Some of my favourite articles

So this is a bit of a cop-out from writing myself, although I would like to write out and properly structure some of my thoughts on play, storytelling and world-building at some point.

Here are some of my favourite articles that relate to various different aspects of video games and the thought processes involved in designing and critiquing them.

 

 

 

 

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Planet Earth II

In anticipation of the release of the new series of Planet Earth (which, was absolutely incredible), I watched the underwater episode from the first series. One of the things that particularly stuck with me were the Underwater Vents, so feeling inspired, today I had a quick go at creating them as a particle effect.

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So this is what I achieved so far. It’s basically a bunch of spheres spawning very quickly. Scaling with their life and with a drag force applied. On top of that there is a panning heightmap which is fed into the world position node to create the illusion of some secondary motion, and finally, there is a sparkly 512 specular map and a panning 512 bump map generated from procedural noise to give some added fidelity.

The world position offset caused seams to be come visible in the mesh, so I am currently combating this by rotating the mesh to perpetually face teh camera, which does alleviate that issue, but also seems to have an unusual effect on the lighting.

I quickly sculpted some coral-like geo and threw them together to create the test scene above.

There is heavy fringing, some dof, and a bit of grain to suggest an underwater environment.

To improve the scene I would spend more time modelling different coral and rock variations with better textures, add some more ‘wispy’ elements to the smoke, add some heat distortion, and perhaps even a bit of ocean wildlife.

 

 

 

 

 

Windy Grass

I’m just playing around at the moment with a wind and foliage in Unreal. The wind in Unreal is pretty simple, but I want to come up with a way of doing trunks, then branches which inherit movement from the trunks, and then leaves and so on. Each with their own layer of wind on top.

So far I have only modelled some very simple foliage and applied a little simplegrasswind to it, which is being driven by scalar values held in a material parameter collection. I wonder if there is a way to control the direction of the wind…

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