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  1. Guidelines, Aims and Restrictions

    Friday, 8 February 2013

    Aims and Objectives

    The goal is to develop in 3D the area of London surrounding Pudding Lane. We shall use modular buildings for most of the environment, and each of us will be responsible for developing an equal amount of 3D assets such as buildings, or smaller objects like barrels, boxes, stocks, market stalls, plague carts and so on.
    The environment should be as varied as we can get it without disregarding the source material; with some large open areas and other small narrow streets. This will help to avoid repetition and add interest to the environment. some areas could include a church or guild hall, others could include marked houses etc.
    It’s unlikely that we will be able to implement animated NPC’s into the environment. However we do still want it to appear busy and overcrowded. Therefore, I suggest we use lots of props to clutter up the streets and make the narrower areas appear claustrophobic. The environment we produce needs to look historically accurate, therefore it is imperative that we research 17th century London as thoroughly as possible.
    We need to look at things like architecture, living conditions, and the social culture of that time period. We should also look into the historic events that were taking place in London at that time such as the Black Death and the Great Fire.

    Art Guide

    The design of our level should appear to be a realistic portrayal of 17th Century London. All textures and models should be photorealistic, with no stylization, and minimal Imagineering. Our level should show that we have researched 17th Century London thoroughly and thus have a firm understanding of said time period.For instance; we could include assets such as gallows, butchers with meat and poultry being hung outside, stocks, plague carts and so on to show our knowledge of 17th Century London.
    The atmosphere of the level should be dark and unsettling; it should portray just how unpleasant it would have been to live in London at that time. The colours used should- for the most part- be dark and cold. And I would suggest the use of particle effects such as fog/ smoke etc. to add to the sinister atmosphere. Below I have provided a few simple colour palettes taken from professional concept art to give everyone an idea of the sort of colours we should be using in our designs.

    Example Colour Swatches

    One key issue caused by following the source material so closely is that a lot of 17th century London looked very similar, as we have already discovered by building the whiteboxes. Of course, we still have to avoid Imagineering where possible, and so I propose that the best way to add variety to the different areas in our level, is to give each individual area it’s own individual colour scheme. Each area should have a separate colour palette as this will help the different areas stand out and portray a different feeling to the viewer. Below I have provided a Colour Guide which shows the prominent colour I suggest we use for the design of each area.

    A visual explanation of colour scheme suggestions
    I know it might seem like an impossible task to create varying colour schemes in an outdoor environment; considering that the main light source will be the sky, which will of course cast predominantly one colour of light. However, I suggest that in some areas such as the streets, we use chimney smoke and other particle effects to block out the sky light, so that we can then add artificial light sources without it’s interference.
    I also suggest that we disable the day night cycle, as this way we will be able to have more control over the lighting that is cast by the sky. I think it would be interesting if the time of day was late afternoon so that the sun is beginning to set; which would be visible from both the docks and the industrial area. Whereas in the open area; in which the horizon would be blocked on all sides by buildings, the visible portion of the sky would cast blue light.

    Art by Dennis Bjork
    Since Pudding Lane will have been full of butcher shops, I propose that a sensible colour scheme for that area would be predominantly red. Also, it would help accentuate Pudding Lane as one of the more significant landmarks in our level, as well as serve as a way to symbolise the fact that Pudding Lane is widely believed to be the origin of the Great Fire.

    Example of pathetic fallacy represented through rain and colour pallette
    Art by Ray Lederer (Skyrim)
    Dark muted blues seemed to be an obvious choice for the colour palette of Fish Street. As, naturally, there would have been lots of fish mongers in that area, and the fresh fish filling the market stalls as well as the discarded fish scattered across the pathway would reflect a green- bluish hue.

    Art by Adrien Deggan
    The Industrial area would have had a predominantly brown colour palette, as it would have been full of old wooden warehouses and wharves; used for collecting goods and duty (payment) from cargo ships. As I mentioned previously, The sunset would be visible from the industrial area, however, I think we should be able to block it out to some extent with the use of particle effects; I.e. chimney smoke, steam etc. This would allow the colour palette to be more muted; giving it a more sombre appearance.
    Art by Andy Walsh
    As I mentioned before, in the open area, the sky above will be fully visible. However the horizon will be blocked by buildings on all sides. Therefore, the area will be cast in a blue light. With this we can create a sinister, unsettling appearance. This would work well if we were to include stocks and a gallows in the open area; as it would help to emphasize and enforce the fact in the player’s mind that it was a place of death and punishment.

    Unknown artist, from the game Dear Esther
    I thought it would be a good idea to give the docks a warm, orange- red colour palette, so that it contrasts with the dank, dingy streets and the ominous blue of the open area. It would give the player a moment of relief from the significantly depressing tone portrayed by the other sections of the level. Which I think is important as we’re not trying to create a survival horror map; we’re trying to create a historically accurate portrayal of 17th century London, and the player needs to understand that.

    Art by Hiroshi Sakakibara
    17th Century London was cramped and unhygienic; we need to show this in the level. The layout of level should be determined predominantly by the gathered reference of the maps of 17th Century London. However there are other things we should include that aren’t shown in the maps. These things include; sewage in the streets, plague ridden corpses, Hung meat outside butcher shops, market stalls and other assets (refer to the page above) to make the area looked lived in, as well as add to the claustrophobic, cramped appearance.

    The plague was a devastating epidemic that occurred all over Europe throughout the 17th Century. London was one of the most affected areas in Britain at the time, and as such we need to portray this in our level. From the research I have done, I have discovered that when a person became infected, they would be sealed inside their houses, which would be bolted shut from the outside. The door of said house would then have a red cross painted on it, as well as the words “God have mercy”. When the infected died, their bodies would be thrown out onto the street, where their clothes and other possessions were often stolen by thieves. The bodies would then be collected by labourers who threw them into “death carts” and then moved them into “plague pits”; large holes dug into the earth, into which the deceased would be thrown.

    The buildings we design and model need to appear old and structurally unsound, as most of the buildings in London around the time of the 17th Century had already existed for a long time, and were in need of rebuilding. As such, we should focus on making the buildings appear wonky and misshapen; the beams should bend and bow, and the windows should and doors should look slanted. Details such as these will help hugely in creating a realistic, virtual portrayal of 17th century London.

     The textures we use for our models should also show signs of age and wear. They should look filthy and unhygienic, as this will not only add interest to the environment, but will also help to accentuate the poor living conditions in which the people of London were living during the 17th century. I suggest we create a few textures of grunge that we could add onto building walls to break up the texture, as well as add to the dank, dirty appearance we need to achieve.

    Technical Restrictions 

     The technical limitations will be for us to set as the project develops. The main technical outcome will be to have a fully textured and lit version of our level running at least 25 hertz (25 frames per second) on the university machines.We will build all of the geometry and author all of the textures. We are not to use content from the CryEngine SDK. The internet may be used for reference collection, but absolutely no downloaded textures or meshes are to be used.

    Suggested guidelines
    Cry Engine is extremely powerful, to the point that a tri budget almost (almost!) doesn’t matter. The things that will contribute significantly to making the frame rate drop are things like overlapping alpha’s, particle effects, and audio files. However, seeing as we will most likely be using alpha’s, particle effects and so on, I suggest we use the Technical Specifications below as a guideline when building our assets.
    • Each generic building is allowed a budget of 10000 tri’s.
    • Each generic building LOD is allowed a budget of 2000 tri’s.
    • Each large building (Such as churches, Hall’s and so on) will be allowed a budget of 13000.
    • Each large building LOD will be allowed a tri budget of 4000 tri’s.
    • Market stalls will be allowed a tri budget of 4000 tri’s. This includes any assets that may be used in conjunction with the market stalls such as fruits, vegetables, meats etc.
    • Small assets such as buckets, boxes, sacks, stocks and so on will be allowed a budget of 300 tri’s.
    • Carts and Death Carts will be allowed a budget of 6000 tri’s.
    • Gallows will be allowed a budget of 4000 tri’s.
    • Pub signs will be allowed a fairly high budget of 1000 tri’s to allow sufficient geometry for the supporting chains and poles.
    Plague corpses will be allowed a budget of 9000 tri’s.
    • Large Hanging carcasses (such as pigs) to be put outside butchers will be allowed a budget of 5000 tri’s each.
    • Small Hanging carcasses (such as poultry) will be allowed a budget of 2000 tri’s each.
    • Individual terrain segments will be allowed a budget of 2000 (subject to change) tri’s each.

    Texture List

    Dan H
    Black/dark grey roof tiles 512x512 Diffuse/Normal/Spec
    red roof tiles 512x512 Diffuse/Normal/Spec
    Red zigzag brickwork 512x512 Diffuse/Normal/Spec
    Grey straight brickwork 512x512 Diffuse/Normal/Spec
    Plaster 512x512 Diffuse/Normal/Spec

    Dan P
    10 Doors + metal 1024x1024 Diffuse/Normal/Spec
    4 Windows 512x512 Diffuse/Normal/Spec

    Dull/Old Wood 512x512 Diffuse/Normal/Spec
    Normal Wood 512x512 Diffuse/Normal/Spec
    Black Wood 512x512 Diffuse/Normal/Spec
    Rough Stone 512x512 Diffuse/Normal/Spec
    Suggested Misc Texture Guidelines
    • 2x 512 x 512 pub sign textures.
    • 1x 256x 256 general grunge texture.
    • 2x 512 x 512 textures for small assets such as boxes, buckets etc.
    • 2x 512 x 512 textures for larger assets such as market stalls, animal carcasses etc.
    • 1x 512 x 512 + 1x 256 x 256 Death Cart texture.
    • 2x 512x 512 cobble texture.
    • 2x 512x 512 dirt texture.
    • 2x 512x 512 paved road texture.
    • 2x 256x 256 moss texture.
    • 2x 512 x 512 plague corpse texture.

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