After many many weeks of trial and error, of working toward bringing this level to life, I've finally achieved an outcome that I feel happy with. When I decided on learning and creating game art in December, I knew I was facing a very steep learning curve because of the time that was available to me.
The transition from pre-rendered CGI to computer game art, if given enough time can be less of a hassle. Although, given 5 months to learn the technical elements, plus focus your art in a slightly different direction due to the limitations of games was not easy. I am still learning and will be learning for quite a while after SS2, but what I feel very confident about is the fact that I have given myself a chance to get my foot in the door.
A very good way to measure my progress is to think back and look back at my work before December. I was using a completely different approach, way less efficient and more time consuming.
My SS2 final project, Brightwall pulls all of the knowledge I have gathered into one final piece of work. Even though, everything can be improved and one can work on a project for many many months, I need to sit back, look at what I was able to pull off, learn from it and move on to new projects.
That said, here are some images from the final scene. The upcoming post will feature two videos of the level.
First, I've began applying the textures to the big castle at the very peak of the village and the terrain. I wanted to wait with the smaller buildings as they mostly populate the entire scene. The goal was to first set down the base textures for the ground, see what works, move on to the castle and then texture the remaining buildings.
I wanted to spend a bit more time testing out what texture and color combinations work best, but I felt that if I spend even more time on this phase, I might run out of time. I'm delighted enough to move on and finish texturing the rest of the houses and animate one or two videos.
Textures play a crucial role. They have to be dealt with precaution artistically and technically as well. I am trying to stay true to the concept to a certain degree, but the goal is to add a bit of my own taste to the final outcome.
After examining a handful of real life terrains and how grass grows on them, I've learn that a terrain is composed of different types of grasses. You have freshly grown, young grass, but in some areas you have older which is slightly darker. In some areas, where the sun shines a lot terrains tend to have dead or yellowish/burnt grass.
It became obvious that I need to combine several types of textures and paint them logically over my terrain.
Same attention went to all the other textures, here are some of them:
There was one issue with the concept I have chosen. The village buildings that can be seen on it don't really hold enough details to make them look interesting enough. They are very simple houses with just a few intriguing details, like the curved and exaggerated roofs.
Because of this, I went ahead and looked up what fantasy/medieval type of building concepts I could find that match the style I'm aiming for.
Interestingly enough, what I was looking for did not come from CG concept artists, rather real life model makers.
Here are the references:
The final picture shows all of the modular elements that can be re-used to create different, unique houses.
I have also added the necessary details to achieve a more "Warcraft look". The aim was to remove straight lines from wherever it was relevant. Silhouettes need to be exaggerated a bit to make the building look different, interesting.
The next step involves a lot of technical elements, like unwrapping each of the modular pieces for texturing and importing them into the UDK engine.