PHASEgaming

Jason Pook's Games Design Blog


Leave a comment

Client Project Session 16/17

Through illness I missed one client session but have been informed by fellow students on the goings on of the project. In session 16 (my absent session) the group held a group critique so that we could evaluate if the new formed pipeline and sub-teams are working more effectively than the process we was following previously. From what ive been told much higher quality work and amount has been produced since the formation of this pipeline. This pleases me greatly as the method of industry practice that we have implemented has worked and collaboratively we are now showing that we can work as a team effeciently. For the rest of that session everybody continued with the work already tasked to them after Phil had introduced to the group the research on PBR (Physical Based Rendering), with a little bit of research we realised that UE4 our engine is a PBR engine, therefore all the texturing we have currently done is not going to be the standard it could be if we did PBR methods.

PBR basically deals with light naturally like it is in real life, the most common maps to use are diffuse/albedo and gloss then you can apply normals and so on. Basically with PBR there is no need to adjust brightness/darkness on your textures for different lighting in engine it is one texture that works for all the albedo map has no lighting information on it so its all calculated in engine. It the latest exciting thing in games that is currently being used in next gen games such as RYSE and Dragon Age Inquisiton.

PBR is briefly explained here:

Then an example of how amazing PBR can be is demonstarted in Quixel’s Demo Reel here:

A brief glimpse there of the types of maps all used just to make a incredibly realistic leaf. If we want our project to look and feel real we have to really look into this and learn the tips and tricks behind pulling it off for the project. I found this demo reel after a bit of PBR research one night and then showed it to the group, it just proves how amazing the detail can be all in texturing we just need to knuckle down and work it out to maximise the potential of our work. This project using PBR could we a fantastic porfolio piece, so this is now the art teams main focus.

Moving on to session 17, I return still not 100% but I dont like being off. The begin the session Phil had been showing me his progress on a portion of the street he was remodelling from semester 1 which he had now included shop interiors, this had been discussed earlier on in the year but never materialised. Now to show what it would look like and how it would be done Phil showed his work to the group and we delivered a group meeting based on interior design for the buildings. We stated this would not be applicable for all the buildings as we may be trying to run before we can walk but certainly for certain shops that we can show off 60s fashion, music and culture this oppurtunity shouldnt be passed up. This means more work for me and my 3D team but it will be beneifical for the project, one of the feedback notes we was given for the project at Hand in is that the shops dont look realistic when looked at because of the shop fronts/ windows by modelling a simple interior (possibly inaccessable) it creates a more naturalistic feel to the project that will further immerse the public in our work.

We then proposed to the group to do a section of the project each for my 3d team. By doing this models should all meet up correctly, be to scale, and having multiple buildings produced side by side by yourself will be great for a porfolio piece. The street i chose to take was Silver Street (Right side) this was because i currently have wetherspoons on trinity house land which goes round the corner onto that side of Silver Street so its only logicial to continue with that area. The street section chosen by each person will require them to model interiors (where applicable and approved by myself) and all assets related to that area of the street. For example if my street has a flower shop, that would require me to model flower shop related assets such as a flowers in a vase to go in the shop window.

After this i had a little talk with Paul my tutor, he expressed he is pleased with the groups advancement and focus since the return but as team leaders myself, Phil and James need to keep a close eye on who isnt working enough. To tackle this Paul proposed we set weekly tasks to the individuals in our team to complete by the next client session, this will make sure people have a sense of deadlines and produce the work. Now as a leader i have to dicuss with my individuals what they think for them is achievable in that period of time. I explained to each one of them this will be a trial and error thing what do they think they can do in a week and what they actually can do, so one week i may realise that as Viktor has sculpted a statue by friday instead of tuesday is that he has been under tasked so in coming weeks a balance can be formed to how much they can do. Its a test to show that those that might not always be in fifth gear if they complete an amount of work then underachieve in the following weeks they should be working harder as i know they can.

Alongside this obviously i have to task myself some work to do. Currently im working on wetherspoons on trinity house lane and my new tasked street is Silver Street’s right hand side.

This will be very helpful for the speed of the project, the sooner we get the streets done the more time we have to fine tune and improve every aspect of our work. With 9 weeks left times running out for us but we can do it.


1 Comment

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.


1 Comment

Development Diary- Hellblade

HellBlade_Teaser_Screenshot_05

I was just checking up on latest game progression and news on my phone when i came across a game in production called Hellblade. In this brief article was a video attached which showed some amazing work for such a small team showing me personally some of the skillets required for industry, and how broad knowledge can help a pipeline massively.

This game is also being made in Unreal Engine 4, the engine we are using for both our client and my self initiated work. The part what amazed me was the blueprint scripting for naturalistic blends of assets in environments which are a combination of photographs and textures to create high detail that of which matches what you’d expect in a AAA game and allowed multiple duplication’s of the same asset to be used without breaking immersion being unnatural.

“We’re not  competing on scale, therefore you have to compete on being different. Hellblade has to be unique, something you wouldn’t be getting in a big budget AAA experience.”

Here is the video:

This gave an insight into how to work in small teams to accomplish big things, the ability to adapt workflow habits to enhance production and collaboration, and ways in unreal engine we have not yet experimented with to create amazing aesthetics.

To my surprise this was the 8th part of a development diary from developers Ninja Theory according to Loadthegame it the best look at the game so far.

They go on to speak about character development in enemies and how simple adjustments in software with slight alterations in textures can create an array of different characters quickly and efficiently. The use of silhouettes to prototype different shapes and deformations of the body allowed a character designer to modify the base character add assets like helmets to create what appears to be a completely different design. A very clever pipeline is being created here are Ninja Theory despite the small team as quoted above they are achieving alot more than expected not on a AAA budget.

The idea of time distortion and using perspectives in both combat and world to create visuals and illusion (illinx) was one that could give them the edge using a different idea to compete with the AAA budget they dont have with a small team.

This gives hope to us who may want to go into indie developing as with alot of work and research that we can achieve high quality AAA standard work with just 1 artist like they have done.

The idea of the development diary id like to implement into my own work for my self initiated, with a development diary it shows my unique way of a design process which can be used or changed to create a solid process of producing work. It also gives proof that my work is not a one off and actual thought has gone into the work I produce.

Id like to thank Ninja Theory for this video as its a great example to people like myself as a Games Design student on how to work in a industry pipeline, create multiple iterations of work, design and develop work from start to finish and delve into new ways of working. I will now watch there other development diaries to see what I have missed.


1 Comment

Client Project- Session 5

Previous (1/2,3,4)

In this session it was about getting down to the grit and pushing forward, the was some suspicions of certain people lacking in work so we decided to address that and ask for all work so far to be handed in, and any research such as images to be printed off to stick on the wall. This was all done and it was evident some had done more than others but at this stage it wasnt so crucial but the issue of raising the bar needed to be pointed out now before the problem later down the line.

With that beign said Myself, James and Viktor had produced several concept art pieces in collaboration with the block out, this was to develop ideas for the streets blocking volumes. The blocking volumes are essentially invisible walls that prevent the player from further advancing to a part of the level that they should not be able to enter, we have these purely because out project is a certain area and we do not want the player to be able to go beyong this area otherwise we have to model more and more or they see blank nothingless space which kills the realism. So instead of having an invisible wall we thought it was better design to have some form of realistic blocking in relation to the area. Ideas that myself and James discussed was things like furniture vans delivering and carrying stuff across the road, a broken down bus holding up traffic or a parade of celbrations of the world cup and so on. To make these concepts we used reference images that were photographs we had taken of the area then by putting it into photoshop we created a basic greyscale concept of our ideas.

block progress 2 This is my first concept piece, this is down trinity house lane. I have place the blocking just after the indoor market so that the indoor market will be accessible, the blocking contains a market delivery van that is dropping off goods for the market such as a stall to go inside with like fruit and vegetables. The idea i had was that one of the boxes had been spilt and apples or vegetables could be spilled across the road with collisions on so you can kick them about. This gives the concept idea a place in the environment its not like ive just randomly slammed a piece of scaffolding there or something, the blocking has meaning. I go by the idea that in a game every object should have a bio to it or a story behind it, for example: who put it there, was it put there for a reason or convienience, when was it put there, why was it put there and where might it come from. If you follow that and can answer that in every asset you place and create your onto a winner. Back to the concept i have placed some silouhuettes of people to represent scale and how it will look with life in the street too.

 

 

concept parliament4

My second concept is on parliament street i was much more pleased with this concept idea as it could be used as a general overall concept theme for blocking in the area due to an event theme with the world cup celebrations in 1966. I placed a few banners here and there to give the concept height and decoration, the idea of policemen patrolling and overlooking the area to make sure that everything is under control fills out the area better. Research was put into this concept with the police car using reference of what cars were used for police cars, in this case the classic mini also the policemans outfit style is in relevance to the time period. I also added a tad of colour to this one just to make it pop a bit more than a basic different grey tone.

 

The purpose behind these concepts were not only to get ideas for the blocking volumes for the grey block, it was to up my skills in photoshop. Personally i know that my photoshop skills were not up to scratch purely because it was an alien program to me that i only briefly went into with the adaptation year 1 project, so with being on the blocking out team i didnt really have any involvement in the concepts side of stuff originally but personal drive wanted me to move into the concept side of thinks due to my creative thinking behind the ideas. So i did both not neglecting the block out though, phillip decided to take full focus on it with the measurements we had gathered over the weekend whilst i worked with the concept guys and also went into the research team reading “memories of hull” book which had been ignored when taken out from the library 2 weeks ago by the research team. Then when we returned to uni on monday i continues to finish the block out with phil gathering further measurements of the alleyways we had missed, then moving onto adding basic colour schemed bsp (basic standard primitives) to fill out the level with the blocking concepts in basic form.

here is a video myself and phil did to outline what had been done by us over the last week and what our ideas are going forward with the block out:

We apologise for the poor videoing method through my phone but we didnt have screen video capture software at this time so this was the first method we had to hand at the time. We outline issues we came up with along the process of the blocking out such as the FOV (field of view) not feeling right with the street size and the scale having to measure out all week with a meter wheel due to the map we had not being accurate enough to made a block out from. Our ideas going forward was a day cycle so having 2 alternate settings day/night so have triggered lighting of streetlamps to show nightlife as well as daytime. The rest is in the video i dont need to elaborate as we covered it fairly well. I clocked around 50hours over the last week on client work with working on the block out and all the other areas aswell. Everyone has now been allocated buildings my buildings are Marks and Spencers and what currently is Crawshaws, over reading week we have set a target of a basic model to scale and snapped to grid of your buildings with possible texture considerations, so nothing overnight and too much as of yet but a test to see if work is done.

I have now set up us a work in progress online presence for our client project:

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

so give us a like, a tweet or an email if you have any email in related to hull in the 1960s or the 1960s in general like fashion or transport etc.

Keep an eye out for us on Thursday 30th october as we are on the radio promoting our project!


2 Comments

Client Project session 4

Previous sessions (1/2, 3)

For this weeks Client project first off we decided to go round the group and see how everyone was getting on with work and research.

As far as myself. I went out with phil and took pictures of the blocking points from side to side for viewpoints, also we gathered better angles for concept artists to make images from. Ive been upping my skills in car modelling all week in various ways not specifically in this project but mustang gt500 is well underway. Looked into baking and lightmapping. Modular building. Bought graphics tab and started to up photoshop skills as im on concept team for now. Myself dave and phil began grey boxing of the level in unreal 4. also the map on the wall I added images with phil. Delved into more generic cars for the 60s like the zefyr for family cars more realistic research. Helped wolfie come up with some ideas for realistic blocking of the roads. I have collected blueprints for all the cars i intend to model by myself or with another student, these will be used as reference images on planes inside 3dsmax so the model will be more accurate.

With the introduction to programs Unreal Engine 4 and MakeHuman we now had more on our plate to learn and tackle as fast as possible for better outcomes, i decided alongside Phil and Dave to block out the level. We came across many issues with this using our reference map, first off we used the map for everything rough scale and size. This wasnt going to work as it was innaccurate. Because of this we went out and measured the roads width and length. This gave us accurate measurements assuring our game was correct. A reason why this needed to be done was that the field of view from the character gave us the impression that the road was way too small in width, we couldnt figure out why this was until Paul explained its the engine. So then we knew as long as we had the measurements despite what it appeared to be in the engine it was correct as long as we used the units correctly. The blocking out is well underway phil has begun doing the buildings in width and height so the level is filling out. The height has been determined by google maps street view using the average height of a door, so these maybe innaccurate but they are close as we cannot physically climb and measure the building.

Work rate is going to have to step up from everyone though as we intend to distribute buildings out to people in the next session to make sure people are cracking on with work. Sooner they model the quicker we can potentially identify any snapping issues or problems with the model etc.