View Full Version : Scifi portfolio level, UDK
06-20-2010, 05:50 AM
Hello there polycounters.
I've been trying out the UDK over the past week or so. And I've been loving it so far! I've started a sci-fi based level in the hope to eventually put that in my portfolio. I need to start doing something sometime, right?
The entire level, with the exception of the floor tiles, is currently just to block out the scene, and are in no way finished. There not even UV unwrapped, so I don't think I can build proper a proper lightmass.
The only things here that are not mine are the plants in the background of the second image. Along with the ground texture they're sitting on, and the skydome.
Here's my progress so far;
Minotaur0's Hi-tech research facility (http://www.polycount.com/forum/showthread.php?t=73253) has been a huge inspiration for me with this, and it's been my main motivation to get off my lazy ass (well, figure of speech), and actually start doing something useful.
Also, feels good to finally do something in 3D I feel I can actually be proud of.
06-20-2010, 05:17 PM
06-20-2010, 05:22 PM
looks cool bro, want to see where this goes :)
06-21-2010, 03:42 AM
Ooh, motivation! Thanks guys!
I've thought some more about the setting and all. I've decided on some kind of outpost on a forest planet. Looking out into the extremely dense jungle, and in the giant dome I had planned, you can see massive trees outside.
I've drawn out a quick floorplan, which is in no way final (mostly the dead ends on corridors). But it should give you some idea about the approximate layout.
And the little experiment I had done with a standard UDK tree, which sadly is the only one of it's kind in the standard assets. I'm hoping to eventually model my own proper trees like this, but I've never tried anything like that, so who knows what'll come of it.
Anyway, here's a screenshot from the test.
06-21-2010, 07:31 AM
ooh I like where this is going, keep it up man!
06-21-2010, 09:11 AM
I'm currently working on tiles for the kitchen and messhall. Which is a pain, because after blocking in most shapes you don't get that satisfying feeling of seeing everything coming together. The shapes are all planes so far. :P
I have run into a snag, which I may be able to solve easily, but I haven't tried that yet. The windows are supposed to contain airlock-style mechanisms inside (hence the groove all around), but I can't get enough control over movement inside UDK. In Blender, I can align everything to a proper grid and such, and it works perfectly. But UDK's grid is annoying, and I hate the fact that you can't change it.
The UDN already mentioned that most licensees use a scale of 100 UU = 1m. http://udn.epicgames.com/Three/UnrealUnits.html So what's up with not being able to change to a grid that suits that? Or just being able to define your own grid.
I'll just continue blocking out stuff now.
Adam L. Gray
06-21-2010, 09:25 AM
Hmm, the grid uses power of 2 numbers, so you can change the grid size to 1, 2 or 4 for example. Or, if you want more freedom/randomness, just toggle off the grid and you can move it any way you like. Could also go into the properties of an object and change its world coordinates to get it to move a specific range I believe.
The only thing you really need to know is more or less just that the character in ut3 is roughly 96 units high. And because of the perspective normal measurements doesn't always work in ratio to the charachter. So just keep in mind what measurements your tileable objects are, and have them match up to the grid to save a bunch of trouble. And compare your props and models to a box or biped, depending on what app you use, and have it be 96 units tall. That way you'll be able to eyeball everything, and then do a check on it in the engine.
Hope I don't come off as rude here, I have no idea what level you're at with udk, so you might already know all this.
Btw though, it says 1 UU = 1cm, and you can change the grid to 1 unit :D
06-21-2010, 09:49 AM
I know, and I've been using the grid everywhere really. It's just impossible to accurately line up those particular meshes this way. The power of 2 makes sense, but it would be a heck of a lot easier to work with something that resembles real world measurements. As that is what I, and I assume everyone here, relates to best.
Currently, I'm actually using 50UU = 1m. Which doesn't make any sense. But exporting from blender doing this is a bit confusing. I've been scaling up by a factor of 50 on each .fbx export. I should really just open that script up and change the default to 50...
I had started to work on a scale of 10 Blender Units = 1 meter, after my mesh got screwed up by removing doubles picking away the wrong verts. Though I haven't been really good at sticking with that. :\
Currently dumping some meshes into UDK to block it out a bit. And it seems awefully spacey at the moment...
06-21-2010, 10:13 AM
Try to make your blocks fit into a power of two grid first. Most of the blocks I'm using are 256 units wide/tall, but I'm using a player height of 144 units (close to Gears of War's metrics, where the character's height it at 160 units).
Default UT3 player height is 96 afaik, so blocks of 128x128 or 192x192 uu would fit the grid a lot better than 50uu ones =)
06-21-2010, 01:37 PM
I'm currently completely reorganising my files. And also reexporting everything to 1 BU = 1m = 64UU. It's a pain, and it means I've got to restart with the scene. But I think it'll be worth it. I think I'll also have to redo alot of meshes because the scale is going to far bigger on some things. The roof is probably something like 8 meters above the ground. :\
I'll update when I've reexported, reimported and piece together the entire scene from the ground up. With a few added meshes.
06-22-2010, 06:44 AM
Mentlegen! Update time.
After spending like a total of 5 hours doing maintenance on my files and such. Everything is not at a scale of 1 Blender Unit = 1 Meter = 64 Unreal Units. Not everything is perfect though. The walls and supports are pretty much all around 5.6 BU tall, and thus 358,4 UU. Not so fun for lining up BSP meshes properly, so I'm going to redo those heights. Maybe turn them into 5.5m tall things. That'll make em line up at 352UU. Oh well, I'll see.
I had organised every file to a 'Bulk Import' style folder structure. Which suits it. But importing in bulk kept crashing UDK, so I could never finish that. Some files just crash on import, and reimporting (when assets are used) crashes pretty much always.
In the meantime enjoy. It's my brothers birthday today, so I'll be occupied with celebrating that. :) Poor guy has school till 4. :\
06-23-2010, 03:46 AM
I've heard that really thin triangles are a bad thing. I think I know why, but I'm not sure.
Anyway, what path should I take here? Either longer strips, or like 6 more tri's.
It's not just about this example, so I'm not sure where to pick what. If somebody could tell me what they base their decisions on, I'd appreciate it.
Well, I've been working on the airlocks inside the windows. I've been working with the idea of everything being created with the intention of easy (dis)assembling. So in this case I've been creating little icons in PS to put in the texture, illustrating how to install and remove these panels. It's fun imagining how they would install and remove these things. And it helps with texturing alot.
06-24-2010, 02:48 PM
Update time. I've been working steadily on this stuff. Today was wasted mostly on getting the corners to look right. I just saw that this picture has some error on the right cornerpiece. I'll work on that then.
Today wasn't really productive... Oh well, better luck tomorrow. :)
And as always, any crits are definately welcome!
06-25-2010, 08:11 AM
This is looking cool. Really digged the shot looking outside with the vegetation. Are you planning to do more with the lighting? I think some better lighting will benefit the scene a little bit.
06-25-2010, 10:41 AM
triangles arnt bad at all, for high poly modeling they are bad, not for low poly mesh
06-25-2010, 10:55 AM
I'm definately going to do more with the lighting. It's currently just working lights really. I'm still pretty much blocking in the scene. I've got a fairly good idea how everything will be laid out, but I work on highpoly objects alot inbetween block-in sessions.
Short-ish attention span with those things. Always skipping to the fun bits.
triangles arnt bad at all, for high poly modeling they are bad, not for low poly mesh
I know that, but the question was aimed specifically at the use of 'thin' triangles. I heard that those were more difficult to render for the GPU.
if you really wanted to know if it was better to split it you'd have to do some tests, but since its a portfolio piece, I don't think it matters too much either way.
Hey Divine Rage,
Just a couple questions regarding the scene if you dont mind me asking. How much thought have you put inot the level itself? looking at the screen shots you posted it seems to be a lot of trial and error which is a good learning experience but wastes a lot of your time which could be better used on making the level assets themselves.
Before starting any scene I try to get a basic understanding of what I want, in your case you look like you want to create a sci-fi scene wich is a good choice as there is alot of art reference you can pull from.
Once the genre/art style is chosen I would start looking at reference material such as games, movies and even famous sci-fi artist, at that point i would make a folder on my desktop and throw anything i see that catches my eye into that folder.
At this point I either work off a concept in the folder itself or design my own concept with the references i collected in mind. This simple process of putting some extra effort into the early stages of your project can save you time but can also increase the quality of your work 10-fold.
As of right now your stuff is decent but could be greatly improved if some more thought is put into it.
Here are some links to sci-fi pieces that i think are awesome:
Hope it helps man!
its reminding me of Kamino from StarWars. want to see it when its done
06-26-2010, 05:23 AM
You're right, it doesn't matter much now. I thought that if it was indeed a big deal people would've told me so, and I'd have learned another bit. :)
I haven't put that much thought in it, concept-wise. But I have a good idea what I want this to become. And I do check out my reference folder on a regular basis. Got some great stuff in there that's a very good inspiration if I'm stuck and/or out of ideas.
Then again, I have to stress that almost every mesh is just a quick base. I'm currently already modelling highpoly versions for them. While I still don't have basemeshes for everything. That's probably a bad choice. But I'll see what comes of it.
Texture-wise, the only things that are done are normalmaps and ao bakes. They may not even be final for most. Diffuse/spec textures are untouched altogether.
Those are definately some kick-ass concepts! Saved em, ofcourse.
06-28-2010, 07:02 AM
Ooh, look, shadows!
I baked lightmass once, and it was horribly slow. It looked reasonable, but not real good (it was only preview quality). And aside from that I really didn't get my head around those generate unique UV's for lightmapping. I assume I can use my own UV layout for that? Should I then just create an identical (in most cases) lightmap UV?
It sucks that currently my normals are pretty much invisible. I need to get better lighting in here.
This is very nice work. I love how not only does it promote a safe indoors feeling,but that it is also very open to the nature around it.
06-28-2010, 01:22 PM
Coming along nicely. Are you going to make your own foliage for the finished scene? or are you going to just use epic's set?
06-28-2010, 01:56 PM
I'm certainly going to try and make my own foliage. But as I've never done so before, I'll see where I end up.
06-28-2010, 02:11 PM
I'm really digging this, kinda of has a Final Fantasy 8/Star Trek feel to it.
06-28-2010, 02:39 PM
Really nice looking stuff, good to see it progress too, I love watching how things work out each step of the way! Looking forward to seeing more!
06-28-2010, 02:48 PM
aside from that I really didn't get my head around those generate unique UV's for lightmapping. I assume I can use my own UV layout for that? Should I then just create an identical (in most cases) lightmap UV?
It sucks that currently my normals are pretty much invisible. I need to get better lighting in here.
You can make your own 2nd channel lighting UVs in max, maya or whatever, and will likely get better results.
Getting a nice material in unreal takes a bit of learning and setup. So your normal and lighting might not be the issue. You could always post the flat and a screen cap of the parent material setup in unrealed for more feedback. I'd be happy to give you more specific technical feedback on that if you're interested in sharing. I'd also suggest adding a cube map to the metal material.
06-29-2010, 01:56 AM
I'm working with Blender, and whilst it does support multiple UV channels, I'm not sure if they are exported correctly. They're not numbered or anything, so I'll just have to try it out.
And my materials for most of the meshes is just a simple constant set at .7 to give a grey color. For the meshes I made normals for, I just made them each a new material (I haven't worked with material instances or anything, so each asset has it's own material). If they have AO aswell, then I'll take that instead of the constant.
So it really is a shoddy material setup, but I'll get to that I suppose. It would be great if you could help me out there.
The material I'm thinking off would look similar to this:
But I think it would be very hard to get this, and also get clearly visible normals.
06-29-2010, 12:23 PM
Ooh look, a purty render.
It's a doorway. It's not done. It's confusing me with animation.
The frame of the doorway needs work. I need anchoring to the walls and floor. But so far it looks mudular enough to me. It needs some work around the connections...
The blocks that make up the door slide away to the side, starting at the bottom. After the bottom blocks have moved away entirely something moves in place to cover the hole the bottom blocks move in.
Exporting animations will be a pain. As far as I know, I've got 2 choices. Animate everything individually in Matinee, or export everything with animated bones. I think I'll go with bones, as that will probably give me more control. With Matinee I don't think I can save a group of meshes, with animations, to place as one at another location.
06-29-2010, 01:17 PM
Last night I put together a quick example scene, and here's a screen grab of the parent material. It could use work, but does all the things I needed it to do.
It's a parent setup with parameters for diffuse/spec/norm power and color, as well as detail textures, rim lighting and a cube map. Once this was setup I just plugged different textures and adjusted the settings into material instance constant for all my scene materials.
Point is, you can build something similar to this to get nice reflective glass, and shiny, soft metal. It's all in the tweaking.
06-29-2010, 02:10 PM
Could you perhaps post a bigger screengrab of that material? So I (we) could pick it apart and learn from it? This is my first project with the UDK, so I'm dying to learn as much as I can.
I'll pick apart some other materials pre-packed with UDK. Hopefully that'll give me some ideas.
06-29-2010, 03:00 PM
I'll do you one better. Here's a download of material. It's from my proc building test last night. Again, nothing to write home about, just a simple test (note: uses june UDK)
Also, if you follow the link in my sig to the UDK level, you can check out it's parent material setup. It's a touch more on the stylized side, but a good example nonetheless.
06-29-2010, 03:20 PM
That unfortunately crashes with the may UDK build. Could you perhaps still take a proper screengrab? That would save me from having to spend a few hours downloading another build. I'm grateful nonetheless! :)
Little update, pieced together some of the HP stuff I had for other assets. Chugging along...
06-30-2010, 11:20 AM
I just did the doorframe's UV's and normals, but they fit in a 1024*2048 (portrait) image. I always try to get as little stretching as possible, and I have absolutely no stretching right now. That also means I have a little wasted space.
I want to do a unique diffuse/spec for the other side of the doorframe. And I could do another UV, turning the image into a square 2048*2048 (or whatever, I'm working in 2k). Doing that will probably mean I can rearrange the UV's, wasting even less space.
But, and here's my dilemma, wouldn't that mean loading another mesh (with the new UV coords) to use the other part of the image? I've checked swiftly, but I don't see an option in the static mesh properties in UDK to switch the used UV channel for an individual asset instance.
If there is such an option, to change the used UV channel on a specific instance, it would absolve the need for another unique (in UV's alone) static mesh.
Any ideas? Or should I just mirror the damn thing with obvious issues (e.g. mirrored text)?
07-08-2010, 09:29 PM
Hey, responding from your DA note.
First things first. Post a shot of your uv's and the wireframe model so we can see what we're working with.
Also, even with today's next gen systems, 2048xanything is pretttty huuuge for a door like that.
If I understand your question correctly, you want to use the same uv space, but have different texture sheets on different parts of the door?
That's simple. In max/maya/blender/whatever you're using, just set each side of the door to a different MATERIAL ID. Assign temporary textures and export to Unreal. Make sure your exporter is set up to export Material Groups, or Material IDs, or POLYTEXTCHANs, or whatever it may be called in your program.
In UDK, open your mesh from the Generic Browser. You will notice that there are now multiple Material Channels, specific to the Material ID's you set. Simply apply your textures accordingly and voila!, all set.
Hopefully I understood what you were asking and was able to help.
07-15-2010, 04:14 AM
Wow, haven't done much in a long time. I blame the heat, I can't work like that!
I had experimented with materials and texture channels between sending that note and you posting here, so I had figured out that I could just use a second channel and be done with it. In this case atleast.
Afaik UDK only supports 2 texture channels per mesh though. Not a problem in this case, but if I had 2 UV channels for my texture, and both had overlapping faces, using either one for lightmaps wouldn't work. What would one do in that case? Or am I just completely mistaken, and does UDK support >2 UV channels, or just 2 for texturing and an additional one for lightmapping (unlikely).
Anyway, I don't come empty-handed. I haven't done much, but I've worked on the main floor tile's texture. Instead of using a square texture with lots of UV-tiling, I've now gone with a 2:1 image, without any stretching whatsoever. Now I can also just use BSP, instead of having to use a subdivided plane for UV purposes. It's not completely finished, as it needs more manual scrapes, mainly on the black text bits, and the hexagons in the center.
I also gave Marmoset a go, and I really like the quality it produces.
07-15-2010, 04:46 AM
I like this a lot, well done. I like the nice clean, greyish interior with the fishtank looking windows and foliage on the floor. Kind of reminds me of PSO lobbies, in a good way :D
I also like the clean, simple, pale shadows, they suit the scene.
07-15-2010, 09:56 AM
I just dont like how the foliage gives the whole scene a "abandoned/amazon" vibe. I would probably shorten them up to give the whole scene an elegant/spacious look. Thats just my idea though :P
07-15-2010, 01:12 PM
I agree, but I'm not happy with the overal scale. The ceiling and walls are too tall, and it makes everything else look small in comparison. Requiring far longer corridors to compensate, making the tiling more annoying.
The floor texture is too dark in this scene. It doesn't work with the atmosphere I'm trying to create.
I've done some more highpoly stuff for the ceiling mainly, but I haven't baked any of that, so it's not in here.
Still working along anyway.
07-16-2010, 01:38 AM
about the scaling, I actually like the scale the way it is. I've seen some people who makes scenes like this (hallways/sci fi scenes) often make them feel "small" like if you could barely walk there without hitting your head. Your scene feels airy and imo that fits with the amount of plants and the clean texture/colour scheme.
07-16-2010, 02:21 AM
Maybe it's just that the floorplates are like 2,5 times wider than a character is tall. I like the proportions, but I'm just struggling with the overall scale. I might just try scaling the entire scene down to 80% or something, and playing like that.
But then I hit that snag again with UDK's grid. I can't change it, so scaling it down and working like that would be a horrible pain in the ass. I don't suppose there's a vertex-snap in UDK?
07-27-2010, 12:36 PM
I'm bummed that I've been doing so little. So I worked on a holographic display material.
They're 'created' from the top and bottom borders. The sides are clear of emitters. There are only some supports for the bottom bar.
It's all animated. The news and stock exchange crawlers at the bottom move properly, and they tile back. One RG channel image of 32*4096 resolution for those textures.
Everything is effected by both a bit of fresnel to make it transparent at an angle. Aswell as being displaced a bit to enhance the holographic bit.
I've had fun doing this. But I'm not entirely happy.
Also, the compression is driving me CRAZY! Seriously, I don't want extreme compression on a 128*256 grayscale image.
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