In the Second semester my goal was to improve my Maya skills and heighten my understanding of photography, texturing, 3d modelling, rendering and many other features and techniques. The aim for this third and final semester was for me to tackle the UDK engine for the second time to make it a playable level with more art ideas, then to carry out the design of the level.
The First thing I had to do was to try to import everything into UDK from Maya. There were of course problems such as the exporting of the meshes collision frame and the finding out that the mesh needed lightmaps. These Lightmaps took me a while to figure out and I still haven’t got them perfect even now at the end of semester 3. The features that are available in UDK were completely new to me as an artist but I persevered and got the vast majority imported into UDK. I still have a few problems with it which I hope to solve soon, mainly the terrain and landscape tools. I moulded the terrain the way I wanted and during texturing it completely glitched the textures whilst having this problem I found out that the terrain tool isn’t used anymore, my solution was to start from scratch and so I redesigned the layout of my level. Yet again there was a problem with the landscape tool that wasn’t cutting the hole in the landscape for my underground base, so I figure had to away around it through a cinematic and by teleportation.
One of my major problems I encountered was that I made the poly speed trees too high. From my artistic side they looked fantastic but in the editor it was a big problem. It took me a long time to figure out the reason why my level wouldn’t build the lighting, it was because the lightmass builder didn’t agree with the trees therefore I failed every time to build them and so I had to then make the trees in Maya by hand.
Even though I had these problems that I was struggling to understand I pushed ahead, finding temporary answers them as I continued. From that point on I stopped listening to my artist side and started to knuckle down on the design of the underground level. The important assets such as the levers and movers were modelled first so I could layout the level quickly. Design ideas started to flow back to me as I produced the dissertation on game theory , I took all things into consideration and used colour theory for improving the feel and atmosphere of the game, I guided players by using visuals and lights to show the player were to go. The time saving asset building I found came in really useful when planning the layout.
The major problem in my project is my artistic and design creativity constantly being at odds with each other. The artist side usually wins because that’s my nature. I love see things that are aesthetically pleasing. This did affect my workflow heavily so my design side of me kicked in, but it was only at the end of the project even so it did enable me to make little change here and there to help problem solve. This also affected me in the final production lighting build because I was extremely keen to have a hole in the landscape but I messed up on the components which produced a terrible gridded shadow map, this momentarily sent me into a panic but thankful I found and rectified the problem before the deadline day.
Overall I have learnt so much about UDK especially concerning its animation and light mapping the landscape tool, many Kismet sequences and triggers, the matinee, movie cinematic and animation effects, volumes, lightmass and many more tools and features the result is that I have learnt to me more aware of the workings of engines and their practicality. The journey has been inspirational and it will benefit me in my future projects and employment. So From this experience I have taken away a much greater knowledge of the difficulty to comprehend and use together both sides of game theory and aesthetics.