What was the purpose of the project? What did you hope to learn?
The purpose of my project was to explore Japanese mythology in a different way, almost making it a puzzle to solve from gathering bits of information as you work your way through the level until you get to the end and you get the all the pieces to get to the answer of what happened, basically telling a story.
What is the theme for your project?
The theme for my project was a bit of mystery and Japanese mythology. I wanted to incorporate a story into my environment so I had Earth, Heaven and Yomi (Japanese Hell).
The theme for my project also included hand texturing so I could use traditional Japanese colour pallets for their traditional art style.
How have you developed your ideas?
During the research and planning my project changed completely as the more research i did. I was originally looking into Wicca and I started looking into the religions it was based on. This lead me onto Buddhism which lead me on to Japanese culture and the day of the dead. This lead back to my original idea of good vs evil but more like heaven and hell. The Japanese celebrate the dead in August and this lead me to the story of Amaterasu and that is how my ideas developed.
How much reference materials did you find?
I found plenty of reference materials from articles on the internet to books from the library. Images of traditional Japanese scrolls depicting their mythology and even information from someone I know who lives in Japan.
Do you think you could have done more? if so, explain what more you think you could have done.
I think I could have done more given the time. The story of Amaterasu and Susanoo carry on past Susanoo being banished. I could have looked into more traditional Japanese plants etc rather than just having one basic cherry tree. I could have researched hand texturing a bit more and hopefully found the answer to why it didn’t work but due to time limits I had to go with plan B and use photo-realistic textures instead.
Which developers, art movements, designers, media companies/campaigns and industry examples have you looked at to assist and inspire you? Why?
I would say the traditional Japanese art style and the contemporary Japanese art style have inspired me because of the simplistic colours of the traditional art style gives it so much meaning as it is natural which what seems to be the basis of Japanese culture i.e. respect for everything around them, zen, peace etc. The expression each painting in these styles is tremendous.
Sunkerpunch Studios also helped and inspired me on this project, what they create uses a lot of imagination while keeping it believable.
Explain how your production board presentation went. What feedback did you receive and how did this help you focus your production?
My production board presentation went OK. I was O.K until I went in. I had bound copies of relevant information for handouts and a PPP file as well ready to go. After that it went downhill. It was O.K, I just got very nervous and anxious very quickly which lead me to forget things, load the wrong presentation which caused a lack of art work and a referral. I also got tearful and hope that the batteries ran out on the camera just in time. At least I wasn’t wearing mascara.
After that I went away and created 3 pieces of art work for the concept art which gave me a clearer idea of where my project was headed.
How did your work change through the project?
The basis of the project stayed the same, as i was going a long I found things that didn’t work like the hand texturing which didn’t go according to plan so I had to scrap that idea and go for photo realistic texturing. I feel that the project still was good but due to this the colour palette i was hoping to use couldn’t happen.
A couple of models changed as in the style of wall and colour but the majority of it is as it was stated in my Proposal document.
Which technical skills, methods and techniques did you use?
I used 3D modelling skills to create the assets I wanted in my environment, the method I used for this was to find a reference image, Some of these were my own photographs that I had taken of Cherry Blossom Trees ans plants that were local to me. I learnt a new technique in modelling which was shown to me for more natural looking cave and that was soft selection.
I tried to use hand texturing but came across an issue with polygons showing through and due to time restrictions I had to put this on the back burner.
Texturing was a skill I used a lot because I had to make the models look real, this worked better on some rather than others and I know there are areas I need to work on regarding texturing but I am fairly happy with the outcome.
When it came to texturing a couple of the models were a bit awkward to texture so I used planar maps or I flat mapped a couple and stitched them together, sometimes a tedious job but I like texturing so i managed to select multiple edges and select stitch which seemed to do a nice job. There re certain instances when this doesn’t work but it didn’t take long to work out.
Rigging: – I had fun learning this, I learnt how to add bones and group then, the skin modifier was easy to apply too. I still have a lot to learn in rigging as I didn’t actually manage to get the model (a Wolf) to sit down in the end, it did come close though.
C++ : – I have a background in programming (Java) and so it wasn’t too much of a stretch to understand C++. This skill was required for the dynamic gravity within the environment.
Audio: – I didn’t have to do a lot for this in the end, I had three different tracks playing throughout the game play to represent the different worlds.
Blueprints were a great help, I learnt so much, timelines was the best thing as I could change the day/night cycle to exactly how I wanted it. I also used them to spawn and destroy actors and to create the portal effect.
What are the key areas of development in this project? Use your daily reflections to help you with this?
The key area of this project would be the functionality, a lot went into the Blueprints and C++ to make sure it functioned like it should.
The C++ was used for the Dynamic Gravity, this could not be implemented in UE4 9.2 so a custom UE4 had to be used.
The blueprints took a while to implement them all as I needed to add timelines to change the day/night cycle, the spawning of certain assets, destruction of others,the portal effect and the panner effect on the river mesh. Not forgetting the implementation of the audio and matinee of the gates of heaven.
These key areas made the project what it is.
What experiments and exploration did you do? How did it affect your projects development. Were there any sig fig changes?
I explored with a few different ways to make certain models and to find better ways to implement some of the things that were in my project for example the portal effect and the walls in hell.
There were no significant changes to my Project.
Is the final product appropriate for the intended platform / purpose?
Yes, i believe my project is appropriate for my intended audience and mostly purpose. Due to the controls for my project it would be more suited as a console based game unless several people use their Xbox controller with their PC.
Identify the strengths and weakness in your final project?
I believe the strengths of my project were the functionality and the story. I had tested the functionality in regards to the dynamic gravity and portals. With the weaknesses I identified these as a couple of texture issues i.e./ hand texturing.
Find a similar product – place it next to your own – what comparisons/difference can you identify?
I have found this question hard to answer. In functionality I would say Prey but for theme I would say Okami. The dynamic gravity is similar to that of Prey and the portal effect is similar to that of Portal2 and the particle system is similar to Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture.
For differences these games are AAA games and have a bigger budget so they have better graphics, models, audio etc.
The particle effect is similar in Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture because it leads the player to a certain point in the game due to attracting their attention which is what i was trying to accomplish so the player would get some vital information as to what has happened in the level.
Dynamic Gravity Effect
Review your proposal – what changed, what developments did you make, did you manage to complete everything you set out to?
A few things changed but these were only minor, like textures, position of assets within the game environment.
The development i made was adding widgets in to the environment to simulate the sun goddess and moon-god communicating but I feel this just added to the experience.
I did manage to complete everything I set out to do, it took till about 11pm on the day of submission but i got it packaged and uploaded to the onedrive in time.
Are you happy with your final piece? Are there any elements you like in particular?
Yes I am fairly happy with my final piece, I liked it all as a total project because it turned out as I expected it too which is how I wanted it too.
My project kept within the tri count by a fair bit. The total tri count came to 59,543. I originally said about 100,000 so I was out by a fair bit but i feel that it was better to have a few more tris than to scrape it just under the limit. The difference has definitely taught me to think carefully about the actual amount of tris that I would be using rather than playing it extra safe.
The Dynamic Gravity was a big part of the environment, without it, the project would have to of been altered dramatically. This video shows the dynamic gravity in action.
The portals look good, the Blueprints make it something a bit more than just an environment to wander around.
The particle system was a nice touch I feel, it leads you to the Cherry Tree where TsukuYomi appears. I used this effect to make the player believe that TsukuYomi is a god.
Is there anything you would change? Why?
There will always be things I would want to change, like add more models to Yomi, make it a bit bigger to incorporate more of the story that starts with the creation of the Japanese Islands to the story where Susanoo tries to redeem himself by doing good and saving a girl from an eight headed monster but these were not possible in the time frame I had.
Has your experience during this project changed your career goals?
I would have to say no on this, I would still want to become an Indie developer due to the creative freedom that comes with it.I am currently creating 2D modular art using Inkscape and i love the creative freedom. I know this is always a risk within regards to finances. To work for a company like SuckerPunch studios would be an amazing experience but Indie is more what i would like to do.
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蓬萊山輝夜,. Prey Gameplay. 2016. Web. 23 June 2016.