Saturday, March 13, 2010

It's over. . .sort of

Long time no post. The finals were really getting to the team as we pushed ourselves harder and harder in an attempt to have a project we were actually proud to show. Titles and tasks got mixed into a frenzy and I found myself performing a myriad of jobs that I initially had never thought I'd be doing. Never the less, the final presentation has come and gone and we got through without any substantial glitches or hiccups (other than the one's we knew of anyway). It's not a perfect game, but for 8 weeks of work, I think we all did something we can show in our portfolios. That being said, I realized that I never posted any finished renders of the scientist, so here are some high quality renders, posed using donnie's rig. I'll probably throw up another version of this when I get around to it, as well as a turntable animation. Hopefully, one of our more Unreal-savvy team members will also get around to throwing together some matinee's of our level. If and when that happens, I'll post those up here as well.

If there's anyone out there reading this, thank you for your time and have a good week (spring break over here!) Great job, team!


Forgot I had this screen shot lying around (it's the load menu for the game that Joe and I threw together):

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Light Maps and Normals:

Well, I got a bit side-tracked today because when I was doing some research on foliage volumes, I found some interesting stuff about light maps. It turns out, the problem with overlapping UV's has to do with how the object receives light. If the object doesn't have second UV channel for a light map and has overlapping UVs, the object will look like crap. However, with a second UV channel and light map, it looks just fine.

Furthermore, I discovered that UDK really washes out normal maps due to light mass. I did some research online and found that it really improves the visible quality of the normal maps if a Constant3Vector is multiplied with the original normal map with settings something like this:
R = 2; G = 2; B = .7
This jacks up the bump on the normal map and makes it visible even with light mass. Also, I found that it really helps to overlay multiple normal bakes via photoshop to really saturate the normal colors. Check it out:

Without the vector multiply:

With the multiply:

Monday, March 1, 2010


Well, I'm still working out a few minor kinks, but I think I got us a tree system that might work. I tried using a foliage volume, but quickly discovered that UDK hates instanced geometry and proceeded to apply the same lighting to all the leaves. Maybe I just don't know how to change that 'feature' but it seems like it's an inherent problem with the setup because I've heard other people having the same issue. As a result, I decided to resort to the good old-fashion hand-placed branch alpha technique. I think the shape of the trees could still use a little refinement and the bark obviously is a place-holder, but with what I learned with this tree, my next attempt should be far better and take much less time. The tree up close is about 5,000 tris, but I added a LOD so that it is about 1k after a certain distance.
Hopefully this won't choke our level any more than it already is.

LODs in action: