Monday, 4 August 2014


This is likely to be my final entry for this blog so I decided to look back over the course of the project, summarise what I've done and how I achieved it, as well as explain things in more depth.

To start with I worked on my own with no assistance on any part.  it was incredibly tough, especially as I started late and only had a couple of days a week to work on it.  this meant I had to work very quickly, as 3D modelling and texturing can be very time consuming.

The design and concept evolved over the course of the project, from a game about chasing Dracula around Whitby, to a game where the player collects Jet artefacts whilst exploring Whitby Abbey, to a scene that tries to capture the style of a painting by Francis Jukes.

The concept art was produced to help me plan how I wanted to layout the level, as well as act as a very short storyboard for when things would happen.  I also worked on making the project logos that I needed for the submission.  With the changes in design I was worried that I would need to rename everything, which thankfully never happened.

When I knew what I was doing, I started making the whitebox assets.  The models were constructed in a way that allowed me to add detail at a later point if needed. these models remained for the most part, relatively unchanged and being used in the current build of the level.

I decided to use a few texture sheets as possible and I've managed to use only two textures.  The overall aesthetic I was aiming to achieve was inspired by Francis Jukes (provided by The British Library's asset pack) and popular videogames that use a painted style (such as World of Warcraft and Vagrant Story).  Components that make up the abbey are chunky and angular, and the textures were hand painted by myself.  The brick texture took the longest out of the texture pieces, as this would be the most visible part of the game.  The UV's for all of the models were mapped to a single texture as stated before, which probably took the most time.

It's been hard work but very rewarding.  I've learned a lot more than I thought I would during this project.  I will most likely take this project further and turn it into a more polished portfolio piece, as I quite enjoyed the visual style used.

Thank you for reading my blog.


I nearly forgot to mention this.  Flowgraph is a means of visually scripting things like gameplay and user interface without needing to open or edit any text files (scripts).  This is good for the likes of me who can't do programming.

I used this to remove the default CryEngine heads up display (HUD) that displays ammo count and health etc.  I also used it to hide the display info that is normally displayed in the top right corner.  The level has also been restricted to 30fps to ensure a steady frame rate.

Flowgraph made it possible to get the video to play as soon as you start the level.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Shadow in Whitby Video

(Video showing the environment in CryEngine)

The project video has been uploaded and can be seen above.  As with the images from the previous post, it's a bit dark in places but I think it will do for the submission.  I made sure to put all the required logos in, including the one in the bottom right corner.  The video footage itself was created using CryEngine's Track View with multiple cameras.

Next step is to upload everything.

Finally, Some Images

It's been a long time coming but I finally have some images to upload and show.  They show most of the environment that I've created.  I would love to add more detail but I need to submit my work.  Some of the images are a bit dark but you can still make out what they are.

There are a couple of images I really like that show the hand painted texture used on the building.  Hope you like them.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Last Stages

I've done all I can to the scene in CryEngine (not at home for the next week so I can't edit the build) but I can still post some blog entries from my laptop to finish up.  I can officially say that there will be no gameplay in the level, so I can't call it a game.  The level works in sandbox (editor) but didn't in pure game mode (not sure why and I didn't have time to investigate).

The way it works now is it will play a video when you start the game in the editor and then allow you to walk around and take a closer look at the assets I've made.  The video will be uploaded to YouTube later on and I'll post a link to it.

Just need to prepare other bits and pieces ready for the submission and I'll be done.

Friday, 1 August 2014

Terrain Texture

(My tileable terrain texture)

I always like to use as many of my own assets as possible.  In this project all of the assets have been made by me except for the skybox (and it's material).  I have dedicated a lot of time today to create a terrain texture to match the style of the other assets (see image above).

I think it turned out quite well, even if it displays a bit smaller than I originally intended.  I painted it in a way that would give the appearance of depth, without the need for a normal map (I am only using diffuse textures for this project).  The texture tiles without any noticeable seams and adds a lot to the scene (which you shall see later).

Adding Collision

(One of the models with a simple collision box)

Just a short entry about adding collision to the models to make sure people can't walk through walls.  I'm still not sure if this will be a necessary stage, as I'm not likely to be able to get any gameplay in at this stage (I'll be unable to work on this project past tomorrow evening due to other commitments).

Ideally collision is added to the mesh before it's exported to engine.  In 3DS Max it's added as standard geometry that's given an appropriate name and parented to the render mesh (the model you see in engine).  This is done in the Schematic View as seen in the image below.  It's probably worth pointing out that the pivot point for the collision should have the same coordinates as the object it's parented to.

(Schematic View in 3D Studio Max used to parent objects)

The rest of the process is done in the Material Editor in Max.  Models use a material with multiple sub-materials (dependant on how many material ID's you are using), one of which is for the physics proxy.

(Material Editor set-up to turn geometry into collision in engine)

On the Crytek Shader settings (in the sub-material) it needs to be set to 'Physics Proxy (No Draw)', and the 'Physicalize' box ticked.  The diffuse sub-materials also need to use the Crytek Shader but don't need to be set to the same settings.


I know I said at the end of the last post that I'd be posting images of assets (and that will happen soon)  but first I should probably go through the problems I've encountered whilst importing assets into engine.  I've been plagued with error warning about index formats and materials since I've started using this SDK build and I decided to sort it out today.

(Error report I saw every time I started my level in engine)

This caught me by surprise, as the build I used for Mystical Wings didn't have this.  To start with I looked through all the settings in the 3DS Max exporter to see if there were any settings to change.  Much to my dismay, I couldn't find anything, so I then began looking through forums to see if anyone has been having any issues.  Thankfully I came across a post that described the method for changing the index format of the models:

The material issue I was having was just something left over from the way I set up the project assets.  I managed to figure this one out quickly as I have seen similar issues in other engines.  The material assigned to the model had a different name from the material created in engine.  I'm changing them as I make update the files with the new index format.  I'm also adding Physics Proxies (collision) to the meshes so players can't walk through walls.  I'll make a short post about this process too.

Known problem resolved.  Hopefully nothing else comes up between now and tomorrow evening.