Monday, 25 February 2013

Todays minutes 25/02/2013

All members were present

Topics discussed

Modular buildings
We talked about Jimmi's new set of modular buildings and 
 the ways in which to approach texturing and also how to make the beams snap together whilst still keeping the uneven and unsturdy architecture.

Scale and proporation
We're working to the scale of centimeters with an average human being at 180cm 

Liam wrote out a document explaining how to the rest of the group can make it easy when it comes to importing in cry engine. We'll also need to do this for exporting textures as cry-tiffs.   
So far this week we have devised a time management plan so we can work to a strict deadline. We realised we'd have more chance of making progress by aiming to get 3d models done by Easter in around 3 weeks time. If we can follow this (excusing minor blips along the way) we'll be all set for adding those finishing touches that will really make the scene realistic and personal.


Sunday, 24 February 2013

South Gateway/Bridgegate

Located just before the Bridge entrance South gate was a popular area around the bridge full of shops and tradesmen. The south end of the bridge was then used for a somewhat disturbing tradition of displaying heads and limbs of traitors, as it took the place of the original Traitors Gate.

I took a few images and etchings of the gateway and came up with a final design. In some of the drawing the building looks entirely stone, in others I could see wood materials. I made sure I modeled this 12m wide as we researched this was the bridge entrance width. I spoke with Nizaam who's making the bridge entrance and we worked out how we could make our models in harmony with each other when it came to design and scale. I kept it at 18m tall and 20m wide. 

 We want to include our heads on pikes dipped in tar as a finishing touch. I uploaded my mortal engines head to test that out, pretty gruesome. Once I tweak the model I'm going to unwrap and texture this by the end of the week. With any luck I can gather some more reference on the signs that were above the archway entrance.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Whitebox problems and overcoming them

So after spending the entire day sitting and waiting for STL checks to work and flicking through multiple posts on the Crydev forums trying to figure out why our whitebox wont export, I finally found out the source of our problem from Ben in the 3rd year. The problems all stem to the original model Jimi made just to test out the modular capabilities. Now this is in no way a post about directing the blame to him, we hadn't intended for the Models to be used in the final whitebox anyway. The problem was that the models had a few double faces and multiple verts so of course when i duplicated them to make the whitebox, i duplicated the errors and thus we have far to many to combat. Me and Jimi have spoke and he is going to create a final modular set and create 5 preset buildings for me. This will make it easier for me to move them around and get a similar feel to the current whitebox.

So just to give you a feel of how im going to overcome this. Heres a little image of the work process.

Import each building into cryengine seperately.
Duplicate, rescale and reposition.
Arrange into layout. 

The London Bridge & Entrance

Right, so I decided to work on the entrance to London Bridge. Mainly because I really thought it was a very iconic part of London and was up for the challenge of re constructing it into our level. After hunting down as much visual reference as possible, I soon realised that it was this very large construction and in fact may have been one of the tallest buildings on the bridge, only rivalled by something of similar size called Nonesuch House which sat further down the bridge. 
 (bridge entrance moodboard - ahh why all so different!)

 (A building called Nonesuch house in comparison to the size of today's London Bridge (a similar sized building further down the bridge) 

After some initial research I found that the bridge contained around 200 buildings, some up to seven stories tall. Sources also said that the walking space on the bridge was only 4 meters wide, 2 meters to travel on each side.
(some research I did on the bridge)

My initial concept seemed to be accurate in 2D but as soon as I started to make it in max, it all became very confusing. I had put in too many stories and measured its width far too long, and height way too short. In the labs (21/02/2013) I passed the first base model to Liam so we could check how it sat in the whitebox. We all looked over the etchings and paintings and realised very quickly the base model needed adjusting to fit into scale with everything else. 

 (2D Concept and measurements) 

With that sorted, I looked over my 2D design and am now at the stage where I am working on finalising this model. I think scaling all these buildings has been a challenge because different sources say different measurements, and it seems the more we find, the more confusing it becomes. Our method of solving this confusion is to bring it all together in the whitebox and reassess our reference material and doing so has worked pretty well. 

Some renders of work in progress
The model on the right is the revised version after importing into the whtiebox. (purple block represents scale of person)

My goal is to finish this building and get started on the front of bridge by our next meeting which will be the following Monday (25/02/2013), everything is going smoothly and we are on track! BOOYA! 


Friday, 22 February 2013

modular buildings everywhere!

In an attempt to make the whole modeling process quicker we've decided to make the majority of the buildings in the level out of separate modular pieces. the intention is that we'll end up with a load of little building pieces that we can just slap together and made some pretty nice buildings with in no time.
a paintover using the initial modular pieces. 
 having had no experience making modular buildings this has been a bit of a case of trial and error. my first attempt above was pretty straight forward to make but when it came to putting the pieces together it was a freaking nightmare. this meant that we had to majorly rethink how we were going to go about making our buildings.

way too many pieces!!
this second attempt went better but raised some other problems. I made each of these pieces so that they all snap together perfectly which will save tones of time assembling them. It's just that I ended up with way too many pieces to work with which will cause problems down the line and might even mean that the buildings will take longer to put together than to make make them.

this is the latest attempt and i think it is a good balance between ease of building and versatility. instead of having so many pieces, each building will have a set frame work and individual panels will be able to be snapped in and out. even though we wont be able to make an unlimited variety of buildings this way it will be much quicker and anything that saves time is a good thing!   

Thursday, 21 February 2013


So I have been working on the final White box that is to be into engine at the moment and its been a real pain at times but its going really well. Today we encountered a few problems. Mostly related to the layout of the map that i had created because i had to wing it in certain areas due to the distinct lack of solid reference from the tonnes of maps and etchings we had. A few other problems though that i managed to overcome. Kat made the Cathedral or Church that was situated in the centre of our layout. We thought Originally whilst Looking at etchings it was just relatively small, but then it turns out its tower is 50 metres tall. It was a little priory but in the early 1600's but it was converted into a fully functioning church/cathedral so it completely blew the original layout out of the water when we realised how big it actually was. I had to change the layout of the level in places for it to fit in, and we had to work closely with the etching the image to work out how big the buildings are surrounding it are and rescale them.

We encountered a few smaller problems with the size of the archway and houses on the bridge, but we quickly over came these problems with some common sense.

Southwark Cathedral

I volunteered to work on the church in our scene. I am really enjoying it, despite the fact that I really underestimated the task. Looking at etchings we sort of got the impression it was just quite little, but then it turns out its tower is 50 metres tall. When we realised how big it actually was, we had to change the layout of the level a little to fit it in, and we had to re-evaluate how big the buildings surrounding it are and rescale them, but it looks really neat now and Liam did a real good job working round it.

Southwark cathedral was a priory at the beginning of the 1600s, then became a church when the priory was dissolved, and then it became a cathedral in 1905, or something like that. The details've changed quite a lot but the basic shape remains the same. Like the roof fell in at some point, which is pretty funny really.

The cathedral has a lot of potential for exploration, like there's this court where we could put something cool.

Here are some progress renders!

I don't think modelling this will be as time consuming as I thought at first. A lot of the details can be repeated and rescaled and reshaped. Cool beans.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013


Today's minutes- Everybody was present 19/02/13

Today we had the opportunity to showcase our work in progress that naturally we were nervous about. We wanted to talk mainly about

-Research and reference
-Trip to London and mapped off area
-Final layout
-Challenges to overcome
-Modelling approaches.

I think we got across what we needed to say but obviously didn't include everything we'd done as we thought it was a quick fly through which I think was misunderstood a little.

After the presentation and observing the other groups progression, we got together to discuss the project further. We're very confident in our layout as we've done a lot of research into the actual tavern that was on the corner and have a blueprint of the southern gateway and so on.

So this week from now we're currently finalising concepts. For the larger assets that we're going to tackle this first with Jimmi making the smaller modular pieces for the houses. Liam has made a solid accurate layout-plan that he's going to build with the help of Jimmi to put into engine and hopefully we can do a fly through by Thursday  The rest of us are focusing on the strong focal points in our scene such as the church,gateway,bridge entrance, the tavern. Once we have each done our ortho's we can start modelling by Thursday. If everything goes to plan.. Everything WILL go to plan.

To do by Thursday:
Liam- final white-box into Cryengine
Kat- Cathedral/church
James-The bear inn tavern
Nizaam-London bridge entrance
Heidi- Bridge-gate/traitors gateway
Jimmi-Modular houses

If everyone co operates, by Thursday we'll be able to make progress and model the assets assigned to everyone Thursday-Monday

Thursday-Monday- Model assets using concepts to scale.

 With everyone busy and feeling they are a part of the project no matter what role I think we can really push this and make it look awful- in a good way. Awfully good.

Great ref of bridge gate

I managed to get down to Leicester this weekend hoping to go to the guild hall but it was full with an exhibition on I still managed to get a load of reference for modelling and textures to go by.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Second white box

I re did the original bash-kit as it was way to dense to put into engine as 1 object so I did a really rough block-out of the area we we're thinking of doing. Currently trying to get Cryengine exporting things as it should but so far it's a bit of a challenge.

 shots from the white-box

Today's Minutes 18/02/2013

In today's meeting everyone was present.

The aim of today's meeting was to figure out our presentation layout and arrange everybody's roles to showcase our work in progress. We also took the opportunity to discuss our current situation and what we will be working on this week.

I hoped for us to start 3D modelling as soon as possible but we decided on also continuing our concepting further and finalising ideas for our larger assets and just being assigned small assets to work on. We have all been assigned areas to talk about in our short presentation for tomorrow and seem pretty happy about it. Reference and mood boards are out initial starting point then we go on to talk about the London trip and the old maps onto the layout into art direction and concepts then to the challenges we face finally ending up in the white box I just hope I can figure Cryengine out before the day ends. Whoever said it was easy lied..  

We have come up with a calendar to manage our time well as we didn't realise that we only have 2 months and 2 weeks until the hand in and final presentation. Some of us have deicded to stay over the Easter break to continue working on this.


Some more recent concepts and ideas 




I've been struggling in Cryengine over the weekend massively. Hopefully we can aim to get the white box in and done by tomorrow with some help from my group and some serious tutorials.

Friday, 15 February 2013


So the i have finished creating the Asset list now and it means that everyone can get a sense of what each team member is doing. I tried to make it as simple as possible so that it can be edited easily without having to remember what goes where. It has a key so that each member can update their status and a section for adding names, this makes it easier to identify who is doing what. This image is only a small section of the list as i have split items and added them into different sheets specific to their group, so thing like brooms and boxes and barrels are in a clutter sheet.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Today's Minutes 13/02/2013

Today All members were present.

Since our initial meeting from last week we have created a Dropbox account for everyone's idea generation, bash kit's, white-boxes and any other documented planning can go into so we can all share each others workflow. We all set up an account in Crydev and downloaded Cryengine. We have a solid area around the South gateway to work from, made plans from the maps and began visualising the atmosphere and mood with some paintings. So far so good, now we need to push to the next stage with the confidence we have in our planning and concepting.

Agenda of today's meeting

-Make sure everyone is clear on our final Scene.

-Work together to reference particular areas that we are unsure of.

-Assign everyone to tasks that they can complete by Monday:

Jimmi- Official Level Layout plan,concept painting

Kat- Laying out presentation, concept painting

Liam- Asset list, Level layout, concept painting

Nizaam -Colour schemes and mood boards for presentation, concept painting

James- Concept painting

Heidi- White box area and put into engine. Keep up with blog and design document, plan Presentation. Concept painting.

Topics discussed today include the size of the area we're going to highly detail and our Realistic end goal, essentially quality not quantity. We also had a brief discussion of the areas we would ideally make Low level detail. We were worried about the lack of reference there was for London bridge on the inside as we'd have to use our imagination on the buildings and the entrance to the bridge.

Overall today's meeting has been extremely useful tasks have been set for everyone to do by Monday and our idea is strong to go by. Making sure we're  prepared for Tuesdays presentation is a main priority at the moment as we can finally move on afterwards and begin to finalise concepts, assign assets and get this show on the road..

Rough Idea Generation

After some discussion about the area,style,look and feel of what we're aiming to re create with the Off the map project we pretty much decided on the area around South Gate of London bridge. We realise that this is probably a rather popular area and there's little but more than most reference for this particular area around the gateway. We found this to be the most interesting and a varied area with the narrow closed in bridge to the gateway leading into the shops near the boat dock.  

Some plans of different possibilities of routes by Jimi

After a group discussion of the kind of glum and dull atmosphere that 17th century London was at the time of the great plague where almost a third of the population were wiped out by he disease. From what I gather this was a rotten smelly disorganised and just generally a chaotic time for the main city.

Concepts by Jimi  

Visiting the Great British Library today was exciting as we got to refer to the real maps from the 17th century to gather some more information about our chosen area. We found out that they used to stick decapitated enemies head onto the Gateway, things like that can add a lot of character into a scene that's going to look relevantly empty without a substantial amount of people around to populate it.

We are all super excited about where this project is going and hope to create a white-box version of the area in Cryengine shortly.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Technical Specification

Technical Specification

3ds max
 –Modelling unwrapping
-texturing, other maps
-high level detail
-Map generating
-Map Generating
- Level Creation

Technical limitations
Officially there is no budget for the project only that The main technical outcome will be to have a fully textured and lit version of you level running at least 25 hertz (25 frames per second).
As a rough budget and judging on the asset list created, we decided to have a rough estimate tri limit.
For small assets- 512x512 or equivalent
Diffuse, Specular,   Normal’s
For larger assets- 2x 1024x1024 or equivalent
Diffuse, Specular, AO,
512x512 for Normal maps.

Tri limit
Large assets
Modular House’s- 10 000
Gateway-15 000
Tavern- 15 000
Church- 20 000
Bridge entrance- 20 000
Small assets-1-2000
Group roles
Technical Art Lead the artist who knows how to get the level and objects working in your chosen engine technology. Blocks out the initial layout. Produces the Technical Specification so the rest of the team can import assets and levels into the game engine.
Kat and James
Art Director the artist who has determined the look and feel of the environment and has the overall view of how the environment should look, and keeps the art style between a team of different artists consistent.
Producer Will need to break down all of the tasks that are needed to be done in order for the final goal to be achieved. The producer will need to make sure backups are made and that you create a weekly build so that the level can be shown tested and progress noted.
Heidi, Kat, Jimmi, Nizaam, Liam and James
Artists all the above roles will also include art production. The rest of the artists will have to take responsibility for their personal schedules and make sure you support the Producer. It would be an idea for the artists to have responsibility for areas such as lighting, mesh and asset creation as well as texturing.

Thursday, 7 February 2013


We are six Game Art Design students from De Montfort University. Our team is named Triumphant Goat for no particular reason other than the fact that we like goats and we want to do well. This is our development blog for our current group project.

We are working on a group project visualising 17th century London before the great fire. As an end outcome, we aim to create a playable, interactive 3D environment in CryEngine, ready by May. Our aim is to enter it in Crytek, British Library and Game City’s Off the Map contest.

Just two days into the project, I reckon we’ve made great progress so far. This is a project that will require a lot of research, since nothing remains of the city from that period. We'll need to rely on written sources and etchings, paintings and drawings from that period.

Currently, we are thinking about doing a segment of the London Bridge, but we still want to keep our options open at this stage since the project is still only early in development. Heidi and Nizaam did a blockout each, it looks like an area that has a lot of potential for atmosphere.

Note: This is a bashkit so the assets are just downloaded from the internet, except the Archway which Heidi made for a different project, so the final scene won't have any of these assets, obviously.

Even at this early stage, we are seeing a couple of design challenges we need to tackle. Firstly, in such an expansive space it can be difficult to create a natural cut-off point. Secondly, the player might expect there to be people in the scene as it is depicting a bustling city, and might find the lack of people eerie, so we need to find a way to work around that.  

Our goal before our next meeting is to do more research and put together a couple of moodboards each. It would be nice to have a clear idea of what we want to look at when we get around to going to London on Tuesday.