Month: November 2015

Upgrade – Environment Progress II

It’s been a while since the last update on my 3D environment, and I want to go over a few things I might have missed. Better safe than sorry.

My environment is finished. Unfortunately it’s not to the standard I would have liked. When I started my environment I was in no way as skilled with C4D as I am now, and to keep a consistent style everything I’ve done since has to be to the same, no so good standard.

Final 2

Final 3

Final 1

The style and overall feel of the environment has changed slightly. I’m using a system of ambient lighting to illuminate the whole environment at once, and then adding spotlights to add some believability.

The texture of the floor is slightly reflective to give a look of a clean and polished environment, and the ambient occlusion adds definition and depth where the ambient lighting setting cant.

Screen Shot 2015-11-30 at 11.14.58

These are the render settings I ended up going with. As you can see, there isn’t anything particularly demanding enabled, so a single frame render only takes around 20-30 seconds. The object glow is necessary for the glowing materials, and the colour correction helps add a little something extra. I added some saturation and contrast to the colours to help achieve that blueish light look.

I experimented with global illumination initially (as seen on Upgrade – Environment Progress I), however without the presence of a physical sky or any dominant light source I found it to produce very little difference. Certainly not worth it considering how long it took to render.

Finally, the output settings for my animations are a series of .tif files rendered at 1920 x 1080.

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Graphics Production – Evaluation

Evaluation regarding the finalised graphics I produced from my concept art.


 

Are they suitable for purpose?

Certainly. The models I created were made with my game specifically in mind, so they adhere to the same design choices and gameplay elements I have planned. The models are of a relatively low-polygon count; low enough to be rendered in real-time so they are automatically suitable for my game, or any game.From a gameplay perspective my models work well there to, at least for my specific game.

The models also reflect the target audience of the game, showing no blood, gore or scary themes,I feel they are suitable for a game planned to be rated M for Mature.

How to the finished graphics compare to the concept sketches?

The finished graphics are of a far higher quality (to be expected) than the initial drawings. The concepts were more of a guideline as to what the finished product should look like. Nothing has changed too dramatically, but almost every element of each object has been tweaked or changed slightly, either to work from a gameplay perspective or because it’s just something I felt that needed changing.

Of course the main difference in the two is the fact they are two totally different forms of media. Translating flat images into fully fleshed 3D models can be challenging at times, but its always easier if you already had a strong idea what it should look like beforehand.

What are the technical qualities? 

The technical qualities of my models are mainly the low polygon count. A low polygon count means they are significantly more flexible, and can be rendered far quicker easier. As far as the construction of the models themselves goes, they are not as optimised as I would have liked. A lot of the models (mainly on the inside) are filled with unseen geometry, and in some places I would have preferred a higher/lower polygon model or section.

The use of symmetry has also limited my ability to pose the model in different positions without extensive modification. Also, a few parts aren’t posable at-all due to incorrect grouping. From an aesthetic standpoint my models work well, but to use them how I plan they will require extra work.

What are the aesthetic qualities?

The aesthetic qualities of my models are what I focus on, and take pride in the most. Unfortunately though, the only model that really stands out is Unit 07, my main character. It’s perhaps because it’s really the game asset I’ve had the most time to think about and develop.

My game uses a very specific graphics style, and my models need to represent that. The style is characterised normally by a flat textures and and soft shading. This was initially to help the player distinguish at a glance and from a distance in-game objects, however its grown into something that I will base all my future Upgrade-related content on. These models are part of Upgrade, and they reflect this design choice effectively.

 

 

Graphics Production

From the concept art I posted previously, I have been tasked to produce polished, finalised digital graphics. I shall show the original ‘art’ alongside their finished, 3D counterparts and explain any techniques I used to create them.


UNIT 07

We’ll start off with the big one, the model that best represents my ability with Cinema 4D.

Original Concept:

Upgrade Concept Unit

Final Graphics:

Screen Shot 2015-11-27 at 12.20.32

The production for this behemoth encompasses everything I’ve learned thus far.

Screen Shot 2015-11-27 at 10.04.55

This is the main body of the model. I’ve tried to use as least objects as possible to create the geometry, and instead ‘sculpted’ the shapes I need out of a single primitive. Initially I started with a cube, but slowly extruded and pulled my desired shape into form.

Screen Shot 2015-11-27 at 10.03.45

Eventually I was of course required to shape more primitives into the extra details I needed. I utilised symmetry a lot to save time but it also helps with the modelling process. Seeing how something is displayed on the opposite side instantly helped me a lot with the spacing and positioning of the fins on it’s back.

Screen Shot 2015-11-27 at 10.06.59

Finally my main character was taking shape. For the main shoulder parts I had shaped a cube into the basic shape, and then used the bevel tool to create a smooth shape on the outside. I also used the bevel tool to achieve the look of the joins. The small hydraulic systems near the end of the arm are cylinders parented to the main shoulder, so that they can move with the shoulder as it rotates.

Screen Shot 2015-11-27 at 10.09.10

It was now time to start the hands and feet. I had initially tried to sculpt the hands into a single model, but the problem with that being they were no longer posable. Eventually I went the more complex route and grouped each finger individually in a way that lets it move with it’s parent model, and also allows me to flex it.

Screen Shot 2015-11-27 at 10.09.57

Screen Shot 2015-11-27 at 09.58.46

Using the same techniques over and over again on different aspects of the model, It was finally completed. The model it’s very high-polygon, but high enough so it doesn’t look blocky and rough. All that remained was to add textures.

Screen Shot 2015-11-27 at 09.53.10

This is the final rendition of the model. I wanted it to resemble the look and feel of my chosen art style, providing clean cut colours and materials, and also feel like all the colours work well with one-another.


Energy Capsules

These are obtainable items within my game that restore a small amount of your energy. This is by far the simplest model I have made.

Original Concept:

Upgrade Concept LEC

Final Graphics:

Capsules 1

This is by far the simplest model I have made.

Screen Shot 2015-11-27 at 09.20.23

Everything has humble beginnings, and in this case the beginning is a single cylinder. I always create the basic height and width of the model initially to help me gauge the size of the final product.

Screen Shot 2015-11-27 at 09.24.38

I created a symmetry on the axis I required, and simply dropped another cylinder in there that I then manipulated into the basic shape of the lid. Of course it was all then immediately mirrored to the bottom where I needed it.

Screen Shot 2015-11-27 at 09.37.34

I then extruded the top using extrude-inner and pulled out a smaller shape to complete the top of the lid. For the side parts I manipulated a cube and mirrored it on all sides and then on the bottom too. Very simple.

Screen Shot 2015-11-27 at 09.40.51

The final rendition just involves a glowing texture for the centre. The render mimics the position of the capsules in the concept art.


 

LED Energy Charger

This is an object in my game that the player can utilise to regain a large portion of energy compares to the capsules, however they are not nearly as common to find.

Original Concept:

Upgrade Concept LED

Final Graphic:

LED Charger 1_0040

This model involves some slightly different techniques.

Screen Shot 2015-11-27 at 10.21.40

Once again I start with a simple primitive. I used the extrude-inner tool to grab an inside section of the top and pulled it upwards to create an angled edge. I then started to remove sections from the model and filled the gaps using the bridge tool.

Screen Shot 2015-11-27 at 10.28.24

For extra geometry where my previous techniques would not suffice, I used the knife tool to create a diagonal polygon to extrude. I also moulded an extra primitive to add the extra shape I need.

Screen Shot 2015-11-27 at 10.45.02

Using the extrude technique further, I managed to add more and more detail to the model without adding any more primitives. Everything is built off the main model to conserve polygon count.

Screen Shot 2015-11-27 at 11.03.36

Even more primitives were added to facilitate more detail.

Screen Shot 2015-11-27 at 11.13.00

Ditto.

Screen Shot 2015-11-27 at 11.29.13

For the pipe I used a linear spline. Positioning splines in a 3D space in tricky, but eventually I managed to form the spline into a shape that looks natural as the pipe hangs off the device.

Screen Shot 2015-11-27 at 14.17.02

The finished model.


Crane Arm

The crane arms are objects in the game that enable dynamic portions of the levels.

Original Concept:

Upgrade Concept Arm 1

Final Graphics:

 

Upgrade Arm 1

Upgrade Arm 2

Unfortunately, I have no work-in-progress snapshots of this model, however all of the techniques I used to create this I feel I have already explained sufficinetly above.


 

Main title screen

Upgrade Menu

This is the first screen you will see when you start the game. The process of making it was relatively simple.

Firstly, I found an image representing the style of my game on google images. Secondly, using the transparency for the layers function on Paint.NET, I added rectangles to frame the text, and then added the UPGRADE logo.

The rest is simply adding text to make it seem more believable.


 

In-game HUD

Upgrade HUD

This is probably the simplest piece of work related to my game. Because of the game’s minimalistic art style, anything else would seem cluttered.

The process is even simpler, just adding a dark background and simple shapes is all there is to it.


 

All the models shown here can be downloaded here.

Unfortunately due to time limitations, I was not able to model the Spider Tank concept into cinema 4D. I shall indeed post pictures of it when it is completed though.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Model Comparison/Progression II

Further improvements! I have remade the very first model I created.

The first rendition of Unit, made in September.

Upgrade Render Front

Uprade Render Back


 

And the one I made most recently, this November.

Unit

Unit


 

The improvements are vast, and I have discovered a consistent style to use in my future models too. The updated models suits the game mechanics more, looking being more slender and agile.

Research on Visual Design – Evaluation (Final)

Because of my research,  I know understand the many different aspects of visual design has certainly helped me realise my ambitions in greater clarity. It’s a reassuring feeling to know that other developers share my ideas and use the techniques I plan to use too.

It’s one thing to realise the artistic and graphical style of your game, but it’s a whole new process to be able to effectivley produce results with a set of software, and I personally plan to use Unreal Engine for this. I have used Unreal Engine briefly before, and have semi-successfully imported models from Cinema 4D.

Unreal Engine has the immediate advantage of having a powerful graphical engine already built-in, and more specifically it has a user-friendly interface for scripting called Blueprint. Blueprint is a way to visually represent and manipulate your scripts, and is going to help me learn the basics of programming.

There are two game engines I have considered; Unreal Engine and Unity Engine. Both have their pros and cons, but in the end it really comes down to personal preference and what sort of project you aim to create. Unity has always been renowned for it’s user-friendliness and and broad compatibility with other software, however Unreal engine is more to a professional standard. It has far higher-quality graphics settings than Unity, and is capable of translating itself onto almost any platform. Both of these softwares will do the job, but depending on what you want to create, one may always be more favourable to the other.

Having a powerful game engine is only half the battle though; it takes another level of understanding and skill to discover what your game needs to look like to provide the experience you desire. I’ve taken inspirations and techniques from games that provide a strong sense of direction and forward momentum, these games include Valve’s Half-Life 2, and DICE’s Mirror’s Edge. During the main portions of the game, I never want the player to feel lost or without a solution, so the graphics are stylised to work with the player and the gameplay elements to provide direction.

My chosen graphical style has the advantage of being easy to produce, and doesn’t require as many resources to render. Like Mirror’s Edge, I plan to create crisp environments with striking palette choices to help direct the player throughout a stage, and have important game assets highlighted in louder, brighter colours so the player can notice them easier. The aim is that eventually, players will learn to identify certain colours with certain in-game interactions.

So far within my 3D enviroment I’ve had different measures of sucsess with graphical direction. I haven’t considered level design as much as I’d like to at this stage, but I am slowly finding balance between colours and materials, and figuring ways to promt progression with graphics. As for Unreal Engine, I have sucessfully created dynamic particle effects and managed to port some of my C4D models into Unreal Engine with varying degrees of success.

To finish, I’ve founResearch on Visual Design – Evaluation (Draft III)d the research preceeding this evaluation to be quite useful. I’ve found ways to breathe life into my characters via subtle motions and animations, and experimented with character silhouetting.

Research on Visual Design – Evaluation (Draft III)

[KEY] Bold for added text, crossed out for removed text.

During my research, understanding I know understand the many different aspects of visual design has certainly helped me realise my ambitions in greater clarity. It’s a reassuring feeling to know that other people developers share my ideas and use the techniques I plan to use too.

It’s one thing to realise the artistic and graphical style of your game, but it’s a whole new process to be able to effectivley produce results with a set of software, and I personally plan to use Unreal Engine for this. I have used Unreal Engine briefly before, and have semi-successfully imported/exported models from Cinema 4D.

Unreal Engine has the immediate advantage of having a powerful graphical engine already built-in, and more specifically it has a user-friendly interface for scripting called Blueprint. Blueprint is a way to visually represent and manipulate your scripts, and is going to help me learn the basics of programming.

There are two game engines I have considered; Unreal Engine and Unity Engine. Both have their pros and cons, but in the end it really comes down to personal preference and what sort of project you aim to create. Unity has always been renowned for it’s user-friendliness and and broad compatibility with other software, however Unreal engine is more to a professional standard. It has far higher-quality graphics settings than Unity, and is capable of translating itself onto almost any platform. Both of these softwares will do the job, but depending on what you want to create, one may always be more favourable to the other.

Having a powerful game engine is only half the battle though; it takes another level of understanding and skill to discover what your game needs to look like to provide the experience you desire. I’ve taken inspirations and techniques from games that provide a strong sense of direction and forward momentum, these games include Valve’s Half-Life 2, and DICE’s Mirrors Edge. During the main portions of the game, I never want the player to feel lost or without a solution, so the graphics are stylised to work with the player and the gameplay elements to provide direction.

My specific chosen graphical style has the advantage of being easy to produce, and doesn’t require as many resources to render. Like Mirrors Edge, I plan to create crisp environments with striking palette choices to help direct the player throughout a stage, and have important game assets highlighted in louder, brighter colours so the player can notice them easier. The aim is that eventually, players will learn to identify certain colours with certain in-game interactions.

So far within my 3D enviroment I’ve had different measures of sucsess with graphical direction. I haven’t considered level design as much as I’d like to at this stage, (simply because I am not skilled in that area) but I am slowly finding balance between colours and materials, and figuring ways to promt progression with colours graphics. As for Unreal Engine, I have sucessfully created dynamic particle effects and managed to port some of my C4D models into Unreal Engine with varying degrees of success.

To finish, I’ve found the research preceeding this evaluation to be quite useful. I’ve found ways to breathe life into my characters via subtle motions and animations, and experimented with character silhouetting.


[Final edit of the page. I’ve added more of explanations and further improved the flow of the text.]

Research on Visual Design – Evaluation (Draft II)

[KEY] Bold for added text, crossed out for removed text.

During my research, understanding the many different aspects of visual design has certainly helped me realise my ambitions. It’s a reassuring feeling to know that other people share my ideas and use the techniques I plan to use too.

It’s one thing to realise the artistic and graphical style of your game, but it’s a whole new process to be able to effectivley produce results with a set of software, and I personally plan to use Unreal Engine for this. I have used Unreal Engine briefly before, and have semi-successfully imported/exported models from Cinema 4D.

Unreal Engine has the immediate advantage of having powerful graphical engine already built-in, and more specifically it has a user-friendly interface for scripting called Blueprint. Blueprint is a way to visually represent your programming, and is going to help me learn the basics. These features will help me accomplish my goal.

There are The two game engines I have considered; Unreal Engine and Unity Engine. Both have their pros and cons, But and it really comes down to personal preference and what sort of project you aim to create. Unity has been renowned for it’s user-friendliness and and broad compatibility with other software, however Unreal engine is more to a professional standard, it has far much higher-quality graphics settings and is capable of translating itself onto almost any platform. Both of these softwares will do the job, but depending on what you create, one will always be more favourable to the other.

Having a powerful game engine is only half the battle though; it takes another level of understanding and skill to discover what your game needs to look like. I’ve taken inspirations and techniques from games that provide a strong sense of direction and forward momentum, these games include Half-Life 2 and Mirrors Edge. In the main portions of the game I never want the player to feel lost or without a solution, so graphics are stylised to work with the player and the gameplay elements to provide direction.

My specific graphical style has the advantage of being easy to produce, and doesn’t require as many resources to render. Like Mirrors Edge, I plan to create crisp environments with striking palette choices to help direct the player throughout a stage, and have important game assets highlighted in louder, brighter colours.

So far within my 3D enviroment I’ve seen different measures of sucsess with graphical direction. I haven’t considered level design as much as I’d like to, (simply because I am not skilled in that area) but I am slowly finding that balance between colours and materials, and figuring ways to promt progression with colours. is a feature that is slowly being understood. As for Unreal Engine, I have sucessfully created various dynamic particle effects and managed to port some of my C4D models into Unreal Engine with varying degrees of sucsess.

To finish, I’ve found the research preceeding this evaluation to be quite useful. I’ve found ways to breathe life into my characters via subtle motions and animations, and experimented with character silhouetting.


[Removed and added more text and fixed grammatical errors]