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  1. Week Five – Back to the Map

    Tuesday, 12 March 2013

    After the trip to York at the beginning of the week the whole Pudding Lane Productions team was almost ready to burst with ideas. The twisting, narrow lanes in the centre of York, especially The Shambles at its heart with its overhanging timber-framed buildings sheltering the cobbled street below meant the group began week five with lots of new ideas and inspiration. One of the main points I think we all took away from visiting York, is that we got a real sense of just how tightly packed the streets of 17th Century London would have been, at some points on The Shambles street you could literally outstretch you arms and touch the buildings on opposite sides of the street, the tops of buildings were actually inches from touching.

    The following day we had our first team meeting of the week in which we had our first chance to share and talk about the work we had done in week four, we were able to discuss various items including how the work could be taken further as well as any improvements that could be made. I (Joe Dempsey) was also able to provide Luc Fontenoy our technical artist, who we also call our 'Cry Guy'! with the initial assets I had modelled for church grounds so that he could begin to import them into the CryENGINE in the week and provide feedback accordingly. Dan Hargreaves had taken his modular buildings much further adding smaller details, Dom Bell similarly had worked further on his prop assets. Chelsea Lindsay and Dan Peacock demonstrated some of the textures and concepts they had been working on.
    Preliminary texture sheet composed by Dan Peacock
    Small tomb asset for Church Grounds, Joe Dempsey
    Modular Church wall assets for Church Grounds, Joe Dempsey
    Dan Hargreaves showing the potential variety from his modular buildings
     After concluding any unfinished details/ issues from the previous week the group then went on to discuss our ideas for tasks to be carried out during week five. We now had a good bulk of the map laid out in CryENGINE using our initial modular buildings and other assets and with the inspiration and ideas gathered from the York trip we all felt we could go back to the map and begin concepting the individual streets including and surrounding Pudding Lane. There are a number of reasons behind our decision to do this, earlier in the week our technical artist Luc Fontenoy had talked about potentially colour grading different areas of the map within CryENGINE coinciding with the teams initial decision outlined in the Art Guide Document describing how we planned to give each area of the map its own individual colour scheme to add variety and to avoid everything looking too similar. To do this we decided that we would nominate a selection of streets, one for each member of the team. The streets selected are shown below;

    Fish Street Hill – Chelsea Lindsay
    Pudding Lane – Joe Dempsey
    Botolph Lane – Dan Peacock
    Love Lane – Dan Hargreaves
    Thames Street - Luc Fontenoy
    Crooked Lane – Dom Bell

    Luc Fontenoy would provide the group with screen shots of the individual streets from the whitebox at its current stage with which the group could then compose a variety of colour grading/ mood paintings using the Art Guide as a continuous source of reference for the specific colour schemes. At this stage Luc was uncertain on how to apply colour grading correctly to the level, but during the week he has had the opportunity to discuss this as well as other items with an ex DMU Game Art Student who has a good knowledge of the CryENGINE enabling him and the rest of the group to further expand their knowledge of the engine to ensure things are being done correctly at this stage in the project.

    Below are some of the screenshots taken directly from CryENGINE  Luc was able to provide the group;

    Below are examples of the concepts completed this week by some of the group;

    Concept of Fish Street Hill by Chelsea Lindsay, showing colour scheme and street assets
    Colour grading watercolour studies for Pudding Lane by Joe Dempsey, Joe decided to use watercolours to help demonstrate the sense of atmosphere the group hope to achieve
    Concept of Pudding Lane by Joe Dempsey, showing potential colour palette using watercolour
    Concept of Pudding Lane by Joe Dempsey, showing potential colour palette using watercolour
    Concept of Pudding Lane by Joe Dempsey, showing potential colour palette using watercolour
    Concept of Pudding Lane by Joe Dempsey, showing potential colour palette using watercolour
    Concept of Botolph Lane by Dan Peacock
    Concept of Botolph Lane by Dan Peacock, showing the griminess and plague ridden street

    Concept of Thames Street by Luc Fontenoy
    We also discussed continuing to develop ideas in relation to ensuring uniqueness within the individual street concepts as the next stage, including points of interest on the streets such as unique taverns, tailors, butcher shops, fishmongers, grocers etc. and of course The Kings Baker house, Farriner's Bakery on Pudding Lane. This would also mean that the group would again have to look back into some historical reference in order to gain an idea of certain specific buildings on the individual streets to maintain the level of historical accuracy the group hopes to achieve within the project, one source of reference suggested for this included the diary of Samuel Pepys in which he describes visiting specific places and buildings, including names of things such as Taverns during the 17th Century. The group would also like to begin looking into smaller assets/ props to clutter the streets, again some unique to specific streets, others such as crates, sacks, barrels, carts, hay bales etc. could be used throughout the level as well as being used to close certain streets off when the group have decided on a final perimeter. Right now this was less of a priority.

    Below are some examples of individual buildings, P.O.I., concepts completed by some of the group;
    Concept of The Sunne Tavern for Fish Street Hill by Chelsea Lindsay
    Concept of The King's Head Tavern for Fish Street Hill by Chelsea Lindsay
    During the meeting Dan Hargreaves was given the task of completing some preliminary terrain textures also. Dan has a good knowledge of ZBrush and was confident that he could complete a good tillable texture with reference gathered from the York trip. They are shown below;

    Luc Fontenoy also continued to develop his modular church buildings which are shown below;

    Again at the end of the week we were able to have a meeting with our head of studies, Mike, and what we like to think of as our Producer. These meetings give the group the opportunity to discuss with Mike the work carried out that week, the ideas from the week and the direction the group wishes to take into the following week. The meeting was again positive and highly constructive and the group mainly talked about their weeks work each in turn giving any appropriate feedback. One of the main points of feedback from the meeting was the fact that after Luc's unbelievable hard work building a large amount of the level whitebox to demonstrate to Mike during this meeting, Mike suggested that the actual streets appeared to be quite long and we conversed that we could incorporate smaller alleyways in-between buildings to add more connections between streets, enabling the player to move from street to street quicker and easier enabling us to keep the player engaged with the level. Some reference photographs taken in York shown below give an example of what these alleyways could potentially look like;
    In our first meeting of the week we also talked about starting to look into texturing and what textures would need to be applied and where. At the very end of the week the group got into a lengthy discussion on specific material Id’s for texturing the modular building assets. Nothing specific was decided but we did begin to compile ideas for texturing including beginning to compose a variety of re-usable textures, tillable textures etc. the layout of UV's and again we all gave our own opinions on how the modular buildings should be textured in relation to the number of material Id’s within their multi sub materials. Below is a suggestion from Chelsea Lindsay, team leader, for a texture/ material ID plan in order to make the discussion clearer. It was decided that we would be able to use this to continue discussing our ideas in our first week six meeting to come to a final decision which would enable to team to begin composing their high quality textures beginning week six.

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