I have learned a lot throughout my time in college. As I am near the end of my second year I have compiled a timetable to show my progression and advancement through my understanding of games development. Because I am focusing on 3D and level design for my year 2 Extended Project, I have shown my progression in only these areas to make it relevant and show my progression through my favourite areas that I want to pursue in.
Year 1 – Term 1
Week 1 – Digital 3D
On my first week in college I learned about digital 3D. This task was to make sure everyone could show a basic understanding of digital 3D and what it was used for. I then talked about 3D used in games and how it can greatly increase a game’s complexity and add many more factors to it’s gameplay and art style etc.
Week 1 – Deconstruction of a Landscape
Week 1 – Communication of 3D (Grey-Boxing)
Also in my first week, I analysed an image of the Chicago city scape. I used the same image for two different tasks that revolve around 3D design, environments and level design. The first task was an analysis showing how each object in the real world would be used as a game asset. Such as 3D models, dynamic sky, sound effects and lighting. All of these would be used to create a virtual version of Chicago or another city area.
The second task was to outline the buildings with basic shapes to show an example of grey-boxing. Grey-boxing is a common technique used in level design for creating the base shapes without detail or texture. This is so you can get a layout created quickly and so you can get a feel for your environment.
Week 2 – Texturing 3D Models
My microwave was my first 3D model that I had created in college. It is a basic cube with no 3D detail. I used images of microwaves to create the textures using Photoshop. This first model was important as it taught me the basics of texturing and got me more used to 3DS Max.
Week 3 – Psychology of an Environment
This was my first layout design for college work. It is very randomly shaped and not a practical design for any environment, the shape and design was mainly for testing lighting. This layout helps show warm and cold lighting and how it can change the feel and physiology of the room, it also shows how the the lighting clashes.
Week 4 – Researching Foliage
Week 4 – Making a Tree in 3DS Max
Week 4 – Westgate Gardens Trip
Week 5 – Tree Modeling Using Primary Research
Through these weeks in college I was heavily focusing on creating foliage in 3DS Max. Creating organic models was challenging as it was a new method with different skills required. For the second tree model I made I used real world reference images that I took on a college trip.
Week 6/7 – Walkie Talkie
This walkie talkie is a good example of how my moddelling skills improved in just 7 weeks of the course. The textures still needed work but the model is very detailed and looks good. I used reference images for this model too to get the correct proportions and shapes.
Week 8 – Virtual Gallery
Week 8 – Final Project (Virtual Gallery)
For my year 1 term 1 project I created a virtual gallery to showcase all of my work in an environment. This taught me a lot about Unreal Engine 4. I learned the basics of environment design in UE4 from this project as well as a start on learning all the tools, effects and features of the engine. I created 4 separate rooms for this project that show off all the work I had done in those weeks.
Year 1 – Term 2
Term 2 Week 1/2 – Skills Diary (Compass)
Term 2 Week 3 – Skills Diary (Book)
Term 2 Week 4 – Skills Diary (Chair)
Term 2 Week 5 – Skills Diary (War Room Table)
For my Napoleon project I created several models that I could place in my bunker room. They all have a matching theme and feel as they are all from the same story and era. These models further improved my skills through practice and are decent-looking models to showcase.
Term 2 Week 2 – Dev Diary (Mood boards and Location)
Creating these moodboards helped me visualize my environments mood, theme, location and appearance before I built it. Creating these mood boards showed me that they are very important for environmental design especially when focusing on detail and mood.
Term 2 Week 3/4 – Dev Diary (Layout and Floorplan)
Term 2 Week 5 – Dev Diary (Shoebox Plan)
Term 2 Week 6 – Dev Diary (Modelling & Texturing the Room)
Creating the floor plan for our bunker was a collaborative effort. We each had a room design in our minds so we worked together to create the floorplan that would fit all of our rooms. It could’ve been done more efficiently and look a bit more like an already existing dungeon/catacombs. I also created a rough idea of how the room would look in Photoshop using stock images.
Term 2 Week 9 – Dev Diary (Engine Work)
Term 2 – Bunker War Room & Evidence (Final Virtual Environment)
Using Unreal Engine, I created my environment referencing to my plans and concepts. The environment is very atmospheric and detailed with story elements. I am proud of this environment even though it can still be greatly improved. This is my most recent project in Unreal Engine as I have not worked on any other projects since this one.
Year 1 – Term 3
Term 3: Week 6 – 9 (Concept Art and Modelling)
For my year 1 Final Major Project I created a set of 3D models of various medieval fantasy weapons. This was a process of drawing lots of concepts onto paper, then choosing my favorite ones. I then scanned in the best drawings and imported them into 3DS Max. I then created the blades and handles tracing the drawings. I textured them at the end. This project used lots of my skills that I had learned such as concept drawing, modelling, texturing and Photoshop skills.
[Unit 12] Week 4 – Experimentation and “Fear”
This is my best and most recent showcase of my environmental design work. In Unit 12 I was heavily focusing on level design and exploring every area I could within the theme. As part of my work I used my research and knowledge to create 2 much better layouts. I have placed everything where it is for specific reasons and I go into detail on my thought processes in my Unit 12 blogs. These two layouts are designed for different types of games but have some similarities in their design.
I plan on creating more detailed layouts for my Extended Project with the same reasoning, analysis and attention to detail as these blueprints.
You can see from the timeline above that during my 2 years in college I have improved over time in both 3D and environmental design. My early projects were basic and looked bad but as I learned more and gained more experience you can see a noticable improvement. My extended project will use all of the knowledge and skills I acquired through completing all of this work.