Dev Log 5

Art Part:

For the art part I have just recently been able to switch back to art work so now I have placed in what assets I had already modeled in the past that had been textured by our team’s concept artist and have gone back to fix old models and uv them so that we could add them to our game once their texturing is done.

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The picture above is for the rock ground that we were going to use for the wasteland area. Incase I hadn’t mentioned before I was told to make voxelized-like rock but was also supposed to aim for an overwatch style texture bake. To aim for the style I would build up the faces first using the clay brush and make sure to build up a bit further everywhere along the face except the edges. I then used the flatten brush and would size it up and flatten first around the edges then along the surface. If the flatten tool size i was using was too big the face would be too flat so I would then size it down (if i sized it down too far there would be too many creases along the face of the rock) i would then bring down the size of the flatten tool and use it along the edges to help sharpen them so they would show up better on the bake.

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I would try to do the same approach for the rock spike although because it is more detailed than a general square shape some parts came out weird. A problem with it was that it had several small parts on the rock which made it difficult to use the same process i would previously use.

Since the environment is supposed to be dark with little artificial lights in the environment it wasn’t as necessary for me to make sure the model was perfect since the details would hardly be noticed in the first place.

Level Design Part:

At this point in time I have started including my scene in the source tree for my group. I work on it in my scene and then they take it my changes and add them into the main scene then make some changes on top of it. Since the last time that I posted the person in charge of the puzzles has planned them out and I changed the greybox scene to match it. For most of it I got away with minimal changes but for the last part of the game I had to change it entirely to match.

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Shown above is the layout for the puzzles for the city area.

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Since this area is almost completely un-textured it is hard to make out from a birds eye view so i views it from normals shader and marked in the path relevant to how the puzzle map above was

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Since the last update the side of the marketplace has also been removed. Aside from small changes to the general shape of the map, I added in a bit more details greybox wise to what travelling through the game will be like using debris.

 

Dev Log#4

Art Side:

Art diorama:

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During winter break as a test both me and the concept/texture artist worked together on an art diorama by using an area of my greybox and working on making the game art for it. For this i was given a concept of what my layout would look like as an environment in the game and then I modeled the individual pieces and uv’d it and then sent them along with a uv screenshot to the concept/texture artist for him to attempt to texture it. The first model sent out had to be fixed because I forgot to uv the Y-axis faces for the pieces that stuck out and the faces were slightly stretched so I had to redo it. Afterwards the problem didn’t re-occur.The artist is still currently experimenting on texturing for the models in substance painter

This was a test picture sent to me from the artists maya scene

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This week, aside from combinning the different areas into one environment scene I also uv’d the character, this process wasn’t a challenge though it did take a way since it is many small pieces. Until the concept/texture artist tests the model with textures i will start working on sculpting the details for the wasteland rocks unless the puzzles are ready.

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Pictured above is the first version of one of the ground rocks with only the edges messed with slightly before the top and bottom sides had to be condensed a bit to make it easier for the player to walk over them. Currently I have begun adding the details to the faces of the newer version of the rock but do not have a picture for it to show.

Level Design Side:

Since the last dev blog post the amount of areas in the game were decided and greyboxed. The areas made were a main entrance to the city, a market place, an industrial area, and the tower for the end as well as the wasteland shown in the previous devlog.

Since i can’t grab a screenshot from here i’ll have to show the concepts that i was given to use for them from our team’s concept artist

While for the marketplace the workflow was the concept was made first then the greybox was laid out to try to match it and build off of it, the marketplace started with me doing the initial greybox by myself with a revision being made later once the concept for it based off my original layout was made.

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As for the industrial area (scene above) due to the concept artist being busy I made it by myself and a later concept was not necessary.

 

Currently I cannot move any further ahead level design wise until the person in charge of the puzzles finishes that and then I will work with him to fit the puzzles into the environment or change the environment to better suit the puzzles.

DevLog 3

Modelling wise:

At the point in time of writing this devlog it already has been a while since a majority of the modelling done for this chunk was done so I can’t talk too much about problems I had while working on them.

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In the picture above is nearly all models I have made at this time. Pictured in the front is the main character both made up and broken down into separate pieces. I was asked to model the character recently so that the person in charge of animating could began animating but before that we had our semester’s sprint week where we had to create a video introducing the game and group members as well as daily activities working on it.While I was using the concept artists piece to add additional models to the game I ran into the problem of splitting the building into appropriate pieces both inside and out, as well as keeping in mind the space being taken up by it.

Character:

The character had some changes that were made to it from the original model to make it appropriate for animation where parts had to bend. Since it was a robot I created openings in the models where they needed to bend and placed a hinge for them . Another change that had to be made was the placement of the cylindrical pieces on the elbows placement since before they were placed on the large front face of the elbow but didn’t look right when animated.

Level design:

Wasteland:

For our alpha our group is focusing on preparing a small diorama of the game to show the mechanics and practice teaching the player how to play the game. However, as part of the diorama I was asked to create small examples of greyboxed environments for the game which for now is the wasteland as well as areas like the shopping district and industrial district of the city for the players to walk around in. I have plans with the person who is doing the puzzle design to integrate the puzzles into these environments soon.

Pictured above is the wasteland related concepts which shows an example of what the ground rocks and rocks in the environment should look like while the example on the right shows the player at the new start of the game where they awake next to a crashed spaceship in the wasteland.

The picture above shows what the current greybox version of the wasteland level looks like. When making the wasteland I started by making several small scale variations of the area to test out which is best for feel and fun since walking can get boring after a while. Shown below is the several different variations next to the current version

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When first creating the larger version I wanted to combine two of my previous versions, one that was a much larger space that included a landmark, and one that was a rather small space with several ground rock pieces sticking up in what appears to be a random pattern to be both visual and physical obstacles for the player while making sure the path isn’t too obvious to the player.

The large spaced variation was interesting to look at and provided a place to go that would draw the player to advance through the level but the large open space makes walking around feel like it takes even longer which becomes boring, so by adding in the second variation which obstructs the player’s path and sight making it both more interesting and the path less obvious.

As I was making the larger variation in order to avoid making the edges of the map obvious I created extra rock pieces for the ground that would tile much further out than the person could play and instead of gradually making it go higher up I would make some pieces taller occasionally while a majority of them stayed around the same height as the walk able path’s which worked very well in making it difficult to figure out where the player could and couldn’t reach while keeping the landmark that I had added in (the archway of rock) in sight and neither I or others who tested it had trouble finding their way back. Eventually I tried putting in the “greybox models” which where the models that will be used in the end but before I have sculpted in the details and baked them. The result of replacing them with these caused a much taller terrain since the models were replacing cubes that were already scaled and were stretched more than the cubes were.

When this happened the entire environment looked more interesting because it brought more attention to the height of the environment but it also made the areas the player could and couldn’t walk to stick out a bit. Overall my group liked the taller version better and the level was still easy enough to understand while being fun so I kept it that stretched. In order to make the areas where the player could and couldn’t go so obvious I would choose random areas and choose a rock from there to scale up then repeat until I had an uneven outer area with no pattern.

City:

For the city I was told to make an industrial looking area and a market area for the diorama. I started by picking up where I left off on a previous scene for the city and turned it into a spaced out center hub of the area where the player could find their way back to easily. I then turned the open areas into what leads to the other areas. For the industrial area I used an increased amount of pipes while for the market area I am still trying to get the right shape for the area but have focused on verticality and use the area inbetween the two as a way to transition. While working on the city I have been keeping in mind spacing while and try to avoid having an area that is completely straight for too long  to avoid the player from getting bored of moving resulting in the area having turns. For both areas I used a landmark and make the paths easy enough to make out where the player is so that they don’t get lost while moving through the area’s. Also, since this is for the diorama to give an idea of what the environment will be like rather than this being for an exact level of the game it isn’t as focused on getting the player to a destination.

 

Dev Log #2

Level Design

Since the last dev log I have continued a bit further with the level design of the city and the overall layout of the game has been changed.

The past layout was scrapyard first then wasteland then city but now it is wasteland then scrapyard then city which makes more sense since the scrapyard shouldn’t be so far away from civilization. At this moment i cannot provide the screenshots i took of the first layout of the city and the current one along with the different variations i used. However I can share the concept pictures i used when making it.

The idea of the first variation of the city layout was to have a top and bottom to the city where the player could get a glimpse of one from the other. Illustrated in the bottom picture of the three above is what i looked at when making the top part of the city. Many spaces in between platforms that could allow the player to peer over to what was below while providing a sort of controlled path above and a more crowded area with buildings and such while the picture in the top right showed the lower level which was more spaced out with more of a focus on an industrial look. The reason for this pairing was because of the picture i was looking at in the top left above which was the idea for what the tower that would be at the center of the city for the player to be heading for. It shows a large open space and would have a sort of elevator at the middle to take the player to the top of the tower. This elevator would only be accessible to the player from the bottom level and would force them to find a way down first. This also allowed us to introduce a second type of city environment with a different feeling in order to attempt to not tire the player of the same look and recapture interest.

The current version of the city however, took a page from what the first one was doing while getting rid of the rest. For the second one decided by both i and the concept artist was something that could be describer similar to an in ground pool. The city would be sunken into the ground but without being covered above and was changed to a more easy to read path by making the paths generally 3 long lines that reach out from the tower, before any obstacles are introduced.

3D Modeling

As of late this past week our group decided on making a diorama or example scene so that we could finally get an idea of what the game would actually look like beyond the digital prototype that we recently had to present. This meant that me and the other 3d modeler on the team  were able to start work on making some assets this during the later half of the week.

Going off of the concept art for props provided to us by our teams concept artist we started by modeling and uving on the panels of the city walls as well as a pillar.

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I had to change the look of some of the models due to problems that would be caused or in order to be more efficient. For example the second displayed panel on the concept art above was shown as having a rounded top. However since we were going to be stacking these panels beside, above, or below each other the rounded top would not work well with the other panels which are either flat rectangles or angled rectangles so i changed the top of it to match. Also, after i showed the concept artist the first version of the panels he wanted them to stick out more than how they were drawn, to have more of the look that Overwatch gives their metal areas in Volskaya and Dorado. Since i used a bevel for the first version I had to go back and re-make the high-poly mesh which was easier since i kept a version of my mesh before I did the bevel step and i only had to pull out some of the faces a bit as ell as scale them to be slightly smaller and thinner then harden their edges to make the more Overwatch-like look. At this point in time each of the models are between 200 tris to 1k tris (The indents between the panels were asked not to be baked in to the lower poly but kept on both instead).

As for the piece of the second panel being separate from it, it had already been talked about that I should make it and other models in the future into modular parts that can be placed on other parts of the panels easily and I decided that since it was going to be modular anyways I could just add it to these panels in game and create more UV space for both the second panel and the modular piece at the same time. This would also make it easier later if I am asked to make changes to the modular piece since I would not have to apply the change to both.

It was decided that the smaller details of the models would be applied using alphas in substance painter rather than modeled so I made these alphas to use on the models.

Below is the alphas applied to the models in substance painter, at this time there is no serious texturing applied to them. I left the large alpha and the one on the top right without a grey outline because they already provided too much of a line indent by themselves when applied.

 

Deep Dive: Level Design in VR

My deep dive will be focused on level design in VR to use the opportunity given by my co-op placement while improving general level design as well.

Annotated Bibliography

Jesse schell, 2015, Making great vr: six lessons learned from I expect you to die, Gamasutra, http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/JesseSchell/20150626/247113/Making_Great_VR_Six_Lessons_Learn ed_From_I_Expect_You_To_Die.php

Short description: The writer in this article talks about his experience with vr using his recent game “I expect you to die” as an example and gives tips in detail about several things that should be kept in mind while working on vr that relate to the design of the game.

 

Chris Baker, 2016, Lessons of vr level design learned from I expect you to die, Gamasutra, http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/268046/Lessons_of_VR_level_design_learned_from_I_Expect_ You_To_Die.php

Similar to the last article, this one is also focused on the game “I expect you to die”, however this one is about a year later taken from a presentation Jesse Schell made. In this one a few more tips are introduced and something new is brought up.. Jesse Schell talks about his success in prototyping by switching from white boxing to brown boxing.

 

Lee Perry, What level designers bring to vr, GDC Vault, http://www.gdcvault.com/play/1023144/LevelDesign-Workshop-What-Level

Only his slide notes are here, trying to find the video

 

Geoffrey.D, GDC 2016-what level designers bring to vr, Intel, https://software.intel.com/enus/blogs/2016/03/25/gdc-2016-what-level-designers-bring-to-vr

Pairs with the previous link, giving a bit more details about lee Perry’s talk

 

Phillippe Dionne, How can we prevent vr sickness with level design, 2015, fatedblog, https://fatedblog.com/2015/07/28/how-can-we-prevent-vr-sickness-with-level-design/

 

http://www.worldofleveldesign.com/categories/interviews/pete-ellis-level-design.php

 

http://voicesofvr.com/19-blair-renaud-on-technolust-vr-level-design-intention-behind-dystopian-cyberpunk-making-photoscanned-npcs-comfortable/

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Dev Log#1: Initial Level Design

Dev Log#1: Initial Level Design

For my group’s capstone project our game is supposed to be a 3rd person puzzle adventure game about a robot that was reactivated in a scrapyard where  the player is left not knowing where they are, what happened, and with no one around to help.The player will be able to give and take energy to solve puzzles among other things and head towards the final goal of the only illuminated building they will see in the city. In order to further contribute to the player feeling alone and emphasize the use of environmental story telling, the player will not be able to speak and any text found throughout the game will be in an unknown language.

For my group’s capstone my pre-production role is level design. More specifically, I am focusing on the level layout while another team member focuses on creating the puzzles that i will integrate into the game’s environment.

Since the capstone has only started about a month ago and we were just recently able to move on from the game design document phase there is not much visible progress that I can show currently so i will focus on what I have made so far and the thinking that has already been put in to give an idea of how my thought process has been so far during this.

 

From the Start

As I mentioned previously we only recently went from focusing on the Game Design Document to doing our individual roles. This means that not only was I recently able to start on my individual role but so were the other in my group including the member in charge of concept art and the member in charge of story boarding.

To make up for this I started by using what information has been decided on for the game’s levels so far to go online and look for references I could use to start some kind of greybox level. What I had to go off of at this point was 3 small gifs made by the concept artist for the game pitch and knowing that the areas for the game would be a junkyard, a wasteland, and a city that follows the theme of a robotic world where it is not closely influenced by human creations but is not so far removed from human influences that the players would not be able to identify what things were or what to do. Starting with the scrapyard where the player starts I looked at the gifs used in the group’s pitch as a basis for areas I would try to translate from 2d to 3d.

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The gif above was to show the absolute beginning of the game where the player would be brought to life and immediately be given the first showing of the effect that energy has on the surrounding environment through through the use of give and take with energy, in this case with lightning.

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In the gif above the player is given their first look at the take half of the give and take mechanic as they involuntarily absorb energy from the nearby device and are able to give the energy to the control pad that activates a bridge

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In the gif above the player is shown traversing through the wasteland before reaching the entrance to the city in which they are introduced to their first puzzle.

Now that I knew what types of environments were needed, or at least in general, I could start looking online for references.

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Going in order I’ll talk about the scrapyard first. I knew that the scrapyard was supposed to be the starting area and by the time that they leave the area the player will have learned how to move, give energy, and take energy. Given that the player learns the less intuitive mechanics as they leave the scrapyard I did not have to worry about setting up any extra obstacle in the environment for the player to learn. Since the only mechanics to learn were as the player was leaving it meant to me that the scrapyard area should be small, but not small enough that the player would walk 5 steps (or rotations depending on what character design is chosen) so in order to keep the area generally small but still feel bigger than it actually is I arranged the greybox area in more of an “S” shape so that the player could not see past the curves in the path of scrap therefore making it seem slightly longer than it actually is.

Although I made an “S” curve to the general path of the scrapyard to cut off the player’s sight of what was in the distance in order to make the level seem bigger I refrained from blocking the player’s site as much in the large open space of the scrapyard in order to keep the path simple enough for the player to easily understand where they are going. The building off to the side of the opening of the scrapyard will serve as mostly an aesthetic piece but also can double as a landmark for the player even though the area should be easy enough to make out at this point.

The point of keeping it easy for the player to remember where they are to me is to keep an immersion in the game since being confused which way you were just going can be frustrating for the player.

The two pictures above are a part of some of the references used when deciding what the scrapyard might look like. The picture on the left provides examples of what the scrap piles in the games robotic world might look like while also provides a more detailed image of what the bridge scene when leaving the scrapyard might look like. The image on the right was used as reference to what the scrapyard paths would be like, winding and with the height of the scrap being lower towards the edge of the pile in order to carve out a path that fits better than if the scrap piles were to stay at one height. The idea of their being some type of building was also brought up from this example.

The images shown above are references found for the wasteland area. The idea of them that fits into the idea of the wasteland is that it should feel devoid of life and large with things such as large rocks that shape out a trail for the player to follow towards the city while also containing some sort of sign of life with the presence of old buildings or ruins among the wasteland since it wouldn’t be out of the ordinary for their to be something built in the expanse between the city and the scrapyard that would obviously have been used by the residents of the city before whatever unknown event occurred to cause everything to shut down