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Building…Buildings!

April 15, 2021

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!!

From → Out Of Hell

3 Comments
  1. MadLad permalink

    That lighting and those textures are already giving this map a great vibe, can’t wait to see them with a coating of wear and grime.

  2. Hey! Thanks for dropping me a line!

    Those are beautiful but unfortunately you still need to use the later versions. He’s actually got two versions available and anything before 4.23 utilizes textures on planes and anything after utilizes the volumetric clouds.

    I came across this https://www.artstation.com/artwork/GXnrvV which works beautifully in 4.20 but the only caveat is that it won’t work in a shipped project. I’ve talked with the author before and he described a way for me to work around that issue but I haven’t tried it yet.

    I’ve heard that the volumetric clouds in 4.26 are surprisingly cheap when it comes to performance so another option is to have everything built and ready to go, then migrate to 4.26 and add the clouds in that way. I’ve got several avenues to approach this. 🙂

  3. Hi. Glad to see you’re still working hard on this project. Found some dynamic clouds in the store, they look pretty good: https://www.unrealengine.com/marketplace/en-US/product/ultra-dynamic-sky

    Keep it up!

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