Blueprints and Interactivity

Blueprints are awesome. I'll start with that. They're easily powerful enough to do everything I could want, and quick enough to get it all done it time. This along with Epic's amazing amount of tutorials, made blueprints exactly what I was looking for. For the project I have had to do no coding whatsoever, which again has made the development of the interactive parts of the environment much easier with a lot less learning involved.

Anyway, enough gushing. The first thing I did using blueprint classes is create a door that requires you to grab an authenticator card from a nearby office and place in into the card reader, which then unlocks the door and allows the door to open. Because a lot of the people trying it out are probably not accustomed to game controls, so I put text above the card with the use button on it. This should teach players the use key for the rest of the level. This is a common way to teach the player within full games, and the goal of the environment is to give a little concept snippet to showcase my skills and understanding in games.

The Office

Using the creation of an office space was a really effective way of getting ideas when considering what props I would need to flesh out the areas of the environment. Things like chairs, desks, monitors, light fixtures etc. The kind of stuff that will make the level look like an actual level, and not just some walls, floor and ceiling. The ease of reusing these assets will be a great time saving technique without skimping on the quality.

Click images to see full size

This office also changed the style I want to go for ever so slightly. With the corridor I had strayed a little from the clean sci-fi look, and the corridor looked more like a maintenance corridor than a clean, high tech office building.

Click images to see full size

The Switch to UE4

So UE4 came out quite suddenly in March, and after trying it I very quickly came to the conclusion that I should move my project over to it. Not only does everything look vastly better, the workflow is quicker, the interface is nicer, and the blueprint system will allow me to include a lot more interactivity than I otherwise could. Basically, it's awesome.

Click on images to see full size

As you can see, the main style of corridor has been improved and now it's in UE4 captures that sci-fi looks much better. The change to PBR has made all the materials look much closer to their real-life counterparts, that being especially noticeable on the door.

During this switch however I started to realise I wasn't being particularly inspired by the whole sci-fi factory theme. After some thinking I decided I'll be sticking to the sci-fi theme, but changing the environment to a more utopian skyscraper, including a lovely balcony with a view of a huge cityscape. Below you can see my start on the balcony, the cityscape however will likely be the part that takes the most work to complete, but if all goes to plan it should be very impressive.

This switch will slow down the development of the project, but I feel it's worth the extra time and effort because of the huge step up in quality the new engine will allow.

Click on images to see full size

Corridor Test

I started first trying out different wall designs. Creating high-polys to see how they flow together and how I can create some different variations of them. On the right is the first design I came up with. You can also see some variations I created. The computer panel variation on the left I quite liked, however the pipes and things on the right I felt had no real use. Something I want to prioritise is that everything has some seemingly meaningful purpose.

So after that I started from scratch and created the walls you see below. I made them much simpler than the last set so I could keep to the clean aesthetic. I then created the rest of these pieces in that style so that I could make this text corridor to conform that this would be the style I go for. 

Highres_Screenshot_00000.png

The Walking Drone

Dronelegs.png

When first thinking of what I wanted to do for the environment I knew I wanted to create a clean, shiny sci-fi environment. I did however ant to make it a little more active than just the walls, floors and props. I had the idea of making some little drones that would walk and fly around. I found some awesome concept art for a small walking drone. (I also feel kinda back for forgetting who created it.)

I did stray from the concept a little, since I wouldn't be including the folding into itself. I made the body itself larger and changed the shape 

 

 

This is the final model/texture. I played around with different placements of the painted areas. I also tried a couple different configurations with pseudo "eyes", however it always looked slightly too goofy. One thing I think I may change is the head, I feel I strayed slightly too far from the concept here and made the head too large.