Pretty Things!

OTM; One and a half weeks left!

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This week has been a busy one, especially with regards to Off The Map. At the start of the week we had to present our OTM work so far to the tutors. It went well, and overall the feedback was positive. However, some key points were brought up, some of which we could act on, and others we couldn’t due to time constraints.

Firstly, the lighting. Our lighting *was* midday lighting. It’s pretty much the default setting when you first create a level in UE4. During our presentation, it was suggested that we be bolder with our lighting, rather than pussyfooting around. So, I took the level and messed around with it, and came up with something a bit prettier;

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The colours are much nicer now, and the general ambiance is softer and more fantastical. The darker lighting also means that we can be more creative with how we light areas of the level;

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The Mad Hatter’s cottage has changed a fair bit now. I’m still not all that happy with it, but it’s better than it was. I created little window boxes and flower basins, and whacked some tulips in to add some colour. We’re still in the process of making our whole level consistent and sit well together however, so the flower colours are probably going to change ’cause they uuuuugly.

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The colour combinations that are really resonating with me for this project are pink, yellow, and blue, or red, yellow and blue. The yellow is really setting off the whole level, so I’ve been going a little mental with the yellow pansies. This was something that was actually suggested to me by a visiting lecturer, the director of Modern Dream (but I was already going to do it, I swear!). Either way, it looks much nicer with the yellow splashes.

The second point that was raised was the overall design and feel of the walled gardens. Initially, they were sprawling, clean, and empty. It was too much effort to fill and make look decent, and they weren’t working great. With the time constraints it is difficult to fully rectify this. Though I’ve felt this way for a while, it’s been too big a task to deal with really, and just something I’ve gotten over. However, after it was hit home in the presentations, I decided to go ahead and at least re-design the final garden section, which was pretty empty anyway and I was avoiding like the plague. This is the outcome so far;

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It’s still far from perfect, but it’s better than it was. I’ve created the illusion of a larger space by putting little doors in the hedges that you can see through, that show a wooded garden beyond the playable area on each side. So this will be the garden where a puzzle in which you race to paint the roses from red to white takes place. It’s a less daunting areas than before, and much easier to both play in and populate. I went mental with the red/yellow/blue colour scheme, but I think it’s good to have consistent colours rather than every colour under the sun. It’s quite a dramatic change for less than a week’s work, but I think it helps our cause.

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He’s a place holder, don’t panic.

Now, with only a week and a half left, we’re turning our thoughts to finalising and polishing. We took on board the advice to stop asset creation, and scrapped any plans for new assets. Any changes (such as the above garden) would have to be with what we already have. Dom still has some scripting work to do, but he’s confident it will be done. We have a plan in place, and now we just have to stick to it. Music, dialogue scripts, sound effects, title screens, and all those fun things have started to enter our mind, and now they are becoming our priority. Off the Map is ALMOST OVER. I can’t believe it!

With Off the Map well on it’s way to completion, I’ve started to consider my artwork and personal project again. Yesterday, in labs, I made an attempt to do some of my diorama. The base is complete, and I started work on the floor tiles. 8 Max/Zbrush crashes and 1 rage quit later, I decided to paint instead. I fired off an email to Alice the Naughtydog Artist for advice and told myself I would deal with it another time. On the bright side, my painting came out ok, so I felt less angry about my day;

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I’m pleased with the colours and values here.

I finished another photo overpainty one I started a while back too;

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Oh, I handed in my essay the other day as well! Yaaaaaay. So many things gone from my to-do list lately. In a week and a half I will be able to focus on my painting and personal project! (I’m already starting to hate it).

I bet you’re looking forward to my next mental-break-down panic post about how we’ve got so much to do and oh-God what do we do and I hate my life. I’m looking forward to it too! See ya next week.

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