Friday, 22 February 2013

Layout sketches

As part of the blockout process, I've been doing some sketches/storyboard.

 Player begins the level in a cave, looking upwards into light.

Ascending from the cave and the short hill, they face towards a ruin. A bridge over a river is broken. The player must walk left down some steps, towards a waterfall.

Standing by the waterfall, the player can see the main area of the level. They must cross stepping stones across the water.

The player walks toward the valley, where they meet the river again. A bridge crosses the water above the waterfall. Standing on the bridge, the player looks out into the valley. At the end of a bridge is a statue and a door leading to a temple.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013


Had a go at sculpting some rocks. I tried Mudbox for a while but couldn't get the flatness of face that I wanted. After a few failed attempts, I switched to ZBrush with a bit more success. The idea here is to make "small parts" of rocks, which I will combine together to make medium-sized rock assets. These will be placed in the level as a sort of tileset, where I can overlap them into each other to form rock formations. These were only experiments, I'll be sculpting the final rocks shortly.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013


I've spent the past week and a half working on a tool to speed up and automate the process of baking models. I call it AutoBakerrr.

Typically, depending on which bakes they bother with, an artist may spend as long as half a day (maybe more) setting up and performing bakes and setting up their textures. Since very often the bakes and the setup is the same, I decided to have a go at making a tool which made the whole process.

With the tool installed, the user can set up their bakes in almost no time at all and queue them all up to run (typically only 40 minutes). Since the settings are pretty good, the bakes are likely to be quicker too, and theres less room for human error.

There aren't many settings to get lost in, and I've included a  pretty user guide too.

It's not quite ready for public release yet, I'm going to wait for feedback from beta users to see if there are any improvements which can be made, but in the meantime, take a look at a preview here:

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Sci-fi Vehicle pt 2 (not FMP)

The Extraterrestrial Surveyance vehicle is now finished. Operating on a frozen planet, it melts with its laser through ice to survey minerals beneath the surface, before flying on to the next site.

Render of vehicle and environment taken in 3ds max using Xoliul Shader 1.6. Snow effect added in Photoshop.

To save time, I did not add any high poly details, only chamfering the hard edges to create the normal map. Instead, I used nDo 2 to add panels, grooves and similar details.

After finishing the normal map, I used several different bakes including ambient occlusion (top-down and even), curvature (model-level and texture-level), world height to add a subtle gradient and world normal to add an upward bias to the lighting. This meant I was starting from an already very finished and consistent-looking texture. From here it was a simple matter of adding grunge (for which I used the curvature map to help) and other texture details.

For a bit of fun, I did a little animation and rendered it out as a video.

Here's the final model. This previewer hasn't quite got the speculars right, so it appears more like a black matte than the silver metal in the video/screens. (WebGL required)