Saturday, 16 May 2015

Week 11: Final DMU deadline

This was the final week of our ‘Off the Map’ projects before our DMU hand-in deadline on Friday. Although, the majority of the weeks work was completed, meaning that we were confident for the submission; although there was still a lot of little things to be completed. Therefore, the pressure was on as time was ticking.

To the fortune of the team Freddy had completed most of her texturing by this point. As a result, she spent what time she could, overseeing the rest of the team members and offering advice when necessary. This kept the team morale high and we are very grateful for it. 

Likewise, Amber also took an overseeing role, updating the to-do lists to make sure the team was on track for hand-in. She polished a number of issues that arose in the level. Specifically with the destructible logs. As there were issues with the log mesh, this included; ‘uncapped breaks’ and weird collisions. To resolve the issue she made the log meshes separate and applied hidden collision meshes to the logs. Furthermore, she applied rag-doll physics to the logs and surrounding twigs to avoid them generation their own collision meshes. As a result, when ‘large’ Alice damages the logs they will break and Alice will fall down. She successfully completed this task and in-turn was able to learn a great deal about Engine physics.

Afterwards, Amber worked with Braden to implement various cameras in our level. This included cameras that zoom-in on specific areas and others that track on the player. Of course, there are still a tweaks needed for improvement, but the dynamic cameras work well throughout the level, when in gameplay.

Similarly, Amber and Braden perfected the lighting in the level, their hard work paid off as the level looks spectacular.

This week Luke endeavoured to complete all of his texturing for the assets that he created. This included the texturing of the Chandelier, Victorian globe, fireplace, toy boat, grandfather clock and top hats.

As time was running out he had to pass on some assets to be textured by other members of the time. Nonetheless, Luke did an excellent job of texturing his assets for the level. Following this, Luke even got the ‘Falling leaf’ particle effect to work in engine. This resolved our frame rate issue and also meant the leaves de-spawn where appropriate.

For Dan this week proved to be the most if not one of the most challenging weeks of the project. As seen last week, Dan was able to get a test Alice working in the level. However, this week Dan pushed to get a complete and polished Alice to be imported in the level. We are very grateful for Dan’s endeavours.

At first, Dan used ‘Mixamo’, an online rigging website. Mixamo rigs characters quicker and more efficiently than Dan might have and as limited time was a reoccurring thought on everyone’s mind, Using Mixamo was a ‘no-brainer’.

Unfortunately, there were a few errors with Alice’s dress when using Mixamo. To combat the problem, Dan resolved to detaching the dress, rigging the body and re-attaching the dress.
Following this, Dan became incredibly fascinated ‘NVidia’s PhysX’ system, which uses ‘Apex Clothing’ modifiers to create a realistic cloth simulation for Alice’s dress.

The dress was impressive, displaying true and believable qualities of a worn dress in motion, especially with a weighted quality to it. Unfortunately however, errors arose with the dress physics when we imported Alice in to the level. Alice was hovering in the air and most importantly when running she seemed to have, what we call ‘spoon hands’.

This was very unfortunate as the physics looked great, however the deadline was looming over the horizon, and this there was no time to lament. To resolve the issue, Dan had to go back to the drawing g boards and think of a method around the issue.

He got Alice to work by re-scaling the model and by rigging the dress manually. Of course, it is a shame that the physics did not work, nonetheless, Dan was able to get Alice looking great in our level.

We now have a polished and fantastic Alice for our game. Alice looks innocent and adorable. Dan you have done the team a great service; here's the final Alice model:
Final Alice model
Denzil was another who endeavoured to produce the best outcome for the team. As he had finished his tasks for the team, he made himself useful but helping the team as much as possible. He began by unwrapping and texturing the mining shovel asset.

Afterwards, Denzil took it upon himself to create a water caustics effect for the pond area. This was a ‘Light function’ in unreal Engine and to create this, Denzil took considerable inspiration from the ‘Effects cave’ level created by Epic Games. The effect created a believable factor to the water. Whilst adding to the whimsical element of our level. To his dismay, Denzil was not able to get the transparent water working in the level. Whenever we imported the material in the level it would appear invisible. Therefore to resolve the issue, Denzil worked with Freddy to fix the problem. They were able to alter the colours and reduce the wave displacement of the ocean-water and as a result they created this believable pond-like water. With the help of Freddy’s lotus flowers and the dynamic lighting and reflections, the pond area is specular and exceeds expectations. The whimsical element of our level is clearly demonstrated in this region of the project. Great work guys!

When this was completed Denzil created matinee animation for the white rabbit and dragonfly. By this time the level was mostly completed, thus Denzil was able to have fun creating whacky and puppet-like animation for these assets.

When everyone’s work was complete, Amber ran a few checks with a play through and then built the lighting for the level. This was the ‘crème de la crème’ for our level.

Finally, our level was finally complete and we submitted the project early. The game looks incredible and exceeds our expectations. In more ways than one, every team member was able to learn and improve in a variety of skills. Here is the final screenshots of the level:
We are ecstatic with the final result and hope to when the competitions. However, regardless of the competition result we cannot have been more grateful to work with each other. We are all proud to be ‘Off our Rockers’.
Here's the final play though of the level:

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