Thursday, December 7, 2017

New Unreal Marketplace Asset: Videshi's Guillotine!

This is a reasonably low-poly guillotine largely based off of old French blueprints found by the artist. The model is based upon these original designs, animated, and given highly-detailed PBR materials. Several additional detailed materials have been added to suit your thematic needs: standard wooden, mouldy, old/dusty-mouldy and a blood material that can be used with blend nodes to lay on top of the others (example included in project). These materials can be mixed and matched in blueprinting to create additional combinations.

The pack includes:
  • A guillotine and rope static mesh/animations, as well as individually laid-out meshes should you need to create, for example, un-assembled pieces on a table.
  • Guillotine and rope use five materials. Size variations are the standard 4096/2048/1024/512 resolutions. With three main material sets, and one blood material that can be laid on top of these materials as an extra detail. An example material displaying how to blend the blood layer in is included in the project's material directory.
  • A rope animation and blade animation, as well as animation blueprints for both. Animation blueprint is simple and set to a preferred speed, but can be altered for your needs. The inclusion of individual meshes allows you to create your own within the engine.
  • An example map with the main asset and material variations laid out in 4k resolution, set to the Unreal Marketplace standards. Ground material in test map is from starter content.

Technical Information:

  • Materials: Materials use the base colour, metallic, roughness, normal and ambient occlusion channels. There are four material “sets”, with 4096, 2048, 1024 and 512-sized versions, for a total of 80 materials.
  • Textures: Three textures per material, with ambient occlusion, roughness and metallic contained within an individual texture's RGB channels.
  • Example Level: Includes a simple landscape set to the Unreal Marketplace's default scene settings. Materials are not yet instanced, assuming user will want more flexibility, but are cleanly laid out and ready for immediate instancing. Example level's ground material is from Epic's free starter content.   

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Sneak Peek, Next Marketplace Asset!

Clack! Shiiiink! Thump!
The film's extras, dressed as peasants, applaud loudly.

Pretty low-detail at the moment, but it's painting time now. Animated, of course. 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017


Quick little fun thing this afternoon.

UPDATE: This was upgraded into another Unreal Marketplace upload! Well, pending approval! I made some pretty significant alterations, added an alternate dark iron material/textures, and said dark iron material can be directly blended with the shiny steel material to suit the client's needs.

The details you see on the blades and on the handles are purely textured. All versions are ~10k verts. It could be reduced in many places quite easily, but I don't see the need at the moment.

Here's a quick shot of them all in a row, minus blended stuff:

Update next day: Uploaded to Marketplace! =)

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Substance Painter 2!

Finally getting around to diving into Substance Painter 2! It's appeared all over my Steam page, I've seen it referenced a million times in various packs and assets, watched ads for the plugins go by... It's pretty sweet, though I've only fiddled with it by myself so far, no tutorials yet.

I took my curved axe model and after a couple of minutes got an interesting look.

Boy, those particle brushes are amazing! The circuitry ones are pretty insane looking.

Update: Learned how to make a few procedural materials, including a blood splatter smart material. Pretty cool!!

Update 2: Further refined with heights... Now that I have a better feel for it. I remade the handle mats and the blood/rust mats. 

Update 3: Shaddup, I can update when I wanna! Here it is in Unreal, and how. 

Update: Later, next day.... In the Unreal Engine...

Monday, November 6, 2017

First Material Pack Submitted to Unreal Marketplace!

This is a pack of realistic “short grass with clovers” materials, made from scratch at real-world scale, that comes with a few different material setups for your easy use. This makes it easy to find the material that best suits your need, or copy/paste blueprints as you see fit.

Each material comes with a 2048, 1024, and 512 version. All are heavily, heavily commented for easy editing and copy/pasting, which also makes this pack excellent for both those looking to learn some details about Unreal materials and those looking to simply put together environments without much fuss.

The pack includes:
  • “Standard Materials”: Diffuse/Specular/Roughness/Normal/Ambient Occlusion
  • “Standard Displacement Materials”: Same as standard, but includes tessellation with displacement maps.
  • “Distance-Scaled Standard Materials”: These are the standard materials, but blueprinted to scale differently at a distance. This helps break up repetition if this material is going to be used at great distance, while not causing much of a performance hit.
  • “Distance-Scaled Displacement Materials”: These are the same as Distance-Scaled Standard Materials but include displacement maps.
  • “Parallax Materials”: These look terrific, particularly when occluding models, but cause a bit of a performance hit. Great for detailed spots.
  • “Displaced Parallax Materials”: Parallax Materials that also include tessellation.
  • “Grunge Standard Materials”: These are the standard materials, but with a special color-mapped texture blueprint that adds a lot of variation to the material. Looks great, but more of a performance hit than Standard Materials.
  • “Grunge Displacement Materials”: Same as Grunge Standard Materials, but with displacement maps.
  • Landscape Materials: Landscape materials are set up for all of the material types with the exception of parallax (too expensive – though if you have a solution it would look great). Naturally this includes all size variations as well as the above material types.
  • Test Level: A simple example scene with all materials set out on example tiles, with a small landscape model to test on, set to the Unreal Marketplace's default example scene standards.

Technical Information:

  • Materials: 8 types, with landscape materials for all, including size variations, for a total of 114 materials. 18 of these are combined landscape materials.
  • Textures: With all sizes, there are a total of 60 main textures, and one grunge texture (with four separate textures hidden in individual R/G/B/A channels).
  • Commenting: All materials are heavily commented, as they are all designed for different situations and cause different performance results. This makes this pack particularly useful for those who are learning, and even more useful to those who want to reverse-engineer a pack.
  • Example Level: Includes a simple landscape set to the Unreal Marketplace's default scene settings. Example tiles of each material have been set out for users to look through, and an example landscape has been set up with associated landscape layers for users to test materials, migrate sections, or copy/paste blueprint nodes from. See example pics.   

Monday, October 23, 2017

Working on a SteamVR Room For Halifax VR!

I've been learning the Source engine over the last little while, and also working on texturing within Unreal. I've been having some trouble with the Source SDK due to lack of documentation and some weird oddities I've experienced. I'd like to dive into Hammer more, but it's not as accessible as I'd like right now.

Here are some preview shots of the environment. The furniture and Valve props you see around the room are not mine, they are Steam VR items, but the rest is mine.

Lots of young people come into Halifax VR, so I wanted to give it a "Futuristic Play Room" sort of feel. You can peer into little boxy rooms (with fire doors etc in them, as if they're stages) with little scenes in them. This is basically what you'll be in before games are loaded, just a cute little waiting room.No controls without entering the SteamVR overlay so that people don't accidentally enter apps, etc.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

... How did I never think of hiding images within R/B/G channels themselves? Oh my god, what a terrific trick!

Basically, while doing a great tutorial for UE4 materials from (link below), they also happened to teach me a trick that I feel like I should have figured out ages ago - having specific images in your R, G, B and alpha channels for use in your blueprints.


"But what does it all mean, Chris?"

Well, basically it's an easy way to hide anything you don't need specific color information for within an individual texture node, and individual file. I'm not going to get into the meaning of all of that, but basically you can create much more efficient file and material structures this way.

So it's a much more efficient way to have clouds/grunge/scratch textures in a single source, in this case, for a landscape. It makes it really easy for me to copy/paste this commented area and apply/modify it for whatever source I like.

Well, this is my displacement-map landscape material that I made, with some textures I also made from scratch, just kind of randomly sprayed around. The variation in shading of all grass types makes for a lot of unique areas... and that's from me literally just spraying it around at 50% tool strength, not actually painting it nicely.

I wish file moving/restructuring and asset management was more efficient, but otherwise UE4 and I are proving to be very good friends... I daresay a love is forming between us.

Here's basically how you do it. I learned in a comments section I linked below, as well. tutorial:

Separating layers into channels:

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

The Latest! Building in Unreal for the Vive!

Some shots from my latest work, which is a horror-themed cabin in the woods, and more of my Unreal materials pack that I'll be submitting early next week for approval and selling on the marketplace.

I've been planning to work in conjunction with another company here in town, but for various reasons it's not looking like quite my environment. I've made a lot of progress in the Unreal engine and have been doing nothing but studying it, making environments and models, studying the world of VR, and looking very closely at statistics coming out of SteamSpy.

I intend to start my own company and produce my own VR experiences. I already have everything I need except licenses, so I'm shopping around for a good programmer or two, and possibly another animator, to make an experience I have in mind to sell for about $5 on the marketplace.

In the meantime I'm also selling assets I'm making, and trying to line things up! I've spent a lot of years in animation with things being very "wild wild west" and "we'll keep this and that off the books" or "we can't give you what we've been promising for months". No more. I want a small team, we're all going to work like slaves on our initial experiences, and I'm starting my own indie company.

(The table/chairs and ceiling lamps are placeholders)

The cabin is largely functional at this point, with the exception of an unfinished basement and no furnishings. Nav modifiers and VR teleportation works in the scene, so you can wander around the place to an extent. This is basically my scene to play with concepts and things - it's not really geared toward being anything but atmospheric and interesting to look at, at the moment. 

My latest work in it has been changing some of the materials to parallax materials to bring out some details, and I'll be moving in more of my grass materials from my 2nd project to spice it up. 

This materials pack just keeps getting more complex. In includes all of the below, with 2048/1024/512 variations, all seamless and with very little repeating even at long distances:

- Standard Diffuse/Specular/Roughness/Normal/Occlusion materials x4
- Distance scaled (decreases repetition by pixel depth blueprint) Standard materials x4
- Standard Materials with displacement maps included x4
- Distance-scaled Standard Materials with displacement maps included x4
- Parallax materials x4
- Landscape materials for all of the above
- All materials are instanced and have been tested in VR. 
- All materials have a very, very, very thorough commenting and naming system, making it very easy to reverse-engineer all of my materials and modify them with ease. 

I've also been working a bit with Halifax VR, including printing out a binder of experiences available for people to flip through, and their business cards!

... and also, just for fun, the other day I thought "what would it feel like to be in a room with the ceiling slowly coming down to crush you? Does that feel weird in VR?"

So I quickly put it together, gears lowering the stone roof and all. Yes, it's creepy as heck!