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3.22.2013

ZBrush

As I've completed the officer's lounge, I'm debating on which area to build next.  I'm saving the Bridge for later, as it's going to be a monumental challenge.  Since it's the most important area of the ship, I want to be fully prepared when I decide to tackle it. 

I'm leaning on starting the officer's quarters next, but until then, I'm going to use the down time to learn ZBrush, which I recently purchased.

ZBrush would allow me to create character models to populate my Enterprise interiors with.  As soon as I learn the software, I can start working on a few.  I have very limited experience with building character models, but it's something I want to explore now that I'm getting the hang of a modern gaming engine. 

I'll be sure to post any progress on character models here as well. 

3.20.2013

Officer's Lounge Complete

Well, I ran into problems when trying to model Shane Johnson's plans of keeping the privacy lounge and the observation lounge separate rooms, and ultimately had to go with a modified version of Andrew Probert's layout instead.  I'll skip the technical mumbo-jumbo and just say that I had to remove the "viewscreen" walls so that you could access the room with the sunken observation area.

Oh well.  At least this is what the officer's lounge would have been if Probert would've had his way.

Another note: I had to switch back to static lighting, which isn't as clean as dynamic lighting.  The reason is that UDK cannot compute global illumination in a scene with only dynamic lights.  Having completely black shadows all over the place wasn't worth the cleaner look.

The reference material.  "Budget run dry?  Build a tiny, tiny set!"

This is pretty much accurate to the quick shot we see in The Motion Picture, aside from some lighting and coloring details. (Enterprise 3d Mesh graciously provided by WileyCoyote)

I changed the lighting of this area to match the rest of the lounge.

The "viewscreen wall", seen in a previous blog post, is knocked out with a virtual sledge-hammer.

I spent far too much time, and far too many polygons, on this Three Dimensional Chess board.

The plants to the right, which I found while digging through UDK's free assets, really add some life to this set.

Although I miss the viewscreen wall, the result isn't that bad.  Makes the area feel more open.




3.14.2013

Officer's Lounge, Continued

 I dedicated my morning to rapidly adding the chairs/couches/tables to the Officer's Lounge.  
"Spock, would you PLEASE sit down!"
Mr. Scott's Guide to the Enterprise explains that the "windows" seen in The Motion Picture are actually view screens which are capable of displaying "the full range of the ship's communication services" and can "provide a full exterior and interior tour of the vessel."  The reason for this explanation is that Shane Johnson, when making the guidebook, placed this privacy lounge just forward of the rest of the officer's lounge, which has a much grander scale and offers a spectacular view of the ship's warp nacelles.  So, we are to assume that the starfield we see out the "windows" in The Motion Picture is a viewscreen simulation, and these are not, in fact, windows.  
Window?  Or Viewscreen?

The Director's Cut of The Motion Picture tried to correct this by offering a view of one of the warp nacelles through the "window", but we can still pretty much just think of them as "viewscreens" instead, if we wish.

Andy Probert's concept of the Officer's Lounge.

Probert's plan
Shane Johnson's attempt to marry Probert's concept with the actual filming set.


Because I'm attempting to fully realize Andrew Probert's design, I am going with Shane Johnson's interpretation.  

So, for the screens below, you will see a United Federation of Planet's logo on the screens instead of a starfield.  The starfield will be seen when I complete the area just aft of this privacy lounge, complete with the view of the nacelles.








Main Engineering Complete...for now...

My computer seems to have shut down mid-compile last night due to Windows update, so these shots still aren't 100% finished.  However, they're good enough.

Like I said earlier, I'm not sure if and when I'll put in any The Wrath of Khan details, as I'm pretty happy with the area as is.  I may come back to the area later and tweak lighting a bit as well, as I'm experimenting with different lighting techniques.

I know the bloom post-process effect is a little overkill, but it adds a modern quality to an otherwise very 1970s science fiction set.

The glowing-green computer bank above is really the only new addition.

The transparent-aluminum elevator to the right will eventually work once I get more experience with scripting.  It's a little larger than seen in the films due to it having to accommodate the size of the player character.

The foyer console.  Lighting may need to be tweaked her as well, but the darkness matches that seen in The Motion Picture, when Kirk tells Decker he's taking command.  Again, the bloom effect is a little overdone for showcase effect.

And, as promised, here's a video I uploaded to youtube.  For some reason, it came out WAY darker than it actually is in-game...not sure why.  I have very little experiencing recording video from in-game.  Either way, you get to see the intermix plasma in motion, and some blinkies on the consoles.  Make sure to change the quality to 1080p when viewing!



Officer's Lounge Construction Begins

Engineering lighting compiles take over 2 hours, so I only compile at night before bed so that I can keep working on other things.  While you wait for the final Engineering screenshots (and video!), I thought I'd share some early shots of the Officer's Lounge.

Static lighting in Unreal3 has been the single disappointing thing so far in my experience.  It's difficult to get good lightmaps that are smooth and un-pixelated, and it's only more apparent on the smooth, clean surfaces the refit Enterprise is comprised of.

With this new area, I've experimented with dynamic lighting over static lighting.  The results are much more crisp and clean.  Overuse of dynamic lighting can cause system lag, so I'll keep an eye out for performance drops if I use too many.  However, this small area runs smooth as silk while playing. 

The other bonus of dynamic lighting: they don't add any time to compile, so compile times are super quick.  Makes working and testing a lot faster.

This is the officer's lounge as depicted in The Motion Picture. Andrew Probert visualized a much grander lounge, and I hope to turn his production designs into a reality with this project.  But first, I had to get this small privacy lounge out of the way.  I'll be using the layout featured in "Mr. Scott's Guide to the Enterprise" to marry Probert's concept with what was seen in the film.

But for now, here ya go. 


The futuristic "planter" was a lot of fun.  I found some free-to-use foliage meshes included with some UDK tutorial packages I downloaded.  They sway gently inside, to give the illusion of air-conditioning flowing through the tube.


Tomorrow I work on the couches, tables, etc.  Enjoy!

 


3.07.2013

Engineering Foyer Console

Last little bit of work I've done before I go to my actual job.  I'm definitely comfortable now with 3ds Max to be able to do complex shapes like the console you see above.  This is also giving me practice when I tackle the main bridge of the Enterprise, since it is littered with similar consoles.

Main Engineering Approaches Completion







Only a few details left to work out, mainly the foyer and it's console and the computer bank on the level above.

I can't decide whether or not I'm going to Wrath of Khan-ify the area by adding the 7 or so computer consoles that the production team of Khan added around the main level and the dilithium reactor room in the main level's corner.  I'm liking this Motion Picture depiction so far, however.

3.03.2013

Horizontal Intermix



Just a little update.  Full lighting compiles are taking 2 hours now, but frame rate is still a solid 60 fps, even with all those polygons.  This same area, built with less detail in Quake III, was getting a choppy 15 fps.