Thursday, March 11, 2010

WIP - Campus House

I want to document my level creation process, not so much for others to see, but so I can track my own pitfalls when it comes to putting a complete package together, and hopefully make myself more efficient in the future.

So, here we are, day 1 of Gorgoroth (me and my roommates' name for our on-campus house), modeled to scale, textured and lit in Unreal. It seemed an obvious choice for a side-project because I don't have to travel far for reference ;)

(Click to see detail)

Today I primarily grayboxed the scene I wanted to work on (the living room) and then began work on the base materials.

I knew from the start that the carpet material would take the most time. I've never really been happy with the carpet materials I see in games - they all suffer from terrible repetition, flatness, or some other issue. In fact, carpets are probably the 2nd most butchered texture in games, the 1st being brick walls (imo).

With that in mind, I designed the carpet with multiple layers of Lerps, Adds and Multiplies in order to create natural-looking variation, and Rotation and Texture Coordinate nodes to ensure that the texture will never repeat.

I then moved onto the walls, which I used a similar process for. They're still a work in progress, and the ceiling is placeholder. However, I felt like I was spending a bit too much time on them, so I decided to move on and get back to them later.

I wanted to start modeling... And it made sense to me that the first model I make should be the light fixture - get the light motivated as soon as possible, right? (Plus I wanted an excuse to try out UDK's new transmissive mask feature.)

The lamp itself was just an extruded cylinder with, I believe, 15 sides. Fairly low-poly, just enough to get the silhouette right. I didn't bother fixing UV's for the black metal stand, since I'm planning on just using constants for diffuse and specular there. The one part I did make sure to UV was the top translucent plastic... I need a gradient there for the transmissive mask. And after playing with the values of the transmissive mask and transmissive color a bit, I'm extremely happy with the result - fairly accurate to how the light actually does spread through and illuminate the plastic.

So, next I'm going to start modeling from big to small, starting with either the couch, tv stand, or coffee table. I'm also planning on getting those doors and windows in so that we aren't constantly looking into the black void of Unreal space.

Next update tomorrow...

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