Project Antarctica – UDK Game



Rough maps for some of the original areas. You can see the idea of the early level flow through the antarctic, icy wilderness. This would be majorly changed in future iterations but the starting points were pretty solid. You can also catch a glimpse of further area in the rop right and Calum’s sketch of the HMS Flint (tribute to Danny) in the bottom right.


You can see part of the early concept maps for the exterior level. Since the HMS Flint, an icebreaker, had been dragged inland by the aliens at some point we needed to have a river of sorts as evidence that the ice land had been sheared in two. The river, ice pillars and makeshift camps as well as a small ice cave in the top right help ensure something was going on other than just a flat area. You can also see part of the ice floes on the left hand side, the idea for which I came up with when playing Skyrim the night before these sketches were made and thought an ice floe, jumping puzzle of sorts could be interesting.






Hybrid Squid/Alex Clarke hard at work on the game. Probably.


A wider view of some of the early concepts for the level layouts, some research/reference materials and lists of some categories of items that may need to be modelled etc. You also have a better view of the concept for the HMS Flint. Mapping the rough versions of this out on UDK proved to be somewhat problematic, as using terrain and UDK itself was a learning experience for most of the class. All of these areas received a major reworking.


Curious George/George Meikle hard at work on the game. Probably.


Stefan and George doing their best to colour-coordinate their shirts while working on the game.


With HG Wells looking over the wall of ideas, you can see some of the concepts for the interior of the HMS Flint. We knew you would only be able to explore a small area of the interior, for lore reasons and also being realistic, since the exterior and ice caves would take a longer amount of time and be less-traditional to model. I think the interior we ended up with was pretty much all Cameron’s idea, with a possible puzzle being to heat the furnace of the ship so that it could melt part of the ice blocking the way into the ice caves although nothing is yet set in stone.


MC Wallace/Edward F. Wallace hard at work on the game and trying his best to pay tribute to Leonard Nimoy. He tried.


Alex Ford hard at work.


You can see part of the re-done layout for the level. While the table-sized mega map would be drawn to some sort of scale (with each tile/square being roughly 43m) this gives you more of an overview of how the level had changed. You still start off at a camp in the bottom left and move into a frozen trench, the remnants of the aliens dragging HMS Flint inland. The trench drops down further but the player ducks into an ice cave on their right, allowing them to circumvent the trench before proceeding across part of the river, with the aliens having built a dam to prevent the HMS Flint from escaping, before you enter the ship itself and finally descend into the ice cave and approach the alien ship in the bottom right.


The group that was in, hard at work on getting the scaled map reference laid out while Sam watches Metal Gear Solid videos.


See above.



Oli and a mysterious stranger enjoy much needed sustenance.

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Test1 Test2Test3Test4



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.


2 thoughts on “Project Antarctica – UDK Game

  1. Pingback: Updates on UDK Game | BossDarkseid

  2. Pingback: UDK Evaluation | BossDarkseid

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