Thursday, September 6, 2012

Simple Map Tutorial

A collection of screencaps cataloging my progress through the development of a simple map in Unreal Development Kit:

The overall shape of the room was copied directly from the tutorial.

 Most of the materials I used were the same as in the tutorial as well, though I opted for a grated instead of a tile floor, and put that heavy stone slab texture on the ceiling.

Starting to put some static meshes into the room. In general I went for the same intent as in the tutorial, but tried to put some of my own spin on it. Here I went for a radial pattern of supports, as opposed to the archways used in the tutorial.

 Ended up adding some crossbeams anyway. It should be noted that all the static meshes used here come preloaded with UDK. I didn't model anything.

The idea of adding foliage came up because I thought it would be neat to see some grass and shrubs peeking out through the grated floor. Initially there was only a handful of greenery, but I liked it so much that I just kept adding more. I probably could have gone even farther with it.
The glowing green blob things are listed in the content browser as "bio-blob" or something like that, but work equally well as cartoon-style toxic waste. Again, I was originally only going to use it as a small accent, but I liked it so much I ended up applying it to the whole level (in the shot below you can see one of the blobs magically floating off the side of the barrel. Good thing I caught it when I did!)
 I'm not sure if the juxtaposition of the "toxic waste" with the creeping foliage is somehow profound or just confusing. It's not super-visible in these shots, but I added some mushrooms popping up around the piles of waste on the ground. What does it mean?

Shots of the other room. Those big vats to the right are full of even more toxic waste.

Here's the level with the work lights taken out and the final lighting put in. I experimented a lot with how much of a "glow" to have coming off of the toxic waste.

You can't tell from the picture, but the gate opens and closes and makes sounds when you walk through it. The tutorial called for the gate to slide sideways, but I couldn't build the groove for it correctly because of the trim I added to the doorway, so I opted to have it slide upward instead.

The toxic glow is a lot more visible in this room. Below is a shot of the room with its final lighting, and then with a post-processing volume to tweak the colors just a little bit more. Although I've just now noticed that I forgot to rebuild the lighting before taking the second screencap, which is the reason the walls are completely black. The final version doesn't look like that, I promise!

More black walls! I wasn't sure about the super-bright glare off of the walkway there, but I decided to go for it since it adds a nice focal point, which is especially fitting since that area is pretty much the very last place you get to when "playing" the level. That would probably be a good spot for an event to trigger; maybe the vats of waste start to overflow and you have to evacuate in a hurry. Or maybe a boss bursts in through the ceiling and you have to fight him on the narrow walkway. Maybe both!

Added this shot to show off some of the other assets used. Along the wall and ceiling you can see the lights I added, and inside the door is the trigger that allows it to open and close when the player interacts with it.

All in all, I had a lot of fun with this. First impressions of UDK were great, it gives you a lot of great tools and seems pretty intuitively set up compared to something like Maya. Of course I've only just scratched surface here. I'm sure in the months to come I'll be butting heads with UDK over all sorts of stupid crap. But for now, we're good friends.