Wednesday, 22 May 2013

And it's done...

I can't actually believe I'm saying this but I have completed all of my university assignments. With the hand in of my major project work for the game Echoes I say goodbye to uni work all together. It seems like only yesterday I was convinced I would never get into uni at all and now it's finished. Really surreal stuff.

Overall  during the final major project I think it went surprisingly well, although it wasn't without it's problems. A lot happened during the production period, which is to be expected over such a long time, that threw me off course and distracted me, but in the end I managed to keep focused and keep on top of it all. The work never overwhelmed me as it did in last year's major project as I worked hard right from the beginning rather than taking it easy and leaving too much until the last minute.

The order in which I did my work and how quickly I completed my work relied almost entirely upon what the team needed, I always tried to get everything out by when someone wanted it or when a director set a deadline, even if I had to have multiple projects on the go at once. The team members that needed my work seemed to be pleased with how quickly I completed it and I didn't get any negative feedback from the team.

The project started out with me having to quickly model, unwrap and create a high poly scuplt for two characters so they could be rigger, skinned and animated. This was quite a challenge as I would not consider myself a quick or strong character artist but I managed to get them done within 2-3 weeks and that allowed the rest of the team to get their parts done with plenty of time. The Centaur character which I made first turned out quite nicely, it had a pretty basic design which made it easy to make quickly but I also had a lot of fun making it as it took interesting aspects from humans and horses, allowing me some variety. My biggest problem with it was the high poly sculpt as I only had 1 day to complete the sculpt and I had never used zBrush prior to this character. This was a large task for me but I feel I did quite well considering the circumstances. Unfortunatly I was unable to do some of the finer work such as skin detail and some of the main forms looked a bit lacking and I would have liked to have been able to change that, but by the end of the project I ouldn't go back to change this. The textures worked quite nicely although I struggled getting the skin to look realistic again even though I think this is the closest I have gotten.

The next thing in the project I needed to complete was the Fae, the player character for the game. This was a big project as he was the central character to the entire game but I still had very little time to make him in, this was made even more difficult by the fact that I hadn't completely nailed down the design in pre-production and the team constantly suggested changes. This is good as the group feedback really helped to strengthen the character and we all got the character we wanted but at the time it was quite overwhelming and confusing. We got there eventually though. Similarly to the Centaur I only had a day to produce the high poly and although it was stronger this time round as I had more practice with zBrush it still could have been much better, high poly sculpts are certainly going to be quite a big focus of my work over the next few months The textures themselves could have been better, it seemed a bit bland simply having the bark texture and although the late addition of the moss helped make it more colourful and interesting I feel it still could have been more exciting. When I handed the mesh over to be skinned there didn't seem to be any major problems with the topology or scale of the model and it was nicely rigged and skinned by the end of it.

The props varied quite a lot in my opinion, things like the books, the church ruins and the staff I really enjoyed making and thought they turned out really well, but some like the Tholos ruins and the bow were not as strong. Most of the props took no longer than a day to model and I made sure I had lots of feedback from the team and the art director to make sure everything worked together within the environment and created a believable world. Although I had quite a few props to do this was the period in which I slacked off the most. After the initial rush of the characters and some personal issues I lost some of the motivation I had at the start, I still kept up the work but didn't work as much as before, sometimes as low as 6 hours a day, and the time I spent working didn't feel very productive. I consider texturing to be my weakest point and I think it shows on the props where textures are so important. They were acceptable but not very strong and I felt this was a shame as it was a bit of a weak spot in my work.

The Unity work is the most difficult to judge, I believe I got quite a bit done, some of it quite important to the overall feel of the game. I had to create the camera for the game which was essential and hard to get right. There were many bugs in the camera that I had to get ironed out before it was in a workable position. This took up the majority of my time in Unity and left only a small amount of time for the particle effects. I was not very pleased with what I had done but camera's are always a difficult one to get right, even big triple A games often fail to get the camera right. I believe if I had another week or so in there it would have been much better. The particles were much more successful than the camera in my opinion and they made a large impact on how the game worked especially the boss fights. The dust particles around the dragon helped sell the size of it quite a lot and my personal favourite was the Bark Basher snow particles as they worked really well with the animation to sell the weight of the Bark Basher and his shields.

All in all I think the project went quite well, it could certainly have gone better but at the same time nothing went particularly wrong. The game came out much better than I ever thought it could have been so that was a great surprise and really shows off how well the team worked together and the individual skill of everyone involved. I think this project has set me on the perfect path and I shall try my best to continue like this after uni. Getting more game projects under my belt and working on my weaker areas I feel I will eventually be good enough to get out there and get a job.

No comments:

Post a Comment