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.



UT3 DM-Shaolin 02

I’ve worked a bit more on my UT3 map. More BSP blockout, I think the BSP should be all done, except for removing some of it when I replace it with static meshes. While doing this I also changed some sizes a bit. I also carved out an interior and an elevator shaft in the main building.


I also added rocks around the entire thing and added stairs, since I need to carve some BSP to support these.


I’m looking forward to decorating this a bit with static meshes, it should become a bit more clear what the entire thing will look like eventually.

UT3 DM-Shaolin 01

This is the first post in a series of many where I’ll be posting updates on my progress creating a small Unreal Tournament 3 level using UT3’s Asian assets. I picked “Shaolin” as an extremely cheesy name and decided upon a castle/temple on a cliff at the edge of a waterfall. I got my idea from looking at CTF-Relfection, a map which i’ll be taking most my cues from.

I made some sketches first, just to put down on paper what the general thing would look like:

sketch001 sketch002

After that I drew a quick map, nothing too accurate. Some things changed going from the sketches to the map already. I made the main building wider, spaced the central buildings apart and decided the gate to be larger. Most of the parts of my map are in some way based on parts of CTF- Reflection. Here’s my rough floorplan with screenshots of the locations from CTF-Reflection:


With the plan done, I started blocking out my level in the editor. I looked for the waterfall mesh and some rock meshes which I could use. Having two editors open at the same time helped me find assets used in CTF-Reflection, so I could then place them in my level (not recommended on weak pc’s!). I didn’t use BSP for this, since these are really big meshes that really define the level. After that I used BSP brushes and a few more meshes to get a basic layout done. Here’s how I currently stand:



You can already see a problem here; the waterfall mesh isn’t made to connect with a waterplane behind it, so I’ll have to create a new waterfal mesh and probably change the material(s) as well.

Environment inspiration websites

So, since I got this handy online bookmark plugin for Firefox, I can start making more use of bookmarks. Usually I’d just lose all of them after a format.
Just now I found out about or remembered a few great inspiring websites:

(they do seem to reference each other a lot)

Really makes me want to create something after the stuff they post!


Normal baking and 3DS Max Tangent basis

During my Skorpion SMG project, I did a lot of normalmap baking. The baking itself really is the most tedious process for me, reaally slows me down a lot, even compared to UV’ing which a lot of people find horrible (I think it’s quite easy if you have TexTools and Unwrap Tools).
Every cage needs an hour of tweaking in my case (I group things into 4-5 big objects) and then still requires overpainting and fixing of normalmaps in Photoshop. I did find out a few things while baking in Max and xNormal:

  • Max uses an incorrect tangent basis to compute the normalmaps from. This results in the maps not working 100% correctly when viewed realtime with a shader. They do look ok when rendered, but that’s pretty useless for a game-artist.
  • xNormal does use the correct tangent basis, but is a bit tricky to set up. Biggest letdown was the lack of supersampling in xNormal, which leads to artifacts on baked maps. Max has no issue due to samplers like 2.5 Star or Hammersley. Santiago from xNormal did tell me he’s going to add supersampling in the next release!

In conclusin: big ups for Santiago, he’s areally great guy and it’s not the first time he’s been really helpfull and responsive to me. On the other side, boo on Autodesk for not fixing this issue for … years!


I was a little shocked to read that GRIN is no more. One of the videogame developers I really liked, I tried very hard to do my internship there but that didn’t work out. The idea of maybe working there someday still might have lumbered in the back of my head somewhere I guess. And now they’re no more.

What makes it extra sad, is looking at Bram Eulaers, aka Peris portfolio and seeing the work he made for GRIN’s “unfinished masterpiece”. That has to be some of the best environment work I’ve seen so far.

Land Rover Death Row

Another type of thing I want to post here, is the random interesting website I come across from time to time.

Last semester I ran into this great photograph of a busted up Land Rover, looking into it just now I found a site with many pictures of Land Rovers in Africa. This is the sort of thing that inspires me to model such a car! Vehicles that conquered the world, as they put it so nicely…

Land Rover Death Row

Land Rover Death Row

Picture was taken by Hans Van Houtem.

Broken Promises

I thought I’d post some unfinished work i’ve amassed over the years. Things I started, but never finished, and probably never will. Most of them go back a few years, I think the oldest is from 2005 or 2006.

And the title is inspired by Magnel’s great sketchbook topic title at game-artist.net

I wrote some info on every image’s page, click them to read it. This is not all of them, I’ll post more later.

2D Work

One thing I want to use this blog for, is as a more informal channel to post my other work. Work that i feel does not belong on the front page or is not up to par with the rest qualitywise.

2D work is among that work. I like doing some drawing or painting from time to time, but it’s not my focus, nor do I think I’m particularly good at it. Still, I’d hate to keep it hidden from the rest of the world, so here’s some of it already, i’ll probably post more sometime in the future.

Camouflage Textures

I was talking to 3DRobbo a few days ago, about his Mazda RX7 model that he wants to texture with camouflage. The issue of painting across seams came up and I remembered something from my Internship. The technical artists used a 3DS Max procedural material, a plugin from Blur Studios, that required no UV mapping. He then rendered that material to texture via Max’s Render To Texture interface. A very smart way of handling things, saves you the agony of having to paint across seams consistently. Definitely recommended for any artist that wants to texture camouflage.

For the sake of illustrating things, here’s a test from Rob:


The Blur plugins can be found here: