PHASEgaming

Jason Pook's Games Design Blog


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Client Project- Session 14

Recently we all had our hand ins at the beginning of January, this was a mock deadline for us set to give us a halfway tutorial point from our tutors to give feedback on our work so far. Last blog of mine for client was some final tweaks to my hand in like improved textures. I managed to hand in on time and made sure that the engine was functional with Phil for all the learning objectives in the interactive environments module as well as peoples work handed to us to go in engine.

Moving on from that during the assessment period myself and Phil as team leaders discussed how we can try a new way of keeping everyone engaged in the project with faster work rate, this was because towards the end of the semester people was saying they didn’t enjoy doing for example 3D or a specific area of 3D like buildings. This gave an idea of a industry style pipeline to be implemented, this means that the group would be given a chance to partition into groups (maybe people they don’t normally work with) to work in smaller mini teams showing collaboration in their given specific areas. For example one person may think after this course they want to be a concept artist, so we would allocate that person to the art team. This would mean they focus mainly on the art side of work so concepts, public visuals (logos etc.) and texturing. Despite this it would not give them total immunity to 3D and other work as it is needed from everyone just they will have less of it than the 3D team.

Now this may not work and may take some adapting for people to get their own design process to adapt to the pipeline but if we can pull it off it shows we can work collaboratively as a team using industry practice which would surely add to our marks for professionalism. There may be areas that work and area that don’t so we can hopefully tailor the process to maximise our workflow. I’m thinking the pipeline as in handing your model to someone else to texture to get it back as its not fully optimised may cause some issues but im hoping the mini teams will definitely work, to start getting people to work with other people that like the same area of work and they will hopefully teach each other techniques for speed.

All that being said I called a group meeting to discuss this semester and last semester, how we did and how we are going to move forward. This was sort of a reiteration of Gareth and Paul’s meeting about us being way behind schedule and alot not being up to scratch. Nothing was targeted at any individual just a general grilling for everyone trying to hammer in that we need to pull together to finish this project. Mainly we need more work but we need speed with that, peoples speed of work is what could cost us so whether some extra tutorials or peer help would benefit the group wide up-skilling. To try implement that we are going to set deadlines, so a deadline will be set per piece and if the person does not meet the deadline then the work shall be taken off them for someone else to do, then its only yourself you are letting down the work is getting done just less and less by the people who don’t put in the time.

A few things was highlighted about re addressing our hand in work like texturing, texture quality, and optimising models. This was obvious from the hand in it needed to be higher quality but i just pointed out again.

I then moved onto the Hellblade development diary that i found, i did a blog post on this and put it on basecamp for the group to see. Unfortunately a few missed this notification so i did a little session where we watched the video as a group and then i took us through the features of collaboration, team work, design process, and adapting to your working environment. All of these we are going to try implement into our work as described above with the pipeline. The other thing was to do a development diary of our own, currently we have 2 development videos but we believe the style of the video Hellblade did was much more descriptive and professional that the process we have been taking.

We have now decided to implement the Oculus Rift into our project which when implemented into the project should attract as much attention as the last years Paragon project which had alot of views assisted by trying the rift. This is an exciting feature for us as virtual reality headsets seem to be edging into next generation gaming especially with Sony Ps4’s upcoming Project Morpheus.

This concluded this weeks client project meeting, we left giving everyone a week to figure out what they want to do in this project. But it was cleared up that they should not focus so much on what for the client project but a deeper thought into what they want to do after the course.

Then the remainder of the buildings was put into “to-do’s” on basecamp for people to claim and complete, this is just for grabs until next week when the 3D team will take priority over buildings.

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Client Project- Session 6 Group Critique

previous sessions (1/2, 3 ,4 ,5)

Moving on in our project from last time where everyone had been tasked for a building to do over reading week as a basic model, nothing fancy not the end product just a basic model to see if everyone was going the right way about doing everything and to give constructive critique to them if needed. As Group Critique is a requirement in a learning objective that we are marked on in the course we needed to take this seriously and act in a professional manner, as we would in industry. Personally I felt i did this and then followed up my critique when spotting flaws in some peoples models by showing them ways to fix it after they presented their work to the class. Not doing the work for them but showing them ways that they can call upon in the future to rectify certain issues. For example James had Ngons in his model due to not having loops where they should be and therefore having extra verticies in places, just a quick resolve using either the cut tool or the connect tool and target weld.

My buildings recieved good feedback from the group, Phil pointed out possibly the back part of Marks and Spencers was too far back in the model in relation to real life. I had noticed this but due to not having measurements of that particular area it was just a rough estimate. I will still address this issue and possibly ask Phil whilst i do this to agree on a placement, possibly throw it into unreal engine 4 in the block out to see if it has the right feel and look to it. Other thn that my building crawshaws was a basic model, the building having alot of elegant and elborate patterns or facures a basic model is alot to work on to the final product.

here are my buildings to the stage they are at now:

M&S-

m&s basic model This all looks like one model due to having a simple grey texture placed onto all the seperate pieces, but all i did was model the building in a half then sue the symmetry modifier to model the other half, after that i modelled every piece seperate the pillars the windows were just one simple asset that i have duplicated and snapped together in the case of the windows to create the illusion that its all one model when actually its just lots of seperate pieces attached together to make a model. Im very leased with the progress of this so far and the scale has been nailed to a the tee thanks to the meter wheel making modelling alot easier for me.

Crawshaws-

crawshaws basicThen this is what is now crawshaws (still unconfirmed on what it was in the 60s as been unable to find any reference of it as of yet) looks alot more unfinished than m&s this is partially due to m&s taking longer but also because crawshaws has a very elegant facure with flowers and grapes etc on the building. so without them it is quite bland looking, i still need to model the top dome window part. And as you probably can tell due to not being on one side i havent needed to symmetry it yet otherwise it would be a step too soon. So thats where im at, i felt i could have been alot further along with this personally but this will be finished off soon no worries about that.

With all being said and everyone present showcasing there buildings for critique i decided to take notes throughout the session to pin down any common themes brought up and also what our next steps could be, so that if its an issue the ones who are not having these issues could do some one to one tutoirals with any people stuggling to show our abilities to work as a group and give peer to peer learning.

These were:

  • Texturing- General UV mapping, where to go next with the model, using different types of texture maps to improve the model, light maps, altas maps.
  • Lighting- The use of lighting to bring out a model really show it off, interior lighting/mapping.
  • Interior- generally everyone just designed the building from the outside, if we are going for realism surely the players will see through shop windows into the shops so a basic interior should be modelled with appropraite assets to fill it out and possible assets in relation to the football world cup theme we seem to be going with e.g. an idea i raised was flags on the windows and doors so that we wouldnt have to model the interior but that not be the case for every store as they will have a reputation, like a jewelers they will probably just have a simple pennant string with flags across a window its still showing support but its tasteful.
  • Little details- many of us have little details on the facure of our building like my building crawshaws has some flowers and grapes aside the windows, we have recommended basic low poly models of these in 3ds max and then to import them into mudbox or zbrush to produce a normal map which will give them realism without huge polycounts. Which sculpting and detail tutorials will be called upon and taught by us as not many have used sculpting software before.
  • Put into the engine- Most hadnt tested there buildings in the engine but we should be at the stage no matter how complete the buildings are to be enchancing our grey block out of the streets from basic bsp. so a collection next week of the building to go into the engine will be done regardless of building completion as at least we may identify scale issues or snapping issues etc.
  • Texture importance- some people had over modelled certain part of their building. for example things like window panes  had been modelled in when that is a simple texture and gives generally the same appearance. Other things like pillars or window frames had been all modelled into one shape of the building, its much easier and less straining on the polycount to model pieces seperately and simply push them or snap them to the model.
  • Take into account buildings next to you- this will be a test of our group work, even if the building next to yours isnt you building you will have someone else next to yours and if its all going to work in the engine you need to make sure that they snap together otherwise we will have a street full or gaps or overlapping z fighting.
  • Topology- breifly raised before when i helped james, having ngons or loops where they should or shouldnt be can be of detriment to your model. Mainly in texturing it could cause skewing or stretching, its mainly fairly simple to fix topology but taking time to do it will be vital to the project.
  • Building specific collisions- we breifly dipped into engine ideas moving forward in the block out, what we mean by building specific collisions is most buildings have different shop fronts e.g. my building m&s has a fairly deep entrace to the shop front due to showcasing windows whereas what is now the card factory has a very flat shop front. So with that in mind building specific collisions will have to be made to give the game that extra realism and immersion, because if we did one simple block across both sides of the street the player would be confused why he/she couldnt at least go up to the door of certain buildings.

This concludes our group critique my personal reflection is that i was concerned slightly with the professionalism of some students during this as its such a vital part of our project, but the issue has been raised and hopefully next time this wont be a problem. Group critique will be a regular occurence in the project from now on so that any issues can be resolved quickly and effeciently.

We have had 2 students go on the radio over reading week promoting our project and asking the people of hull for any assistance they could give us if you wish to contact us here is where you can find us:

Hotmail- HeritageHull60s@outlook.com

Youtube – Heritage Hull https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBggxbowlU24GJvQVSM2NtQ

Twitter – @heritagehull60s https://twitter.com/HeritageHull60s

Facebook Page- https://www.facebook.com/HeritageHull60s


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Client Project- Session 1/2

Year 2 of my Games Design BA course has begun. And as a part of this year we have a client brief delivered to us by our tutors, we have been discussing this as a group over the last year due to having seen the work the year ahead of us had done for their client project (see here paragon past). As you can imagine excitment was reaching its peak when we was told we was getting the brief first day back.

The session started off by showing us a clip from austin powers

this wasnt the exact clip but it was to reveal to us the era that was the 1960s. Now knowing that we was told we are doing hull in the 1960s in the area of Whitefriargate, silver street, land of green ginger, parliment street and anything in view from these areas. To do this we would need extensive research on the area in the time period and time before as features of past would be there, for example the bank on whitefriargate i believe was built in 1842.

We as a group decided on the year of 1966 to pin a year down mainly, but we could choose to encorporate the england winning world cup, which would give our level that extra touch. In relation to this my personal interest is in cars and especially cars of that period owning a classic mini myself. So i took it upon myself to suggest i do the cars of the time period and before as old cars would still be on the road. To end that weeks session we suggested everyone search internet, books, archives and records of the area as close to the time period as they can.

The following week the group was all given a camera each in a team of 2 to go out and take photographs of the surrounding areas and each building they passed. This included rooftops (for scale), details of the buildings (like statues or engravings), if accurate enough textures of the buildings (as we decided on photorealistic textures in game) and views from the roads delgegated to them so from whitefriargate you can see city hall etc.

Upon returning to the class everyone handed in there photos to be put into a research folder. On reviewing these photos myself and Phil Maclennan noticed in game that we will need the inclusion of blocking walls, which will prevent the player on leaving the area we plotted these out and took view photos from that exact range so we only have to model the nessacery viewpoint. Also alleyways had not been covered and needed to be so we gathered photographs of them areas, but whilst we was doing that we asked Ye old white harte for permission of photographs in the beer garden on behalf of hull school of art and design. Soon as we got talking to the man running the pub that day he was interested in the project and excited to know more, upon which we suggested modelling the interior of Ye Old White Harte due to him explaining the pub is unchanged much since the 1500s despite a fire in the 1800s which you can see the damage to some of the wood. This was perfect for us as we have accurate photos of the period and a interior challenge to do. But it got better he was explaining about renovating the upstairs in the theme of the pub and questioned us if we do that sort of thing like level plans, so not only did we find an interior we have a possible client for concept art and level design for renovation of the pub which will benefit both parties which an addition of a event to showcase our work at the end of the year. Me and Phil was super excited about this and so was the rest of the group when we relayed the good news, this is still not finalised as we need to speak with the landlord but we are hoping it is successful when we meet the landlord.

A group of people have visited Hull history centre already to explore the archives, finding a family history event is held once a month to discuss old times which we thought would be useful sending maybe 2 people to ask questions as the people of hull could be our best resource.

Witht hat being said the priority is still the main street area and we cannot get carried away on one bit being the pub or we wont have a level and it wont fit the brief. But to excel ourselves as a group it adds that extra push for a great end result.

More to follow soon.