Monday, 30 April 2012


Over all I am pleased with my final result. It was a mammoth task and I think I had efficiently planned my time to get the most out of the scale I was after. Designing the interior from scratch was more challenging than I expected as for the most part I had overlooked realistic structure and form in the early stages of planning. However this was the part I was most excited about as well and managed to put up with it and really get into it giving each section a unique style and design. This kept me fresh and interested when moving on to the next part.
The initial idea remained a constant through out production and new ideas were only planned to bridge gaps in existing ones. I feel I successfully completed what I set out to achieve from the concepting stage. This is because I spent such a dedicated portion of my time frame to getting the structure to fit and flow like a real building. The biggest problem here was the stairs, both main and office. These were tricky to fit into the buildings structure and where hard to imagine in the third dimension when sketching in my notes. This left me going through many ideas that changed the shape of the rooms themselves in order to accommodate new design.
Prepared a well made archive of textures that I had found both in London and Leicester. This allowed me to quickly not only texture but inspire design for individual assets. Of course inspired design meant new imagined creations without photograph textures but with a good understanding of photoshop and the assets I had created I could generate my own. This however softened off the realism and contrast but I still think its of strong visual quality.
There where many problems that arose during production but because of well managed time I didn’t find my self battling to rush them. One main problem that couldn’t be fixed was the real time reflections. I wanted a shiny marble floor and a large glass fronted window but both these would require RRT's to look real and effective, this however drastically drained the performance of the level. Even one of these was enough to half the FPS. To combat this I had to opt for a cube map on the marble floor which did give reflections but did not line up with objects it touched. This meant I had to fade it out enough so it only hinted at the fact it was a well polished floor. As for the window this had to be kept an RTT but I managed to lower the settings just enough for it to level out on performance.

The most enjoyable bits and the parts I felt I succeeded in the most was the planning and ideas. I felt each new idea was incorporated seamlessly into the existing model. This is not to say I felt I lacked in my modelling or texturing but I felt some of these areas could have been improved. The project was set over such a long time period I found my self to be learning more things and better more efficient ways to do things faster than I was meeting each phase of the brief, this left me looking back at some parts of my level and not being happy with the final result only to find I didn’t have the time to go back and update them. An example of a successful update to my quality of work was when I made the second desk. I really didn’t like what I had done with the first desk even though I had taken it all the way to the finished stages and placed it within my level. Something wasn’t right and I decided to remodel it using new techniques and skills I had learnt since making the first. Now I am much happier with the final design and could fit it into an essentially more modern setting.

If I had more time I would continue to update and tweak areas I felt were a little lacking but suffice. You can only tweak it so much before you have to move on and I had to leave some parts as they where. This goes for texturing and modelling as well. I feel I can always add more and this is probably the cause of the scale and magnitude of the level, I just kept thinking of better parts to add on. I still am and Steve and myself were looking into extending it further, adding an underground station and possibly a rooftop. This would round it off as a completed level and something whole.

I understand that the level was more of a scene than to be something playable but I couldn’t stop thinking of new story telling devices and areas to explore.
Not only does it showcase what I know and can do, it also showcases my ability to design, overcome problems and make something to the best of my abilities.

Thursday, 26 April 2012


I have gone back and updated nearly all areas of my blog in response to feedback, please consider this before summative assessment. 

Thank you.


Finally i get to texture the vault room. I had so many ideas of how i wanted to do this and that i knew it had to be semi interesting. A lot of banks vaults are dull but as the lead up to the bank vault was quite high tech i thought id add a little more inside it and make it quite modern. 

The vault door frame is not finished and the lighting is a little off here but this is the entrance to the vault. 

As you move into the vault the walls are covered with deposit boxes forced open by the robbers. I am going to make this area more beat up adding extra stuff to the floor. The glass on the floor needs a cube map making to give it a glass shine.

Origionally i made this out of one mesh because i was trying not to use any more BSP (that stuff really takes it out of the performance). After doing this though i found that it was hard to UV and texture so split it into the 6 sections of the hexagon with optional wall space that could support a door, deposit boxes or shelves.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Vault Floor

This is the bottom floor of my bank. The level where the vault is. Here you see the vault lobby or waiting area for people who want to watch their precious items be placed in the vault. They can sit only a room away and watch on a monitor above. This room was made to still be inviting to customers as it would be an area visited by them. Although you can begin to see the fact that this is way under ground with the concrete ceiling and exposed piping. 

Heres another shot of the room, excuse Dolan the duck, he is a placeholder for the monitor display which will be of the vault room when it is complete. You can see here the ramp and stair access to the vault corridor this is for trollies or other items to be wheeled down. This is as far as clients can go.

Here is the security on the way to the vault. It is the only corridor access the the underground vault and as you can tell by the length of the corridor, the vault room is surrounded by a thick layer of earth. The lasers work on a grid with a moving laser sliding on each axis. The railings are suspended so the laser can run freely under them. 

Finally here is the vault room which is simple in design yet interesting. 


Here is how i went about making my plants. I started by creating the texture with the leaves that i wanted to use. I got these from a local garden center and tried to stick to the indoor plants because these seemed best fitting. After bringing them into max i placed each one on a plane and divided them up into subsections for deformation. 

 I stacked a bend and twist modifier to each plant so i could twist and deform them individually and come back to them later to tweak as appropriate. When satisfied i collapsed them down and grouped them up.

I made different variations of some of the bigger plants so they wouldn't look to similar when placed in the level.

This is the first lot placed in the lobby. I was torn between this or a sculpture but after deciding on the central red carpet it seemed wrong to have two sculptures either side of it. Here you can also see the chunk of dome that the robbers had to break through and that it has smashed the planter causing pebbles and soil to be scattered across the floor. This makes for a intriguing point of interest.
This was the next use of planters in my level. These are found on the lowest floor just before the vault and have been encorporated into the stairs. 

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Painting WIPs

I've been working on some paintings for the offices to bring a little more colour into them. I thought id post them up here now because i'm quite happy with how they're going. I'm trying to make each a slightly different style and colour but not enough so it looks too random on the wall. They will most likely have different frames etc.

Back Office Stairs

  So I've been struggling for a good idea to go at the back of my offices for a while. I knew i was having 2 lifts and a symmetrical theme. This is the idea i came up with for the stair well that wraps around each lift shaft.

   After some crits it was decided that it was too bright and claustrophobic. i tested a thinner design with less lighting and it worked better.

 Making the stairs was easy, the wall was a little fiddlier. I started by making the mesh as one vertical plane with all the cut insets and then unwrapped it.

Next i had to bend it around a 90 degree corner so using a cylinder to test how many faces i would need i split the mesh and bent it around the cylinder.

Then i proceed to do the opposite for the inward facing corner.

Here is the final model, it has a top and bottom strip light but this its self wasn't enough to light the hall so i positioned two non shadow casting lights on each floor to brighten it up.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Office update

So after majorly updating the desks in my back room offices i continued to flesh them out with assets and am rounding them off now.

  I have made several desk top filler assets including phone, pen tidy, files and folders and it has really cluttered up my office in a good way. Its now looking a lot more lived in. I am now considering the parts that will have been disrupted my the robbery, i.e. up turned folders and plants. 

There are two offices to my level, one you go through and another you pass briefly on your way down to the vault. This second office is a mirror of the previous in terms of lay out and architecture but i intend to heavily alter the work space so it doesn't seem and exact clone. My intentions are that as you come down the stairs you will have to step out into the office to get round some debris, possibly a fallen roof panel sparking and the  lights turned off.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

New desks

This was my old desk design. It complemented the other main desk in the lobby but continued the old style into the office part of the building and i was struggling for ideas for the surroundings that didn't look too much like the lobby. I wanted this section to be modern and high tech, to contrast the lobby as you went through down into the vault. 

 So here are my new desk design. I think it will contrast well. It is made of wood and plastic paneling and is almost sci-fi.

Thursday, 5 April 2012


Like the stairs i was holding off texturing these. They have a simple colour choice that compliments the lobby.

  I have also implemented a particle effect for unsettled dust. It was a simple particle with a slow emitter and a large volume area and gives the impression of small glowing specks floating downward around the room. It still needs to be tweaked to look a little more as i have in mind. I also want to add some kind of fog volume to give the air a thicker translucency adding to the dust effect.

Showing the dust so far.

(The doors there are unfinished)

Wednesday, 4 April 2012


  My stairs are finally textured. After holding them off for fear of being super time consuming it turns out they were. But not for the reasons i thought. I found i took most time trying to balance the colour pallet mainly because they touch the very black and white lower floor and extend to the more orange and yellow upper floor. This Created a problem because colouring it so it fits one part meant it looking off at the other end. I started with sandstone colours and quickly scrapped that as it looked far too orange on the floor, next i tried the dark wood but it brought the lighting down drastically. I finally settled for this cool white colour not unlike the base of the pillars. I felt i had to have some colour and essence of its surroundings so added the red carpet and wooden railings.
  When unwrapping these i found repetition was going to be a problem and looked into ways of fixing it. The addition of the carpet helped hide the stairs down the middle and the exposed side planes were over-layed on the bottom steps that would not be covered. I made 4-5 actual stair textures and over-layed various uvs from each step now no two are the same, and it used up hardly any uv space.

Here you can also see the que dividers at the front of the main desk. These are still being tweaked because the gold is far too strong.