Whew! I’m probably going to regret this when I have to get up for work in about 3 hours but I don’t care anymore! I just finished this thing up and was too excited about posting it so I’ll just do it right now!
This here is Glass Lake; I’ve changed the name from Widow’s Lake which you can see on the old map there:
I honestly can’t believe how fast time is zipping by these days. I didn’t realize we were halfway through July already! Cripes man!
Speaking of time flying by, I was cleaning out my closet earlier and came across my old backup CD’s and DVD’s from 2003 all the way until 2009! That was a blast from the past! Thank goodness faster, cheaper and more reliable means of backup became available!
For this map I had to do a lot of signage (Glass Lake is a tourist area of sorts) and I actually got some PTSD from when I used to design and make signage for a living! *shudder* That was an…interesting decade to say the least but hey, at least the in-game stuff looks pretty authentic because of it!
I’m going to keep this one short and sweet because I’ve got to sleep. I’ll be starting the Sewers and Service Tunnel maps in a day or two! Enjoy!
I’ll be honest, after abandoning this map out of frustration (it was the first map I started building in the UDK) I never really imagined the day when I’d be revisiting it again. I remember being blown away at the time by how it looked but comparing the two now is kind of like looking at an old photo of yourself in Highschool and just chuckling at the hairstyle you used to have and the way you use to dress, even though at the time you thought it looked AWESOME! What a contrast.
It took just a little longer than I anticipated but it’s done now. There are still a lot of details missing in the washroom areas and elsewhere but I’ll polish them up later with more garbage, grime and graffiti (especially in the washrooms)
I ran into a small problem and I’d love it if someone posted an opinion or solution for this but I was thinking of taking out the “jump” function and adding in a “vault” system instead.
This is to get around the problem of being able to walk or stand on thin, unwalkable things such at the top of a fence, a thin railing or jumping onto and standing on say, a fire hydrant. I can’t really think of another way around it so instead of being able to jump, perhaps have the player be able to vault over low walls, hand rails etc. with the push of a button instead?
I thought about adding in some function to maybe force a player off of an unwalkable object by pushing them one direction or another but it seems like it could create all sorts of movement glitches down the road. What do you think? Let me know!
Hello all! I hope everyone is staying safe and sound during these times!
I’ve been keeping myself busy and mostly putting my time to good use! Over half of the map is now complete and I figure I have about another 2 weeks left of work in it. It’s been a pretty fun area to build and certainly eye-opening in some aspects. I learned some new things working on a huge open map like this that I otherwise wouldn’t have with a smaller or indoor map. It also runs pretty well so far and I haven’t even optimized it yet outside of LOD’s!
I did run into a few problems but I got through them fairly quickly
Problem 1 – I started to test it out in Full-screen mode and ran into this beauty:
It took me hours searching for answers online and I started messing around with different screen resolutions and stuff in Blueprints but nothing helped. The only way it looked normal was playing it in Windowed-mode.
It then occurred to me that the artifacts in Full-screen mode looked a lot like the over-sharpening artifacts in image editing software. Well, I did use a Sharpening Post-Process so…could that be the culprit? I turned it off and sure enough, it was! It turns out the sharpening effect I was using wasn’t all that great so I found another one, tweaked it and now I still get some fairly crisp visuals without the artifacts when playing in Full-screen.
Problem 2 – Hearing about all the new improvements on Realtime GI, I decided to check out the latest version of UE4 (4.24) After it installed, I migrated the project over to it and then I was greeted with this:
Normally it sits at the 3k range so yeah, not happening. I promptly went back to 4.20. Besides, I worked so long on the current lighting setup, I couldn’t possibly throw it all away now and the fact that they removed Matinee is a deal-breaker anyway.
Problem 3 – I needed a way to add more depth but I wanted the old-school distance-based fog from older game engines. It seems that it was taken out in favor of the more physically correct Atmospheric and Exponential Heightfog I guess? Even so, I really wish they kept Distance-based fog for people who just wanted the old solution. I currently only use the Exponential Heightfog for light rays and the Atmospheric Fog to affect my ambient lighting (It’s weird I know. Don’t ask me why that is, I only discovered that it just does)
If I mess with any of the settings to thicken the fog, it alters everything else so I was able to find a post process that mimics Distance Fog instead.
It’s a subtle effect for sure but I think it makes a big difference. You can even crank it up to Silent Hill-levels of fog!
Problem 4 – The foliage, specifically the Spruce branches were too…thick? (I can’t think of a better term) I went through and made some changes to my Foliage Shader and got some better results:
So after all that, I recorded another video for you guys. I can’t wait to add in the sound effects, the leaf and mist particles and all the other bells and whistles but that will come later down the road!
Enjoy guys! And by the way, I’ve added a link to my Youtube channel on the right! Why not head on over and watch some videos of me absolutely getting f***ed over in games? 😀
I’ve been taking advantage of this time off work and have been hammering away at the project every day. This is the absolute biggest map I’ve ever attempted and it’s way farther along than the UDK version that I worked on so long ago.
Just comparing what is visually possible now in UE4 compared to the UDK years ago is astounding. Just thinking, if I had completed Out Of Hell(UDK)/Infernal Dead/Daemonicon back then, it still would not have been the game that I had truly set out to build. As you all know I had a ton of problems with the UDK and I would have had to just make due or settle on taking out a lot of features. As with the mod version of Out Of Hell, I would have completed another linear single-player game but deep down I would not have been truly satisfied. If I had released this for the UDK and then seen what was capable with UE4 now, I’d have been way too tempted to remake it again!
Because of the power of UE4, the fact that there is a Marketplace where assets/blueprints can be purchased if needed and tutorials on anything (I mean ANYTHING you want to do) your imagination is the limit on making the game you always dreamed of.
I’m still going at it and I have some really unique ideas that you really haven’t seen in a horror game before. I promise this game will terrify you (which is why I’m so secretive about some of the details) so hang in there guys! I’ll see you next time!
EDIT: I was just playing around with some LUT’s and a few of them actually make the scenery pretty stylized! I’m already going for a very contrasted look but these other LUT’s kick it up a level! Which do you like? Let me know in the comments! (Maybe I can just include all of them later and let you decide in the Options menu with “Original” being the default?)
Hey guys! I decided to record a small video of the forest since the screenshots really don’t do it any justice. It’s a quick and dirty video capture so don’t expect anything too polished! Also, sorry for my jittery mouse movement and the black borders around the video! I just started learning OBS Studio. 🙂
I tried really hard to nail down that “Autumn mood” with the “Out Of Hell feel” and I think it turned out alright! It’s obviously not finished yet; it lacks sound, particle effects and other minor details (plus the rest of the map hehe!) but the atmosphere is there!
The first of many to come. Enjoy!
Just a small update here to show a bit more progress on Laughlin Lake! I’m quite happy with how it is working out, especially the framerate which remains high no matter what is in view (you probably didn’t notice while playing it but the framerate in the OoH mod was not that great! *wink wink*)
I really don’t know how things work under the hood but UE4 is doing a damn good job of keeping things running smooth. I also try to keep things simple on my end with low-poly assets, keeping texture sizes small and using what few tricks I know to give the illusion of something more complex! 😉
Once I get enough content to put together a proper trailer then you’ll be able to see it in motion. It looks quite beautiful with movement but for now we’ll have to stick to screens.
Below are a couple of evening shots:
And then a few shots at night. Imagine being chased by Manipulators through these woods! As creepy as it all looks at night, you still won’t want to get dragged into Hell, which in all honesty may happen quite often! 😛
Eventually I would like to give the flashlight a subtle beam effect. We’ll see how that goes later.
Early morning. A perfect time to head down to the beach and wash your soiled underpants:
January was one of those times where things were just out of whack! I wasted a lot of time but I did learn some things so I guess it wasn’t a total waste…
When I started working on Laughlin Lake (yes, we’re revisiting it!) I thought that the best way would be to construct the entire terrain in an external program (it totally wasn’t) I used a landscape generator to make some random terrain, sculpted the larger details and cut it into large quadrants. I would then work on one quadrant at a time and sculpt in any fine details I needed. I was even able to create roads that conformed to the terrain itself. I used these techniques on the Outskirts map.
The problem was that this terrain (for the Lake) was about 8 times larger than the one in the Outskirts and had more variances in it. I stuck with this for a couple of weeks but eventually gave up as it became so tedious and ate up a huge chunk of time having to alter it, reimport it, make sure everything was aligned etc. and then go back and do it all over again. UE4 already has its own Landscape tool with almost everything that I could need and yet here I was trying to reinvent the damn wheel!
So after abandoning that idea I started using UE4’s built-in tools to create my terrain. I’ll admit that the last time I used the UE Landscape tool was when it was in the UDK and I didn’t have a good time with it. It had some limitations and I experienced frequent crashes while using it.
I’m happy to say that this time around it has been painless. It was a bit of a set up but proved worth it in the end. I could sculpt, paint, scatter foliage all in real time and make changes as needed. There is even a tool to create roads and have the Landscape align itself to it! Awesome.
If during testing I got stuck somewhere on the terrain, I just fixed it up in realtime instead of having to go all the way back into the external modelling program, fix the issue, re-import it in again and hoped that it all worked out. Huge time saver there.
Then I needed to bring in some Spruce trees I created some time back! I had generated them a year ago in Speedtree but never imported them into UE4 because I didn’t need them yet. But wait a minute…something is off. The textures aren’t aligning with the models! I take a closer look and all the tree models (all 88 of them, YIKES) have issues that I somehow missed the first time through. So I renew my Speedtree subscription so I could use the tools and get to repairing them all. In the end, I ended up rebuilding all of my base trees with further optimizations and just randomly generated the rest from those base trees.
After that was done, I needed some rock and cliff formations. Now, in my opinion, I think that natural-looking rocks and trees are the hardest things to model. That’s just me though, because I’ve seen plenty of other Artists do some mind-blowing work. Anyway, I found and purchased a Rock Generating program (it was super cheap) and though I initially thought that the rocks looked pretty good, I eventually decided it wasn’t what I was looking for. I needed something more realistic.
Then I remembered about Photogrammetry! Yes! I went through a couple of tutorials and it all seemed pretty simple! I decided to get a rock from outside and started to take pictures of it. The very first attempt was a huge success! Out of 125 pictures I took with just my phone, Meshroom was able to use 123 of them. I did this by slowly rotating the rock and taking pictures from the same angle (it sort of reminded me of Highscool when I dabbled in a bunch of stop-motion animation projects. Good times)
It took about an hour and a half to process and the results were fantastic! I gathered about 10 more interesting-looking rocks and took hundreds of pictures and fed them into Meshroom. Unfortunately, after an entire week, the only success I had with Photogrammetry was the very first rock. The pictures I took kept getting rejected by the program for some reason! Similar setup and lighting, I tried anywhere from 30 pictures up to 200, I tried setting up markers, I tried circling the object. None of it was working and I kept on getting partial, messy models. Each attempt took anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours to process. It was just eating away too much time again.
I gave up on that idea and just bought a bunch of photoscanned rocks online, made some alterations and now they’re in-game. I should have just done that in the beginning! I did make a few rocks of my own but I mainly used the photoscanned assets to help flesh out the rock cliffs I had made.
Now onto the Lake water itself! I used the material for the Blood River in one of the Hell levels and altered it to look like water. But wait a second…now what?! It turns out translucent materials can’t accept shadows! I didn’t notice it before because of the lack of directional lighting in the Hell level! So while the water effects looked fine, the shadows from the surrounding environment weren’t showing up on the water! I decided to make the material opaque so that it could recieve shadows and I also dithered the edge of the water to give the illusion of translucency…except now, the water doesn’t have any caustics! Opaque materials aren’t capable of refraction! FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS CRISPY!
After spending a bunch more time on that I finally figured out a method that looks alright. I now have the water recieving shadows, there’s depth to it and the geometry underneath the water distorts properly.
Alright, so it’s back to work! The map is nowhere near finished but this should give you an idea of what Laughlin Lake will look like this time around!