Altered London

A dystopian cyberpunk treatment of London in 2078. This was a group project completed over a 12 week period by the formidable 8 person team known as Ratstation. It’s a cyberpunk-themed game environment set in the near future.

I was the Producer on this project which involved allocating roles to team members, scheduling work stages and jobs (thanks Trello, I would be nothing without you), alongside creating assets for the scene.

Some of my assets include:

  • BT tower
  • Council flats (procedurally generated in Blueprints)
  • Raised platform, steps and glass barrier
  • Covent Garden style shop fronts
  • Flying cars (including Blueprints)
  • Kiosks
  • Archway garage

Our team website features some blog posts outlining the development process, here are a few of the posts:

Service

This was my first project for my MA: a mobile game level built in Unreal Engine set in a hotel kitchen.

My initial idea for the level was somewhat based on the hotel kitchen from the movie The Shining, and one of the characteristics of the hotel in this film is the sense of history and the past. Through the set design, the film communicates that this was a place where great things once happened, but that perhaps those times are over and now we are left with just the memories. I want the level to communicate a similar message.

Kitchen in the movie The Shining

Lighting

A key element to creating mood and realism within the scene is lighting, which we covered in detail in week 5. Lighting can bring colour to the scene, and highlight important details. Used correctly it can draw the eye to a desired area, perhaps to highlight a goal or general direction.

For my scene I decided to differentiate the different areas of the level with different light levels and colour.

I am really happy with the how the lighting worked out, particularly with the emissive materials such as the table candle lights, the oven and freezer LED lights, the blue hob gas rings and the wall mounted bunker lights throughout the scene.

The Result

You can play the level in your browser. It’s on my blog here!

Bicycle Repair Shop

A bicycle repair shop, somewhere in rural India in the near future…

Mars Colony

For my final MA project I chose a science fiction theme. I chose a not-too-distant future on Mars for the setting. The atmosphere and landscape is tough and barren with frequent sandstorms. All modelling, texturing, lighting, VFX and animation was done by moi.

Actual Mars relief map used as heighmap in Unreal Engine

I used Unreal’s landscape tool to create a vista of the Mars surface, using topographical data from https://astrogeology.usgs.gov. This data came in the form of large height maps which required cropping to a manageable size. Some adjustment of the height map was necessary to achieve the desired result, specifcally adjusting the levels to give greater contrast, and applying some light blue to smooth out some artefacts in the image.

Final Scene

For some of the VFX elements such as the mining drill steam I used a particle emitter with a flipbook texture to create variation. I used my homebrew flipbook maker tool which I authored in Python. For details on my flipbook maker tool check out my blog.

I am happy with the outcome of the fnal scene. It closely adheres to the original vision, even though some compromises had to be made due to time constraints. I learned a lot about hard surface modelling and I enjoyed learning about techniques around face weighted normals which contributed a lot to the quality of my in-game assets. However, the learning curve on this area was steep, which is why production of assets took a lot longer than I expected.

For the final sequence I decided to render the scene to PNG frames and combine them using the command line tool FFMPEG. For details on this see this blog post.