Development Log: Fantasy Town Day 3
Well for a second straight day I've gotten a chance to work on my next level, right now I'm just calling it Fantasy Town. If you recall, yesterday was spent purely working with graph paper, and today's goal was to get an initial blockout done, marking where buildings would be and major landmarks. Overall, the blockout went smooth and I even got a chance to work with the built in terrain editor that Unreal Engine 4 provides, to give the island a more natural look and provide different heights for objects to live in.
BSP for Blockout
Unreal Engine has a very nifty tool called BSP brushes, which can be used to create a bunch of different geometrical shapes. The cool thing with BSP brushes is that you can use it to either add different geometrical shapes to the scene, or you can even use it to subtract space from a pre-existing object. When I'm blocking out a scene, I like to use very basic shapes, such as boxes, to create the initial blockout. BSP brushes make this first blockout very easy to do and I can adjust the different brushes to get a more exact sizing. What's even better is the top down wireframe view that Unreal Engine has available makes blockouts even easier because I can follow the exact same grid pattern that I used for my graph paper map.
Scrolling out and in changes the grid boxes, so the reason the BSP brushes in the above picture don't line up with the grid is because I had to zoom out to get the entire picture. This is still only an initial blockout, so I have yet to replace any of the brushes with the actual 3D objects that will be seen. However, I can already get a sense for how the level is going to look, and can start making edits based on it.
The initial blockout didn't take as long as I anticipated, so I decided to do something a bit different and work on terrain early. This is mainly because I've been excited to work the the Unreal Engine terrain tool, but have never had a chance. The last terrain tool I used with the one included in the Unity Engine, so I was excited to see how they compared. I found that in fact they are pretty similar and a lot of the same tips and tricks I've picked up could apply to both engines. With this initial pass at the terrain, my only goal was to adjust big areas that I knew about, such as adding in a hill to the town, and raising the entire town up above everything else. Using a combination of raising/lowering, smoothing, and flattening, I was able to get a rough looking idea for the terrain I wanted to see. I also used the editor to map out where the river was going to flow, as well as adjust how the beach looks. The beach probably took the longest because I had to add in a drop off point to show where boats could approach by water, while still leaving an area open that could be considered an area to go swimming. When this was done, I decided to paint on the textures of the terrain. Normally, I wouldn't do this at this stage, because it's too early. However, building out the town almost relies on seeing where the paths are, so I took the opportunity to get used to the terrain texture painting tool and quickly draw out sand paths and grassy areas. Of course I'll be going back over to finish detailing all of this, but I just want a rough view of everything.
Before I ended, I also added in water to the scene, in the form of two BSP brushes that have a water material attached to them. This shouldn't be too resource intensive and should have a very nice effect on the world.
That's all I got for today, tomorrow I'll get a chance to add in objects and start showing off a more complete level.