Friday, 16 April 2010


Well Easter holidays are now coming to an end and its time to start presenting the work we have done this term. As far as Visual Design is going, I have greatly enjoyed the way in which my work has improved since last year and even last term. I have two posts of digital paints soon on the way, of projects I have been working on in whatever spare time I have at the moment. I am finally confident in showing some of my work with 2D seeing as it is starting to please me and I am more motivated to create more of it.

In 3D, with the group project also coming to an end, I am pleased to say I have enjoyed the experience and learned a lot from it. I am glad I chose to do the unreal work for my group since I have learned a lot about the process involved when it comes to taking the initial idea to a 3d asset and finally placing it within a working engine. Setting up the BSP (*Binary Space Partitioning) was a bit of a challenge for me to begin with. I understood how to use them but found that it was difficult to construct a level such as ours and trying to keep it as true to the building it is based on. The reason I later figured was that certain shapes are a nightmare when it comes to the unreal engine. Unreal is powerful but tends to like to work with straight walls and floors rather than diagonal ones which ours has. It was a complicated process trying to match up the entire walls including diagonal ones to create a complete shell for our environment. A shell I know I can remake more confidently now after five previous attempts. From here I also learned how to export the existing shell into a 3D construction package such as max. I was also able to figure out how to set the workspace of max to match up that of unreal for effective workflow. Something I realise now is at the top level for importance. Using the setup, the shell and assets were built to a decent scale for unreal (20% larger than real life) to ensure that the level looked right. 20% larger due to the first person view. Real life looked to small when viewed through game play.

-BSP’s are the tools used to create rooms, walls, floors and solid shapes within unreal. They are subtractive or additive depending on the building technique used.

Unreal also opened my eyes to features such as the kismet system which enables interactivity within the level. I was most pleased due to achieving a working lift door system that allowed the player to open and close. I cannot explain the sheer joy that comes from seeing something like that work and knowing that you did it. The future possibilities with this software would be unimaginable…that is if I can get my hands on it. A major thing I have now learned is the importance of a decent setup. I struggled with the unreal side for a while due to a lack of resources outside of university. Although the software and tutorials are readily available to anyone, unreal is a resource hound and my seven year old pc took a beating. If there is one thing I want to invest in at the moment, it is a bloody good computer that is capable of controlling a microwave toaster from the moon. I cannot stress the amount of times I wanted to throw my pc out the window or if anyone has seen Office Space…going to town on it with a baseball bat.

Without being able to work on Unreal stuff after lab closing time, even after 9.00pm, I decided to also build assets for the level. I regret the selection I gave my self considering the existing amount of work I was doing. Building features such as a staircase, piping and covering assets that still needed to be done; I have been working hard trying to assemble any amount of what I think is credible work. Frustration hit me when I realised that certain assets that needed to be build had not been done and was left to me to try and pick up the pieces. This benefited me however since I have been forced to work at a faster rate and sped up the time it takes me to model and texture an asset. Something I am hoping to work more on during the summer.
I have planned to build my portfolio over the summer since third year is hopefully upon me and I am sure that will fly by very quickly. I think for me it is safe to say, with all that has gone on this year I am now more keen to get somewhere with my art and do not regret the so called second year slump that hit me last term.

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