Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Hidden Hangar bay: New Screens

Note: screenshots taken in UDK

Hidden Hangar Bay: Components

When I work on an environment I find it always rewarding to make it component based. The components itself can be used in a flexible way, allowing for fast, intuitive changes for aesthetic and design reasons.

Besides the benefits for art and level design, a component based system is also more performance friendly and it's more economical time-wise because you've only to build a limited set of objects.

Hidden Hangar Bay: Concept Sketches

These are some of the concept sketches I've made for the environment. The greyscale version was the initial concept. However it felt to confined so I decided to get rid of the roof in order to make it feel more grand. It's meant to look like it's situated below the foundation of huge sci-fi building. That's hard to see in this setup so I'll to make and exterior shot sometime.

The wings of the plane are in the 'fold'position in the concept, but I've changed that in the 3D version, because the wings where a nice surface to walk upon.

Hidden Hangar Bay: Gunship and Environment Prototype

These are the first screenshots I made of my portfolio project: "Hidden Hangar Bay". I just had completed the plane, made a rough prototype in maya  and exported it to UDK. I'd already played around with the lights and the water. finding out how to setup the water material and more in particular the reflection proved to be challenging for a someone who's new to the unreal engine.

I like this phase of the project a lot. Because everything is so low-poly it's very easy to play around with composition and (walk) distances. I kept true to the initial concept image, with only some minor changes to make sure it all connects in a logical way and is fluent to walk through. It's always better not to get ahead of yourselves and do everything step by step. Otherwise you might wind up with a beautifully detailed scene, but then have to painstakingly fix some major problems and end up with throwing much work away that could have been avoided.

Plane mesh and textures

Poly count: 27.820 triangles
Hull normal map
Hull normal map

Main engine color map
Main Engine normal map
Specular and Emissive maps

 Here's the plane's wireframe and a selection of textures

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Hidden Hangar bay: Designing the Plane: Part III

When I was decided about the overall design, I created the plane in maya. Often I keep the drawing very rough and sketchy. I consider it more of a tool to find good shapes and try out ideas as opposed to make great drawings. In maya it's works fine to play around with proportions and see how everything works in 3D. For some parts I create some smaller sketches or create a paint over from a screengrab in maya.

In case your wondering what the pictures of all the donkeys are about. It's about the baggage that's strapped on them. I used that for the baggage strapped below the wings.

The color image is an paint over of the 3D model. Here are some of the small sketches I created:

Hidden Hangar bay: Designing the Plane: Part II

The whole concept of the project became a bit more realistic. So, in the second design I used the seaplane featuring in Miyazaki's "Porco Rosso" and combined it with modern turbot jet engines. A couple of years ago, I visited the military aircraft museum in Soesterberg, and one of the most beautiful crafts was the Dornier Do 24K.1 , another seaplane I used for the final design.

I kept the open 2 seater cockpit because I liked the leisure-like quality it added to it. In this design I decided that the whole plane was build by 2 buddies so it would make sense that when it came to flying they would sit next to each other, one pilot and one navigator/gunner.

Reference: Porco Rosso's plane
Reference: "Dornier Do 24K.1" in soesterberg museum
Concept: Plane
Concept: Top View

Hidden Hangar bay: Designing the Plane: Part I

The first design of the plane was a fantasy naive design: It was bulky with organic looking wings. It turned out to be slightly reminiscent of the early industrial age steam powered designs of air planes, or possibly even the planes designed by Leonardo da Vinci. Quite high up on the fantasy scale.

Reference: steam powered aircraft
First Concept