About Me

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Leicester, United Kingdom
Studying BA (Hons) Game Art Design at De Montfort University. It continues to be challenging as much as rewarding. Primary outcomes include 2D and 3D projects and 2am coffees.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

So apparently we're now a Club

The group project has had a good flow recently, following our successful presentation earlier this week showing everyone our Wips and initial ideas, we were given confidence that we are on the right track. Yet we've gone from Pudding Lane to Pudding 'CLUB', no one is that fussed so hey ho. At least our intended merchendice hasn't already gone into production! 

Following our pep talk on Friday we established the nearest locations which would provide further reference for us. Don't get me wrong, prior to that we had already established a wide selection in our album, ranging from the internet, gaming sites, certain films and as of this weekend, books. Half of the team went to Rutland and Oakham yesterday to gather more first hand reference which we agreed was the next big step for us. Furthermore in the next few days we should be making our way to York for the same purpose.

My input so far is similar to others at this stage, After the London trip I offered to take on te role of beginning prop/asset concepting and modelling. During this weekly task I found the time to begin modelling them as well and wanted to be reasonable with my tris count since here is no budget.

The team felt that I had used excessive tris for certain props, and I did concure, although in my defence I had used them to mark the borders of the textures.
At this point the teams initial whiteboxes had been detailed further, I then did a paintover of a render from Dan's whitebox.
As for this week, we decided to all make a couple of modular buildings having viewed helpful tutorials to help as make tem for mass cloning. On this note we were told that CryEngine can withstand a LOAD more of tris, saying that buildings could be around 10k tris.

One issue that was flagged up was that all of our building would look similar so we wanted model significant houses that were services at the time. Churches and taverns were shot-gunned so.......

Butchers often hang haunches of meat from the beams of the house so the house on the right could easily fill that role.

Whilst I've installed CryEngine and included all of the plugins, I have yet to 'try' and import yet, part of me is still dreading it as I recall my reaction upon entering UDK for the first time. However a Q&A section earlier on put my mind at ease.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Emerging from seclusion

I'm still here!

Having confined myself to my room indefinitely for the past week or so. Having been relieved of a huge burden now that the Mortal Engines project is handed in. It was a long months worth of work and at the end of it everyone could not wait for the day to come.

Regrettably I spend over a week modelling my head, something that messed but my intended schedule. Getting to overall shape wasn't an issue but it was also getting the smooth clean flows on the geometry, a process which involves continuous welding and cutting. This project was also a great opportunity for me to learn Zbrush, once I got myself around the interface and shizzle it was an actual breeze accomplishing what I'd set out to do.


Throughout the process of doing the diffuse I kept thinking that my diffuse was too bland, not just from a low range of tonal value but the actual pattern. I felt I resolved this personal dislike by experimenting with the filters for the trousers and waistcoat, however I feel that more darker tones were needed to make the creases appear more strongly. My biggest regret still is that it still doesn't resemble me much. Even whilst continuously using photographic reference I had to make amends.
Moving swiftly along I received feedback from last weeks presentation. As I had anticipated my score was nothing special. However I was aware of these faults, whilst I personally felt more confident than normal, I know I could have spoken with more confidence- directing myself to the crowd and less to the board etc. I know that practically everyone of the slides in Mikes talks consist of only one Image, as it only takes one for him to get his point across to us. However for what I was talking about, I required multiple images collaborated together to make my point. I didn't bother with background colours or fancy font as I felt it was unnessesary and was irrelevant. On the other hand one of my improvements was use cards to prompt me, I almost considered this however I felt that having this would affect my confidence. I felt that by going in cold and improvising was more 'bold' than having little reminders with me, but hey, looks like I was wrong.
Meanwhile the moment of truth came this week as well and now the Group Project for Crytek's Off the Map Competition is now under way, and I could not have asked for a better group. We have made a start by gathering reference of 17th century London maps, buildings and general atmosphere as well as moodboards. I look forward to using CryEngine as it'll be yet another new experience and that it is in some ways easier than Unreal.
Furthermore we're heading off to London on Tuesday to get some first hand ref and get a general sense of location. After which we can start mapping out our level and begin the modelling. Since the period we are focussing on is prior to the Great Fire of London, we have aptly named ourselves Pudding Lane, as it was where it originated from. Check us out on CryDev.

The World of the Game Engines

Having only used a game engine for the first time a fortnight ago, It was a whole new world and I'm glad I caught on to UDK rather quickly (after much frustration/trial and error) since these pretty much summarise the remainder of this year and the whole of next year. Eeep. However it was also a lot of fun, being able to interact and blast it and all that. Know I'm familiar with file formats and the collisions I am hopeful that my issues won't arise again.

With the building the models we made were linar and cubiod in nature, so our collision meshes did not have to be elaboratly complex. However in future we will be importing meshes with more detail and may require collisions that require more definition. It is m sincere hope that that does not affect the muli/sub object or the collisions.

Unreal Developers Kit is currently in it's thrid generation, it is vastly popular amongst this generation of games. It has been used for many renounced franchises such as Mass Effect, BioShock and Gears of War.


Easier UI as opposed to CryEngine
Compatable for multiple platforms
Multiple rendering options
Ability to rescale/shape your assets as you do in Max


Soon to be replaced with Unreal Engine 4
Not capable of rendering outdoor environments to its maximum potential, due to having only four dynamic lighting modes.

Crashes Often, from personal experience due to multiple file locations etc
Not many basic tutorials for beginners like I was

CryEngine has been mentioned by senior students who are contemplating using it for their FMPs, I have yet to see it myself so I am optimistic about this. Certain things that caught my attention about it was that:

Crashes far less than Unreal Engine
Higher class rendering, allowing assets to appear more realistic
Works more smoother than Unreal
Excels in exterior environments
Still improving after the thrid version

Having only been released rather recently, it has not got many titles to its name.
Where Unreal can be run for multiple platforms, Cry is restricted to the primary three, Playstation, Xbox and PC

Both of these primary two clearly have their ups and downs, part of me would be happy to continue using Unreal simply due to the fact that I know know what I'm doing (so far), having said that I would gladly trade for an alternative that would allow me to import more meshes and information at once without the risk of crashing or the ruthless 'Not Responding'.

There is also another engine which whilst is new to me is Unity, it is far cheaper than the previous two engines and for that reason it is more common. Despite this however it isn't as detailed and adcanced so it has its limitations as to how much it can do to compete with them. However like Unreal it is compatable with more platforms than just the three primary game formats.