Sunday, 29 January 2012


Err... Had a slight bump in the road, My Cry.Dev account has been locked so I've been waiting for that to be fixed, luckily the group of us who are working with cryengine 3 have encounted this problem before so it wasn't totally new this time! I've made a temporary account to be able to do some work but looks like the original block out isn't quite what it used to be due to a mistake I made :s so going to have to make some adjustments and quickly build it up again. Luckily I have gained a lot of knowledge with using the engine now so it's not as time consuming as before and willl allow me to get a better represenatative of what I want my level to be like!

Heres the result of me accidently messing up the scale :*

Saturday, 28 January 2012


Made some quick concepts for some Advert signs for the plaza, I wanted them to give the level some other interesting light sources and areas interest for the player and let the environment help give the player information as to what goes on in the area. I was thinking of perhaps having them animated or moving a little to?

Here are a few quick ones to get me started.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

CryEngine 3 Blocking out

Just using solids in CryEngine 3 to try and get a feel for scale a space of the level. The great thing with CryEngine 3 is that I can quickly generate trhings play it and go back to editing in real time so what you see is what you get. This has saved a lot of time in having to build lighting everytime I make a small change. When I used UDK I often found that frustrating and time consuming though I am missing the material editor there, but I'm sure CryEngine 3 has a lot in store with materials from what I have seen with the tutorials I have been following!

Art Direction Reflection.

I've been struggling with how the plaza's layout and design was going and started trying to take on too much at once. So I decided to make sure I knew what architectural style of buildings and design I wanted to have as it's such a huge decision and effects alll the assets colour schemes and aesthetics to. I grabbed some of my favourite designs and have quickly seen the direction my choices have taken me in. The buildings that grabbed my attention were very clean and angular and with strong patterns or insect like structure. This has helped me define the shapes of the plaza and gioven me a way of solidifying the designs I had before without adding extra work like the transport idea, which would have added a load more work and effort into the project at hand.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Blockout Expansions

Made some more expansions on the ideas for the plaza and the skyscraper tower that will become a prominant feature within the level. I'm still trying to find a way of keeping the area aesthetically pleasing without sacrificing on player space or making the scene overly complicated, I'm thinking of adding some sort of transportation through the level as well to add a sense of movement and population within the closed space plaza and looming tower. I'll post some refined blockouts with some sort of transport system once i've whittled these designs down a bit more and get something I'm happy with and think will work.

Plaza Expansions:-

Thursday, 19 January 2012

On closer inspection

started to pick pieces of them I liked. I had this idea to create a dome of glass much like the eden domes where the structure could be seen but I abandoned this as it would cut too much lighting out and also stop you from seeing the skyscraper, which I have named "Odyssey Tower". I've been trying to figure out how to create a circular plaza that doesn't fell like you are trapped inside it and also might have playable area outside of this. I have been struggling on this part of the design but having the tower as a central piece has been a good point of reference to work aorund.

These are some of the designs I'm going to be working on as a basis and see what works and what doesn't.

Blocking out some ideas

Well after looking at a bunch of stuff I strted workingon creating some of my own ideas. Here are a couple of quick 3D layout ideas I had. I've started going in the direction of having a large skyscraper dominating the sky to give a sense this corporation running things are powerful and also make the player feel small in this area of technology and advancement and also act as a wow factor in the scene.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Modularity Mention?

Actually as it's on my mind I was thinking of using the modualr building pipeline in order to make the level cost effective and as I was watching Deus Ex: Human Revolution being played in the flat I realised what a good idea it was to try and use the modular sci-fi style to my advantage. Especially as the games I had mentioned before had obviously used it well and modular building seems to go hand in hand really well with the sci-fi style really well.

London Photo Trip

I went to London to gather some photo reference of material properties and also interesting areas of architecture. I went to Southbank, City Hall and the Barbican Center and also gathered reference from areas in between on my travels. I found this was a great way of finding very modern architecture and materials and has helped a lot in helping me define the sort of style I want my plaza to take on. I'm planning on returning to thyese areas and finding other areas I can reference to once the style is more finalised.

Here are some fo the images I took on my travels (there was well over 300 images taken so I just grab a few from each location)

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Santa Monica Plaza

Found another great plaza to gain reference from Has some really interesting elements in here so i'm definitely going to look at this one carefully to. Really going to putting some nice blue/green glass and shiny metal finishes in the environment and it looks so awesome in these places!

Reference for Santa Monica Plaza:

sshhhh, be wary, wary quiet I'm hunting plaza's

So I set off to hunt down some plaza's or anything that could help me with my design for my plaza. I was amazed to see so few plaza's around the world! I looked everywhere and came up with not much at first. But I finally struck gold with the John Hancock plaza in chicago. It was a great strating point for me in terms of figuring out layouts for blockouts and designs as I already knew I wanted a circular horse shoe shaped main area to keep everything enclosed. Even though the plaza is more circular with a lot of angular stairs I have managed to take away a lot and will definitely help me in my design and block out process.

Game Referencing: part 2

I also looked at Bulletstorm and Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Bulletstorm may seem like an odd choice to reference due to its mediterranean style and dystopian look. However it was very useful in terms of looking at layouts of shops and plants and also for quirky light fixtures and also the holographic boards that I wanted to create in my level for adverts based around the plaza. It was also a great source of reference for its use of near future but not totally sci-fi look as well and had a nice twist on grunging up the future and keeping a gritty look. Deus Ex is more of choice you might expect with its strong sci-fi look but more importantly the signs of life in the advertising and also strength in the architectural stylings of the buildings. An important aspect for me when creating my environment is going to be giving the player hints to story and let the environment tell them a lot. I want to have the player explore and discover what the environment is abut and whats going on. This is to try and replace annoying A.I that just spoon feed story and leave the player feel like the world is just taking them along for the ride rather than the player being in control of what they want to do and the decisions they want to make. Obviously I won't go as far as this but its an idea I want to translate through my work as many games have started to make a lot of good story choices and interactivity.

Here are some images boards of the 2 games:

Game Referencing

Well I always think it's a good idea to see whats come before in order to see a bench mark set by cureent gen standards and also help get an idea of what might be achieveable and help generate more ideas and help in deciding the art direction I wanted to take. Mass Effect 2 and Brink and both very different games but also had a lot in common with the way the environments seemed to be built. A heavy focus in the art style of most sci-fi games is making everything clean and shiny. Also this opens the games up to allow the artists to make a lot things tialbel and modular. Mass Effect being a great example of this as its clear to see when you look close enouigh careful planning in the modelling stage allow for modular building for not only walls and doors etc, but also using those textures for props and other assets around the scene without very noticeable and obvious tiling as a consequence. Brink is much in the same vain however is very much aatylised game with a careful balanace between cartoon and realism. I read the brink developer diary and to my surprise they had also used zaha hadid's architectural style to help there concept artists create that very unique style of architecture for the ARK. This made me realise I was heading down the right path for my designs and gave me a chance to reflect on hopw they had interpreted this into their work.

Pulling it all together

I've been busy gathering a lot reference and planning out exactly how I want the plaza to look and feel and went to some locations in London to gather more first hand reference and get a sense of scale and the placement of things in those environments. I've also been foicussing in on specific games with similar art styles and designs to my plaza that have been useful in helping me to push what I want to create further by undertanding what games can achieve and will allow me to do. Well here are the first lot of inspiration slides, I have had to cut them down as there were a lot of images. This should help get across my ideas and the starting direction I have taken. These images are made up of concept art, architectural photos/ designs and game ref.