Saturday, 28 February 2015

Week 5: More engine

This has been the most hectic week so far, I assure you this was all of our facial expressions throughout the week.
Amber, Braden and Denzil spent the majority of their time working in engine. Denzil worked to get the pond water complete. He has currently got a water material working in engine, however it looks too ocean-like. It lacks the pond attributes that we desire. He will have to make a few more tweaks to get it just right.

Furthermore, Denzil was able to visit the British Library to represent the team, and gather more reference images that can be used for textures. This is very helpful to Freddy and Amber, who are texturing some 3D books. Whilst there, Denzil was also able to speak to the competition judges and curators; to get advice and show them our work. He mentioned how they seemed enthusiastic to see our progress. Hopefully the judges will love our final outcome.
New book reference taken by Denzil
Freddy worked well, creating the textures for the books and waterfall in our level. We all love the paper texture design, it looks fantastic!

Moreover, Freddy has worked hard to create a number of textures for our assets, these include: the sunflower, sunflower, sun, clouds, tree s and background planes. She will be moving onto texturing the mine shaft area next week. This should allow us to cover large areas with planes for depth and detail.

Amber has been supporting the team and keeping us all on track. She has created the asset lists and action plan timetable for the team which will surely keep the team organised. She has also created a number of material instances top create variation for the books. Moreover, she has created a number of normal, roughness and emissive maps for the books.

Next week she will be moving on to modelling the rest of the level, Good Job Amber!
Screenshot from the level in engine
Braden has continued to develop the user interface for our level. This week he worked on making the HUD visible to players. We can see that Braden has improved his knowledge of engine blueprints and is working well.

Furthermore, he was able to get the pause and start menu working. Next week he will be polishing his UI.
HUD preview
This week Luke has made a number of assets and has started to move onto creating effects in engine. He is looking to develop God rays and a fog effect for our level. Keep up the good stuff!

Dan has been busy sculpting away, he has now developed an Alice model which is fantastic! She has a likeness of Alice Liddell, but also she has her own unique beauty.

We all are very impressed with Dan’s progress and cannot wait to see it completed. Well done Dan, Great job!

Dan's Alice sculpts
As stated above, this week has been very hectic but that is simply as we are all working hard to get this project looking incredible. We are confident that we can win the competition.

Here is a quick run through of our level:

Great job guys! At this great next week looks promising.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Week 4: Working in engine

Now that the Level design has been established thanks to Freddy, Amber and Braden, we spent this week planning and preparing for the final outcome of our project. Namely, what we want to achieve for our deadlines.

This week, Freddy was able to visit the British Library to meet with Game City representatives and Library Curators. In her trip she was able to take many reference images that we can use in our level. Most importantly she was able to learn a great deal about the original Lewis Carroll narrative, and gain some advice from the curators. Freddy was even able to touch the original copy of Alice’s adventures underground (Wow! So lucky). Great job Freddy!

However, Freddy didn’t stop there; Freddy and Amber were able to get some fantastic book references from De Montfort university library to be used as textures. They took particular interest in the book ‘Mongst mines and miners, underground scenes by flash- light’ by J.C.Burrows. We used this book for inspiration as our; level is based on the underground theme.
Paper texture reference from the library
After modelling these books in 3ds max, they unwrapped the books and applied the textures.

Amber's modelled books
Denzil has taken it upon himself to work on the water effects in our level. He has started by researching into water materials in unreal engine and looking at the water material examples from the ‘Water Planes’ demo by Epic Games. Like all engine work, it will not be an easy task and in working to create the pond material he had to create numerous iterations. However, we are sure he will get it right.

Among other things, Denzil has also worked hard this week to model the tree stump and mine cart for the team.
Denzil's minecart model
He has also created an interesting waterfall prototype effect, using the panner node in unreal engine. He found it an easier process than expected, compared to the respawn mechanics. Now we feel it would look better if we incorporated paper textures into the work.

Dan has been working hard, sculpting our Alice model. At the moment he is sculpting the body, aiming to get Alice’s body right.
By the way things are going, Dan’s Alice will look great when it is finished
Dan's base sculpt
Braden has also been working hard on creating our user interface for the level. He had developed some great designs for the pause and start menu. We are all excited to see how it looks when Braden completes the UI.
Braden's pause screen concept
Of course we are still white boxing at the moment, Amber has done a great job of putting our level together.

As it was decided, the house would be a focal point for our level, Amber helped create a camera zoom system. This should highlight the smaller details such as the ‘drink’ me bottle and door key.

Here is a quick video of our progress:

As you can see, there is still of work needed to be worked on, however we have made good progress this week. Hopefully, next week should be even better.

Week 3: Starting modelling

This week has been productive for the team. We are now beginning to work in 3D for the ‘Off the Map’ project and the level is taking off.

Freddy completed the final concept for our level. This was a terrific milestone for the team and we are all grateful for Freddy’s hard work. Subsequently, the concept would give us a style guide to work off of. Most importantly, the concept would be a sanity check for when we run into errors.

Final level design
The level design concept shows a fascinating transition from sepia tones to stylized models which would be exciting to explore in 3D.

Braden was able to benefit from Freddy’s concept, this week devoting his time to modelling assets in the style and completing the basic User interface blueprint for the main menu. It still needs work until it is complete, nonetheless it is a terrific start.

House model by Braden
Similarly, Braden finished this Leaf pile concept. it is cute and quirky and fitting to the style. As you may see, Braden wanted to incorporate cats into the final design of the leaf pile. It is purr-fect!
Cat pile concepts
Afterwards, Braden modelled all of the assets that were tasked of him by the team. Of these assets, this included the houses in our level. Among taking influence from the level style, Braden also took significant inspiration from the ‘Strawberry Hill Gothic’ art style. Our lecturer Jack influenced Braden to use this style and Braden did a great job of exploring it through his 3D models.

Now that Braden has completed his assets, next week he will unwrap them for texturing.

Luke also spent this week unwrapping. Although he felt ill last week, he was determined to work hard in order to support them team. He did an excellent job this week by modelling a number of assets for our level. This included; the chandelier, picture frames, lily pad, Victorian globe and the fireplace. He used a number of references to model these assets, nevertheless, the assets’ style adheres to the level style. Thus proving Luke’s hard work has certainly paid off.

Denzil had a slight muddle up with the level style. He had assumed that the team was using one source of inspiration for the level. As it turned out. Freddy and Amber were using multiple sources of inspiration as they were creating their own style. Understanding that this process required time and concentration, Denzil refrained from staying idle and made himself useful by creating this paper town project, as a backup idea for the team. Denzil took considerable amount of inspiration from Lionshead studios’ Ink-Quest’ and the results are brilliant- Keep up the good work.
Denzil's paper town
Dan also got to work on the designs for Alice this week. After finding out that the character would be based on the original Alice in Wonderland, Alice Liddell- Dan used this week to continue to concept. He generated quick line drawn concepts to identify form and shape without getting bogged down by detail.

Following this, he photo-bashed a number of designs which eventually led to the clothing concepts. In his designs, Dan explored the different styles that Alice could have. Among showing Dan’s though process, the concepts also demonstrate how much the dress has an influence on the overall design of Alice.
Dan's Alice concepts
He has done a great job and after it was completed, Dan created this refined concept to nail the design of Alice.

Number 4 is the strongest design, however Dan will try to incorporate aspects from all concepts. Of course, he can always come back to these concepts later, but for now, he has a strong basis to start modelling from. Fantastic job Dan!

To conclude the team’s work, Amber created a spreadsheet to-do list for the team to work off of. Additionally, Amber began to rework the block out the basic forms of our level and then export them into Unreal Engine 4.

Of course, Amber needs to make a few tweaks to the assets in engine, in order to fit the concept. Similarly, everything will need to be scaled to Alice and her mechanics. Nonetheless, we are grateful 
 for Amber’s hard work as it means we can start to see our level being put together, which is nothing but exciting.

So there you have it, this week has been fascinating and productive. Hopefully, next week should be promising.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Week 2: Choosing a style

We've made quite a deal of progress, since starting the project last week.
Here are most of the concepts that we came up with:

We liked the style of Braden’s concepts, especially his ‘eat me’ room, for its unique style and quirky design.
Braden's Concept
Braden’s concepts showed a great sense of depth in tandem with the paper texture theme that we wanted to capture in our level.

Following Braden’s progress, Amber and Freddy were able to work off of Braden’s concepts, endeavouring to create a level that the team will be able to create and at the same time , develop a unique style, that will hopefully be engaging to players. They came up with this design:
Shorter level design
After we decided on a level design Amber went onto create a level block out, Braden then drew over all of them and Freddy and Amber added colour to these. This is where our level took a turn and we decided to use bright vibrant colours for the end and sepia tones for the beginning. Here are the paint overs so far:
Good Job guys!

In the meantime, as seen in the concepts, there are death pits in our level where Alice could fall and die. We wanted to implement a re-spawn mechanism in our level, that would allow players to come back to life and try again; thus adding to the sense of gameplay that the judges at Game City asked us to create.

Denzil worked on creating this re-spawn mechanic during the week. It was not an easy task, by the slightest. However, he was able to get it working in the end. Nice work!

Dan, our character artist, has been working hard on the concepts for our Alice character. He created this concept board for us to provide him feedback for.

Some of Dan's concepts

We all loved the look of number 11. I think Dan did a great job of creating g a believable character, with the same realistic look of the original Alice in wonderland, Alice Liddell.

Denzil also had a chance to concept as well. Once the respawn mechanics were completed, he created a few concepts for the card soldier. He did this for the garden level idea that we had originally thought of.
Denzil's card soldiers concepts
Similarly, Braden has been working to create a basic UI system in our level. He said at the beginning that he wanted to work on user interface and we are grateful that he is working on his passions, and it starting to look good.
So this is our week went well, the team are working hard, and next week should look promising.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Week 1: Meet the team

And so it begins....

Over the course of the next 12 weeks on Game art Design our team, 'Off Our Rockers', will be working on our Alice in Wonderland, Off the Map projects for the British Library and Game City.

But before we inform you about the nitty gritty details, let us first welcome you to our team:

Amber- Team leader 






On the first day of the project we were set into our teams by the lecturers. Once we got ourselves together for a group meeting, we wanted to choose the type of game we wanted to create and the specific elements that could be fascinating to implement in our level. Additionally, we identified each of our strengths and weaknesses.

This was vital as it allowed us to distinguish our individual roles for the team. However, For the time being, no roles have been set in stone during this idea generation phase.

During the group meeting, we created a mind map on a wipe-board. This process was not necessarily to identify a final idea for our level. Instead it was to generate many different interesting ideas that could lead to many different unique and original designs.
Our wipe-board
After our first group meeting, we got a chance to discuss with our project mentors, Emma Ash and Mike Powell. They instructed us to follow  and understand the project brief as much as possible. Furthermore, they advised that we stay true to the original Lewis Carroll text. However, one of the most important rules that they instructed was to understand the time scale of the project. Although the OTM project was much longer than than any previous project, it is easy to underestimate how quickly time can pass.
Original book
After the meetings, we all agreed to read 'Alice's Adventure's underground' and discuss potential ideas we could create the following day. 

We wanted to discuss style guides to our level. We felt that identifying the overall style of the level is very important, as not only does it influence the final outcome of the project, but it also the majority of the elements in our level. This includes the style of our characters, environment, the colour and lighting of the level, and also the game-play.

We chose this because we felt we felt that working on a side scroller would be efficient and manageable in the time scale we were given. Similarly, creating a side scroller is a completely new experience for everyone on the team.
An example of a 3D side scroller: Yoshi's woolly world
Unfortunately for our team, we aren't as well balanced as other groups in terms of roles. We have 3 environment artists and 3 character artists which leaves no overall engine or concept artist. This meant that throughout the course of the project we would have to compromise roles, even if that meant not working to our certain strengths. However, all of us were willing to support the team in any way possible.

Deciding upon the style of the level, was not an easy process. We all had different ideas for the project and we needed a way to get ourselves all on board to a similar idea. To do so, we all created mood-boards, to show the various ideas that we were thinking about for the design of the level.

So there you have it, the first, week of our off the map project. It's been an enjoyable experience getting to know each other and we look forward to next week were we will be looking more in depth into styles.


Original book image:
Yoshi's woolly world:
Snape frustrated .gif: