjusted whitebox with these elements added into it and I'll do a quick photobash to show the direction I want to go with the project. I also tried to break down how buildings are constructed to work out how to construct the tileset and what objects can be found and used in the construction of the slum buildings.

The building in the distance with the scaffolding around the top will be half submerged with people having made their dwellings above the water line. This phenomenon will be scattered around in front of this area with signs of fishing, boats and power sources dotted around the vista

Thursday, 12 February 2015

ISS Cupola Small Update

I sculpted the leather for the surrounds and have blocked out the remaining props that need to be made and then I'll be working on the materials... still haven't decided which colour scheme to go with.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

FMP - Materials so far

So to start the project off we started by creating a pack of materials to be used either in Substance or as tilable materials in engine. I'm not too proud of the results but I'm sure that over the project I'll be working back into them and improving them, I want to end up sculpting the brick material and making less perfect lookin brick material with more cracks in the mortar and less well constructed for the slumstyle shelters. The materials are going to be grunged up and worked on but for the time being they provide a base to work from.

Painted Brick

Corrugated Metal

Breeze Block and Concrete Wall


Tarmac and Cracked Tarmac


Follow the progress over at

FMP - Concepts and Worldbuilding

So the first couple of weeks of FMP I was working on getting concepts down and doing some more world building and idea generation.

We are creating a slum environment pack and demo environment for our Final Major Project at Uni. Hopefully we will create the assets and tools to allow anyone to create a level or environment based in our city or just a generic slum environment. We’re putting a British twist on the city but other than that we are mostly creating modular, reusable asset packs.

The city is set in a large cove providing shelter from the harsh storms and winds experienced on the flat planes above. As time went on the cove has been slowly opened up by the extreme weather and the cliffs have broken down opening the city up to the incredibly harsh waves and storms from the sea. This city is struggling to survive between the windswept heaths and the destructive sea. To protect the city a breakwater was created which had little affect on the huge waves and so an even larger breakwater was created to protect the lucky and wealthy leaving behind a section of the city to face the elements. This is where our level will be situated the slum near Breakwater 31. We watched films like Children of Men, Snowpiercer, District 9, Elysium and have used game worlds such as Half-Life 2, Last of Us and Homefront as reference for various ways to create the depth of world.


After that I spent my time focused on getting the base materials down which I'll do another post for, we've also made a Polycount and Unreal thread for the project.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

ISS Cupola Baked

So I baked the Cupola down the other day and I'm pretty happy with the normals that came from it. and my progress through the journey of Baking is going alright at the moment :) Next up work on the albedo so I know where I'm going with the roughness and then after that some more modelling!

More clean future-looking version