Archive for the ‘Self Initiated Project’ Category

For this project I had to come up with a suitable idea for a game design project and execute it. To fulfil the brief I came up with several ideas of what I would like to work on that focused on the area I was interested in specialising in. The three ideas I decided to propose were; replicate a location from an anime, create a 3D fighting stage like Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat and create a location from a movie. All of my ideas were accepted so I decided to go with create a location from an anime and chose to create a scene from Attack on Titan.

I started this by doing research for good visual references this meant going through every page of the manga and every episode of the Anime and taking screen shots of any section that could be used as good reference for layout, buildings, textures and assets. I then looked into Germen architecture as the show draws heavily from that style. With the research in place I then decided on the exact scene I was going to base my level around, I decided to go with the house of the main character that you see in the first episodes. With the appropriate reference images in place I started to block out my house to gain a sense of scale. This ended up turning into a high poly block out of the area which I could then turn into modular pieces, this worked well and allowed me to check that the pieces all fit together properly by placing them next to one of the other houses.

With the modelling at a good stage I decided to plan the area more thinking about a gaming environment, I did this by sketching a plan of the area then doing several sketches within the space of possible scenes to create to give the illusion that people live there. I also looked into the terrain tools in UDK so I would be able to add different heights to the map and avoid having everything unnaturally flat. I also looked into multiplayer maps in games and found out that there are several things that need to be considered when making a multiplayer map, those are, choice, map flow, focal points, versatility and cover. Even though I did not fully incorporate this into my map it is something that will come in handy for future projects.

I then started creation of some smaller assets to populate the space based on the sketches I did. Next I started unwrapping everything and adding lighting channels so I could quickly mock up a basic layout of my level in UDK allowing me to check for any errors and that the scale and spacing was correct. There were a few problems with flickering were some parts of my modular pieces overlapped and some spaces between the houses weren’t large enough to walk down, these were all quick fixes so I could move on to creating the wall since no major problems occurred.

With the creation of the wall I decided to keep it to the full 50 meters that it is in the show as it is an asset that would not take up many polys and would be able to block out the emptiness in the distance. This also made me consider how I will populate the area outside of the map to show that the city stretches on even though you cannot go there. I blocked off the surrounding area with blocking volumes and added a new terrain under the wall so even if you looked over the edge of the map you would see ground instead of emptiness. Due to time constraints I did not get to add as many buildings as I would have likes making the level feel a little empty in places.

When texturing started I did look into hand painted textures and wanted to give them a try however I had left it too late to really experiment and just used the reference images I gathered. The video tutorials I watched were classes by Jamin Shoulet, an accomplished game designer with more than 15 years experience in the industry. I found these videos extremely useful. This is something I am considering using in my FMP next year, I will decide this after the summer which should be enough time to have practiced creating them and seeing how effective I can create them and if it is a viable option or still needs work.

To help organise my project I created a time table to distribute my hours between all of my projects so I wouldn’t spend too much time on one project and neglect the others. To support the time table I also set myself weekly goals in a table so if I ever fell behind schedule I could quickly see what needed to be done and focus on getting that specific part complete to catch up. I updated my progress on the project once a week on my blog to help me monitor who I was doing as well as have a record of progress. However, towards the end of the project I stopped working on the independent project all together to get other handins complete that had earlier deadlines. I also prioritised the client project over this one because if my self-initiated project wasn’t up to scratch it’s only me who suffers. However, if my parts of the client project look bad then it reflects badly on the whole group as the public, who view it, would see it as a whole and not as individual models. Due to this I took short cuts in my texturing and did not get everything to the quality of finish I would have liked.

This project has been a good introduction to self-motivated asset and level design, something that I am looking at doing professionally; I learnt how to use multi sub objects and the terrain tool in UDK skills that may come in handy for my FMP next year. If I was to do this project again I would have finished assets completely before moving on to the next when the model was complete because this left me with many models that had no textures and in the end could not be put into the engine because they were not 100% complete. I enjoyed modelling the most with the high poly block out I created at the beginning of the project being one of my favourite models. I disliked texturing as I left it too late to get a good finish I was proud of and would like to give it proper time at a later date and maybe experiment with making my own hand drawn textures. Overall I am happy with the quality of finish I was able to get as a starting point, not as an end product. This is a project I had to rush near the end due to time constraints and did not get to finish all the assets how I would have liked so I plan to re-visit this in the future.

Presentation Evaluation

I feel my presentation was average as I felt I had all the information I needed however failed to support the information with the necessary imagery making it very wordy and dry. The few images I did have were quite small and hard to see for some people at the back of the room, this makes me think for the future I should focus more on the concept of show don’t tell and let my work do most of the talking when it comes to showing off the final product or pieces of work. I feel this could have gone better had I planned it earlier, I put together the presentation the morning before presenting because I prioritized everything ells in the hand in above it. Had I given myself more time to work on it and think about how it would be viewed I think I may have realized some of these mistakes myself.

Final Timetable Update

Looking at my time table for the whole semester I managed to do 14 hours over the target I set myself. This also let me see a curve in my work and most of the extra time became more constant after the half way point in the semester. This makes me think that I could have done much better if the time I put in was more constant from the start. So in third year I have decided to create a time table straight from the start and set weekly goals again however instead of leaving the studio and working at home it may be beneficial to stop at the studio till later everyday and not have to stop and start working all the time. I noticed when I do this sometimes I cant be bothered to set up my laptop and everything when I get home and tend to slack off more so this should eliminate this problem.

Final timetable update

I think by the end of the project I did manage to meet my first goal of creating two unique houses and the wall because the modular house kit I created could be used to make houses of any size and the other assets I did not quite finish would be able to add more details like windows, chimneys and door arches. This has also thought me how much you can under estimate a project so if I do want to create something ambitious for my FMP next year I will have to get the planning right and create a good foundation of work for it over the summer.



Final Level.

Posted: May 23, 2014 in Self Initiated Project
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Here are screens of the level in its final form for the hand in. This is something that I wish to continue working on in the future as I am disappointed in the level of finish I achieved.

Finished Screen 7

Finished Screen 6

Finished Screen 5

Finished Screen 4

Finished Screen 3

Finished Screen 2

Finished Screen 1

When I re-visit this project I want to re-do the textures of all the housing and add multiple textures to the terrain. I also want to add all of the models I started but did not complete in time for the hand in this would allow me to add doors, windows and other details to the houses so they don’t look like sealed boxes with roofs. I also want to make the space look more lived using some of the other assets I created.


Posted: May 23, 2014 in Self Initiated Project
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I started working into the terrain I had set up earlier trying to get a shape closer the the scene I had in mined.

UDK Terrain Screen 8

I felt the hill area was not elevated enough so I made it a bit steeper.

UDK Terrain Screen 7

I then worked into it to add more slops to walk up and down.

UDK Terrain Screen 6

Once I was happy with the slops i started to focus on the houses and made sure they were all on the terrain and it rose under them accordingly.

UDK Terrain Screen 4

UDK Terrain Screen 3

UDK Terrain Screen 2

Once I was happy with the terrain I added a grass texture and started to add blocking volumes to prevent the player from leaving the map as well as assigning textures to my housing using multisub objects.

UDK Terrain Screen 1

Quick Textures.

Posted: May 23, 2014 in Self Initiated Project
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with the deadline for the project drawing near I wanted to have a final product that looked finished. So i decided to texture what I could and not included anything that wasn’t completed. I started by making sure the building was textured.

Textured House

I then moved onto finishing the texture for the wall but ended up running out of time when I got to the last piece and rushed it but distance the wall will be out of focus and far from the payer I don’t think it will be too noticeable.

wall textured screen 2

wall textured screen 1

I started my research on hand drawn textures by watching some tutorials online, I decided to watch tutorials first to gain a better understanding of how they are produced. I was struggling to fined a good tutorial when Jamie pointed me towards these classes by Jamin Shoulet, an accomplished game designer with more than 15 years experience in the industry. I found these videos extremely useful, however, I looked into hand painted textures to late in the project to apply them. This is something I am considering using in my FMP next year, I will decide this after the summer which should be enough time to have practiced creating them and seeing how effective I can create them and if it is a viable option or still needs work.

Video 1 Notes:

There are three aspects to a texture:

– Base Colour

– Lighting

– Shadow

Label and group your layers for quick edits. If you are sick or have to pass on a project this also makes it easy for others to work with.

Keep using difference clouds on the same layer to add information.

Subtlety is important.

Definition is highlighted through lighting and shadow.

always keep highlights (Screen layers) on top of multiply layers.

Slowly build the texture up don’t rush or work in to harsh.

Save often.

Use simple gesturing.

Difference clouds filter is seamless.

A good Diffuse and make a normal unnecessary.

Look into Brandon Idol.

Multiply & Screen.

Neutral Gray = 128,128,128.

How to set dodge and burn for metal texture:

Dodge = high lights

Burn = mid tones


I decided to look into the flow of multiplayer maps because I wanted to make my scene a playable level so making sure it flows well is important. I found that there are several things that need to be considered when making a multiplayer map, those are:


Unlike a single player campaign were you would usually travel from A to B or the enemies are always located in the same spot there has to be a large variety of options for a player to move round. Consider stealth, direct and tactical routes to keep the game interesting for all players.

Map Flow:

Since a multiplayer map is an enclosed space flow is important the best map flow is usually made up of intersecting figures of eight to allow the player to keep moving round without feeling like the area is small or enclosed. having multiple routes also helps with map flow.

Focal Points:

These are important to help with objectives or lead people to fined weapons or items in a match.


This adds more interest to the map instead of it just been a flat plain allowing players to climb and hide, gaining advantages over other people as well as being more interesting to look at.


It is important to have cover all over the map to allow players to be strategic or just hide when they need healing. Cover also adds more strategy to combat.

Last week was the final week for the client project and when the instillation took place. With everything needing so much work to complete I decided it was more of a priority than the self initiated project and focused all of my time on completing it and focusing on the instillation.

Weekly update 19-05-2014

Because some things have taken longer than I expected and with me putting this project on hold to get cats done for handin then the same with the client project I have not managed to keep on top of my weekly targets. I have come up with smaller goals to try and complete to get the project ready for the handin:

Monday – Start evaluation, create folders ready for handin, back save all 3ds max files. A goal which I completed and has prepared everything for the handin on Thursday even if nothing else got done due to unforeseen circumstances I would be able to hand in my progress so far with no problem.

Tuesday – Finish terrain & work on design document, texture assets if there is time left over.

Wednesday – Texture as many buildings as possible and put them in the engine, update evaluation, finish design document and create presentation.

Thursday – Check through the level and make any improvements possible till 10:30 then create the .exe and finalize evaluation and design document for handin.