Following off the back of a busy first week I happened to find myself working during the weekend. Passion for the currently poject personall reached a new hight and I ended up working with my team to begin critiquing the currently work and talking about the texturing style we had been working in so far.
For the most part we all seemed to be working in line with one another om terms of colors and texturing style, having small discussions between the artists and also taking our idea or work to our designer and programmer to gain any new insights. Given the all around from the team, I took it upon myself the past weekend to finish texturing both my small platform creature and tree that I had not yet textured.
We have decided to keep reflections off and no metalics to keep the clean matte style of our work very present in the aesthetic. Given a round of good feedback and a few revisions to the texturing I managed to get these aseets into engine and looking nice. It was simple enough with out BPs to fit in the assets with ease and be able to use thekm in gameplay rather seemlessly.
I felt it was nessasary to add a little of movement into the game as currently we had a rather static environment. I had alwsy wanted to challange myself to start experimenting with shaders. While I have done a number of tech art jobs in the past, I had not yet fully finished a shader project that I was happy with. Given our use of UE4 I thought it might be a great time to have another go at creating something new and exciting. I thought a great idea that always adds plenty of detail and character into a scene was grass.
I started very simple with some basic photoshop alpha cards. They’re easy to make with a little of painting and a few alterations to the alpha channels. They didn’t need to be very detailed as they were planned to be small and moving so there was little need to go overboard. I have worked on creating alphas for graw before but always utilized them as staic meshes or foliage brushes.
This was the simple alpha plain I began work with. I took this into maya and created a simple low poly mesh using this as a guide. Given a short amount of time I managed to build up a patch of grass as seen in fig 2. The gradient was easy enough to program with the wonderful node system in UE4 as seen here.
Next I planned to work around creating movement. This is quite simple in UE4 providing you know a little bit around node work. Wind is already programmed into UE4 with the Wind node provided you also general normals for the wind to work correctly. it looked something like this.
Wind Node System
This is easily customizable with speeds, direction, size and intensity. I also added a simple wave effect however I may plan to remove this later if it becomes too noisy.
Wave node system
With all this done, I managed to get it into engine and test the static meshes to see how well it worked. I planned to add it as landcape material or foliage brush depending on how well it works and looks, as well as if the blockout layout changes. This is the finished product.
Some more changes are to be made. I feel I need to use a brush to control the density and also fiddle with the behavior of the shadows as it looks slightly off and at times causes slowdown.
After further tweaking throught the week I managed to get the brush working and fixed the shadows to give a far softer look. The blade were also large in compairison to the character so I also tweaked the sizing a little to make it seem more ‘grass-sized’. The new and finished look came out something like this.
And with myself and the team happy with this, my last few goals were to impliment this grass into the level, help with populating the blockout and finishing off a few assets.
A large part of my week was working both with Eric our designer and Eduards our othe environment artist to finish removing the greyboxes and placing them with our brand new assets. I overtook a lot of the large scale replacing. This of course took a lot of the week to achieve as with many level building tasks there are a lot of added changes and tweaks to be made. While I made some of the changes myself, such as altering hitboxes, reimporting items at right scales and resdesigning some of the level to fit with what we had to build, a lot of help was given from the whole team. Any issues were handled and communication worked seamlessly even considering how busy everyone this entire week.
While replacing grayboxes is slow and uniform, I did take a lot of enjoyment out of seeing the world come together before me. I took a lot of time to grab my team and ask to see if they would playtest and give feedback where they felt I made any error or if anything could simply be improved. The continued support and help from my team was a godsend and I feel very honored to work with such lovely and passionate people. Here are a few snips showing the slow progress. There are a number of assets I made also in the mix, showing some of the time I had to spend away from level building to help and give myself assets that fit better into the level as it slowly developed.
And without further ado here is what the whole level turned out like.
And with that the large portion of my work was done. We all worked insanely hard this week to get everything into engine and have some time to finish polishing the last of our work before submission. I can’t wait to see our peers have a go at Rainboy.
This second project was a different experience from the first. I felt swamped with the load of work I was asked to achieve in my first project and it seemed overwheming. Once again this project was alot of work to pull out, however I have had a much more enjoyable and wonderful experience this time round with the help and support of some very passionate young developers.
I pushed myself hard to achieve a lot of new things this time around and I feel as though even if I learned a lot in the first project, this time I feel like I prefected what I hoped to more-so. It was a difficult two weeks filled with a lot of work hours and researching and reiteration. I am insanely proud of the amount of work I managed to pull off, however I still think I’m suffering from the same problem os overworking myself. While it has been fun and engaging, I feel burned out with the large plate of work myself and my team put out for ourselves to do.
I still feel I need to work more on underscoping my projects a little as I still try to take on as much as I can, going out of my way to even help the other team members when I know I have too much work to finish myself. Whilst this was managable with my wonderfully talented team, I realize there will not always be times where I can rely on others to help should I fall behind. I still strive to fix this flaw of mine, yet I feel as if I am slowly understanding what I can achieve comfortable more and more as I take this journey.
To Rain Boy!