I've had to put my 'Illuminated Knight' project on hold, I've been asked to update my portfolio as people at college are interested in seeing what I can do. Morrisons have contacted 'the powers that be' at college enquiring about the possibility of making a 3D walkthrough of one of their stores, with the work I've done so far in UDK my tutor has put my name forward. I wasn't happy with showing them a walkthrough of my level in its current state, so I thought I could kill two birds with one stone by creating a 3D art galley in UDK that could act as an interactive portfolio which I could send to prospective clients. I feel this would be a great way to showcase models, videos, and images that I've created rather than just a list of images on my blog.
After sketching out a quick design I began blocking out the gallery in UDK using simple BSP brushes. The viewer will start in a large atrium/gift shop that will have details about me, my interests, and skills that will serve as a more traditional CV. From the atrium they'll be free to explore the gallery as they see fit with rooms devoted to each project or a specific area of design. This will be an ongoing project as my portfolio develops, but I've left plenty of room for expansion, so I can add new rooms for each project I work on. Once I've created a few of my own game levels I want the viewer to be able to click on images of said levels and be transported to them (ala Mario 64). Eventually I want to add NPC that walk around and comment on the artwork within the gallery. Maybe I can voice a grumpy old man pointing out the flaws with my own designs?
I started to apply some simple textures, trying to create that modern gallery feel in a refurbished old building, as with real galleries the building should not over-shadow the artwork but enhance it.
This project was another learning curve, I was having issues with shading and found BSP brushes behave differently to static meshes in UDK. To get better shading on a static mesh you have to increase the resolution of the shadow map, but it's the opposite with BSP brushes...who knew? It was also an opportunity to experiment with materials and shaders, I'm quite pleased with the chrome material I've made for the metal posts.
Doing this gallery has taught me a lot and will not only inform projects in the future but should feedback into my 'Knight' level. One of the great things about college is the ability to make mistakes, and learn from them. Making mistakes at work is a huge no-no but at college I've had the opportunity to experiment. Unfortunately I didn't realise that when you preview your level in UDK your character is 120 units high, however in game it's only 96 units! This means that the scales in both my levels are wrong and would need some major reworking! It's a mistake I'll never make again.
I've still got a lot of work to do on this gallery, mainly descriptions and plaques that explain each project, but also sound effects, menus, overlays, and some interactivity for the viewer. As I said it's an ongoing project so I'll be returning to it over the next few weeks.