Friday, January 28, 2011

Modulation takes time...

So as promised by the few that are following here is an update of the project I've been working on for the last couple of evenings.

I'm working on the modular building blocks to import into the engines of all engines, the UDK. Since brushing the cobwebs that had formed on the Maya icon on my desktop I realised that I was actually half decent at modelling. As Scott reminded me, I had downloaded the wrong version. And every icon had switched functions. And there was no multilister. And I couldn't unload the files onto someone for help. And there was also a funny humming noise emitting from my machine every time I clicked an button named 'Boolean'. But putting all the small issues aside, I came up with 16 reusable assets that could be quickly duplicated around an Unreal level to create variations of buildings.

The process was pretty straight forward, I started off by changing the grides lines in Photoshop to match the grid spacing in the UDK, this meant that every square in PS represented 1 grid space in UDK (using the standard 32unit measure). I decided what assets I wanted and went on the hunt for some nice photo references. Now, I'm no texture artist and nor do I have even the smallest amount of patience for texturing, however, I came up with some pretty interesting looking assets adding bits of grime and rust where I thought necessary. Afterall, the majority of how the texture will look will use the Material editor of the UDK.

I then went into Maya and changed the grid spacing again to UDK units using a tutorial on WoLD. I then created a plane that was 1024x1024 so that I would fit perfectly the texture I had created in PS. It was then just a case of extruding off the plane and creating the individual assets UV'ing where necessarly. I also changed the pivot points to the bottom left of the asset so that they could be easily duplicated in Unreal (Thats what the Epic guys do) and also create a separate UV channel to hold lightmap information and then exported!

That's my progress is as it stands. If anyone wants any links to the tutorials that have been guiding me on this emotional journey I can link you. Once in Unreal I'm hoping to add effects in the two window assets so that I have different coloured lighting, maybe a few blues and reds so that it breaks up the repetition a bit. I also want to mask out areas of the wall and other assets where I can add a snow overly to give the scene a nice cold atmosphere. All of this is theory for now and will probably result in a warm sunny beach in Fiji.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Does anyone else know why the word 'blog' is an incorrect spelling on such sites?

After finishing my MA I got a sense on unease. So what am I supposed to do now? Make games, I guess. So this is what I am going to do. Be the best designer and work on the best titles. Theoretically.

I want to continue my blog (not that it had much of a start) as a way to force me to carry on designing in the dry periods. I have a lot of ideas up my sleeve and as a way of keeping me motivated and driven I will be posting progress on each of these projects. The only thing I hate most is letting people down, so if you feel let down by my progress, give me a boot in the right direction!

I also want to continue this blog because I know a few of the other EX MA students are continuing with theirs, I think it will be a great way to stay in touch as we had one talented bunch of nOObs (sp?) if I don't say so myself! I wish everyone the greatest of success on that note.

Back to me..

The first plan of action is to find the right job for me. I want to be a designer, not tester or a coffee maker. A real life games designer. I've applied at the companies I have a true passion to work at, and if they don't reply, damn them, and i'll continue down the list, we'll see where I end up!

As far as personal projects go, I'm hoping to develop my own UT3 Deathmatch game. I want to do this for a number of reasons, firstly I believe every level designer should understand what makes a Deathmatch arena truly great. You have to think about flow, holding the player up without blocking them, vantage points and danger points throwing in a few choke points for good measure. Im unsure whether im using UT3 or UDK for that but will probably use existing Unreal assets.

I've also opened up Maya again for the first time in God knows and with my trusty friend Scott 'BST' Taylor I'm learning and modelling again. Im creating modular building assets that can be duplicated around levels to quickly errect full scale buildings, I'm making good progress and when I hit any walls the Taylor Bros. are there to smash them down with bear like ferocity.

I'm also (might be) working on a UDK Mod with Ste 'pie finger' Thornton, Kalie 'asleep in the toilet' Walker and Paul 'big gunz' Bannon. If this goes through I think it will be truly interesting and push my skills out of my comfort zone. With my UDK skills along with Ste's ingenious game designs and Kalie and Paul's truely awesome art and modelling I think we could make a good go at a game representing UCLAN graduates at the same time.

I thought I would run out of things to say after the first quick whip at self reflection but the bottled words escaped. Hopefully this will be the new start of many.