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Building…Buildings!

I had forgotten about how much of a total nightmare wonderful challenge it was to build a city-themed map! Anyone who has ever modelled a city by hand can tell you; it’s no walk in the park!

I spent a big chunk of time since the last update just working on the buildings and coming up with all the signage that should accompany them. I made some basic buildings then created variations from them. I wanted to avoid the issue of having a bunch of non-descript buildings (like in the original) and so this time around almost every shop you come across will have its own signage (which helps add personality to the visuals)

Designing all the signs, ads and awnings was actually pretty fun and came naturally since I used to do it for a living! I’m sure you’ll all get a kick out of some of the more humorous ones you’ll come across!

Speaking of which I added a nice little surprise for the people who contributed to the indiegogo drive long ago. Originally, they were all supposed to get their initials scrawled onto a wall or spraypainted throughout the game but now I’ve decided “FUCK IT, I’m naming buildings after them instead!” These are just 2 examples as they’re scattered all around town and I don’t want to spoil all of it:

In the original, massive sinkholes appeared around town after an earthquake hit but the only time players saw one was near the end. Well that’s all changed as you’ll come across a lot of them this time around (they also serve as a natural barrier and a great excuse to prevent players from exiting the world bounds!) The sinkholes now serve a more prominent purpose for the story as well.

This is another fairly large map and encompasses the entire area from when you leave the trainyards to the gas station area to the gunstore in the original game. The layout is complete and I’ve just got to fill in some rough details here and there for the time being. When I revisit it later during the polishing phase, I’ll add in some more wear and tear to sell that “lived-in” feeling.

You may have noticed that the new maps don’t have any clouds in the sky. This is because I have abandoned my original method of having a sphere with a rotating cloud texture on it. I don’t like the way it looks and so I am looking into alternative methods. One is to have real-time dynamic clouds but that is very costly and the solutions aren’t great for the version of UE4 that I’m using. I’m still using 4.20 because I HATE that they took Matinee out of all the newer releases! I am fully aware that the newer versions all have improvements and even built-in dynamic clouds but I’m not budging because I’m fucking stupid like that! :P

An idea dawned on me when I saw the way sunlight passes through the edges of my foliage. I think I can come up with a way to model some cloud planes, animate their movements and tweak my foliage material to give the clouds a sense of body and depth. We’ll see how that goes when I try it out later.

I’ve got about another week or so worth of work on this and then I’ll head into the next map. Just a few more to go!!

Quickie!

Just a quick, small update since I’ve wrapped this location up. Here are some shots of the truck area and nearby surroundings. I’ve been blessed with a seemingly limitless supply of energy and motivation lately so I’m just flying through these maps! There is less than a handful of locations to go and I estimate that I’ll be done all the maps (if I keep this pace up) in about 2-3 months. Mapping (and what comes with it such as modeling and texturing props as I need them) is the most time-consuming in my opinion.

Here is a roadmap of what is left after the maps. If you don’t see something on this list, it’s because it’s already done:

Animations (Npc, enemy, cutscenes, First-person weapon and interactions)

Importing (Npc, enemy, weapons) and coding the behaviour

Implementation and testing of various player mechanics

Detailing phase of maps, implementing sound and notes/items/spawns/2D Art

Optimization of assets and code

What is left isn’t all too difficult for me (you can thank YPAPS-G for the massive experience and confidence boost) but I haven’t done any solid keyframing in a loooong time so I’ll be a bit rusty. I’ll look into a couple of options suchs as motion capture with an app or even using Mixamo animations to save some time but I’ll see when I get there.

Everything in the roadmap including the entire Steam process is now just a straightforward thing to me. After all these years, I think I’m finally in range. This is the first time I’ve ever mentioned anything on this site in regards to Out Of Hell UE4 but I am starting to think that a Halloween 2022 date is very plausible (including beta testing)

I’ve got my eye on the prize and let’s hope that nothing prevents me from achieving this goal!

 

Incredibly Sad News!!!

Everyone, I literally just came across this news and I’m devastated. Justin Lassen, a friend, collaborator and fellow artist has passed away and I’m sitting here in complete shock. I don’t know what the details are but I found some information here and here.

I was looking around for some textures and out of the blue his name just popped into my head out of nowhere! I typed it into a search engine to find his facebook (I severed all my social media ties back in 2013) and I saw the headline “Justin Lassen – In Memoriam” I thought to myself, no, that can’t be..do they know what memoriam means? But when I clicked on it, it was him.

According to his facebook post he had a really rough year. I always remember his gentle nature and his creativity. He was an artist through and through and I understood and connected with him on that level. This was a type of man who suffered for his art and I look up to and respect that quality.

Justin composed an unforgettable soundtrack for the Out Of Hell mod. We met several times in real life (he came to visit me in Canada, we met up in Vegas and had a hilarious and awesome time, we went to GDC 2010 together and he introduced me to some incredible people) and shared some awesome stories and ideas.

We lost touch over the years (the last time I talked to him was probably in 2017 or maybe even earlier) over Skype. I should have tried harder to stay connected and offer assistance where I could. I intended to go in another direction with the soundtrack for the new Out Of Hell and I remember one of the last things he said to me was “I’ll cut off my own hands to work on the soundtrack for your new game!”

If I had included him, maybe things might have turned out differently. Maybe he would have had something to keep him inspired. I don’t know guys, I don’t know. There is so much more I want to write about him but my mind is a storm right now. I’m still trying to grasp the gravity of this. He had so many aspirations and so much more to offer and this loss cannot be described.

Rest in peace my friend. I will never forget you.

A Birchy Mood!

Hey! I just decided to upload some video progress because…why the hell not? The next area in this map that needs to be built is the small trucking area from the original:

Outside that it’s just applying a few broadstrokes of details here and there and filling out some distance visuals. I should be done this map by Sunday and onto the next: North Chester!

Old Grinny Appears!

It’s nice to be above ground again! I’ve got an update for the Inlet (the name is a bit misleading since it’s a reimagining of 3 different maps from the original) Its about halfway done and still needs some fleshing out but I think it does an alright job of conveying the mood so far! I worked really hard to give each location its own “feel” which is in itself a separate challenge. For this, I played around with the overall color scheme by using different types of trees that had more vibrant autumn leaves. Even though I used some of the same assets from the Laughlin Lake map, this area feels totally different.

If anyone remembers the Grinwood Tree and playground from the mod, you’ll know exactly where this is supposed to be! I fixed the nonsensical designs of that old map, expanded upon it and incorporated other maps into this.

Speaking of the Grinwood Tree, I swear to you that this is a completely true story. When I made this tree in SpeedTree, I needed to add a face to it (to live up to its name, -GRIN-wood) like in the original Out Of Hell mod:

I was trying to figure out a way to do this because it’s not possible to model such a thing inside of SpeedTree itself (SpeedTree generates random trees based upon user settings but as far as I know, there isn’t a “Generate a goddamn scary human face on your tree” setting)

So I was brainstorming and just screwing around with my time of day system when all of a sudden a F*CKING FACE ACTUALLY APPEARED!!! Look!

Isn’t that just…weird?! It was fortunate, awesome and creepy all at the same time! At least now I don’t have to waste time hand-modelling a different tree and carving a face into it!

I also included a couple of screens with some familiar lore from the mod (I did change it up a little bit so that it didn’t seem as though a kid wrote it)

I do plan to have all notes/logs and such displayed the way they do in games like Silent Hill but in some cases like this, the text is large enough to be read as is (if you want)

That Was Fast!

The Maintenance Tunnels are complete! Here’s another small peek at the garbage-filled underbelly of Grinwood! Doesn’t this make you just want to live and work there?

I can’t wait for you all to get chased by demonic entities throughout this disgusting maze of filth! I’ll be starting the Industrial Zone level tomorrow since I’m still in the “concrete and rusted metal” mindset! I happen to live close to an industrial area and it has started to rain a lot lately. Looking at dark, silhouetted industrial buildings against bright overcast skies inspires the hell out of me!

With each update it’s getting harder and harder to contain my giddyness. If I can keep up this pace I’ll be done in no time.

Oh, It’s Sooo Dirty!

I’m back with 2 videos of the Sewer level! The first video has audio to show you how I want to approach the soundtrack this time around. I bought this track a long time ago (originally it was going to be used for the first OoH) but I ended up not using it then so now I’ve included it with the visuals to give you an idea of where I’m going with the ambience.

These will be used for all the Hell levels and any other suitable settings to ramp up the creepiness factor. I’ll use them sparingly (if needed) during the daytime outdoor levels because I don’t want it drowning out the environmental sounds like the wind, rustling leaves, rain, thunderstorms etc. I think that’s an important factor to sell the feeling of desolation. It was always my intention to take this route for the audio as far back as the UDK project.

I hope that any old fans that see this can recognize some of the layout! Now that it’s all suitably “grimed up” I’ll be heading into the Maintenance Tunnel level!