*** Caroo - I moved this topic to the design section due to it being more relevant here. ***
The ?Before20? project: Creating a design folio.
Current update: Production Week 2 [ 26th /3/2006 ]
The Quick Sum-up of this project.
The before20 project is the name given to my folio. While the folio will contain some concept art and design documents. The main bulk/work/attraction to this folio when it's completed will be a fully playable single player level using the unreal2004 engine. [For those who do not have unreal2004 a video showing it played out with and without background commentary will be provided on folio DVD when complete.]
The Single Player level is designed totally by the folio maker and he's striving to put as many of his own made assets into the level. The storyline is small but meaningful enough to drive the game with a sense of purpose.
I want to become a game or level designer. Both are good although my skills lean toward game designer more so. Listening to the advice of other designers in the industry I aim to make a folio that has as many tangible assets as it does documents and concept arts. But is this really nessercry for a budding designer?
Probably not in the requirement sector. But it shows something that so many in the industry want. Passion. I?m not going to call it talent [because talent is natural ability: I spent a month doing and compressing 500 pages of unreal and Maya tutorials into 40 odd pages of notes. I have passion and skill. Not talent]
With this level completed and showing enough passion for a game designer to learn modeling, texturing, level design and creating scripted sequences I hope to god that it?ll be enough to turn one or two heads and someone in this industry to give me the big break I want.
To put it simply. I aim to learn and earn my way into this industry.
My real name is Chris Watts. I?m currently 19 years old. [Thus the name before20] I?m an aussie who has a passion for video games, Good anime and American cartoons. Transformers and robots. Sci-fi and all those other nerdy things. I currently live in eastern rural Melbourne with my father and brother.
I?m by no means a genius in any way, shape or form. My VCE score was a meager 62.20 [reduced from 75 though. That's what you get for taking design in school XD]
I love stories that go and teach us something. A enjoy seeing the good guy win and the bad guy getting his retribution. My pet peeve is serial killer and some ?Psychological thriller? movies, as I both hate watching people die for someone else's entertainment and I have a phobia of seeing people's entrails?
This folio is to be done right in my own home using a computer I brought with about 3 months of saved up money. Learning from books, internet tutorials and the advice of experienced individuals on forums I plan to make a folio that's up to par and if not better then others studying at the expensive courses. This is not done in spite or dislike of these courses. But I?m just trying to show that through self-motivation and passion to get better you CAN do it on your own.
Also there's no way in hell I can afford those things. XD
So with the introduction finished it's best to tell you how the project is coming along.
Production: Week One:
With the tutorials and preparations done it was time that I would start to make this folio into something more tangible. I hit a bump in the road to begin with. The static mesh [meshes that are used for decoration and/or non animated] exporter from maya or unrealED was buggy and didn?t export the meshes correctly. While I sought advice on a few forums I would make myself useful and start to curve out the rooms I would be populating with items in unreal. Making these rooms is done with BSB brushes. Using ad and subtract buttons you can make any type of room you really want depending on your skill. The only two rules to follow is to make sure no BSB brush cuts into another and to keep the rooms in 16 unit segments, preferable to the power of two.
While I did this for a week or so I finally came across my solution to my static mesh problem. After installing another version of Maya and a new exporter [ActorX] the meshes came into unreal looking just the same as in Maya.
Production: Week two:
With ? of my level carved out in BSB and temporary textures in place it was time I started to create some assets. Starting with the simplest thing possible I made a floor segment:
While crudely textured and not a very pritty mesh it was my first successful import. This was made on Monday 20th/3. On Saturday however I improved upon it and made a new mesh.
TIP: As I viewed the original mesh in lighting which was a small 40 ploys I noticed the light and shadowing that reflected off it was poor and unrealistic. This is because I stretched the polygons to far. The second floor segment mesh resolved this issue by placing 16 evenly spaced polys on the top face of the mesh instead of 2 stretched out ones. The shadowing and lighting on these faces are now more realistic. The trick is exactly the same as texturing. While you try your hardest to make your textures and meshes as small as possible also remember to prioritize and give extra ploys to where it's needed.
With this segment being 128x128 units it snaps on perfectly in the map editor. I cannot stress enough keeping meshes to ether the power of 2 or in 16 units per measure.
I also created stair segments, lights, a console with a 2nd texture placement to put any animated texture on, a door with a border, supports and most important for this room the core generator and its coolant segments.
Part of the levels design was for the player to use a button to make objects move in order for him to progress. While a simple door can do this it doesn?t show much skill or imagination. So in this room when the player presses the use button on a console; 8 coolant segments come out of the side of the generator to ?vent? excess power. However for the player this gives him something to jump and progress on. Using sounds, moving objects and an animated texture I came up with this. Keep in mind extra effects like steam and shaking the players view wont be implemented until all the ?game play? class meshes are inserted into the game. Functionality over looks is the core of this folio.
So for two weeks work I think it's all coming along nicely. While I do admit I?m nowhere near as fast as many other level designers. I have to remind myself that the only way I can improve is to keep at what I?m doing and not let anyone else discourage me.
Until next time - Cheers
Next project review in one month.
Static meshes made*: 12
*This does not include meshes that have been replaced by better ones.
Textures made*: 22
*Animated textures only count as one each even though there are multiple textures. Textures no longer used are also not counted.
Scripted sequences*: 2
*Scripted sequences are using events and objects to make interesting interactive elements into a game. Do not mistake it as programming.