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Hi Elliott, This is a great breakdown and very generous in sharing your process and insights, you came a long way from the vending machine days!
Are you planning on releasing the UE4 project to the public? Or only builds? I'd love to play around with it in the editor if possible!
Sungwoo Lee has recently published a nice little 3D environment, he created for a never-released action game. In this post he talks about the creation of this level, describes the modelling process, shows how he created the materials and shares some of his thoughts on lighting. The final result looks incredible!
I started an indie action game project last year, but for some reason (I don’t have money actually, haha) I didn’t make it through.My ambition was too big, I know this is the most common mistake the indie developer makes.This is not first time I made such mistakes,but I just want a challenge.
Just like I said in my artstation: A simplified background of this scene, there is a fallen cardinal (no relation with existing religion) who betrayed the gods and became a monster. For his desire, he decorated this church and lived like his own palace.Then now our hero is going to challenge this boss in this place.
This scene is also designed for VR purpose, I think it will be cool in VR glasses.I like the feeling when the dawn light was getting through my face when I was sitting in a church. But the light in this scene is more like little bit before the sunset.
Creation of Complicated Environment
I think architecture design is the most difficult part in 3D game scene design (I don’t mean level design).There is only interior for this case,so it’s little bit easier than a full design.Before creating meshes I have made some concept designs and calculated the size of all the meshes.I normally use 10 grid (10 centimeter) for mesh snapping,but in this case I used 5 grid snapping.
To build such a big architecture environment we need a lot of patience to do preparation. It takes so much time to do calculation, because if I got it wrong, the entire scene would go wrong and It’s hard to fix all in the process of assets making. I started building these meshes after all general design was completed.
Building the Materials
I like make materials the easy way.In this case there are just 6 kind of materials.
I made these materials into material function. Then blended them by RGB MASK texture in root material.This is one of my material function and root material.
Working on the Floor
I made high poly floor in 3ds max and baked it out.The shape of floor was inspired by ancient geometric design.I always loved the magic circles, so I designed one and put it into my project.In this process I didn’t use Quixel suite. I just use Quixel suite to make 6 materials for using in material function.
Polished marbles are very beautiful materials in real world and many palaces have used these kind of materials.So,I picked marble material to decorate this scene. It’s not complicate to build such a reflective environment.The SSR would take all over these reflections.
There is more than 1000 geometries in this scene and there is a a lot of black color.The lightmass is not friendly to this black color. So I increased diffuse boost to 1.5. I just put one directional light and one skylight into this scene to light up the entire scene.I was afraid to bake so many meshes in one time, but my concern was unnecessary.The light baking took me about 4 hours with Intel core i7 4790K. After baking and some optimization it could run 60 FPS (1080P) on GTX970 now.Maybe I will release the game some day.