EVALUATION FOR UDK PROJECT
The Class was tasked with producing 3D level in the Unreal Development Kit (UDK) with a theme centred on War of the Worlds and Antarctica. We went through a fairly exhaustive pre-production and brainstorming schedule and came up with a huge amount of notes and sketches to do with the level. You can see some on the blog here. We went through a few iterations and plans for the level with everyone coming up with sketches and ideas for each segment of the level and there was then a process of pick and choosing to determine the final layout for the level
As the person in charge of making a layout for the level on UDK I started to learn certain aspects of UDK such as Terrain and Particle Effects and created two versions of the level as I tried out different ideas and learnt how to implement features such as water. Ultimately I ended up working on a much bigger version of the level which made it easier to avoid glitches and flickering in the terrain which were difficulty to fix and a larger scale level allowed me to avoid problems of Z-Collisions which caused overlaps in the terrain to flicker and it also meant that the seams between sections of terrain weren’t visible because it was carved out of a huge chunk of terrain rather than dozens of smaller parts.
As I worked on this and everyone worked on their own aspects of pre-production and assets for the level the scope of the project majorly changed so that we then had to focus on making one or two low-poly 3D assets using Autodesk Maya before creating a themed area and fulfil various criteria. Having spent so much time creating a rather large playable area and getting things to work I decided to use it so it wouldn’t be wholly wasted.
We had already evidenced a fully planned level covering theme and design choices as well as a PowerPoint presentation. Photo evidence of most of this can be seen through the previous link to my blog page. We were told we didn’t have to redo the planning stages for the level because the scope was changing so late in the day, as it were, so as a group we could use that. I was quite happy with the planning for the original level idea as I was involved with selecting some of the most interesting pieces and ideas that everyone submitted to try and make up our initial map of the level.
We went into a huge amount of detail in the design document, of which I wrote the Level Design and Modelling Specifications while contributing to others, and I think it was something everyone enjoyed, to varying degrees. The original level I made included somewhere between sixty and seventy different light sources and a few dozen static meshes imported from UDK’s library of resources. I added a cave roughly 1/3 of the way through the level that included a moving door which fulfilled the criteria for a moving game world object using Unreal’s Kismet editor.
I also added particle effects from UDK’s Content Browser to help “sell the story” of a location in the level having recently been attacked by aliens. The materials in UDK are quite futuristic and sci-fi but I felt this helped sell the alien feel for it so I wasn’t too worried that they would clash. The previously mentioned Cave also achieved the multiple rooms/levels criteria.
Multiple switches were not something I added in the end as I was quite happy with having fulfilled the Merit criteria at least, and I was happy with the two static meshes I imported. These were a table and a cargo crate, both of which I made in Autodesk Maya under the impression that we were making low-poly objects for the original scope of the project. The cargo crate was UV mapped and textured in Maya and Photoshop but for reasons I could never figure out when I tried to import it into UDK and apply the material I would then not be able to save my level and get constant errors.
I tried several solutions but nothing worked out in the end so it leaves the objects in the level with an eerie white glow in the blue-ish moonlight.
Overall I am quite happy with the UDK project. It was annoying and disappointing to change the scope of it with…probably 2-4 weeks to go, but I didn’t want the work I had done previously to count for nothing and in the end I am happy with what I produced.