Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Jungle Level Design

 Hey!  This month a great asset pack is free on the unreal marketplace.  So I decided I would take it and make something with it.  I wanted to make some type of aztec ruins where the player is overlooking a vast Jungle.  This is planned to be used in another prototype I have been working on.  Something with exploration of some ruins.  So I decided I would get started just by sketching out what I wanted.

I started off with a simple sketch to get a general layout in my head of what I wanted the player to see and focus on with some set dressing around it.

After this I decided to just block it out in Unreal:

I made sure to map out the player area in black.  Since this is a VR game, I wanted to make sure where the player could reach right away.  I don't often like to utilize teleporting so this helps me build things in reach of the player.

I laid out major landmarks in white cubes such as the player cliff, the Aztec temple, and rocks to block player view to the end of the world.  For the rest, I labeled green for the jungle.

After I was done with the greyboxing, I made sure to model the cliff the player was on.  I had a specific shape for the player and I wanted to cut a hole that the player platform will descend into.

I made this shape very quickly in maya.  I moved some faces and vertices around to make it look more cliff like.  I did all of this while matching the scale of the shapes I had put in unreal to make sure things lined up when I put them in.

With that, I was ready to  sculpt and vertex paint the cliff side in Unreal.  I decided to use Quixel since their awesome 4K library is open to Unreal devs.  Though I did have to adjust the streaming pool size of the engine since I exceeded the limit.

I also did little landscape and spline work for a river.

Afterwards, it all came together like this.

Side Note:  I really wanted to do some video recording, but UE4.25 seems to have a bug where the video is zoomed and stretched.  This is weird since I did a ton of VR recording in 4.24 no problem.  Hopefully it will be patched in the future.

This was a fun project I did over the weekend just to utilize a free pack and see where it took me in terms of a potential prototype.  I'm happy with how things turned out.  Looking forward to what this turns into!

Monday, August 10, 2020

At home recording studio

Recently I began recording audio for my VResume personal project.  I had the script figured out and a good mic I bought years back.  However, the first set of dialogue had some echo since I just recorded in my room.  I was able to use audition and other tools to reduce this, but it just didn't sound as clean as I would like.  Here is the first result:


So I wondered how I could remove that echo during recording without buying foam pads to put on my walls.  What is one to do when they are stuck in their apartment during a pandemic?  Well, I decided to use my bed sheets in my closet.

What I did, was take the comforter from my bed and put it above my clothes rack with some objects on top.  I order to close the space between the wall and the comforter, I nailed the side into the wall in several spaces. The result in below.

I hung the mic from the top of the rack.  Then I placed my laptop on the stool with a mobile pre.  Then, I shut the comforter and performed my recording.  The results speak for themselves.  Great way to think outside the box and save some money.  Here is the result:

Building my own PC

 Hey!  It's been a long time since I posted here.  But quarantine has been wild so in my free time I've just been doing some new things while I'm not working.  One of those has been finally getting my own dev machine in my home.  This was a new experience since I built the PC myself.  It can be really intimidating to do, but luckily there are plenty of resources out there.  

Selecting parts

So I had no idea what I needed to buy.  All I knew is I wanted to not break the bank but make a PC that was powerful enough to run a valve index.  So I made sure to take a look at the recommended specs here:https://support.steampowered.com/kb_article.php?ref=4061-QUZB-4602

From there, I needed a guide to sort through the internet to find the correct parts for the best price.  Luckily there is a great resource called PC part picker (https://pcpartpicker.com/).  This made it very easy top get exactly what I needed.  The main focus was the CPU for multithreading and a graphics card that met the specs I mentioned.  Once I ordered the parts, they arrived like this.

The main problem after this was I had no idea how this all went together.  There really isn't a manual on how you build a PC!  So I looked around and followed a guide from a tech channel I watch often: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v7MYOpFONCU
This was really easy to follow along and before you knew it, I had my very own rig that I designed and built.

This was a cool project and did include some lessons I learned.  On top of the inner workings of a PC, I realized certain things later that just aren't communicated well.  When I started running VR, my CPU was getting really hot!  Around 80 on all cores which is way too hot.  So I made sure later to invest in another fan and cooler.  Now things run great!  Very excited to just make some personal projects with an index!.......if it ever gets here.  For now I settle for a regular Vive!