Week 1- as this is my first week on the project there isn’t much that I have done apart from creating a moodboard for the three themes that I was given the choice of choosing as well as writing about the research I had done for “what is an environment artist?” which can be found in my project rationale blog post on this WordPress. I also had my first test of unreal this week by creating a basic level of a central hub, 2 rooms, and four corridors to practice for when I build my real environment.
to finish off the week I had created an automatic door that opens when you within a certain range. I am new to unreal so I’m slow to learn what I need to do but I’ve completed every task given for it so far and it starts to make sense to me.
Week 2- now that I have decided on a theme that I will create my environment around i have been thinking of possible locations that it could be with so once I had an idea of what my environment would be set and what it would look like I consulted with my tutor, Charlotte, to ensure that she believed it was possible and worth doing it. I told her I was planning to have a post-apocalyptic game set in a destroyed section of a city that has been taken back over by nature. she suggested that it could be too hard to keep it contained to one area so I thought of the solution of closing off the area by having fallen debris blocking the ways out, she says that could work so that how I will design my environment. because of I now know what I need to build my environment I’ve been able to create the asset list for the environment which lists every part of my environment, listed what how I’ll be using each of the assets listed as well as created a moodboard so I have inspiration for each of the asset. I have also added new assets into my games including a door that you have to press a button to open then a door that needs a key collecting to open the door, I did run into an issue with this door at first as the door wouldn’t open at all but after checking my blueprints and seeing that I haven’t properly compiled all of the assets I fixed this issue and the door started to work.
Week 3- as this is the final week for my research to be completed that’s mainly what I have been doing. I have had a look through my blog and either added something in that I had previously missed out or I have redone something that wasn’t quite right. an example of this was my “What is an environment artist?” that I had written in my project rationale. although I had included all the important information I was meant to, it was how I wrote it that made it confusing so I’ve re-written it so I can get higher than a pass. apart from the research I also learned how to animate in 3DS Max. my tutor showed us how to get a ball to roll from one side of the screen to the next using keyframes. once that was done he gave us the chance to try out 3DS max and see what we could create, I added a new sphere and have them collide together and then fly around and collide again over and over to create a very basic looking fight scene.
Week 4- this was the week where I first started on building my environment and the first thing I need to do for my building is to build the blockout so later on in the development I can simply add the final assets onto the blockout. the first object that I had created a blockout for is the memorial as that in the center of the level as such I can scale everything around it to ensure that’s my level looks the right size to be a realistic looking section of a city. it also one of the more simpler objects within my level, as it only needs a few boxes, cylinders and one cone that I changed to be four-sided, so while building the object I was getting use to unreal as this was the first time using it create a blockout.
the image above shows the memorial that I had created within unreal, I managed to create the risen areas by using two cylinders one larger than the other. I centered the smaller cylinder inside the other before changing the smaller brush type from additive (a visible shape) to subtractive which makes the shape invisible and cuts out other parts of the objects as seen above. I believe that for my first attempt at blocking out that I have done, however as previously mentioned it is a quite basic shape as such I am unsure how well I will do with other more complicated objects of my level.
Week 5- continuing on from last week, I’m carrying on with building the blockout for my level. last week I had built the memorial for my environment so this week I am going to build the rest of the garden around the memorial. I am going to do this by using boxes to create a path and outlines of the garden and use landscapes sculpt tool to create the more bumpy and curvy land as the grass wouldn’t look realistic if I had simply used straight boxes. I also started to add some buildings around the environment using them to block off the level to stop the player from getting out of the intended playable area.
once I had finished the garden I ran it in game so I could run around it and make sure it was all to size. I realized that I had done it all too short as it didn’t look realistic so to fix this issue I simply selected all the geometry that I had used for the garden and stretched it to save me from having to repeat the whole process again wasting a massive amount of time. I also started to learn how to build lighting within unreal, I tested all the different lights to see which one would work for the best for my game and found that the point light was the best for what I had in mind. I originally didn’t think about lighting within the game but after consideration decided to add in lighting by using candles, what I mean is use a point light that has been tinted orange to create a glow of a candle. I decided to go with candles over a traditional light because I feel like it matches the post-apocalyptic theme better. although I have to include a lot more candles into the level than if I had used a normal light, this shouldn’t be a problem as long as I remember to add the candle asset to every single light or it will unnatural.
Week 6- I wanted to complete as much of my blockout as possible this week so I can start my assets next week to ensure that I have enough time to complete every aspect of my environment. I continued adding in boxes that will be my buildings into unreal using the google maps below as reference, any area that isn’t blocked off with buildings, mainly the roads, I am going to block off with debris from fallen building as its the easiest way to prevent the player from exiting the level that also fits with the theme. I am also using that tall building in the top left of the map so that the player can explore it once they have found the hidden key within the level, this will be used as my puzzle element for the level as well another area of the level to add diversity and more interesting.
week 7- now that This week I have started creating the assets that will be used over the blockout of the environment. I designed a modular wall and a tree so far that will be placed into my environment once the rest of my assets are done. I did this by using 3ds max by placing a tall thin wall into 3ds max, add some editable polys onto it and extruded two segments to create the door and window of the shop front. as you can see in the pic below they’re two lines that you can see across the door. this is because I did something wrong while bridging the two segments together causing the lines to appear, I don’t know how to get rid of the lines but luckily enough for the shops I am going too bored the winds and door so players know that they are not to be entered, so I can create a separate board and simply place it over the window and door to create a more abandoned look.
Week 8- there hasn’t been anything that I have specifically focused on this week instead I have reviewed all of my previous work that has been written onto my blog to make sure it’s correct and up to a high standard for progress week next week. most of the work was there from what I could see the only aspect that was missing was the survey results that I had collected about my game. I had included them in the blog but for whatever reason had forgotten to annotate them. I finished annotating the survey results and now feel confident for progress week.
Week 9- this is the week that I was preparing for in my last reflection. I sat down with my tutor and looked through my blog to ensure that I was working at my target grade and wasn’t missing any essential work for the blog. he informed me that I had missed out a few aspects of my blog mainly the design elements like my blueprints which I had forgotten about because I have been focusing on my research. he has said however that my current work is a high pass to a merit so I only have to include a little bit more detail to my research before I can shift my focus on to the design aspect ensuring that every aspect of my assignment will be to a high standard.
week 10- now that my blog is up to date to my current point I only have these weekly reflections and my final evaluation at the last week of the assignment left to do as such I can focus on finishing building my game. this was the week where I started adding most of the textures to my game by simply dragging and dropping the texture I wanted onto the surface I wanted as well as adding my assets like trees and poppies into my level. I did have trouble trying to texture the floor as I thought it was drag and drop like all the other textures but I had to select the plane through the settings but even when I added it the colour was black instead of the green grass I wanted. after some tinkering, I found that this was because it automatically made it so that the texture was an emissive colour whereas I needed it to be base colour so I went into the texture setting and changed it fixing the problem.
week 11- carrying on from last week I started adding the rest of my assets and texture into the environment getting ready for the recording I’m going to do for it showing off my level. I have done this so I can include the video on my blog and people can see my level without having to play it.
week 12- this is the final week of the project as such its the week where I’ve looked back through all of the assignment and written my final evaluation talking about the four aspects of my assignment what went well and what didn’t go to plan within them and what ill do to avoid the problems for my next assignment as well as a conclusion.