Lecturer in Game Design | PhD Student

Honours Blog

Posts tagged Maya
Installing Walls & Windows (8.1)

After reworking the shape of the room from the previous prototype, I decided it was about time to add some windows for a more 'natural' and less 'jail cell' look. To begin, I cut a large hole in the wall, then built a placeholder mantel and frame to gauge how the final window might look.

Once the placeholders are created, I rebuild each piece in greater detail. Once all of the pieces are reworked, I will UV all of the pieces, then create all of the textures. In the case of the windowsill to keep consistency in textures I prefer to batch texture as it keeps the techniques I use fresh in my mind.  I decided that the next stage in modelling my window would be to create the curtains. The curtains were built from a poly-plane which I positioned to create rough material folds then extruded the plane back to give the curtain some depth.

To shape the curtain in a more natural position I used the Lattice Deformer tool to retain the previous fold detail whilst also giving it the appearance of being drawn back.

The plastic frame for the window glass was a relatively low poly model. I found that the level of detail of the placeholder model was sufficiently realistic thus didn't require editing further. To create the net-curtain I used a basic plane, created similar folds to the original curtain and applied a semi-opaque texture to it.

Below is the final image taken from the UDK engine.

Visual Update

Forget-Me-Knot is getting a visual update over the Christmas period. I will be editing/replacing the current geometry in favour of slightly more detailed models. Even the slightest of changes to improve the quality will drastically impact on the overall visuals of the game.

Old Fireplace:

New Fireplace:

Asset Creation Process

As stated previously; for this project I intend to create my game assets as lower-poly models that are still easily recognisable as the intended object. The lower-poly aspect will allow me to build a higher volume of assets which I believe is required to make a scene appear more natural. In striving for quantity, some quality is sacrificed, but I feel that the level of assets that I can create in this way is still more than acceptable for the game.

My first step is to find a reference image. In Forget-Me-Not I intend to base most of the furniture items on ones that were owned by my grandfather. Above is an image of a cabinet that he used to have in his living room. I will use this photograph as a rough reference for the creation of the 3D model. 

I started modelling this cabinet with the intentions of the player being able to open every compartment or drawer that it has. Although this will require a lot of trigger work in UDK, it will increase the amount of areas in the game to explore as well as make the environment more believable. I began the modelling process with a cuboid and extruded the basic shape of the object out. I made further extrusions into the body of the cabinet to allow space for drawers and doors to be fitted later on.

As with the previous stage, I used a basic cuboid shape and extruded it to fit gaps I cut into the object. I kept the topology of the drawers and doors simple so as to make UV'ing the assets slightly less taxing in the later stages.

Here is a quick render in Maya of how the basic shape would appear in the game engine, I was happy with the basic geometry and object silhouette so decided to move on to the texturing phase of asset creation.

From here, I separate the modular assets from each other to make it easier for the UV mapping process. After moving the modular pieces into place I can gauge how many textures will be needed to complete the object. For the above object, I made it relatively symmetrical, so the final cabinet will only require 6/7 textures to complete.

I planar mapped each area of the cabinet, with more space on the UV dedicated to the more seen areas of the cabinet with less space for  areas like the back. Although the UV map is slightly messy, it should still deliver a smooth texture in the final product.

Pictured above is a simple texture that I will be using for the cabinet as a placeholder for the looming progress presentation pitch that I have next week. Although simple, this texture should hopefully give off a realistic enough look to the cabinet.

At this stage I like to export the model into UDK and build the final texture in the Unreal Content browser by creating a material. For the sake of this blog post I will apply the texture in Maya and render it out to deliver a better lit version of the final model.

This is the process I will be using to create my assets for Forget-Me-Not. This may not be the most efficient way of producing assets, but this process is one I have used throughout my time working in Maya and UDK thus I have become accustomed to it. The final render looks like a convincing cabinet that wouldn't look out of place in my game environment.

I hope this insight into my development process was interesting. I really enjoyed analysing my development process as it is an area I have never really reflected on in the past. 

Quick 3D Test/Practice

A big hurdle in the project will be getting used to Maya controls and construction pipelines required for building the 3D game in Unreal Engine 4. Above are 2 screenshots of a quick 3D mock-up based on the previous concept art. By keeping the objects relatively low poly I intend to be able to produce a larger quantity of styalised assets, which should hopefully make the environments feel more 'lived in'. At this stage I intend to experiment with the production pipeline and test how quickly I can produce assets for the game to help get a better idea of how achievable the scope of the project is. In general I feel happy with the results of the test, and will attempt the next stage of the production pipeline.