Showing posts with label Hosticka. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hosticka. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

New Rimz

And the front is finally getting some love:

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Color is something I've always struggled with. This is most likely because for the majority of my life I almost exclusively drew in graphite. This problem most prominently reared its head during my attempts to draw scenes from my imagination. The only solution I saw was to spend a large amount of time doing light and color studies until it became second nature, something my current college schedule simply doesn't allow. That's when I discovered the fantastic website "The Dimensions of Color". I learned more about practical application of color within 10 minutes of reading that than I have in all of my art classes combined. These are two quick and entirely imaginary studies I've done by applying the principles I've learned:

I would highly recommend the website to anyone who wants to improve their understanding of light and color and doesn't mind technical reading.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


We just finished a massive crunch in 3D for Games class, so this seems like a good checkpoint to post some more recent work.

At the beginning of the school year, we were allotted 2 weeks to create a modular 8-piece construction kit that could be used to convincingly fill some kind of space. For my space I decided to limit my scope and model a kitchen, so I could spend more time addressing each individual prop. I'll post more specific pictures later, but this one example constructed from my modular props:

(click to see detail)

Then, for the next 7 weeks we were tasked with creating a "realistic environment" piece. We were given the option to work in groups, so I collaborated with Clarke Nordhauser (you can find his blog here:

Our concept was a 70's "shag pad"/studio apartment which had been ransacked and the owner murdered over a drug trade dispute. The most difficult part of this project was the transition between concept and final production, especially when in a collaborative environment, but I feel that we succeeded for the most part.

(click to see detail)

My Props:
-Windows/curved wall
-Retro Table
-Bean Bag Chair
-Air Vent
-Procedural Non-Repeating Carpet

(click to see detail)

My Props:
-Interior of Pinball Machine
-Ficus Tree
-Egg Chair
-Fish Tank Exterior
-Air Vent

(click to see detail)

My Props:
-Disco Ball
-Egg Chair
-Shag Carpet
-Floor Lamp
-Air Vent

More pictures and info coming soon.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Wine Glass - First Try

Glass cups have always been hit or miss in games, so I am attempting to make one myself and see how far I can take it. One of the tricks I used was to attach an inverted fresnel to the diffuse in order to create contrast on the edges of the glass and make it "pop", which is what most game glass is lacking. Not 100% satisfied yet, but here's what I have so far:

(Click to see detail)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Relighting Assignment from last year

Paintover Concept of Epic's Map

Final Render based on Concept

3D for Games assignment. Picture on left is my lighting, picture on right is Epic's original lighting. Rendered in Unreal Development Kit (UDK).

All assets belong to Epic Games.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Finished Character

(Click to see detail)

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Finally. First character. Done.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Character Model - Carl

(Click to see detail)

At this point the model is about 90% complete. Still need to finish the maps, fix some seams and do some touch-ups. I might play around with hair planes if I have time.

I'm pretty happy with it for my first character model.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Base Character - WIP

Very brief update, tight deadlines!

(Click to see detail)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

WIP - Campus House #3

Quick update this time - only difference is the new front door. I spent way more time than I should have trying to get the metal handle material to look decent. I'm still not happy with it, but fixing it would involve making a new high-res handle and baking normals, and I don't want to waste more time on such a small detail when there's so many large assets to still model.

The decorative door inlays are normal mapped to save polys - First, as with the door frame, a high-poly model was made, and then those normals were baked and brought into Photoshop to be applied to the final door normal map.

Next update might not be for several days - phase 1 of character modeling is wrapping up in 3d.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

WIP - Campus House #2

(Click to see detail)

The first thing I created today was the rug. The material was created from heavily photoshopped pictures from my phone's camera. Just a simple diffuse this time - it didn't need anything extra.

Then I created a "dirty clutter" decal for the carpet, which took a bit longer than it should have due to troubles making the mask in photoshop. Finally got it working... I'll make more of these later so it's not all the same leaf.

The door/window frame was really fast - I created a plane in Maya, quickly modeled the indents/curvature of a piece of the doorframe and baked out the normals and occlusion. I created a material off of those and applied that material to flat BSP cubes. The normal map gives enough depth that I think I can get away without an extra mesh.

Finally, the leather... table thing? I created an RGB texture in which each color contains a different mask (so I could stop the detail normal map from covering the legs, for example). Then the black color itself comes from a constant. Pretty much all the "leathery" detail comes from the normal map, which contains a combination of the normals from the high-poly smoothed version of the mesh, smaller leather "cracks" as a detail normal, and a "grunge" map (also used in both the walls and carpet) to add a bit of variation and the illusion of wrinkles. Finally, the same grunge map was tiled differently and put into the specular to give the specular itself some variation. Having a nice grunge diffuse and normal texture on hand is absurdly useful - when used right it can be applied to pretty much any texture to add slight variation.

(Click to see detail)

I'm not sure what to tackle next... I'm probably going to end up finishing the door and windows. I'm really getting sick of looking at that black void.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Almost Forgot...

Never got around to uploaded a finished picture of my last commission...

Better late than never.

(Click to see detail)

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...

Friday, February 26, 2010

Puzzle Design and Occam's Razor

Recently in Game Design class we have been developing individual "tutorial" levels in Unreal in order to showcase mechanics we developed previously. And naturally, the route I've chosen to go with my particular mechanic requires me to dive straight into the insane world of puzzle design.

My mechanic is a simple magnetic ball with a magnetic field that can be toggled from positive to negative. The first part of the tutorial level that actually demonstrates the magnet's field is a large, sliding metal block that is, by default, blocking the player's path. The player must discover how the magnet interacts with this object and then utilize that information to progress.

The first iteration was an utter mess. It was the first time I had ever attempted staging a puzzle for the player to solve, and I had attempted to throw too many minuscule things at them at once. During initial playtests, the players never received the correct information, even though they received a large quantity of clutter.

I realized that my problem with the design was in the fact that I had designed the puzzle in a linear fashion, a habit I had brought over from Scripting class. When writing scripts to solve problems, it is legitimate (and many times necessary) to solve each new problem with a new piece of code. If that code creates new problems, write yet another piece of code to tackle those, and so on! (Incidentally, this is the same approach I use in designing magic tricks!)

With puzzle design, I discovered that this method of creation is impossible. When the player went the wrong way, I would throw in a wall or a distraction to make them go the right way again. When one path doesn't work right, I made another. This is what led to the player's confusion, when there were more things in the puzzle meant to account for the player's actions than there were to actually solve. With magic tricks, this is a beautiful thing - it separates the audience from the solution. But in puzzle design, it's exactly the opposite - bad, bad, bad!

So, I decided to go the opposite route. I challenged myself to make the puzzle as simple and transparent as possible, while still being functional. I ended up taking out about 60% of the level. Anything that didn't explicitly benefit the design fatefully met Occam's razor. Things I'd always thought necessary, after further consideration, were found to be nothing but problematic, and/or had much more elegant solutions. The next playtest was an outstanding improvement.

My other discovery at this time was the complete lack of documentation concerning puzzle design for games. This is alarming, considering that all games, at their core, are puzzles, and good puzzle design is essential to creating a good game. There are certainly masterful puzzle designs in popular games (Braid and Portal stand out to me as recent examples), but my fascination with the process of designing these scenarios is largely unsatisfied.

Solving puzzles requires a certain mindset. Creating puzzles involves seeing through the same mindset, both forward and in reverse, through a haystack of probable failures and dead ends, all the while balancing the tightrope of self-designated design and keeping an intimate record of exactly what is being presented to the player and how they might see each point of the puzzle through their own eyes.

Creating puzzles is insane. I'm going to bed.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The first of 8 faces...

For a gigantic 18x24 family collage commission. And you people wonder why I've been busy...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Playing with Lightmass...

Still having issues, but I have discovered that Dominant Lights are amazing. The entire scene is now lit by just 1 light.

Now, to tinker with more settings... I'm sure it can look a lot better!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Favela Level... due tomorrow morning. Here are a few screenshots:

Now, time to polish OneUP for Game Design class Friday morning...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

And One Month Later...

Yay, updates!!!

Since my last post, we've been working on 3 tiers of props for our eventual level; easy, medium, and hard. I was assigned:

Easy Prop: Signs

Double-sided sign: 28 triangles

Billboard: 1224 triangles

Medium Prop: Tire

432 triangles

Hard Prop: Skydome and Background Assets

Mountains: 20 and 30 triangles

Buildings: 6 to 30 triangles

Over Thanksgiving break we have to create the rough layout of our personalized level by blocking in geometry. (You can see the beginnings of the process in the picture above.) This is my original, rough layout:

It will obviously evolve over time. I'll post updates as the level becomes fleshed out.

In Game Design class, I have finished the gameplay of my mod, OneUP, and am now in the process of finalizing all of the visual elements (pieces, board, rulebook, and box) which is due in two classes. I'll post the rules up as soon as I polish them, so that any readers can try the game out for themselves!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Unreal Lighting Issues... fixed!

Finally, no more ugly black gradients on the corners of walls!

Also, a new window material that isn't noticeable in this shot. :P

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Modular Stuff in Unreal...

Still annoyed by some of the lighting issues, but I've solved most of my problems.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Modular Building Stuff... Done.

Quick building setup using my parts. Maya software likes to spit out fuzz whenever two planes are even remotely near each other, so don't mind that... >_>