Friday, 31 January 2014

Style Guides, Modulars and More!

Finally got round to scanning the stuff I had in my sketchbook today, so you can see where I'm at now. I've got the mandatory modular pieces sketched down, so most, if not all of February will be spent making these and their LODs and placing them into my level accordingly. I've read a few articles and posts on how best to approach building with modularity and I feel what I've written below will work nicely. Basically for the actual buildings themselves, I will be creating 3 or 4 tileable textures for them, which will be fairly neutral colours - these I can alter in CryENGINE in the material editor to give each building unique hues, making them seem more homely and personal. As the textures will be tileable I can preserve the UVs on the base building itself and quickly create many differently shaped buildings to stack on and next to each other, quickly creating indentations for windows and doors.
While the grid method is a very reliable way of creating seamless areas of levels, I don't see it of being tremendous use for a lot of my level as it is all very haphazardly built - there's no formulaic layout the people of the city are sticking to. This means I need to be careful where two pieces of geometry collide. For things like corner trims and placing windows and doors I can still snap to a grid, but for more 'organically' placed objects, such as wires, pipes and AC units, and also where two buildings at different angles meet, I'll need to be very careful  as to how they collide, or if something needs to be placed there to cover it up.
I will also create decals like cracks, stains and build-up of mold to further break up the textures. Once all of this is done, 70-80% of the level will already be finished. Then I will have the remaining two months left to focus on the more unique assets such as the shopfronts and also repeatable assets like signs, bridges and lanterns.

At the rate things are going I'm still confident I'll get everything essential done on time, but some things may end up not getting done in time. Originally the garden area was going to be extended scope, but as this has become a mandatory part of the level now, I'm going to switch it with sound effects and the lighthouse. The garden is the only part of the level where it is predominantly natural, which serves as a nice contrast to the rest of the man-made city. The lighthouse was merely just another unexplorable unique asset to populate the area. Sound effects were always going to be very low priority, as even though they add a huge amount to the experience, this is obviously an art course, so spending too much time on something I won't even probably touch in-industry will be a waste of time.
I also whipped up a colour/style guide today, which I'd been meaning to do for a while now. Nothing much to say about this as I've covered what I want my level to feel like when discussing my inspirations, but I did also add a section on what I want to avoid. This is because when I explain my idea to people I feel it sometimes comes across quite grim and claustrophobic, something I obviously don't want to emanate in my level.

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