DneproMan: Creating Free Content Exclusively for UE4
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DneproMan: Creating Free Content Exclusively for UE4
15 September, 2015
Interview

Leonid Klimenko, aka DneproMan, is a CG Generalist and head of team Storm GS. His team recently released Metropolis – 4K Metallic Texture Pack. In an exclusive interview with 80 level, he goes into detail about some of the content packs released, tools of preference, and why he chose to release free content exclusively for Unreal Engine.

Metropolis

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This is a set of more than a hundred 4K seamless metal textures. Moreover, they are fully configured PBR materials for Unreal Engine 4 and the perfect demo. Any Unreal Engine 4 user can download and use the content in their projects. It’s completely free including for use for commercial purposes!

I spent about 6 hours on the development of all the textures content for Metropolis, and about 3 hours to collect materials from it to Unreal Engine 4 and make a presentation video.

For creating this content I used Substance Designer software. It’s just the best procedural texture generator in the market at this time. In this program, you can pretty much simply create any texture. You just need a time to create Master texture, and then change some of its parameters to obtain a new sub-species of textures. For example, you spend 15-20 minutes developing the texture of rusty metal. In the next minute you can generate some of its subspecies, perhaps even tens of subspecies. And all of this is very simple and fun. Do not waste your time drawing scratches on metal, let your computer do it for you.

Space Battle Arena

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If you plan to create a game in the genre of Space Adventure, Survival, or FPS then Space Battle Arena is for you! This pack is made up of more than two hundred 3D models, and hundreds of textures and materials. It also contains musical themes and audio effects, particle effects, and of course a big demonstration arena, with which you can start your development. And you can download all this absolutely free of charge.

Yuri Cigankov – 3D designer from my team, just said, let’s develop a template with the space station, and give it away free for all novice users UE4. I said it’s a great idea. He spent several days in the development of 3D models in the program 3ds Max. I created a texture, particle FX, some models and also wrote the music. Our programmer Alex Konik, has added some gaming scripts. It was fun and fast. Thus, the Space Battle Arena content was born. Most importantly it will help novice users quickly start to develop their own project.

Why Do This for Free?

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Why am I doing this for free? In fact, the answer is very easy and simple. I’m just sharing with people experience and knowledge. It is no secret that many people in today’s world spend hundreds of hours on online games and other entertainment, but it’s just entertainment! Why can’t I spend as much time on the development of something interesting? Products that I create might inspire people, and for others it might be a source of help and support. And that’s fine! For me, content development is kind of like a game. When I do something, I relax and it absolutely does not bother me, I’m doing what I can do and I do it with joy.

Creating Content Exclusively for Unreal Engine 4

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It’s true, we create content that is focused only on the technology of Unreal Engine 4. Prior to UE4 I had experience with the UDK, just for exploring this technology. I liked many of the tools and how they have been implemented – such as the material editor, and the system scripts (Kismet). All of these look like procedural development and I really like that. At that time, my team worked with the Unity engine to develop a free-to-play game called Match 3 Adventure. But then I learned that the Unreal Engine 4 is readily available through a subscription of $19 a month.

I just came into my office and said, we will start working with the technology of Unreal Engine 4. We just closed our project on Unity, and took up the study of Unreal Engine 4. After 2 months of use, we released our first free content Space Battle Arena, and free audio pack Cosmogonical Adventure. It is dark music for sci-fi survival or adventure games.

Mr. Tim Sweeney, made the Unreal Engine 4 free and open, and that is much more than what I can do for this technology. My content is just my humble contribution to the development of this technology and its community.

Procedural Software

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In today’s world, there are many solutions for fast work. Modern games and their content have gone far ahead of what we were able to observe some 10 years ago. Much of it seems difficult to actually produce in a quick and fun manner. For example, using the software SpeedTree, I can in one day create dozens or even hundreds of trees for a computer game. With Substance Designer I can do it in a few days with all the necessary textures added to my game. It’s quite amazing. All this is called procedural software and that’s what I’m trying to use for my work on the content and for my game projects.

Procedural software – is the software development process where everything is represented as nodes. You can totally see all the stages of formation of 3D models, textures, and even the music I create in a procedural software Reactor. By adding a change in one place, you can affect the entire process or a part thereof. This leads to a complete or partial change in your 3D models or textures, creating new species in a few seconds.

Procedural Modeling

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Houdini Splash © Leonid Klimenko

If I need a procedural 3D model, it’s no problem, I just use Houdini. When I hear people say that Houdini is difficult to learn and understand, I say no it’s not, it’s just another software. So it’s not worth comparing it with Maya, 3ds Max or MODO. It’s in its own Universe.

Also with the help of Houdini, you can integrate your 3D model into Unreal Engine 4 or Unity 5. This will allow you to create 3D models directly in the game editor. This is all very inspiring and makes me go further in the study of procedural modeling. From my point of view, it’s the next step in the development of games.

Create, Motivate, and Inspire

In fact, the main obstacle that may be in my work is the loss of imagination and inspiration. I think, the inspiration, the desire to create, persistence and perseverance is the most important thing in any work. And for me, another very important thing is the people who work with me. That they fully support me.

Now is the time of incredible opportunities because of the fast internet and software on subscription for an affordable price. The internet is just littered with a variety of educational materials. Unite with your friends. And just start to create, something incredible, today.

Good luck to all the independent developers and I hope you all stay inspired and motivated!

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Leonid Klimenko, CG Generalist, Storm GS

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