Manitoba Wip 17

Been a while. I work on this from time to time. I think the mood and colors are finally settling in. Still got greater plans for it than this, but first I really need to tackle the rocks and the rest of the plane debris. After that I can really start wrapping this up as a finished whole, which should be fun.

It’s interesting to note that the biggest difference here is made by being able to tweak the Dynamic tonemapper, the rigid system from the previous months was very hard to work with for me. Also the exponential heightfog is just great for getting moody colors in there.

GZ81 Update

Just to post something, sneak preview of my spaceship.

Ship is nearing completion, enviro still needs a lot of love. Got totally inspired by Halo Reach for it though.

Manitoba WIP 1

I’m doing an outdoor enviro. Based on one of those pictures i posted a while back.

Here’s what I have so far:

The environment is almost done. Some tweaks left, set up the materials for the far-away terrain and add the ocean in the distance, and optimize the trees (they’re not so good for performance atm).

After that I’ll model a wrecked Curtiss C46 Commando plane to lie on the rocks.

DM-Shaolin 06

Update on my level. I put a lot of work in the surrounding environment. I also made the custom waterfall mesh and material.




The custom mesh for the waterfall:


Cougar Realtime

Been spending a lot of time creating realtime images, this week (as always). I put my Cougar into UDK and set up some materials for it. I think it looks so good that I should just share it up on my blog here. This image was created at 6144 x 3456 pixels with Unreal’s “tiledshot” command. And that only took 2 seconds to render.Cougar_poster_01_1440

I’m looking forward to the day realtime rendering becomes the standard.

Vertex Blending Snow

Due to an ongoing thread at the Polycount boards about the snow and ice of Uncharted 2, I replicated Paul Greveson aka MoP’s vertex blending material in Unreal.

This is my result:


The tank tracks are another type of blend, this one’s about the snow on the ground.

I was asked to post my node layout on my blog, so here goes:


The base mask for snow coverage is calculated by using the Red vertex color channel (you can easily paint onto one channel only in UDK, great feature!) and a heightmap. These are combined together to create a transition effect with the heightmap, where the vertexcolors fade out. Clamped at the end to prevent extreme values, just for safety.


Using the Green vertex channel, we calculate a varying number for the mask’s hardness. 20 is the ceiling value, a 1 is added to prevent powering to 0 (bad). The invert on the vertex color is just to make sure the default value is hard (default vertex color is 1,1,1,1).


Both groups are combined by powering the raw mask to the hardness value, adjusting the contrast. Clamped for safety, though technically not necessary since we’re only powering a value of max 1to20,resulting in a  1 anyway.


The mask is used on 3 LinearInteroplate nodes, to blend between snow and non-snow diffuse, spec and normals. Since I had the heightmap anyway, I just used it for a quick parallax effect on the diffuse (I should apply it to normals as well…).


Total material. Nothing too complex, only 63 instructions which really isn’t expensive.

I recommend doing this in UDK only, since painting vertexcolors is incredibly easy there.

DM-Shaolin 05

I put a few more hours works into the map. Built some static meshes, set up fake bounce lights all over the place and tweaked overall atmosphere.





The entrance gate at the back is still very WIP, but I finally threw out that useless big placeholder mesh there.

UDK comparision

As of 5 november 2009, Epic Games has released it’s Unreal Engine 3 to the public in the form of UDK, Unreal development kit. I don’t have to go in to all the details, but in my opinion this is a milestone. Ever since I worked with the latest engine version at ExDream this spring, I’ve been waiting for a newer engine version to fiddle with. I took some time now to get some screenshots together that compare Unreal Tournament 3’s levels with the revised ones from UDK. They show one of the greatest improvements, the Lightmass GI baking system.

UT3 is engine version 3809, UDK is engine version 5860. About two years of extra development and probably a few million dollars more spent on development.

UDKcompare001 UDKcompare002 UDKcompare003 UDKcompare004

Just go download it now, it’s free!

UT3 DM-Shaolin 04

Next weekly update on my map:

A lot more decoration was added. I did some work on the surrounding environment so there are cliffs and mountains around. Still need to place more in distance so the level doesn’t seem to end abruptly in the distance.


the ASC trees look really good, too bad there’s only one of each kind so repetition is rather noticeable after you used it a few times.


I added a non-functional door under the bridges, to break up the empty space and so the building bases look like they have some sort of function (locked cellars or whatever).



Still far to go, I need to build two floors on top of the main building, and the front gate is still just a placeholder. Those are next on the list.

UT3 DM-Shaolin 03

Update on my map:

BSP should be pretty much completely final. All brushes have materials assigned now. I placed some important and less important static meshes around to get more of a sense what things will look like. This showed me that in some places the BSP needed a bit of editing to better accomodate the meshes.



There’s Heightfog in there, just quickly placed and tweaked to get a sense of things. I also did some fun tricks with the water, but I’ll talk about that later.