Thursday, 29 March 2012

First building - the Pub

So as I said in another post, I wanted some specific building in the vicinity of the bank. Interesting an detailed. Then the level of detail would be simplified on building that will be further away from the playable area (LOD).

So I decide to start with what will be the more complex of the bunch. Or should I say the most assets of the bunch.

A pub/ bistro was an element I wanted to add. As the area is of a financial setting I decided to name the pub "The Vault". Pubs in specific area of a town or city generally have names based on things close by. For example there is a club named the vault in Leicester that is near a bank. So the first thing I did was create the logo I wanted to have this for the sign and on those little partition walls you see outside pubs and bistros.

As this is my first building I wanted to talk about my workflow. All my  buildings start of with the texture. I've gathered allot of reference from around Leicester and London to create a set of buildings for the scene.

First step is to correct the perspective of the building from the picture. The best way to do this is use the lens correction filter in Photoshop.

 Its also impoertand to use lines and grids to make sure everything is perfectly square.

To finish of I use the stamp to remove artefacts that will make the section of the build look repeatable. Especially the windows. These need to look neutral.

This can be seen the most in this picture. The reflection  is very strong so I will need to remove them as I will be having allot of these windows lined up next to each other.

Here is another example of another piece I will use for the building. I like to use trim pieces at the bottom of the building as these tend to have dirt and help the building blend in with the pavement.

Just a case of correction again and removing the two black grates. 

This piece is then copied into its own document so I can use the offset filter and make it seamless.

Here are some of the assets I have so far. Still need to do a couple more such as the sign and doors.

The last two shots show what I have so far for the building. I'm happy with this so far but I still need to add elememts such as a trim at the top and create some "A" boards to go on the street.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012


As the Pillars are assets the player will be walking past, it was important for the base to be of a high quality. As they are tall the tops are far from the player so I reduced the level of detail. The top of the pillar was created with just a low poly model but the base and middle section was high poly. Then from that I created the low poly version and baked out a normal map.

It was also important to create a high poly model as the mid section has indentations. Even at the lowest possible resolution in the mesh the tri count would have been very high. The normal map created some nice Lighting, but looking staright on without and light to catch the edges, the indentations couldn't be seen. An ambient occlusion map was baked out with the normals. This is then overlayed on the diffuse texture. This made the details pop and read a lot better.

The Bank

Got the bank 99% finished. Need to tweak some of the colours in the teaxtures to make them all fit together better.

The above picture is the bank i referenced from Leciester. Key features i wanted to include was the main archway, he tall sindows, th pillars and the facades.

As the original bank connected straight onto the street i had the idea of creating a large anopy held up by large pillars. This is a very common feature of banks in london including the royal exchange (pictured above). This is another building that stood out to me on our visit to london. I drew alot of insperation rom this build especialy with the frot plaza area.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Fountain progress and Water

Created the base for the fountain. I haven't been able to find any decent fountains yet. On-line research hasn't found much either and the library only had one book on fountains that wasn't that useful. from what I did find was how the base of fountains are made. I know I want to have jets of water come from the bottom bowl. This is the reason for the shape. out of all the fountains I have looked at, I found this shape to be the most interesting as it combines rounded and angular shapes.

The water is my second attempt as I made the shader for the water we had in our group project. This one uses cube map reflection instead of real time reflections. This will save memory and boot performance. I didn't feel it necessary as its such a small volume of water. Plus ill be having reflections on one of my buildings. UDK doesn't like to have to many real time reflection in the same scene so making sure to keep to just one is a must.

Also as the water is very erratic the reflection is hard to see. Its looks a little strange at the moment to have the water move so much. the reason for this is I will be including particle effects that will be hitting the water thus creating large ripples across its surface.

Police Car

Finished the model for the police car. No texture yet but I have textured the wheels and the interior. As this is a low poly asset, to save tris I kept the interior very simple. Hence the reason it is dark. The important thing is for the player to see the silhouette and have them acknowledge it exists. The whole asset is just over 5000 tris.

I set up a test shader to see how the reflection on the glass and body work will look. When I finish the texture will create a mask so that the reflections are only visible on the metal and glass.

Street assets

By going with the 4 lane road it needed a crossing in the centre. This would not only be true to real life but also add interest to what would otherwise be a vast plane of tarmac. After looking around Leicester i found a road that was identical and had a look at how the lights were set up.

With the crossing in place I started to see symmetry within the layout of the level that I hoped would be broken up by the crossing. This wasn't the case as the assets are mainly tall or very thin. So I decided to move the street opposite the bank from directly across, and move it of centre to the side.

 This also gave me the idea to have the glass building I have planned to include in the level to be directly opposite he bank. the idea behind adding the glass building was to have it reflect in real time the surrounding level again add more interest instead of just having row upon row of plain buildings. The question was were would I place it? I wanted to have in it a place that would provide the most interesting reflection. So having it reflect the bank is the best bet as this is the focal point of the scene. Even if the player isn't looking at it, they will still be able to see it in the reflection of the building.

I also completed the bus stop and aptly called the street "bank street". All the bus stops I've seen have these advertisement objects at the ends. most of the time they are static, but to add a dynamic element to my level I decided to take on he task of having it pan a number of ad's in a looping sequence.

I created a long texture that had been equally separated in to 3 segments. As the texture has to be of the power of 2 to achieve the best shape for the poster I had to use a total of 3.

The material has a simple network set up. The panner is the element that moves the texture on the specified axis. Then a parameter is used with and appropriate name. This name is important to remember as it will be referenced in kismet and matinee.

Then it was a case of setting up an animation that specified the time it takes for each add to transition to the next and the time each ad stays before moving on to the next.

I also set up a the glass for the bus stop. From looking at real life reference, the glass is very subtle and clear its only when the specular is caught by the light can the streak marks and majority of the dirt become viable. So I decided to recreate this with the shader i created.

after moving the placement of the sun when i was experimenting with its placement the reflecition arnt very visible. If I decide to leave the sun in relatively the same place at the end I will tweak the material to show this effect more.