I hope everyone had a good holiday season and New Year! I’ve been kept busy with work responsibilites and hadn’t had time to make a meaningful update and for that I am sorry. Usually it calms down after the busy holidays but this year it seems to have been extended!
The screens I’m posting today aren’t as far along as I had liked. I wanted to have more detailed and complete versions to present but I figured I would just get something out there for now since it has been months since the last update.
I am very happy with the visual style of the project so far. It’s more realistic than the previous game but still has the same sort of ‘lived-in grime’ look! It took me some time just to nail that down but I think the effort was worth it.
Obviously, these are works-in-progress but those familiar with Out Of Hell 2009 will recognize these areas. This is basically how I am approaching this project; heavy referencing but altered just enough to make it a new experience.
Before I end the post, I have to vent a couple of gripes about UE4. Though I think it is the most powerful and versatile engine available to Indies, there are some things that seem like a step backward to me.
1: Decals – The decal projection system is AWFUL. Decals don’t even show up in non-dynamically lit areas without workarounds. Give us more options for projecting onto surfaces like box and spherical instead of just planar. I know that we can rotate the gizmo 45 degress to compensate but that just stretches the decal and it looks ugly.
2. BSP – Everything but the props you see here is BSP. I know that it’s an old-school method of building maps but it has its advantages. Please give us better BSP tools and texture mapping options! It’s UE4 but the BSP tools aren’t that much more advanced than UE2x.
I had to go back to the old method of building the map in BSP because the process of building a map in an external program has many drawbacks. Any small changes to geometry need to have UVW maps and lightmap channels tweaked, exported and then re-imported into the engine again. It’s slow, tedious and makes dealing with massive levels a big pain.
3. Lightmaps – In UE2x, shadows were baked into mesh vertices so I didn’t have to waste time making lightmap channels which is a tedious process for EVERY. SINGLE. PIECE. OF. GEOMETRY!
Yes, I know UE4 can do this automatically but it doesn’t do it all that well in many cases. I don’t understand why this was taken out? Just leave it as an option for anyone who wants to approach it that way.
Hello! I’ve got a handful of new screens for you all from the current work-in-progress! I have to say before going on that I am having a blast with UE4. It really is what I have been waiting for all this time and what I thought the UDK was supposed to be. I find that it is a lot easier to move away from that ‘Unreal Look’ that most games using previous engines had. So here we go, the first ‘Official’ screens!
I spent the last while just laying down the framework; getting the basis ready for everything being built onto it. I’ve gotten the sky and atmospheric effects in place, the post-processing and all my Master materials set up.
As you can see, I’m going for more realistic visuals and so I am keeping the grime subtle this time around instead of having it caked all over everything as I did before! I also love building the map in an external program. I have to admit, I thought it was going to be such a hassle when I first tried it but now I simply won’t go back.
Please keep in mind that this is a work-in-progress and many things will change from now until the finished product but you can freaking bet that the visuals will only get better as time goes on! Thanks for dropping by!
Once I discovered that UE4 was capable of dynamic Global Illumination my head nearly exploded! I went about implementing it and found it was a mixed bag of results. Sifting through forums for information on this feature reveals that it is still in experimental stages and may have been abandoned. Unfortunately, in its current state the quality just isn’t there compared to baked lighting.
I was able to get acceptable results under certain situations…
…but problematic for the most part.
It seems that you can have good results for outdoor environments but you’ll run into problems with light-bleeding and other artifacts in an outdoor/indoor scene. So at this point in time, I’m just going to go back to what I was doing before because dynamic GI out-of-the-box is a no-go for me. q_q
If you remember, in the UDK version of the project, I had implemented a fully dynamic lighting system with a 24-hour day and night cycle:
It looked really nice for the outdoor areas but I had run into a few issues with indoor lighting that I never disclosed. Fully dynamic lighting does not support proper global illumination and while it is cool in many ways, it just can’t look anywhere as good as baked lighting (even when using tricks and workarounds to fake it) Over time, I accepted that I wouldn’t have any nice light bouncing or subtle shadows and was content with it.
Shortly after I posted the last update, I started to re-implement that same dynamic light system into UE4. I succeeded in doing so fairly quickly and I was happy about that. However, I also started to play around with UE4’s Lightmass Global Illumination and I got a much, much better result. I’ve decided that I will be discarding the fully dynamic lighting system because it looks like a shaved asshole compared to UE4’s baked static lighting. Since this version of Out Of Hell will be a bit closer to the original than the previous projects, the whole day/night cycle thing is not really needed anymore.
Please note, everything is a temporary placeholder for prototyping purposes. The Lightmass GI settings are not final and will have even better quality in the final version. This is merely to illustrate the differences between the two systems.
I’ve also adopted a new method of building the levels. Before, I would build the level itself out of BSP and flesh it out with staticmeshes. Now, I lay down a rough shape of the level with BSP in UE4, export that into my modeling program and use it as a guide to build the level. When it is all done, the entire map should be made of staticmeshes.
Building the entire level in an external modeling program offers me more tools, way more control and it is much faster as well. Yay for progress!
EDIT: July 3, 2016 – Looks like I spoke too soon! I was able to get dynamic lights to work and have some pretty nice-looking Global Illumination with Light Propagation Volumes! I’ll post screens in the next update!
When I was working on the original Out Of Hell I remember someone asking something along the lines of “Why are there no female zombies?” and the short answer to that is because I am a lazy bum that didn’t want to put in the extra work. Eventually I did and added one single, solitary female zombie model to the game.
Well folks, this time Grinwood will be populated by more than just one female zombie model! This time, I give you……………………………….TWO!
Seriously though, with the modular setup I’ve done, the engine should do a pretty nice job creating a lot of variety in the way each monster looks! YAY FOR MODULAR!
Just a little tidbit to tide you over until the environment screens that are coming down the pipe! You’ll be dealing with these slow-moving types in large numbers so pack your melee weapon of choice and some hand sanitizer!
(As an aside note, please do keep in mind that all the art up until now will change later down the line when I add the final details to the game. I’ll be coming back to them and adding tears in the clothes, cleaning up the textures, optimizing and/or adding more geometry where needed etc.)
Some old, familiar faces are returning to the town of Grinwood in all their rotting glory! It’s nice to see them all again but keep your distance; you still wouldn’t want to give any of them a hug.
The nice thing about the material setup in UE4 (and UDK) is that it allows me to randomize textures on the models and so I’ve built them in a modular fashion. Textures and parts are able to be switched and swapped out by the Engine each time you play so there will be way more variety. The way it used to be done in the original OoH was that each monster had one set of textures applied to the entire model. Basically, the way it’s done now is that the model is divided into parts such as ‘Head’, ‘Shirt’,‘Pants’,‘Body’etc. and each ‘part’ will have a number of different but corresponding textures which the Engine randomly picks out of the pool and assigns to the model. This concept is applied to a lot of other things in this game as well to ensure a slightly different environment each time it’s played.
Of course, it is still quite a ways away from the final polishing phase but at that time I’ll do a couple more art passes and either cleanup, fix or add more details to all the visuals.
I’ll be adding a few more of our undead friends in the next update so come back soon!