It has been way too long since I’ve worked on this, and a trip into the city centre had inspired me to pick up where I’d left off with the project: which insofar has been work on a few buildings, no actual gameplay implementation…yet.
Naturally, I will have to carefully consider the plot-line – masked protesters amidst a war within the city doesn’t feel dystopian anymore, it’s practically a reality.
This is a short video demonstrating the process used to import the base character from the Armory first-person template project into the 3D representation of the map. Really, it’s a compilation of the past week or so’s screen recordings that I hadn’t done anything with.
In between these two videos, I’d also done a calibration live-stream, in preparation for future development streams, in which I had one mystery viewer observing the whole show, and I have no idea who it was!
I haven’t embedded it here because it isn’t so integral to the story that it needs embedding, and if I were to episodify them all, this it would be a pilot episode, or a dress rehersal: feel free to have a watch, though.
Some of you may remember that some time ago, I made a vow to produce a music video for one of Sheffield composer, Skywatcher Music‘s tracks. Here’s a couple of little progress videos I’ve made centered around the orange Broadstadium3D models from 3D Warehouse.
Today, I finally completed the first, and actually had enough screencast footage for a second video, so why not?
The second video is all screencast, and starts with me completely breaking Adsetts Building (though I didn’t realise that’s what I was doing at the time) – in the preview image above, you can see that it’s too big and floating off the ground.
I want to share with you a bit about my process of how I work through the means of screenshots and explaining them:
Here I’m using an OpenStreetMap overlay of the area UV mapped to my Terrain object: to the top right, I have a UV image editor window and four faces selected on the mesh in front of the cathedral (orange). The Terrain while in this state is not curved and has no elevation, it’s completely flat.
To quickly navigate to any point in the map, I can select a single face from the 3D viewport, hover over to the map, press a to select all faces in the UV editor and NumPad . to jump to that point on the map, it also works vice versa, and the top right corner I can search for buildings by name.
From a lower view, having the building and street names on the ground is useful. Having a building levitate 15ft in the air, not so much.
There are some buildings you might not have seen yet, they’ve been imported and adapted from the Broadstadium3D libraries on 3D Warehouse: these will need retopologising and UV mapping with my own textures.
Here I’m finalising a composite of progress videos, backed to a Skywatcher Music track. Although the cut is slightly rough, I do hope to release this by the end of the night.
The bottom layer with the waveform is the audio for the video, the blue is video file, purple represents image sequences and the pink strips are speed modifiers, to speed up or slow down segments. This area can get very complicated.
I’ll update this later today with some more text and video, but here’s a start of Sheffield Cathedral.
The model itself is from Sketchup, and a collection of models have been uploaded by a user called ‘broadstadium3d.co.uk’.
The Sketchup file format does need a bit of playing about with to get working in Blender: as the textures on the original model are from Google Maps, we’re not allowed to use them because of licencing – so I’ve just kept the base mesh and will UV map it myself.
Tonight I’ve been working on the ground for an area of the level: I want to start shaping the level so that it has some flow.
The ground, currently is an object called Terrain, and is the geographically accurate height map data of the level that I imported with blender-osm. On its own, it looks like this:
I need to leave this object alone – if I start messing with it, it willl break things. I’m going to use it as a guide, the new object I create on top of it will ‘stick’ to this mesh, and build upon its height map data, so I still keep its shape – this is retopology, it will be the ground that the players play on – as well as align in-game, and level entities – powerups, streetlights, advertising signs, steps and bus stops…
For the new object, I’ve used a checkerboard pattern so that I can see the contours of the terrain through the shape of the squares – and I can see at a glance which areas need fixing.
To retopologise sculpted mesh
Select the mesh that you want to retopologise
Enter Edit mode (Tab)
Select a single vertex
Press D to Duplicate it
P to Separate the vertex Selection
Exit Edit mode (Tab)
Select the single vertex, your new object
Rename the object
Edit mode (Tab)
Select Shrinkwrap from the Modifiers panel
Use the Extrude tool to start forming edges, make a face with 4 verticies selected with the Face tool, this’ll now be locked to your mesh or sculpts shape.
After a bit of a festive hiatus, I’m back in the swing of things – I plan to get back to full regularity after the new year. The only UV mapped portion of this is the logo, and the grey shutters – the rest is colour picked from a reference photo.
The foyer is slightly different, and the protruding signs aren’t there, but it’s a start and will need further refinement.
Comparing the two, the logo on the side of the building is way too small, and I’m too tired to fiddle on with re-UV mapping it right now.
Not going to include any brands in this; I wanted to play with a few different styles. But first, a little breakdown of the model itself.
Laptop died, and charging port is very finickity. That may be all for tonight…
The very next day…
Being totally honest, I am really not keen on this model. It’s ugly and feels like a bodge-job: the mesh is messy, and the topology around the doorway is all over the place.
I am pleased that I found a technique that works for ceiling lighting and floors though, so that’s something.
Both the top and the bottom floors have lights on their ceiling. For comparison, no lights have been added to the middle floors, but the light seeps through from the ceiling of the ground floor onto the first floor. Again, I’m OK with this for now.
The first floor looks as if it is made entirely of light, possibly because the Toon shader doesn’t absorb, bounce and disperse light in the same way a realism-based texture would. Why would it? Its a cartoon texture!
Well, the sky’s a nice colour at least… I still don’t like this model, and I’m thankful that tomorrow is a new day so I can start working on another building, and thinking about how to implement a controlled demolition into the storyline.
Completed in 1972, and formerly occupied by BT until 2013, this building was used to manage Sheffield’s phone systems.
The building was sold in 2014, and is now luxury student appartments. The more I work on this building, the more interesting it becomes – it has since had a change of colour scheme since BT departed, but I wanted to keep it in the original colours because I find them the most interesting
Working on the building has been equally interesting and confusing, and a little infuriating. The building you see to the left that looks like it adjoins to the tower actually goes underneath it – and it is now used as a car park.
Since the building was sold, its colour scheme was changed to some thing a little more modern and white, so it has lost a lot of its brutalist charm (and it’d look like just another unfinished building on my work-in-progress map!)
I’ve made the design decision to keep it in its original colours as much as possible.
Here’s a reference image:
Above we see the same building from the other side. I’ve not wanted to go too much into the horizontal building in this post, there’s a bit more work to do on the vertical element of the building, shown in the renders as dark grey before I can start on the second building of Telephone House tomorrow. Also, the foyer will need redoing, because currently it’s all windows and no doors.
For those who genuinely can’t wait, or are unfamiliar with the area… this is what I’m up against:
I’ve (kind of) finished the upper building, there’s some tweaks to be made still, but I did record a silent screencast to show exact process I used.
If tonights buildings were branded, they would be Pizza Hut and Fone+
I’ve wanted to build these from just a single,good reference image side by side with the model: trying to find the most efficient method. I’ve not done any work with the logo – in an aid to speed up the modelling process.
I’ve applied basic textures to the walls, they are nothing more than diffuse colour textures – the black portions are glass textures. To the left,we have lastnights buildings.
I like the oversized windows – they’re almost caricatures and will allow a lot of light into the interior scenes, and provide a great view from inside the building.