Through researching the signage of the period, it became clear that signs used to advertise and promote businesses where hand painted, often perhaps by the owner of the business the sign was above.
To try and recreate this feel for our signage I and others who worked on the project sketched the lettering onto paper and photographed the results. Then through a little manipulation in Photoshop were able to produce some good authentic looking signs that didn’t rely upon computer generated fonts.
Here are two of the signs that I created.
In our western environment, we wanted to try to achieve the look of a real western town. During our research we noticed that large hanging canvass signage was a major way of advertising and promoting of businesses and such. Although I had used cloth before in previous projects, the move to UE4 meant that I had to download the Nvidia PhysX plugin and learn how to use it with 3DS Max, as this is the only way to achieve real time cloth physics that react to wind and gravity in the UE4 engine.
This is the general appearance that is achieved with the cloth modifier, the Apex clothing modifier is added to a mesh which is then weight painted in order to determine the scale of movement that the forces of wind and gravity will have upon the mesh in the UE4 game engine.
Here is the three textures that were used to create the material for the sign, opacity mask to give the appearance of rips and tears in the fabric, the normal or bump texture and the diffuse texture.
As stated in the brief; several burnt or partially burnt buildings were required within the town. I decided to create a small generic building as well as a partially burnt version of it, these buildings were base upon the one that can be seen in the photograph below.
This is the partially burnt building rendered in 3Ds Max which shows the textures and the wire frame of the model.
This is the undamaged generic building which could be a small domicile for example.
Below is the diffuse and normal textures that I created for use in the UE4 game engine.
There is also an update of the saloon that I have been working on, all done and in our environment now, this shows the exterior of the building along with hand drawn signage that was manipulated in Photoshop to create a look that is in keeping with the period.
As a saloon would be one of the most important building within a western town it is important to include an interior that can be explored by a playable character. The photo below is what I have based the overall look upon.
Below are two 3DS Max renders of the modeled interior of the saloon.
Adding some form of interactivity will give our environment a feel of what could be expected from a game of this type. It will also enable the group to experiment and push our creativity to further develop our skill sets.
To start with, I added a lift type platform which is triggered to ascend when the ‘F’ key is pressed through the use of ‘Matinee’ and ‘Blueprints’.
This could be a good way of accessing upper floors of the exterior of buildings.
I also wanted to look at introducing hazards to the western town.
To demonstrate this I thought that a collapsable floor that is controlled via a trigger would give an element of danger and surprise to some of the buildings and walkways.
After modeling the exterior of the saloon for our western town, I have now progressed to the texturing of the modular pieces. I have also modeled and textured a pulley arm based upon some reference images.
After doing some initial research into the types and styles of building that would have been found in a western town in the 1870’s, I decided to start modeling a saloon based upon ones seen in photographs from the period.
These are the saloons that I based my saloon upon.