Thursday, 26 March 2015

Week 26

Week 26 - AKA, first week of Easter break.
I'm back home, which means productively has gone down, mostly due to lack-of-desktop, and my laptop's inability to run UE4 very successfully.

It was not built for great things
Still, we fight on, because we must - and all that jazz.

This week, I finished the tea party assets, again.

Here they are set up in engine, though hopefully they won't look quite so bad when the level is running on a machine that can cope.

After this, I started on some graphical stuff my team needed doing, which was definitely a nice change.
Check out this thing I made that tells you the controls! My team seems happy with it, so I don't think I will need to change it, but we'll see.

I also began work on a logo, which I'm finding surprisingly difficult considering, you know, logo design is sort of my job.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Lost in the Woods - Send Help - Week 25

Okay, so this week started with the abandonment of the archway I started last week - it doesn't fit into the scene. Technically, that was my last asset, so technically I finished everything I had to do on the level, but you know me, right?

This week was basically spent redoing things - I reworked all the tea party assets:

Working on the silhouette of the sign

And I also had to go back and rework one of the oak trees because it was too thick - personally, I disagree

but anyway. I then had to redo all of the tree LODs. Am I done with the trees now? Maybe?

How To Survive if You're Lost in the Woods

Level Progress

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Maybe it wasn't meant to be

If yesterday wasn't stressful enough, today's the kicker. Our final redeeming project for the year - Off The Map - is looking grim. Something broke in our level, which now means that about a week's worth of work has been lost to time, with 2 weeks to finish.
I have never felt such contempt for a project before, and such contempt with the course. Sorry if it's a bit melodramatic, but it honestly feels like this year has been a complete waste of time for me, as if all my work has been pointless all along.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Standing Still

Today I had my first, and last, review for my second year, with 2 weeks left before submission. In all honesty, I was hoping for better - last year, I was at 55, this year I'm at 52. Of course, this year actually counts towards my final degree. I'm disappointed, but I know I tried hard - a lot harder than last year - and I feel like I've improved a phenomenal amount. No matter what I did, it wasn't good enough though. Obviously, I've passed, but I didn't want to pass - I wanted to do well. So, what am I going to do about it? I've got 2 weeks to go from a 2:2 to a first, somehow, heh. Although, I'm not sure if re-submissions are capped for marking - that part was handily left out of the review.

We're being marked on 2 of our 5 projects only - the character project and the container city level (and I'm hoping Off The Map, of course, but really, who knows at this point). Container city can't be resubmitted at all, so there's nothing that can be done about that. The character project was easily my weakest project, as I'm definitely not a character artist and don't want to be, but it seems unlikely any of our other projects are going to be looked at much, so it's the one I have to focus on.

My characters

For my characters, I was told to add more deformation loops and improve the textures, as block colours are too simple, even if that's the style. This will get me to a 2:2 in this project, though I don't know what I'm supposed to do to get higher. I will do more iterations and "improvements" just in case I hit the nail on the head for what would actually get me a higher mark.

I'm especially disappointed about the container city project. Looking back now, I realise there're many things Sharn and I could have done to improve our things in the level, but it's too late. I was told we should have planned our level for just the 2 of us, once we realised it would practically be a 2 man team, not 4. Of course, that wasn't actually a possible option. We shouldn't have made the mistake of trading off the starting and ending rooms to someone who wasn't going to be there ever. The lack of polish in our level is clear, which is primarily were it fell down, and where we fell with it.

The greenhouse

Over summer, or perhaps over easter, I'm going to be revisiting my precious greenhouse - ignoring tri counts, ignoring texture limits - and see if I can kick it up to scratch, just for my own peace of mind.

I think at this point, it's not worth bothering about this year anymore. There are 2 weeks left of the year, technically, so I should just try and do better next year. There's still Off The Map, of course, though I think I'm personally unlikely to do well in that project, as I feel my contribution to the level has been extremely minimal, and there's nothing much I can do more. I feel inadequate within my team and definitely like the weakest member, which the marks are likely to end up reflecting.

Plan B: Park ranger

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Out of the Woods - week 24

For whatever reason, this week seems to have been a pretty slow work week, at least for me, or perhaps I just can't remember what I've done.

Let's see. This was another tree-heavy week, not that that's bad, but I've now finished all the trees and tree LODs. The final tree I had to make was the blackthorn - behold:

Blackthorn tree
(I don't think these are in the level yet).

I spent some time on Wednesday this week uploading some more stuff to my Sketchfab profile, as well as sorting out my portfolio (which will hopefully be updated at the beginning of next week, once the hosting site is fixed). Anyway, now I can show the trees in a fancy 3D viewer, ooh:

At the end of the week, I started building an archway. The archway is going to go right at the entrance of the level, so it's important for it look good - I want to spend some time on it. This is the last asset that I'm listed as making, though I will be going back to tweak a lot of my 'completed' assets (mainly the teaparty things).

These are the original concepts for the archway - I liked the idea of a tree growing into the stone because I thought it would parallel nicely with the woods/gardens contrast in out level. People said they liked the idea, so I decided to stick with it, but as everything in our level is supposed to relate back to Oxfordshire, I looked up some archways around Oxford to influence the design.

I then went straight into modeling, rather than spending time concepting anymore.

Current archway model
Sharn said the tree looked like it was grabbing the archway, rather than growing into/around it, which I agree with. Next week, I'll be doing paint overs to try and get the look right.

Please enjoy this Pudu Deer on your way out:

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Can't See the Wood from the Trees - week 23

Okay! So this week, I focused mainly on making trees - finally! I had 3 trees to make, 2 oaks and 1 blackthorn, which is really more of a bush in my opinion.
Oak Tree 2, version ??
Oak tree 1, version 1

I ended up having to do quite a few revisions for the trees, to get the leaves right.

For the bark, I hand painted the texture. I'm still not quite sure if it works or not, but once the trees are in the level with the foliage, I think it should look fine.

Oak bark texture

Finished Oak tree 1

Finished Oak tree 2

I also worked on the bridge a little more this week, because it wasn't fitting into the scene that well. I added some steps and tweaked the overall shape of the bridge to make it curve more, as well as changing the texture colours.

Monday, 2 March 2015

Building Bridges - week 22

The food (and potion) is finished! 

The next thing for me to do was make a bridge to cross over the river. I looked at existing bridges in Oxford, as well as a couple of examples of bridges in the Fable franchise. 
I was originally going to base the bridge for our game off Hertford Bridge, but construction on it wasn't completed until 1914, which was obviously long after Alice Underground was written. 
Hertford Bridge

I instead looked at Folly Bridge and Magdalen Bridge for inspiration.

Folly Bridge

Magdalen Bridge

I really liked The look of Magdalen Bridge, so the design of my bridge was largely based on that - just tweaked for purpose.

The bridge concept

Final bridge
The bridge in the level
After I had finished the bridge, I had planned to move onto making one of the archways,  but a new schedule was made which marked all foliage was needing to be finished in 2 weeks, so I moved straight onto trees instead. I was listed as making 2 English Oak trees and a Blackthorn tree on the asset list.

Behold! The mighty Oak!

Next week will be dedicated to making(/finishing) all the trees, ready for the level. After that, I will concept the archway.