PHASEgaming

Jason Pook's Games Design Blog


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Client Project- Session 12

With the semester coming to a close we really needed to enforce what had to be done while we are away over Christmas, Assets had already been given out as a start but today Paul asked us to present to him where we are at in the project and where we are going with it.

Luckily myself and Phil had already done a video on this exact topic last thursday as a update design process video for the public to see on facebook or youtube. In this video we quickly review the previous video which was around 2 months previous making this video well overdue. Nevertheless a in depth explaination of our work would hopefully get everyone else up to speed with where we are and where we want to be in the near future.

Apologies once again for videoing on my mobile as we forgot to pick up some screencapture software then adding audio. Despite that we covered buildings, textures, modular road system, interactivity, life, vehicles, blueprints, assets, controller usability and then our next steps.

Despite having this we did not use it to present to Paul as its poor presenting if we just sit there with a video running, due to our contributions in the project we asked the rest of the group to take the speech towards Paul make sure they was all up to speed with the project then we fill the gaps if anything was missed. After all this was done Paul evidently told us what we knew that we wasnt as far as we should be, and reinforced the deadline that we had already set for buildings that people have to be modelled, textured and handed in. Hopefully with the tutors backing people will listen and stick to this deadline as most been set so far havent been met by all.

With all the being said everyone began tackling on with work for the final push on our last week, people who had been absent came and retrieved assets that was left. Myself I watched a few more tutorials on uv unwrapping and texturing as despite being confident in that area i wanted to push on to add to my knowledge for a better end product on my work.

Following these tutorials I learnt a few new tricks of the trade like using a checker pattern with numbers and letters on whilst unwrapping so that you can see distortion but also you can identify uv’s that are the wrong way or flipped far easier than the preset blank checker pattern. Other useful tools was the align vertexes in vertical or horizontal so that if you was to overlap UV’s you could make sure they was perfectly matched using these quick tools rather than playing with snapping and scale for too long.

texture

Heres a quick image of what i meant, so my van is built in 1 half then symmetry modifiered to create the other half for perfect proportions and also saving alot of time. This means that the uvs of both side panels will be the same so by unwrapping them both individually using planar map in the Y axis fitted and centred i could copy them UV’s, select the other side and paste the UV’s to give it the exact shape, but just to be sure you can use them buttons to align all the vertexes. Thats just an example another would be my pounland building with the pillars i did this process for them.

Now its the holidays and im going to do a seperate blog post on our use of communication that we need over not just the christmas period but the project for professionalism using methods such as facebook groups, fleep, basecamp (our provided and assessed way) etc.

 

 


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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.


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Classic Mini Model- Self Initiated Mini brief

Brief.

Over the summer i set myself a styled mini brief to try help myself improve my 3d modelling. I did this first by doing an rc car (see in my previous rc car process blog) but to step it up i wanted to model my own car. I own a 1996 classic mini equinox which is my pride and joy, what better to model that a car i can just go outside and see my mistakes in my 3d work. all my reference images are from my own car which i kept flicking to on facebook aswell.

This is how i got on i wont go into too much detail as it was a fairly extensive process, but i have captioned the process images to give you an idea what is going on and how i possibly did it.

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So with putting all this together and finally tweaking everything to my liking, some pieces i added for personal preference. I was basically adding pieces to my car that i may do in the future. This could turn out beneficial when im unsure on buying something on my car i could model it add to it and see what it could look like.

Anyways to the final piece i was very pleased with. I came across lots of problems all of which i felt i tackled well, pinching, z fighting, smoothing issues, verts where they should be, overlapping, and getting the reference images in each viewport work when i change the view angle in my 3dsmax view. During this process i learnt massive amount about how i like to model and things i can use whilst modelling like new modifiers. One inparticular was FFD’s (Free form deformation) this allowed me to use control points to edit the shape of whatever i was shaping e.g. i did this for my bonnet to create a smooth curve on edges and surface. The modifier i used the most was definately Symmetry, this allows you to do half the work, all you do is model half apply symmetry modifier and make sure the mirror is central so that the vertexes in the middle can weld together or adjust the weld distance so it fits your reference viewports. Turbosmooth gave the model the high poly realistic aspect to the model, this varied in iterations dependent on what was nessacery e.g. the rims for the wheels needed 3 iterations due to the complex shapes of the spokes whereas the indicators only needed 1 iteration.

Here it is untextured, im currently looking into Mental Ray texturing and rendering in 3ds max to give myself a realistic looking textured car model.

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So there it is..My high poly Classic Mini!

The polycount came to 879,277, a massive 563,715 of that beging the wheels which is huge in proportion to the rest. This will need to be baked down if i was to use it in a game realisticly, which would be a normal map applied to a low poly version of my mini to give it the appearance of a high poly model.

Update:

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Started experimenting with 3ds Max in Mental Ray texturing using some preset and adjusting specular and gloss levels for certain things. Anything that looks white is Chrome in the actual render window but i need to set up lighting for this to show i will get to this. I rendered it at a couple of angles to see what it all looks like, this made me notice the glossiness and specular of the paint was far too high so it would need to be toned down. Also the glass effect i added to the lights didnt work as i needed to apply a interior texture for the lights it did work for the spotlights, and im yet to seperate the windows so they are just part of the car paint. All work in progress.

All in all im very pleased with the outcome, the model looks just like a mini its all to scale. I must give myself plaudits for pulled this off for sheer grit and determination to improve as there was times it wasnt going right and i wanted to stop but fighting past that wall is the way to improve.

This actually turned out extremely useful doing this car as our client brief is set in the 1960s so i can use my mini with some minor adjustements to match the 1960s or previous model of the classic mini to go into our project. Due to my car the group wants me to do vehicles for the level as its not the easiest of modelling tasks. Automotive modelling really appeals to me and id like to pursue it further and improve more. Any feedback on my mini would be hugely appreciated and beneficial to my progress. Thanks.

UPDATE:

Due to uploading for feedback and critique on polycount, i have been advised to show my wireframes in my showcase of my model. So here are some additional images with wireframes.

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Summer- Self initiated mini brief- Process

The brief i set myself in my previous post i am now going to discuss my own process of completing it.

Pt1. Find or Research your chosen vehicle for use of reference when modelling (Your car/ images/ sketches/ owned item etc.)

What was i going to do? there is a wide range of choice and being a huge car fan i had to go down that path. Personally owning a classic mini i thought i would go for that…but then i didnt want to jump in head first with this i could come back once i felt id improved my 3d modelling. In relation to the brief it says representation of a vehicle so i decided a remote control car would be a fairly challenging model to build to start me off with this brief, and i could also build the remote to control it.

With that in mind i set to the internet to find myself some reference images, maybe some parts i could add like a spoiler of my choice as rc cars are customisable.  SIDEtop

So this is what i found, simple shape with plenty of features to model. like the suspension springs, screws, spoiler, wheel, tire tread, antenna etc. The reason i picked these angles as when i am modelling in 3dsmax if i set up 3 planes evenly and texture the images into viewport i can use them whilst modelling to guide me in shape and size of my car. I think i will do a slight interpretation on some features due to topological difficulties but we shall see how it goes.

Pt2. Once comfortable with chosen vehicle (it has to be real, no transformers allowed!) plot yourself out a design process to tackle in 3d modelling.

I realised that doing an rc car i could cut a few corners as there is no interior and just a base so one moulded block would show a built rc car under the shell. But first things first i set myself up 3 reference image planes top, front and side. This would allow me to get the scale of my model right in at least 2 viewports for accuracy to the model.

reference setup

As you can see evenly measured planes that have been aligned together with precision, this was just a simple process of create plane to scale, clone 2 times and match, then texture each individual plane with relevant reference image. I then selected all 3 and clicked freeze selection so i wont even move them by accident, it wont be changed.

The next step was the car shell, as i dont know what the frame looks like i decided to do the main car shell then model the frame to match the shell based on what id made.

The shell started off as a simple box that i scaled to match each viewport as close as i thought i could go,car shell but obviously there are many curves and bumps in the car so a box would look right at all. By converting to an editable poly this allowed me to use the connect tool when selecting edges, this is similar to the swift loop tool but if you do it in multiple connections its more even topology. I then just grabbed vertexes and moves them to fit the shape of the model, i did this in side and front viewport so it had the reference shape as if i did just side view it would be wrong. I then deleted all polys underneathe the shape as its just a shell and i didnt need them as other objects would fill that space. But as you can see thats far too sharp and boxed to look realistic it need smooth transitions of bends and shapes.

car shell turboTo do this i added a turbosmooth modifier, which gave me the curves i wanted i upped the iterations to 2, turned on isoline display and clicked on show end result when going back to my editable poly. i used the swift loop tool to create some air intakes front and back. Obviously i wanted to show definition of the centre piece and the intakes so a trick i learnt was to use the swift loop tool whilst turbosmooth is on and the closer to the line it is the more pinch it will do to your tubrosmooth to make it a more solid shape. With being pretty happy with that shape and it being modelled to the reference images i decided to leave it for now and move on to modelling another area of the rc car. to make the topology neater when i swift looped I moved selected ringed edges and use move with edge restriction to even it and space it all out.

I proceeded to the tire, from the reference image it needed to be fairly thin with a bit of a outer ridge like a tire does. I did this initally using spline modelling techniques, i put it in the front view and used lines to draw the shape of the tire but only from top to where the rim would be not the full tire otherwise my chosen modifier next wouldnt work. I then used Lathe modifier in the X direction to create my geometry, but it wasnt in the right axis, using the sub selection of the modifier axis i used the move tool to drag it down and create a tire shape with a ring in the middle (where the rim will fit). to create the smooth inner tire bump i converted it to an editable patch and used the inner handle scaled in the Y direction to curve this out and create the tire.

The rim was created by a tube aligned to the centre of the tire and a cylinder with matching segments to the tube facing eachother so that i could use bridge to create the spokes. Then it was just tweaked with a centre cap which i modelling a screw to fit inside, it was turbosmoothed and swiftlooped to pinch the shape and create our wheel in completion.

After that i duplicated the wheel when grouped together to have 4 copies for the car aligned them and positioned them to individual locations. This allowed me to model the axel and wheel connector to the axel. I then began to model the spring suspension for the car which is clearly visable at front and back. Being a spiral shape the best thing to use was the helix shape which is essentially a spring, once aligned to my object it was just a case of making sure it looped as much as i wanted to and tighten it up around the cylinder of the suspension with height and radius. Once happy all i had to do was go to the rendering option on the modifer toolbar and tick enable in viewport and renderer, this then thickened out my helix to a 3d spring which i could adjust thickness and sides for however high poly i wanted it.

tire3 treadI then added tread to my tire, this was just cubes modelled on the surface on the tire cloned several times in a row of 2 then every other cube being deleted to create a tread, once angled the tread on the inner part of the tire it was duplicated with the axis set in the centre of the wheel using the rotate tool on snap holding shift.

To speed things up i made a list of what needed doing to finish the car. I needed to model: a frame, a inner car carriage with battery latch, spoiler joined to frame, bumper joined to frame, a car antenna, a remote with ariel. Then i needed to align everything in position relevance, make any additions i may think of, use symmetry for tires to the other side, texture.

Here is the remainder of the process as this post is getting very lengthy and images speak a thousand words, maybe not in 3d modifiers but i will explain where needed.

I modelled the frame using box modelling to create the outer edge path of the car once donei used the symmetry modifer to mirror this to the other side, and to make the support connections down the middle i just extruded inner polygons where i believed nessacery. Then the inner carriage was modelled to fit above the frame but inside the car this made sure the inside of the shell wouldnt be seen and gave depth to the model with a simple addition of a inset battery box with latch. I then made the spoiler using splines for the edges of the spoiler and the handles of converting to bezier to sculpt the edges, then applying the extrude modifer for 3d element. Final touches were needed to the connection of the wheel to the suspension to the car needed a extra part and extrusions to make connections visable. Then it was final modelling of a bumper which was beveled to create what i thought was a nice solid look to the bumper, then the antenna for the car to recieve the controllers movement. Finally the controller was modelled, using topology creation in local for some features. It was all just a case of putting shapes together for the controller and extruding some polygons for features. And that left texturing after i added my air intake on top of the car which wasnt on the reference but i liked it as a feature.

Here is the final car!

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I chose a random colour scheme and then added some racing stripes, a racing number, some form of zig zag decal, and some racing sponsers of NOS and Falken. All textured in photoshop. When unwrapping the shell i used the relax custom setting so i had a more even texture when applying my colours this really helped in the end. Also to finish it off and complete part 3 of texturing and organising, i grouped all areas to eachother and gave every part a name so there was no Box1001 and if this was to be passed down the pipeline in a game people checking or editing would know exactly what is what. Grouping is key.

Reflection:

Alot went wrong dont let the process fool you, i had many a rage storm out the room when it just wasnt doing what i wanted to with the topology, capping polys and actually modelling the frame/spoiler took about 11 times as it just wasnt transitioning from one to another right with the turbo smooth applied. With experiementing on many new modifiers i hadnt used before such as lathe and symmetry it took time to adapt to using them and getting my head around how i would go about the next piece.

In the end looking at the reference image i thought well that isnt exactly what is there for me to make. But you have to remember its just a reference image its there to guide not to be precisely replicated unless specified so i was pleased with my result.

One tool which was a total life saver that i was new to was the “isolate mode” this is a little pink light bulb at the bottom which when you selected what you was editing it would hide everything else and focus purely on that object. This allowed me to rotate around the object much easier and nothing was blocking my view. Other tools i found useful: local- this allowed me to move or scale objects i maybe previously rotates and angled in the direction they was facing so the objects local. AutoGrid- when modelling something i wanted on a surface so say the control sticks for the controller if i put on auto grid it would create my shape onto the controllers face.

Overall i was very pleased with my outcome for my car. I am hoping to now take this a step further and model a proper car using the skills i have obtained here. The poly count was just over 1.7million so high poly work but there was no restrictions and i did use only what was nessacery in some cases it could have been alot higher.

Give it a go the brief i set is here.


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Texture Mapping

Texture mapping is the act of placing a two-dimensional image (2D) onto the surface of a three-dimensional (3D) object within a digital environment. There are various types of texture maps that can be applied to a 3D object and each achieves a specific result. These texture maps are designed to reflect the UV mapping coordinates of the 3D model that has been UV unwrapped.

Texture maps can be made from photographs or hand painted in a digital paint program such as adobe photoshop. These texture maps are usually applied/painted directly onto the UV Unwrap of the 3D model. UV Maps are generated within the 3D application from the 3D model and can be exported as a 2d bitmap image.

I will now list the various types of texture used within 3D software:

Primary textures:

Diffuse maps (colour maps) brick_d

Diffuse maps are the maps that add colour or texture to the surface of a model. For example bricks, metal, rust, wood or skin. A character or environments diffuse map is usually just one of three maps that will be used for almost every single textured 3D model.

 

 

 

Specular Maps (gloss maps) spec_width

Specular maps set specific areas of the 3D model to be shiny. Specular maps work from Black  through the entire range of Grey through to White. The level of white in a specific area defines the intensity of this shine. The whiter it is, the sharper the gloss. Good examples of this effect in real life can be seen on shiny surfaces, like metals, ceramics and plastics.

 

 

 

Normal Maps (bump maps)masonry-wall-normal-map

Normal maps are used to define a greater level of detail through bumps and indents within your textur, giving a more realistic look to the surface of your model. Picture the tactile surface of a brick wall. it has areas that indent where the cement in-between the bricks are and the bricks themselves have a stucco look and feel to them. You could just place a photograph of a brick wall on a flat place. However this will not react to the light source in the same way a realistic wall would. Adding a normal map enables the computer to calculate the high and low spots of your texture and apply shadows and highlights appropriately.

The 3D games you play today would not look as they do if it werent for the industry’s use of normal maps.

 

Diffuse, Specular and Normal Maps are the main textures used within games, they are applied to almost everything you see in a 3D environment. In addition to these three textures there are two other main textures that you should consider.

Secondary:

max9_paint_004Reflection Maps

Reflection maps inform the software what areas of your texture/model should be reflective. Like specular maps, reflection maps are grey scale images, where black is not reflective and white is highly reflective.

 

 

 

how-alpha-maps-worksAlpha Maps (transparency maps)

These maps indicatewhat areas of the texture should be omitted, making these areas transparent. These are often used for items like nets, chain link fences, cables and trees. To use an alpha map for netting rather than modelling the net, greatly aids in the reduction of polygons.

 

 

 

Slide3And when you apply together, diffuse, specular, normal and reflection it gives you a much better texture alot more realistic look to it. It all depends on how you want your texture to look if you just want a normal brick wall a diffuse and normal map should do.