Friday, August 2, 2013

Week 3, Day 4: Free Play

After finishing up the "Simple Level" tutorial set, the tutorials move on to more conceptual topics.  I was still itching to play around with the physical level editor though, so I started to make a new map from the ground up without tutorial guidance.  Needless to say, it's been significantly slower without someone to tell me exact dimensions to put in.  I had to mess around with the dimensions of my level's base for a bout forty minutes before finding one that was both the right scale and fit into the work grid nicely.

The level will be made for any generic arena FPS, as I figure that will be the easiest first game to make.  The actual concept of the level is stolen from an abandoned project of mine on Halo 3's forge mode.  There are three basic elevations: scaffolding running along the upper edge, the ground floor, and a basement.  My idea was to attempt to create claustrophobic close-range interactions within each floor, but more open spaces that allowed long ranges between each floor.  If I'll be able to pull this off (and if it'd even be fun if it worked) is another matter entirely.

In the time I've spent on it, all I've really gotten done is the walls, roof, and floor of the tower, as well as the start of two bunkers.

Brush wire-frame of the tower.  The yellow box is just an
indicator to tell UDK where to focus calculations of
lightmass, the program's lighting system.

The main floor of the interior.  The box on the left is the start of
one team's spawn point, and the box-ish thing in the center will
be the main focus of this floor's fighting.  Obviously still lacking
proper lighting and textures (and the rest of the structure).

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Week 3, Day 3: Kismet, Matinee, and Post Processing

After setting up the level and making it look nice, I finally got to play with some interactive in-game elements.  The first was  creating a chain-link that opens when the player approaches.  This is done with UnrealKismet, UDK's visual scripting system.

I wrote a little more this time, so check out the rest after the jump!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Week 3, Day 2: Lighting

I got a little more work done on UDK.  There was a short tutorial segment on layers (which are basically just groups of static meshes) that really helped clean up my level.  Every static mesh is placed neatly in a category.  Organization is so nice.

More impressively, I finally got to play around with lighting a little bit.  The "work lights" in previous pictures were deleted, and more realistic lights were added.  UDK has a neat feature that allows static meshes that have glowing elements to actually emit light in the level, as opposed to having to manually place lights by static meshes.

I added a lot more static meshes since the last time I posted pictures.  The place looks a little less like an abandoned warehouse and more like a post-apocalyptic bunker.  Take that how you will.

One side of the main room.

The other side of the main room.  I'm quite proud of that seating
arrangement to the right.  It's made of some concrete
siding and a severely shrunk pillar for the table.

The back room.

The back room with dark moody lighting.  So realistic.

The front room.  You can see a couple different colors from
different light sources here.

Week 3: Textures and Static Meshes

Okay, this isn't really week three.  I graduated from high school, and since then I've been too busy playing games from the Steam Summer Sale taking care of college stuff to keep up with this blog.  Regardless, after that brief "hiatus" I'm back!  I was having trouble scaling up the ceiling on the simple level when I left off last, but coming back to it I found a solution.  From there, the tutorials have been pretty easy going.  I finished up the basic layout of the room with BSP brushes, then got to make it pretty with textures and static meshes.  Here's what it looks like now:

The untextured exterior.  Look at that beveled ceiling!
The textured interior.  A bit drab, but better than no texture.
Static meshes added!  All the textures and static meshes come 
pre-loaded with UDK, so I can't take credit for
 those.  Regardless, the  placing and arrangement
 was surprisingly easy (maybe

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Week 2: Beginning a "Simple Level"

I went over the first four videos of the "Simple Level" 3D Buzz tutorial set.  For anyone else interested in learning the program, I would definitely recommend these videos.  It's a bit slow, but that's still better than going too fast.  On the upside, there's a lot of hand holding in the earlier videos.  Practically anyone with even a little bit of computer knowledge could probably get through them ("Now we open the level.  That'll be in the 'File' menu, then click 'Open.'").  In spite of the easiness, the presenter is entertaining enough to keep it interesting.  Each video is only 5-10 minutes, so watching one or two videos each day is pretty feasible.

Here's what I got out of my one hour of work:
UDK's editor window

The level being "played."  Check out that next-gen Unreal lighting!

All I've really made so far is a rectangular platform capped with a trapezoid and enclosed by two walls.  Are you impressed yet?  In all seriousness though, it's pretty exciting to finally be making something concrete.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Week 1: An Introduction

Take a look at the About page first, if you haven't done so already.

To start it off, I'll be attempting to get a grasp of the Unreal Development Kit, a free development program for the widely used Unreal Engine.  I'm more or less starting at ground zero.  At this point, my only vaguely relevant experience is extremely rudimentary use of the free open source 3D modeling software Blender, and the user interface tutorial set.  By "rudimentary use", I mean all I really know how to do is move cubes around and make extremely basic shapes.  All of my knowledge on the subject could probably be learned in a few solid hours.

Typically these type of things require a concrete goal.  Unfortunately, I don't know enough about UDK to make a realistic goal.  So for now, I'll simply aim to complete the rest of the 3D Buzz tutorials I linked above.  After that, I'll consider what I can feasibly do with my new-found knowledge.  That's all for today, I'll post again once I've made some worthwhile progress toward the next tutorial set.