Wednesday, 9 November 2011


Im starting to concept now after settling on a final roof idea. Ive dropped the appartment idea and just gone for an industrial rooftop. Its now 2 levels for more variety and ive moved the sign to a better place so its not too crowded near the watertower.

Lights and Logos

By now im sure im having a neon company sign in just the right place so its realistic but somewhere the player can see it from. Also, i needed a company name for my sign. I knew i wanted industrial signage so to the point, and maybe with a logo would do.

I wanted to call it, i dont know, something like 'EMPIRE', something grand. However i really didnt want to get into all that copywrite stuff so was extra careful on my name. I thought i could make a take on the word empire and 'logoise' it into something more company like. I played with combinations like :


But most turned out to already be out there a small companies. I really liked the way EMPR looked on my building but this was an Australian Hardware company. After contemplating some additional symbols i came up with EMP-R, which i think still reads empire and doesnt breach the Aussie name.

Here were some logo designs before and after settling on EMP-R:

And this was to be my final logo.

Roof shapes

Exploring layout i couldnt settle on a shape for ages. I wanted something fun from both the player view and above while maintaining a realistic scale and shape. I didnt want something too oversized and barren nor did i want something too small and crowded.

After researching New York buildings i began to get a sense of the assets i needed to provide my rooftop with.

Little things like:

Air vents
A/C units

Aswell as these i wanted one/multiple main focal points for my level to give it something extra.

Water tower

These would be the biggest features and the most interesting so would require the most budget when it came to the modeling and texturing.

I was struggling with the shape of the building so tested some shapes in max.

Here you can see how my idea fits into the city scape as not being the highest building and giving it a more enclosed feel.

The EMPIRE Inc Rooftop

We have been given two projects to complete by Christmas and i am starting with the rooftop project. For this we are required to build a unreal level designed for a 3rd person action shooter situated upon a New York style skyscraper. I really liked the sound of this and after using UDK last year for the first time feel i know the basics enough to get started and get exploring.

So i knew the rooftop had to be situated in New York but still needed to think about the layout, who would use it, what condition would it be in. To get ideas i began browsing the net and using Google Maps over New York to get a good idea of the average rooftop design.

A smart thing to do would be to look around existing game levels because the idea was going to be used for a in game shooter. I had a look at multi player levels because these would need the most diverse and interesting cover and structure, essentially being an arena it would be intreresting from wherever you were on the level.

In the brief our tri count was heigh enough for us to get creative but the texture budget was going to be a challenge. This really limited me to what i could have in the way of unique 'hero' assets but was something i could work with easily and was happy to accept the challenge.

After exproring plently of images of high rise buildings and rooftop gardens i settled on an industrial style building, not the highest but high none the less. And possibly with a rooftop appartment that the player could look down into giving it an edge on most basic rooftops.

The catch-up

I was just informed that we are to produce a blog for semesters 1 and 2 aswell as the FMP blog so excuse me while i try to catch you up on the past few weeks events.

Id like to start by saying, well, here i am in year 3. The uni experience is drawing to a close but hopefully not without a bang! I'm running a parallel blog to this which will cover FMP related posts which can be viewed here:

This blog (my continuation from the last two years) will cover until Christmas. It should present you with some exciting works from rooftop level design to vehicular modeling but first ill catch you up on what ive been getting on with over the summer. In August, Arena Net announced a year internship at their base in Seattle and being such a huge fan i thought this a perfect opportunity to try to get a foot in the games industry. However with the announcement being so late in the summer break i was unsure weather to apply as i wouldnt really have a choice in leaving uni that close to term time. But then i saw it as such a big thing to miss even their acknowledgement that i would go for it anyway. I then dedicated the remaining weeks of my holiday working solidly on the project brief set by ANet to see if i was deemed worthy.
Still feeling a little unprepared and overwhelmed i gave it my best shot because afterall it was practice of my 3D skills. The project was to produce a house or character, both with the orthographic views supplied along with the texture budget and tri count. Heres the brief:

These were my outcomes.

After the deadline i did hear back from them but not the news i was hoping for. In the end it was all practice and will hopefully help towards this year.

Monday, 4 April 2011

End of Year 2

Well thats another year gone, just like that. But again i have learnt so much and really got my teeth into the more open projects. Working on the group project was my highlight. It really made me realise what it was to work as a team making a game and how we helped each other to produce something i am proud of. I think our time management ran well on that and we structured and planned to achieve a high quality product. The visual design was very similar to last year although we had a little more freedom and interest. I really tried hard to get into photoshop a lot more and feel im getting somewhere with that.

After returing from summer holidays i got straight into 3D and something clicked, i suddenly enjoyed what i was doing and felt like i was creating interesting good quality outcomes. I thought my self portrait 3D was the best and that kind of spurred me towards 3D characters. I intend to try and blitz Zbrush over summer and be ready for 3rd year.

What next?

After another year on this course i have come to realise the previous ambitions of 2D art was a distant dream, and i don't mean that in a bad way. Just that it has brought me to realise the areas i find more comfortable and would have a stronger place in the industry. Since the start of the year, especially the group project i have really come to love 3D and get along with it much better. I still need to explore paths within this field but I know this is what I want to do. Ive always had an interest in character design and would need to work hard but this would defiantly be something I would look into. There’s not a lot I dislike or wont do when it comes to modeling and will give everything genuine interest and commitment.

As for a career I would get my teeth into anything I possibly can. I could quite happily work making rocks and trees to go home and say I work in the games industry, with this approach I could easily work on personal portfolios and work my way up the ladder of success to pursue my strongest suits.

Small companies would be where the real fun would lie, getting a bigger part of the action and seeing every aspect take shape but even working for a big company appeals to me. I don’t mind being told to get down to it and come back when im finished, rinse and repeat. Because at the end of the day im still part of something that is going to be viewed by millions of people. Something that I can say I was a part of. When the 3rd year graduates moved on to places like Codemasters and were making the trees for Operation Flashpoint. The first time I saw that trailer I pointed out that someone 2 years older than me, fro my course had done those. It impressed the whole room and I felt impressed to know of him.

These little victories make something I would love to get paid for and love to be a part of, that bit more exciting.

So yes, after this year gone, I want to do 3D. Over the summer I will be exploring my skills and taking them further so by the time 3rd year comes along I can really shine and prove myself. Hopefully I will have a better understanding of what I really want to do before 3rd year comes round aswell. Bring it on.