PHASEgaming

Jason Pook's Games Design Blog


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Client Project- Session 20-22

On the return of Easter as group leaders we was hoping to see our teams work over the holidays towards the project. Unfortunately when asked the majority of the group had focused on their self initiated projects instead of the client, this was quite disappointing as everyone was set targets and agreed to them before Easter. Nevertheless we proceeded with the group meeting after I stated to the group that we all agreed on a target and seen as myself and Phil was pulled from the project due to doing too much work on it and not enough on the rest of our work it was down to the rest to produce work.

With that all being said we had estimated we have around 6 weeks left due to no pinned down hand in dates, due to this we all agreed that to have a 2 week clean up period before the final hand in was a sensible action to take. This would mean we have 4 weeks to finish everything outstanding for every individual in the group, then those 2 weeks would be spent checking all the work for errors, bug testing the engine, and then correcting any errors that existed. This would be a similar procedure than what would be taken in industry, before a game would be shipped everything would be checked, checked again and checked again really. The final product is the key and will be on view to the public for example we don’t want to be explaining why that car is floating above a building its unprofessional and with this 2 week clean up period this should eradicate any issues.

Before Easter in the last session we had been trying to come up with a name for the project (see link for design process of name), with many being generated and one not particularly pinned down we decided to leave it until after Easter to decide on a name, this allowed anyone to have a think and possibly come up with a name for the project. With that being said we finally decided on my idea of “Old Town Memories”. I particularly liked the name because it had a soft ring to it, also it directly linked to our project with us designing a section of Old Town and with it being the 1960’s and most people will still be around from that time period remembering what it was like it would spark memories.

With the named being decided on the design documents for the public eye needed to be done. This would include things such as leaflets/flyers, concept booklet, logo/banner, and a bio of the project. This would be a general input from the entire group as the more input the better. My personal input was that we need a theme to it, a general style for each document which replicates over the other documents gives a professional look to it all. As for style i suggested as I did to David with the UI/HUD elements to research into fashion colour trends on the time period to try link it all in.

Closing the group meeting I emphasised the importance of communication, we need to talk people cannot be at any point in the dark now, if there are any struggles from any individual they need to be open about it so somebody can help to progress them further or take the work from them so its completed. Its crunch time and teamwork needs to be a priority.

Moving on, in-between session 20 and 21 we had a surprise meeting with our actual client John Netherwood the chairman of the Hull Civic Society. The required myself and Phil to take the meeting and introduce ourselves, our work and what we have done with the project. To have a quick and efficient way of showing the project instead of having them playing it, Phil made a matinee sequence which made a fly around of the project disabling all player controller input. Mr Netherwood arrived with his wife to see the project, myself and Phil proceeded to shake hands and take the meeting in a professional manner. We discussed current progress, features and our passion towards showing this to the public. Which we was confirmed with a venue of the History centre alongside the fashion students 1960’s project. Also a near certain of Hull’s transport museum in September when the Hull Heritage week is on. Then any other possible venues we would need to seek out ourselves which we had planned to do in the next session. We are also going to try contact the Hull Daily Mail to do a article on our work at its current stage and then a follow up of where it will be by the time the Heritage week comes around.

Overall myself and Phil was very pleased with how the meeting went, we stayed professional and happily had a back and forward conversations from questions posed from the client. Discussed what they would like to see from the project and so on, it was a really beneficial meeting for myself it allowed myself to gain confidence in talking to potential clients as we was naturally nervous about what they would think. They also liked the name of the project which was pleasing as we had trouble pinning one down initially so all positives came out of the meeting which was great for us.

Moving onto session 21 which will continue into Thursday as we presented all of our work since Easter on Thursday including the client work. Initially in the session we had a brief catch up on what work has been done since last week, this week we had a full group which we didn’t the previous week so everyone was caught up. After that Myself, Phil and our tutor Paul went to go try secure some potential venues for showcasing our work. This would test once again myself and Phil on our professionalism and communication skills. We initially talked to the Transport Museum in which we had to fill out a form to send to the governing board to approve. Moving on it was now open to us to try secure venues, we managed to get Fanthorpes on silver street and prospect centre as definates, then kapow, princes quay, st stephens, ferens art gallery as possibilities. Unfortunately a few no’s came with asking from shops like granger games and thats entertainment but we still tried, rejection is all part of it you dont get if you dont ask.

Then on Thursday we showcased our work for the client. My work involved completion of buildings on Trinity House Lane which were Wetherspoons, trinity market entrance, bob carvers, and Davids handed over building which is currently a coffee shop called Coco’s. I will now go through my building to their current stage from what I did in my presentation in a briefer form with a self evaluation for each.

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These photos were taken by James Branson (his blog) when we all went out taking photographs in the early stages of the project.

 

This is my model of the current Wetherspoons (we are unsure on the original building so may take artistic license to leave it as a pub until we find more). This building has taken me around 3 weeks with working on other things at the same time, as its a highly detailed building I think this is an acceptable time. I have put this down as finished ready to be handed over to the texture team and then to go in engine, the model itself could do with some time taken on optimisation but due to the upcoming deadline my time is better placed elsewhere as the optimisation wont effect us hardly at all and if needs be the texture team can go in to the model and delete loops or polygons to support the unwrapping. The building itself is 21,888 poly’s which with the fine details and complexity of certain features in the building I feel it is a realistic poly count. Issues I came across whilst modelling this was correctly scaling the sections of the building as it seems to be sectioned by ledges, putting the ledge in the right place so that all the window frames, pillars and so on was also to scale was key to the building looking correct. This took tweaking but im pleased with the end product and proportions of the build. The development in my modularity has aided me well in this particular building as extruding pieces like the window-frames, pillars, chimneys, lights etc was the same and only minor edits to the curvature on some parts was needed allowing quick development when adding a feature such as a window-frame. Overall being a later building in the year I feel my 3D skillset had progressed massively in comparison to initial buildings in terms of quality and speed, if any problems arise im confident enough now to quickly amend any issues.

These photos were taken by James Branson (his blog) when we all went out taking photographs in the early stages of the project.

 

This building is the entrance to trinity market, a fairly simple building that didn’t take me very long, as soon as Wetherspoons was complete the building speed increased rapidly. This building I have had to make sure it matches correctly with wetherspoons, i found the modelling of a section of a street so building sections together was far more effective as scale and alignment was much easier to achieve than when your working alongside another person and having to make changes once you realise in engine its slightly out. The building itself I found fairly easy as once again its a later building in my year and I feel more advanced in my 3D work. the only issues was to how to make the extruding shape around the first window in the lowest possible form, which i realise would be as a separate pushed in object to the shape rather than modeled in around the window. Generally the building was simple just swift loops for the windows of the building and door, then everything else modeled separately and snapped to the building facure. Another building im pleased with, finished and ready to hand over to texture and then go into engine. Only addition would be needed if texture team agreed would be the slight fence style look above the door which I thought could be done with a plane that they can make a alpha map to create the fence then a normal to make it pop. Thats only addition needed to this building I believe.

These photos were taken by James Branson (his blog) when we all went out taking photographs in the early stages of the project.

This building is currently Bob Carvers on Trinity House Lane. With this model once again the 3D capabilities are there too do buildings like this with good speed and quality at a good optimised level of poly’s. Not many problems came up, due to this i decided on certain windows when we walk past are sometimes open, all i had to do was select the window poly’s detach them from the building then rotated them slightly to give the impression that the windows are open. The group gave me great feedback on this saying they loved the idea and it makes the building looked alot more used and lived in even just with the simple open window rather than a plain shop facure. Again it was just getting the proportions of the building right in relation to my other models and using gathered photography this was made alot easier. I think of all my buildings I like this the most purely because of the windows, it just makes everything look more real and alive. Obviously I will need to make a simple box to simulate a interior as the windows are open and if a player angles it right they will currently be able to see the sky so a simple box interior will solve that problem.

These photos were taken by James Branson (his blog) when we all went out taking photographs in the early stages of the project.

This building is currently a coffee shop called Coco’s, this was originally another students building (David) but he handed it over to me for optimisation and the addition of an interior. I had decreased the poly count from just over 1000 to 238 and that was with adding an interior with shop window showcase area. Being a very simple building I dont really have much to give feedback on, its a basic building which took no more than 30 minutes to optimise then add the interior section using simple edge modelling workflow to then bridge the gaps. I did notice one issue, nothing major but pointed out in the presentation id overlooked the way it had been done at the front with the windows, and this results in N-gons in the gaps either side and between the windows. Simple fix with connect or cut tool. All of these buildings are now ready to be handed over to the texture team.

Here is a few pictures of the complete street section on Trinity House Lane:

I found that modelling a street section was far more productive and beneficial for myself as a 3D modeler. This was because mainly the dimensions, scale and proportions of buildings, I could use the other buildings i had completed and finished to adjust the new ones to make sure the street looked correct. This worked both ways as any misjudged dimensions could be effectively grabbed and moved into place.

Then for Silver Street I have finished RBS and started the silver street entrance to trinity market.

This is currently RBS bank building on Silver Street. Once again a very basic building wasn’t much to it just a few insets for windows after I had added loops to extrude some ledges. Because of the simplicity of the building I added a small shop window interior so that there is potential to turn it into a shop if we find out the original status of the building and if we don’t then an artistic decision will be made to adapt the building to possible a bakery for example.

And finally from the buildings i presented was the beginning of the silver street entrance to trinity market. This is a fairly complex but also modular building for frames and decorations, then a symmetry modifier applied will allow me to easily check the finished building as its only sensible for speed to model half the building if its complex when symmetry can do the work for you on the other side. This building is currently stalled, this is due to the final hand ins coming to a close we have decided for hand in and the public we have to focus on the texturing of Whitefriargate and Parliament Street, all other buildings will be put in with the basic grey block in the background to suggest that the area is under construction and will be completed for main showcase in September.

After we had presented I took the role off Abbiella to create a professional email so that we could email the clients that we had and hadn’t discussed potential showcasing for the project with. This required me to type 2 emails, both similar but adjusted for seen and unseen clients. Once typed it up I asked my tutor Gareth to have a proof check to see if anything could be improved or any key information had been missed. The final email also had a link to our latest video fly through of the project so that the clients could have a quick taster to what we had been working on and will be showcasing.

This is also the grey block video fly through we showed our client John Netherwood when he came in. I disclosed that this is not the final product but an in progress project we gain alot of benefits from public showcasing for our marks and the projects quality. This final email was sent to Fanthorpes, St Stephens, Prospect Centre and Princes Quay.

After waiting a few days I had successful replies from St Stephens and Fanthorpes confirming interest in allowing us showcasing our work. Fanthorpes was already secured from speaking to the shop manager originally but St Stephens was a fresh attempt of securing a client by myself. Since then myself and St Stephens have been in contact discussing the project and when we would like to showcase it. Coinciding with there times and available for displaying space, I managed to get us a showcasing date before our hand in (19th May) which is Friday 15th May. This required us to have a Public liability insurance cover which initially i didn’t know if we have but with contacting my tutors we do have a copy to send to St Stephens and prepare for Friday. Our location is just outside the elevator near the bagel food vendor stall, next week I will discuss with the group on shifts for the showcase as I personally would like people to man the project in-case any of the public wish to stop and talk to us about what we are doing.

A slight issue with St Stephens arose with my tutor Gareth with that it is the shopping centre/ area that has crushed the Whitefriargate area for business and popularity. So when we showcase there as long as we are displaying it as a student project following on from the previous years of the heritage project and our area is a section of Old Town including Whitefriargate, it can be clearly seen as a project rebuilding an area of Hull in the 1960’s and not a display to support Whitefriargate. This turned a few of the group off as they don’t really want any hassle from the public but at the end of the day its an opportunity to showcase our work that i have secured before hand in so participating in it will add to our professionalism and “getting our work out there” for feedback/review.

Will this just around the corner next weeks focus as that is also the session all the texture team should have the Whitefriargate and Parliament Street area textured, so the focus will be on promotional materials for our project. Any promotional materials we have can be a extra visual for the project for the public to have, which will aid them in understanding the project and what we do to make it what it is.

 


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Client Project- Hand In

It came around alot faster than expected but we have now handed in for the client project. Despite a recently blog on my christmas and session 13 work we was given a slight extension to our initial Tuesday hand in to the Friday due to some engine issues that with slight extra time would be implemented, also a lack of textures from most people was still to come in so we was grateful for the extra time. Despite that by now we should be tuned to deadlines having them done before the actual day so any fine tweaks can be made with little panic.

With this slight extension it gave me some room to do some more work. I could have gone many ways to add to my work like texturing my car but I realised this process may need slightly longer and not to be rushed. So instead I re-addressed my textures from the whole process going back to my first buildings to improve the general look.

When I went back to look at some of my early unwraps and textures it shocked me how far i have come in advancing my unwrapping and texturing skills. With some quick tweaks to early unwraps without redoing it all i made some more room for larger uv’s which means higher quality. One thing in particular lacking from some early buildings was that of doors and windows, early on we mentioned the idea of multi subbing windows to give a realistic reflection and look to the buildings but to do this we needed an interior otherwise you just see emptiness behind your building. I decided for now to apply some simple window textures which isnt as realistic but at least its not seethrough glass or a grey untextured area. Then for the doors most of my buildings are shops and with our setting being night time i just applied some shutters so imply its closed and locked up.

Here are my hand in buildings:

I was pleased with the outcomes of m&s, poundland and parliament street building probably because they are my later buildings to be textured i had a bit more knowledge to improve my work. With the other 3 being basic buildings not much could be done but correct stiching unwrapping has been done so cannot complain much just needs a bit of work. There was a minor issue with the windows on crawshaws they look very washed out and white also the bottom windows have some random shapes on them, im yet to figure out why this is its probably a quick fix once i figure it out though.

Overall very pleased with my extra work done in the additional time and feel i am improving on the texturing with each piece of work i do. Next is to tackle unwrapping and texturing the cars for the level, this may take alot of time but it will get there and make me a better worker for it.


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Client Project- Session 10

Following on from last session which was a group critique session we had set the task of texturing at least 2 of your buildings (if time permitted dependent on building size) i chose to texture 3 of my current 5 buildings leaving marks and spencers due to size and poundworld as it would be used for a group tutorial in session 10.

Texturing isnt my favourite part of the process but its one you cannot neglect or simply fly by as every artist should know a good model is nothing without a good texture as the texture bring it to life with colour or realism. There are multiple ways to texture as shown in my last year post on texture mapping which isnt all of the mapping techniques maybe just the most prominent ones. For now we are just doing simple diffuse maps for base colours, normal maps and ambient occlusion are to come after possible alpha maps if the building requires that.

During the texturing we decided to leave the windows untextured as a multi subbed objects so that we could find a reflective material in unreal engine 4 that resembles glass to apply to that area for realism, otherwise we would have to texture on a flat black window with a frame which loses some immersion in the game.

Here are my textures crawshaws and quicksilver turned out well but i had a slight issue on cheque centre which i will point out:

cheque centre texture error cheque centre texture quick silver texture crawshaws texture

As you can see for the cheque centre (brick and blue building) i must have missed a step of stiching the seperate pieces of the pillars together to the building to create a seemless brick texture, the texture is tileable just its an error on my behalf of positioning. The brick itself is the right size and looks nice though so i have packed my uvs nicely to give the main part of the building higher resolution.

I was pleased how quick silver turned out (red and white building) wasnt a difficult texture really just the seperate colours to uvw unwrap in groups then pack together so i knew which to paint which colour, for the main bit of the building its not plain paint its like a plaster so i have textured it as a plaster.

Then crawshaws turned out just as well as quick silver, i had a slight issue where one uv had been packed into the wrong section so i had a random green part on the white section but simple rearrangement sorted that out. As you may have noticed before i did the texturing i have added a significant amount of detail to crawshaws now all its missing is the elegant flowers on the facure which will have to be sculpted and baked in a normal map later on in the process.

Then gameplay elements had been discussed around the group as for the january hand in we needed to tick the box of an interactive environment which meant gameplay features like pick ups. Phil has been working on this already with a key to open a gate and now we are working for a ladder system to get up on the side of the fire escape on the bank. Previously we already decided on a treasure hunt of some sort but the main theme behind it has now been discussed, i took notes and we came up with:

  • Staue hunt, find pieces to make the in game statue down a alley off whitefriargate.
  • important 60s items hunt- Anything relevent to the period that was seen as important.
  • Music Trail- I posed this idea for the player to find 60s music to hand to the buskers on the street for them to play. Collecting records or music sheets with notes on was the idea of pick ups behind this.
  • Fashion Trail- also myself could be different trails for different styles of the time.
  • Narrative- david suggested a story behind the hunt giving it a meaning, which i posed a tour guide to show off our buildings would be a nice feature especially for the public to watch rather than play.
  • History Hunt- similar to statue hunt, our tutor Gareth said this would appeal to him finding historical items around the place.
  • Event related hunt- Idea from myself and backed up by James, we are set in the world cup 1966 so we could have items in relation to that scattered around the are
  • Pick and mix- suggested a while back you grab sweets around the area from different stalls for the ultimate 6s pick ‘n’ mix

We thought that maybe a multiple choice of which to do giving you clues to just a certain trail dependent on the players choice would be more personal to the player and adds multiple replayability for different trails. Moving away from types of hunts we thought more mechanics:

  • Inventory system (collect items to fit in a car boot)- barrie posed this idea so the player could see what they have in game rather than a seperate window.
  • Pick up description- when you pick up an item it does a quick pop up of the item with a rotation around the asset and a brief description on what you have got.
  • Treasure map- idea i had of items are shown on the map so you navigate to where they are (maybe you need another previous pick up like phil did with the key to get to it) and then it dissapears off the map, then wolfy suggested the alternate where they show up when you have found them so a suspicious blank area could be your next item (guidance by clues)
  • Gareths idea- multiple hunt choice bu still have all asset in engine but only give guidnce and pick up abilities on the ones specific to that chosen hunt.
  • Then a badge reward in game achievement for a completed hunt giving the player a sense of a goal to work towards.

A final idea will be pinned down shortly i think we are going for the multiple hunts as it gives up a wider range of asset creation and a better style of gameplay for replayability. The treasure hunt is a really good idea as we can position pick ups in specific places so the the player really appreciates the environment around them.

Moving on the task set of 2 textured buildings by next week had only 3 people manage it properly some had done but had issues. Myself and Phil thought this might be the case as we identified a few previously to be sturggling on textures, so we did a texturing 101 session using my building poundworld. Phil mainly took the session with some input from myself when questions was posed by the group, then i went round and helped anyone who might have not quite got it. It was dissapointing to see not all the group participating in this helpful tutorial which is invaluable to the project and would have benefitted that individual nevertheless the rest of the group really appreciated the peer to peer learning given. Mainly i worked with James on the topics of Pelt mapping, light mapping, stitching and packing uvs for priority to resolution. I believe he now gets the hang of it but if not we will notice on hand in of his building to the engine so it can be resolved and re-addressed. We plan on doing another installment to the texturing 101 series when we move onto normal mapping and Ambient occulsion maps to make the buildings look really nice, showing people how to go about making them in 3dsmax and editing them in photoshop to produce better outcomes on your map.

After this was done i picked up another building which is on parliament street, i am well underway with that as we speak and will post results shortly.

In the meantime myself and Phil started on a modular road system for the project, which once textured will really start bringing the project to life with the buildings. This was tricky as angled roads and junctions splitting off the multiple roads require quite alot of tweaking and correct snapping but currently whitefriargate and parliament streets roads have been built to scale and snapped together. My contribution was whitefriargate and figuring out the snapping of the connection to parliament street using Phils modular road to get correct angles. This required many measurements we already had but then math to work out the distances from bottom whitefriargate to paliament street then the width on the angle of parliament street then to the crossroads junction at the end of whitefriargate.

Here is how i did it:

road piece design the junciton piece whitefriargate complete

As you can see its all modular and snapped together, then the road to parliament street is angled on 9 degrees to match the direction of the road, all edge snapped and vertex snapped together. We will implement a slight curve in the actual road when the whole system is done to add realism as whitefriargate does rise up in the middle creating a curve.

We plan to do an update video on the project in engine shortly for a detailed visual fly through for everyone to see. Next week hopefully the modular road system will be finished. And everyone has been given 6 assets to do over christmas or before if speed is there with another building. So we are really trying to hammer down now to push the project on, the faster we can build it the more time we have to add and tweak features.


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Client Project- Session 9

Last Session

So just a quick recap, last session i tasked myself with a few more buildings to do which i did ahead of session 9 which would be our next installment of group critique. Everyone showed there buildings and was given constructive feedback and some progress was shown even with people who had been struggling so this was a bonus. Myself i showed my buildings 1 by 1 the quicksilver, pound world and cheque center, they received very positive feedback everything was to scale in proportion and for the detail i had managed the poly count was on the low side giving me much more room to add extra details in the future.

The group critique is to show our professionalism to give others constructive feedback being harsh or actually praise them for good work. This had some issues the week before with some not following the trend disrupting critique, but after a word from myself during the last session to be quiet i think the point had got across. The group was very professional towards all people who presented and gave some useful ideas. For example on Abbie’s building Kardomah her positioning of pillars and window frame was off as i rightly pointed out and others added to how could work out the right placement like putting a texture of the building front on onto a plane to get proportions perfect. Phil’s building I pointed out the window over hangs were not extruded for enough out and had multiple indents to them rather than flat which he said was working progress to build upon.

As a result to this group critique it had already been planned in advance to get 2 buildings textured by next week, Paul backed us up with this demanding it be done as the project should be alot further on. Myself i did 3 textures of my buildings and i left 2 for the next session which me and Phil have planned to take a tutorial lesson on texturing 101.

A rather brief blog post but being a group critique and it going well for myself with no improvements suggested it was just straight onto texturing buildings.