■ What was the purpose of the project? What did you hope to learn?
The purpose of my of my final major project was to strengthen my 3D modeling skills within 3Ds MAX as well as within environment building within Unreal. I was looking at creating a 3D environment of the interior of a plane that is referenced off of the Boeing 747 that was based around a horror situation that entails the physiological break down of the main character, and you have to try to break free of you pasts demons.
Throughout this project I hoped to have learnt how to implement horror within an environment that hasn’t been done before by adding a very spooky and eerie mood with a physiologically effected character and hopefully player will be effected by this too.
I am hopping to also learn some new skills with creating assets as well as creating FX and blueprints within Unreal.
■ What was the theme for the project?
The theme of my project that I am going for is a horror based survival /puzzle type game, where the player is going to go through the plane trying to uncover things from his past to strop the “demos” that are haunting him. The puzzle side of things is going to be finding items (of the character) of your past to help him realise that it wasn’t his fault and the survival side of this is going to be you must not get cause by the demons that watch the walkways.
■ How have you developed your ideas?
Throughout the project I have developed my ideas according to either what my peers suggested or due to what I have decided myself. At first my initial idea was to create the exterior of a plane rather than creating the interior of the plane. However, I decided to change my mind with the 3D environment that I was going to be creating.
The reason why I changed my initial idea of creating the interior rather than the exterior like I originally decided to do, this is because I personally thought that the idea of creating the exterior of the plane would have been too much of a task for me and I was afraid that I wasn’t going to be able to create it to a professional industry standard that I currently wanted to go for.
I found that it would have been easier to create the interior of the plane rather than building the exterior of the plane, as well I wanted to try to make something that hasn’t been done before rather than making the exterior of the plane which has been done so many times before.
■ How much reference material did you find (primary and secondary research)? Do you think you could have done more? If so, explain what you think you could have done.
I managed to gather a lot of information on horror games and what makes good horror games and how I could make a good horror game to a professional standard, as well as gathering information of planes, finding out their layouts (of various different models of planes), the different items that are going to be within the planes: for example, chairs, over hangs, shapes, layouts, extras, galleys, etc.
For primary research I did however go to plane and I looked at how it was layed out as well as what the textures where and what the inside of the plane consists of so I could get the best feel for what the environment is going to look like when I create my very own plane.
Another primary research that I looked at was playing horror games for my own experience, some of the games that I played were: Outlast, Evil within, Slender the arrival. As I played these games I looked at what art style that each of them used as well as looking at what they have done to create the fear that they give off while I was playing the games as well as how their environments looked and their assets too.
■ Which developers, art movements, designers, media companies/campaigns and industry examples have you looked at to assist and inspire you? Why?
For my inspiration that I had for my final major project My inspiration for this idea was the movie ‘snakes on a plane’ where the people are trapped on the plane that is infested with killer snakes that are trying to eat everyone. That was a big inspiration to my plane horror idea by influencing a horror factor within the game.
Guerin Raught – 3D artist of scilent hill – was the 3D artist who inspired me to create this horror type idea as well as the textures that I have though of and the sounds that I could use to give a more sinister feeling to the game.
The person who has inspired me was ‘Nick Kaloterakis’ he is a senior 3D artist who has been creating astonishing peices of 3D work throughout the years and he has created campaigns for Sony, Qantas, Foxtel, New York Times, National Geographic, Australian TV networks, Saatchi & Saatchi, and the Discovery Channel.
They are important to me because they have a completely different type of style when it comes to creating 3D artwork, they seem to go for a very robotic based look and design with their work and they have tough me that there is other ways in which I too can create different arrange of ideas.
He has created a 3D model of the titanic that is being taken underwater as well as many cars, AI’s and animals that have been created into a robotic form.
■ Explain how your production board presentation went. What feedback did you receive and how did this help you focus your production?
The production board that I did didn’t go as according to I planed because their was a slight lack of organisation to my Powerpoint which is down to the matter that I only had one and a half days to gather all the research as well as create a proposal that was suitable for the project.
I went through what I wanted my game to consist on which was quite a lot and this included sounds, assets, cinematics, animations, etc.
The reason why I had such little space to do this project is because the initial that I changed is because I didn’t think that I could make my Final asset of the plane to the exact preferences and standard that I wanted it to be when it was finished. I got feed back on the whole size of what I was planing on creating. I explained my intentions of my project as if I was going to be making the whole game yet this was not my intentions.
I got feedback on the whole idea of creating the 3D environment saying that they really liked the whole idea of my implementing horror within a plane environment and ideas on how I can expand in this and adapt the environment to get the best scare out of the player.
■ How did your work change through the project?
Throughout the whole process of creating the 3D environment a few things did change throughout this process, some of the things included the initial texture that I was using for some of the assets. I though that some of the textures that I originally found and then created didn’t look as good as I originally though they would so I looked at various amount of examples.
Looking vigorously at the textures that the had and as well I looked at horror game to see what kind of textures they had used as well. Which in turn changed the over all way I textured my own environment and the assets within. The reason why I did this is because I thought that changing some of the textures within the environment that have a darker tone was going to work well with the whole horror and musty look that I was trying to go for.
The layout of my plane also changed this was due to the restriction of space that I left myself when building the outlining assets for the plane. Originally I was hoping to be going of a three corridor plane with a wider back and from areas, however this had to change because of the over all diameters of the plane were too small to make a two lane wide plane.
■ Which technical skills, methods and techniques did you use?
Throughout my project I preformed some technical skills, methods and techniques as I was creating my final project and these were:
Physical analysis is a very good technical skill that I had to use a lot when creating me 3D environment, this is because I had to create all of the assets to the exact preferences to what the original object would have real life. I had to make sure that I used this skills to the best of my ability because my project was going to be photo realistic so this had to be one of my strong skills that I used to make my 3D environment as photo realist as I possibly could.
Another technical skills that I used was planing, this was useful because mostly in the pre-production stage I had to use this to plane out what I was going to be doing throughout all of the weeks of production as well as the post-production too. This helped with planning out what I was going to be doing throughout each individual week as well as how I was going to be setting things out within the engine.
■ What were the key areas of development in this project? Use your daily reflections to help you with this?
There was a few key areas that I was hoping to be improving on throughout his project was mainly texturing and mapping. As I went through the final major project I looked at putting more time into creating textures for the 3D environment for all of the assets that I was creating.
The main reason why I was doing this is because I find that this is one if not my weakest point with the 3D modeling process so to me this needed to be focused on the most so that I could improve upon this for my future projects making the texturing better then it originally was. The other reason why I was putting more focus and time into doing this is because I set my self the challenge on creating a 3D environment that had photo realism so I definitely had to improve on this skill to prefect the texturing stage.
■ What experiments and exploration did you do? How did it affect your project’s development? Were there any significant changes?
Throughout the creation of my 3D environment I did a few experiments within want I was creating, one of these experiments was to do with the lights at first I was only looking at creating a light flicker to try and add immersion to the horror location and I was hoping that it could make the mood more intense for the players as they play it. Although this was a good idea that could have helped a lot I couldn’t seem to get it to work because I couldn’t find the commands needed to make the light flickers.
However I did find an alternative to this by making the lights go out with pop noise to company this making it seem that the lights blow, but trying and then failing with this put me back in my development stage because it took time to do and in the end I couldn’t have this feature anyway.
Some other things that I experimented with include teleportation, deconstruct-able meshes and particle emitters. All of which succeeded and they went into my final product helping my further the experience for the players. The teleportation effected my work by allowing me to transfer the “evil entity” that is eerily standing at the end of the walk way of the plane, this did add to the spooky factor as it is accompanied with a woman’s scream.
The deconstruction mesh was the harder one to do out of the three however getting the object to deconstruct on Que was rather difficult in itself because for some reason the only way that I could get the mesh to deconstruct on impact was if it hit the body of the player, which made things harder in the long front.
The last thing that I experimented with was the particle emitter which turned out rather well seeing that this was the first time that I had ever tried creating particles and it changed my final product by adding a eerie light glow across the evil character at the end of the plane which adds it the spookiness.
■ Is the final product appropriate for the intended platform/purpose?
The final project that I created was appropriate for my intended platform and purpose. This is because my intended platform was based on console or PC and I have made sure that the standard of my work has shown that by the way that it looks as well as the polly count that I have.
To make sure that I could make my 3D environment was to make sure that it looked like it was for a console or PC based game rather than making my assets low polly, sharp and boxy I tried to make them as in detail as I possible could make them so it matches the specs and quality that a console game would have.
■ Identify the strengths and weaknesses in your final product.
Throughout my final major project there was a few strengths and weaknesses that were throughout my 3D environment and these were:
(Weakness) The texture mappings of some of the objects. Some of the texture maps had a little stretching where I made slight adjustments after the initial texturing was done because the asset was either too small in places or needed parts extended. This did make my final project lack in some immersion with the surroundings.
(Weakness) Some of the actions that I tried to add didn’t work so this was a huge problem seeing that I couldn’t have the things that I would liked to have had within my final major project, thus making the immersion less then I hoped it would have been. Some of these Issues were: The flickering of the lights, appearing of the main character and a mattine that I added.
(Strength) There was a few strengths with my project that I am quiet proud of and one of them being the mood and environment. I made sure that the mood and the surrounding environment really took hold of the whole horror feel by making sure that the lighting was took down to the bear minimum.
(Strength) The arrangement of the whole 3D environment I though was really well done by the amount of chairs that were placed were the exact number of seats in the floor map that I was going off of as well the the over all shape and feel the whole plane gives off.
■ Find a similar product – place it next to your own – what comparisons/difference can you identify?
I found a similar product that I can compare with my very own product and this comparison will be done to the demo of “Resident evil 7” seeing that it practically entails the same sort of design that is within my very own environment which is a dilapidated environment that is filled with chills and horror.
One immediate difference that I can see between my very own product and the Resident evil is that their textures are certainly more realistic that mine is and it really looks like it is falling apart and that it hasn’t been lived in for a very long time. Where as mine looks a bit too clean and not as rustic as the Resident evil demo looks, Which is where next time I am going to look more into layering textures and using more decals to add a more rotting/ molding look to all of the assets that I create.
Lighting seems to be a big difference as well with both mine and the Resident evil products. However, Lighting wasn’t a huge factor with my environment because its supposed to be a little dark outside as well as the lack of lights that are within my environment, because most of the lights are “blown”.
Within the Resident evil demo the lighting suits the place perfectly where as mine is slightly off but this is where I can improve on in the future.
■ Review your proposal – what changed, what developments did you make, did you manage to complete everything you set out to?
After the proposal there was something that I changed and this was the amount of work that I set out to do originally because at first there was way too much work that I had to do at first and I decided to do this by making sure I just focused on creating the environment as sounds rather then creating all of the stuff that I explained within my proposal. The reason why I changed this is because it would have taken too much time to do all of what I planed on creating and I wouldn’t have completed the 3D environment if I went with what I originally planed.
I did however complete all of the original goals that I set myself within the time frame that I set myself and all of the assets that I was hoping to build I managed to build within the set time that I set out.
■ Are you happy with your final piece? Are there any elements you like in particular?
Within my final project there has been parts that I’m particularly proud of, but there are a few part that I a rather proud that I managed to pull them off the way that I did. One of the main things that I am happy that I did was creating the whole environment itself, being able to know that I managed to lay it out is something that I am proud of because of the way that it turned out even if it wasn’t exactly how I planed it to look I’m still proud of how it turned out.
Another thing that I am quite happy about is the spark effect that I created after the light gets blown I am quite happy that way that it turned out and how it illuminates the surrounding area as the sparks travel through the air.
■ Is there anything you would change? Why?
If I was to re-create this 3D environment then there are a few things that I would change with it these things are:
The layout of the plane – I would change the way that I layed out the planes interior, instead of having one lane I would crate a long enough stretch to have two lanes and three seat rows. This will mean that there might be more work that I have to do in order to create the whole of the environment, however creating another row and a middle seating area would create more space for different assets as well as having more story being told with the environment rather than just having the same layout either side of the plane.
■ Has your experience during this project changed your career goals?
At the end of this project the way that I look upon the career has changed but in the lighter aspect of things, is anything it has wanted me to go into the 3D design or level designer roles within the gaming industry, this things that I learnt throughout this project were amazing and they taught me how exciting and fun creating my very own individual project. The freedom that I felt to experiment at my own leisure was challenging but extremely enjoyable and doing this project has helped strengthen my job aspirations.
This is what my final project looks like:
At the end of the project I was looking to create a 3D interior of a plane that consists of chairs, luggage areas, lights, a galley, buttons above seats and that was horror based in its nature. Many things did set me back with the designing and planing of this project and I will explain to you why below.
I set out with an initial tri count of 150,000 tries for the end of my project, this was because the style type that I was going for (realistic) and the platform that I was going for (Console/ PC) which meant that the tri count would have to be really high unless I was making a 8 or 16 bit game.
At the end of this project I got to Tries: 147,880 for the whole interior of the plane, I fell short of my initial 150,000 that I capped myself off at.