Thursday, 24 April 2014

Final Push

These last two weeks we've focused on finishing up stuff that got pushed back, namely the monorail and animation, and the city behind the wall.

I started off by drawing up some designs for the buildings for Dan to model

I mainly focused on internal and external silhouette, because these would be at a distance you'd never seen any great detail other than the outer silhouette and the internal shapes from the glowing lights

The buildings in engine brought up a few problems, because of their scale and distance from the players view, the global fog mostly drowned out any detail they had, so to counter this I've had to place large ambient lights near the buildings with very high intensity diffuse settings. The only problem is, because of the rains glossines, it's creating quite a harsh purple reflection on a lot of the assets near the wall. I've done the best I could to strike a balance and don't think it's horribly noticable.

Monorail Car

We also have a working animated monorail! Dan and I teamed up on this to speed things up, after I laid out the initial track pieces scale for the animation tests a while back, he took these and finalised them along with the struts, giving me time to work up a quick design for the monorail and then model, texture and animate it myself and bring it into engine.

Because Cryengine doesn't accept anything other than TCB contstraints, and I was trying to animate along path constraints, I had to bake out the animation in max and import to another file which I could then export to Cryengine.

We're now focusing on tweaks and polish, adding decals, particles and as much clutter as we can to the level.

However I did start experiencing heavy framerate drops this week which was worrying. I've had to go round and at least half the texture size of all my assetts, and Dan will probably have to do the same with his. There's barely a difference in texture quality change and the framerate has risen which is all good, though I'm worried excess particles may bring it down again.

I still feel like there's a lot we could do with the lighting and atmosphere, so we'll spend some time on that this remaining week.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Improvements, improvements everywhere.

This last week and a bit has seen some small, but major improvements in our level.

Last Friday (4th April) we had our last assessment with our tutors before our final hand in. We got some great feedback for the level. The main criticism we got was the lighting needed to be pushed further, to get more contrast between light and dark areas, as well as increasing depth. After that we sat down with one of the tutors and tweaked the lighting towards the right direction. We brought down the ambient light to almost zero, so all the light sources are from local lights and holograms. Doing this also improved the light reflections from the puddles, which adds so much more atmosphere. Below shows the before and after shots for these lighting changes:







Using Google maps to see how the streets of the ‘City of God’ in Rio actually look gave us a good indication of how much varied clutter there is in the streets, which we want to reflect in our level. So we came up another set of props for both of us to tackle. After producing them we started to litter the streets with them, which started to add so much more character to the level.

We feel like we have most of the final level done, we just have to move onto polishing and adding those little touches which add a lot to the environment. One of those major things is movement. I've spent a few days getting an oscillating camera working which we are placing around the level a lot to really sell the big brother vibe. I got tarps and clotheslines blowing in the wind, which was a bit tricky to get working realistically, but with the help of vertex painting I solved that issue

Tarps and Clotheslines moving

We also came up with a way to add a bit more life to our holograms by making them look broken. We did this by duplicating the hologram model and placing it slightly in front of the original hologram. Then we created a new material for it where we played with the oscillating and colour settings giving us a nice broken hologram effect.

Both of us have been building out the level more as well as blocking of areas from the player in a realistic way.