Monday, 31 October 2011

The building

Finished putting my building together. made a quick brick pillar using my wall texture. All the walls are made from bsp. Made an instance of the texture and added some nodes to the emissive slot to make the windows glow. Really makes the wall come alive. Especially with the interesting silhouettes the fire escapes make.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

AC unit

The final piece that will be used on the attached building for my level. took some time to make from the skewed picture I had taken of a fan I found on a multi-story car park, but I'm pleased how this one turned out.

Will be adding these to a few of the windows on the building.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Trim Pieces

Made the trim for my building today. I think I'm going to have these lay out around my whole level. The bottom ones use a texture I made from a picture of a more worn building I found.

The reason for this is because I wanted more dirt and grunge around the base of the buildings to fit in with the worn and damaged look of the rooftop.

Just the diffuse and spec so far. I will be making the normals to bring out the smaller details.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Fire Escape

This asset will surround some of the windows when I add them to my level. Just made a quick base texture at the moment. i did add a mask that creates the holes in the metal floor.

Monday, 24 October 2011


Started off making my modular pieces today. I chose a picture I took in Leicester as my base for my texture.

I'm going to use elements from the building to as well as some other pictures I took. So far I made a couple of windows. I also set up a mask and added a slight reflection. Made it dark as my scene is set at night.

I started of with the texture for these. Corrected all the perspective and many other tweaks. I have left space to add all my other modular pieces to the same texture to optimise my texture usage. This was then added to a plane in Max. I cut out the windows and added cuts and extrusions to finish the model. This also speeds up UV mapping as I only have to remap the faces I created when making the extrusions. I then made a separate UV channel for lighmass in UDK. This is important as it allows UDK to calculate correct shadows on all the objects when the lighting is built. The UV's for this cannot be flipped or overlapping.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Vertex Painting

I put the finishing touches to my floor texture today by creating my vertex shader. I followed a tutorial from As you can see from the screenshot its a very complicated material but i mnaged to get it all working in the end. I mistakenly plugged a bunch of nodes into the emmisive slot instead of the specular slot. This made everyhting go white and not work properly. Took me a few hours to realise my mistake but all is good now.

This material allows me to paint in puddles onto areas of my ground texture. The planes for the floor have to have to a a grid pattern of verts added to them as these are required for the painting to work. The more you have the more control over the details you have. It also has vertex offsetting. This means that the mesh will bend when you paint with the assigned colour set to it. So when I paint with this colour and the colour I set for the puddles at the same time, the ground goes down were the puddles are painted in.

The material has a height map added that makes the water build up around the slabs as if some of them are uneven. I will eventually create a cubemap of my level to add reflections to my windows. This material will also use the cubemap to add reflection in the water. The shot bellow shows the effect.

As the planes i used don't seem to like collision meshes exported from max, I had a problem with the player falling through the floor. I solved this by figuring out that the builder brush can be used to crate collision for the selected object. This works perfectly and allows me to stand on the floor.

.The bellow shot shows my meshes meshes ready to be built around. Next step is to create all the modular pieces I need for the attached building.

I also managed to finish of my wall texture.

Thursday, 20 October 2011


Got my skydome make today. Just using a place holder texture at the moment until I create my own. I followed a tutorial on to create the mesh and it also tells you how to create a texture from a panorana picture using polar cordinates.

I also found a tutorial from a webiste called This tutorial shows you how to create a material that allows you to create an instance of that material to change parameters such as having moving clouds, colour of the horizzon line, colour of the sky and even having stars so you can animate a day night cycle.

This is a shot of how the material looks when its completed.

This shot shows my current settings. I have it set up to resemble a night sky with the moon behind some clouds.

This is a shot of what my sky looks like at the moment. I have a dominant directional light in the scene that casts a faint moon on the skydome. I made it very subtle as its behind the clouds and set the brightness to a low value.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

The Ground

Today I finished making my floor texture. Its just the diffuse, spec and nomrals at the moment. I plan to add the ability to use the vertex painting abilities in UDK to be able to paint in puddles. has a good tutorial that I can follow and adapt to work with my texture.

These are the two images I used to create the texture. They were taken from our back garden in Leicester. I used the same technique I used to make the brick texture by using a variation map to prevent some of the tiling. Below is the finished result.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Wall Texture

Been working on my wall texture today. Used a tutorial by Chris Albeluhn as he uses a very good technique to add variation to the repeating pattern. The original texture I took of my house at home over the summer.I removed allot of the unique details and normalised allot of the bricks to remove as much tiling as possible. Then I created the variation texture from the tutorial to remove even more.

This is the result so far. I've used colours instead of textures in the variation layer at the moment. Will change that as soon as I find some good walls to take pictures off.

Friday, 14 October 2011


Today I finished off the concept I had been working on. This helped me visualise the lighting I would have in the scene. Looking at it I felt that maybe the moon light may be a bit strong but ill have to see how it looks in UDK before I make my mind up.

I've also decided to add some flood lighting to add to the darker areas. I will place these were I will have doors that allow access to the roof.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011


So today I stated my blockout ideas for the playable area of the rooftop. Key points to consider are interest. To add interest i wanted to use varying heights of rooftop. This would also add areas were enemies would be able to spawn to ambush the player as you walked around corner etc. Keeping how long we had to do this in mind. I didn't want to make the area to large, but have enough space for the player to move around with ease when confronting enemies.

I also started to make quick blockout models of assets and place them around in areas that would give enemies and the player cover when in fire fights etc.

I blocked out many shapes for the floors and felt these two worked nicely together. Granted they are just squares, but as I wanted apartment block style buildings. This is the shape I found most of them to be when looked at pictures of them online. So I wanted to keep true to this with my scene. The first screenshot shows my first idea coming together as I added some of the assets I wanted in my scene. To add verity I decided to have to building that would be accessible by having planks of wood joining them. The smaller building would be the starting area and the player would move on to the larger area. The smaller building was also higher up to prevent the level feeling flat.

The first problem with this was even with the assets added to take cover behind, I didn't think there was enough area for cover. Even though I wanted to keep the rooftop small, another problem I had with this is that if felt too small.

From the above shot you can see I also added the connected building I had planned to include. This would add interest to the skyline and also give a sense of scale to the area. It also added a subtle story element as it will resemble apartments. This would have been an area the player would have just come from before breaking out onto he rooftop.

Some of the lights will be on in some of the rooms to break up the lighting and the fire escapes also add interesting shapes to what would otherwise be a flat wall.

I decided to move the smaller building as this would add a corner of a building that could be hidden behind. Then have the player come form the connected building onto the small roof and have steps down to the larger area. This was closer to the idea I had in my head but I felt it still had some issues. I felt I added more interesting gameplay but took away from the visual side. It also didn't solve the problem of making the area slightly larger.

In this last blockout I did, I felt I included all the design elements I wanted to achieve. Still with the intent to improve the area this was as far as I felt I needed to go with this stage.

By moving the small roof to the bottom of the large area I had added the corner building that enemies could spawn behind just as the player reached the rooftop. The original small area would now be double in size to add more assets to take cover behind. This also would allow me to keep the gap were an ally way would be to allow the player to jump or walk across the two buildings and add more visual interest.

I feel really happy with this layout in terms of size and interest. but I still feel I need to make some minor adjustments. But nothing I wont be able to add as I build the level at a later date when I get a better feel of how the level looks when I'm able to run around in the UDK editor.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Games with rooftops and Reference on your door step.

So I've been googling for some pictures of rooftops in NYC. I've also been on Google maps for some areal images for shapes and sizes of real life rooftops. All pretty standard stuff of what you would exspect to find on a rooftop so ive been thinking of some games to go and have a look at and see how developers have interpreted a city rooftop.

Titles include:

Mirrors Edge - Pretty much the whole game.

COD Modern Warfare 2 - Multilayer map High-rise.

Crysis 2 - A chapter stars in a really nice location were you run across rooftops for a bit.

COD Black ops - The Kowloon city Hong Kong level is set across a lot of rooftop at night with rain coming down.

Left for Dead - No mercy campaign is set in a New York style city with rooftops.

I've also been into Leicester with my camera to look at architecture of the buildings. I've also grabbed some loads of images for textures. I've picked a couple of images I'm going to use to create some modular pieces to create the building I want to have connected to the rooftop. Next job is to jump into max and start blocking out some interesting shapes for the playable area and surrounding buildings.

Here are the pictures of the buildings I got from Leicester.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Year 3 Projects, hmmm.... What to pick first?

So the 3rd year officially starts and we have two projects to complete for Christmas. I really enjoy doing environment art so I've decided to start on the NYC style rooftop first. Then do the vehicle project after. I feel the environment will be harder and require a small amount of time more to complete. This way if I run into any problems and run over the half way point I can hopefully catch up.

So my initial thought of what to style my rooftop on got me thinking of something traditional. Know I know water towers and Square ventilation is a bit cliché, but it is a NYC rooftop after all. I just need to think of a point of interest with these elements surrounding it to sell the fact that the location of the rooftop is in New York.

I'm also thinking about time of day and weather. Im gunna have it set at night time with the moon casting a very cool light over the scene. Ill then contrast his with warm light comming up from the city below and from windows on the buildings.I think it important to realise this at an early stage as this will convey the the mood and style of the project. I'm also toying with the ide aof having it rain for added atmosphere. This will depent on time constraints one i've planed out the project and see if i have time to implement it in time. I want the player to feel fully emersed in the environment. This got me thinkling about surrounding buildings. I want some really tall buildings surrounding the player to drive home the fact that the player is on a rooftop deep within New Yotk City.