During the age of the steam train, a water tank used for filling the boilers of a steam engines would have been a familiar sight in and around train stations. Adding this asset to our group project adds a little more authenticity to our environment.
After speaking to our tutor Gareth Sleightholme about adding some more interactive and visual elements to our group project, he suggested looking in to having a part of my model of the De-Luxe theater collapse or become broken upon collision or through a triggered event in UDK. This was a really good idea and after speaking to fellow student Matt Lane who suggested using a 3Ds Max script plug-in called Voronoi, I was able to produce an animation in 3Ds Max.
Next I would like to get this working in UDK.
For the client related practice module, we will be continuing with our Paragon group project and I will be further increasing my technical capabilities in order to help progress the project to meet the clients needs.
This photo shows how the theater looked like around 1920.
This is the model I made in 3Ds Max, next I will be adding some form of interactivity to the model and then importing it into the UDK engine.
With semester two of our second year under way, we are looking to progress our project by adding animated animals and people into our environment. As our project is set in 1914; horses would have been a common sight on the streets of Hull.
To start with I downloaded this horse model from TurboSquid and then added bones to the model in 3Ds Max. I linked the bones that I needed to move together using the IK solver tool in the animation drop down menu and then added Dummy controllers to the IK links; this helps me to easily grab the part that I need to move.
Next I applied my own texture to the horse and set up an animation using Auto Key to give the impression that the horse may have been startled.
I was also able to export the horse and its animation and then import them int UDK where I set up the animation to be a triggered event, I added a horse sound to the animation too.
To achieve a realistic interactive environment for our group project I looked into adding a static human asset into our environment; this was achieved but the end result was too mannequin like. So to push the project on into the second semester I will be looking into the development of animated human characters which will populate and move around our environment.
To be able to move the limbs, head, etc., of an animated character or object bones have to be added to your model. To get me started I followed this YouTube tutorial by CG Swot that showed the bone tool being used to move a desk lamp.
Then in the animation tab I selected the Bone Tool and then selected Create Bones.
I then clicked at a joint to start the bone then clicked at the next joint to end the bone and to start a new one.
This gave me a total of three bones for the lamp, the same as a human arm (upper arm, lower arm and wrist).
Next I connected Dummy helpers to the parts of the lamp that need to be moved and rotated, the Dummy helper helps keep objects connected to it move with it without becoming detached from each other. I also added some quick materials to the lamp and a lighting set up in order to render out an animation of the end result.
Online Communication Methods
Online communication between the members of a group can be essential for the progression of a group project, especially when members of the group are unable to be in direct contact with each other for sustained periods of time.
Wikia is an online communication page that is set up to allow people to contribute information relevant to the project and it also allows group members to help keep track of how the project is progressing.
Steam online is another good way of keeping in touch via an online community, in theory this should be a good way of keeping tabs on what’s going on with the project; because people are online whilst playing games.
The use of these online group communication methods was not utilized by me or by the majority of the group, I believe this is due to the group being in contact with each other three times a week and that we also had a weekly group meetings to discuss the projects progression.
Exploration and interaction in the virtual world has in more recent years become associated with video games. With the evolution of technology, the virtual environments created for video games are becoming more interactive and more realistic. The suggested use of virtual reality headsets to further expand the human interaction with virtual spaces has recently been resurrected with the recent demonstrations of the Oculus Rift and talk of a Sony VR headset.
Virtual reality in the non digital world can be traced back to the 16th century when the Italian artist Baldassarre Peruzzi (1481-1536) produced the fresco ‘Sala delle Prospettive’ (Hall of Perspective) 1518-19, on the walls of the Villa Farnesina.
The illusion of a world beyond the walls of the villa is achieved by painting a realistic view of the landscape of Rome in the distance with a terrace and pillars in the foreground painted in a perspective view. This process of creating an illusion of a three dimensional object on a flat surface is achieved in the same way as digital virtual environment is created.
Sala delle Prospettive is considered to be one of the first virtual spaces.
Adding a further touch of realism to a virtual environment is something that most games designers strive to achieve, and this is true in our group project too. Getting our models in to the game engine with a texture on it is only part of the process. The trouble is that the models look too new and clean, in the real world any object that is exposed to the elements of the passage of commuters through a busy train station will leave their mark in the form dirt and weathering.
To add a realistic looking effect to our models our tutor, Paul showed me how to apply a Decal material to a surface in the UDK editor. This involves creating several texture layers to gain the desired look.
Before the moss effect Decal was applied.
After the moss effect decal was applied.
To make our environment more interactive for game play purposes I have started adding interactive elements. To the front of the Royal Station Hotel I placed a ladder volume onto the side of an archway, this will allow access to the balcony area to provide in-game refuge and give a good vantage point for ambushing the enemy. At the moment there is no visible object to climb up, so I will be adding a drain pipe or a rope so that there is something to give the suggestion that it can be climbed.
I will also be adding a jump pad on the balcony area that will propel a player onto the roof of the hotel, this will allow access to the roof areas of other buildings. Because this environment is set in 1914 i intend to make the jump pad invisible and place something there like some tar-poling or suitcases there that can be use as a launch pad.
I have added smoke to the chimney stacks of the hotel and I am going to add triggered sound and lighting effects to the surrounding areas of the hotel to give more interaction to the environment.