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Out With The Old!

September 30, 2017 5 comments

Hello everyone! To start with I want to apologize for my absence. Between work and other “Real Life” things, I just got really burnt out and I had to take time off from the project. Something that I’ve learned in the past is that if you’re unmotivated, you need to take a step back and have a breather (however long that may be) On the first Out Of Hell game, I forced myself to do the work even when I wasn’t feeling up to it. Most of the time though, I would end up trashing or redoing whatever I created because when there’s no inspiration behind the work, you often churn out garbage.

When I got back to it though, I doubled my efforts and took care of a bunch of things that I had put off. I reorganized, made massive backups and updated to the latest version of the Engine (4.17)

Speaking of which, jumping from 4.14 to 4.17 brought about a few…surprises. It turns out that the Shader code was changed and a new Tonemapper was introduced. This among other things, fucked with the way the game looked up until now and so I had to go through and adjust all my materials and lighting to adapt to this. Also, something about the new Tonemapper changed the way the colors looked, even if it was disabled. It was a ton of work getting everything back up to speed but I think the changes I made along the way improved the overall look.

I think that all that tweaking actually helped to bring out that old Out Of Hell griminess and these new screens look more similar in style to the old game than my previous screenshots! I’m also posting a comparison of some of the old areas that were remade. Check it out:

Main Hall

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Break Room

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Main Desk

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Lobby

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Main Entrance

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Roof Access

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A random bloody Hallway and Meeting Room

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In the next update, I may include a couple screens of “Hell” and the things that reside in it! Unlike the first game, you will actually be going through various areas of Hell this time (by the way, it won’t be a retextured and darker “Hellish version” of the current level, it will be a different environment to explore) and I think you’ll love how it’s been implemented! This will do a better job of explaining how virtually everyone is gone and how Law Enforcement and any Military presence was overrun so quickly.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Quick Update!

May 20, 2017 2 comments

Hey everyone! I’ve got a batch of screenshots to show the work I’ve been doing for the last while. I put lots of time into some subtle details (the wooden barricades even have nails in the boards!) and I’m keeping with the autumn/cold/overcast sort of theme because I’ve heard from a lot of people that it was what made the original game so unique in atmosphere (which makes me very happy) I haven’t altered the screens except to put them in that black frame. I hope you like them!

Categories: Miscellaneous

Ahh, That’s Better!

February 18, 2017 Comments off

Just dropping in with a quick update for everyone! This is what the last update should have looked like. I added more details to the scenery and I’m quite happy with the look and feel of it all. The best part is, the game still runs as smooth as butter and I haven’t even done any optimizations yet! Here they are:

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The monster you see in those two screens actually looks even more disgusting in-game than it does in the modeling program so it was an unexpected but welcome bonus! Also, expect to see a lot of wooden pallets in this game because Grinwood’s main export is wooden pallets… apparently..!?

Categories: Miscellaneous

Glass And Gore!

January 18, 2017 8 comments

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.

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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.

Categories: Miscellaneous

First Look!

August 21, 2016 1 comment

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!

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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!

Categories: Miscellaneous

LPV = q_q

July 6, 2016 1 comment

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…

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…but problematic for the most part.

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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

Categories: Miscellaneous

Shedding Some Light On The Matter!

June 29, 2016 Comments off

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:

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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.

Dynamic Lighting:

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Lightmass GI:

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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!

Categories: Miscellaneous