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Modular Project - Week 1

Work In Progress / 14 June 2022


Hello! Welcome to week 1 of what is hoped to be a 12-week journey. I'm going to do my best to document what I've worked on each week. (Hopefully every Tuesday night)

My goal in this project is to better understand how to build modular environments for games. This includes trim sheets, modular pieces, and other re-usable elements. In addition, unlike in previous projects, I'm to give myself a better framework and a public log of my process. This should, in theory, give me more discipline, and get feedback faster than before. Time will tell.

Concept & Reference

This time the main concept I'll be using is this lovely piece by けみ猫 on Twitter, who was nice enough to give me permission.

I was really drawn to the cute, intimate, storybook-like feel of this piece. It also felt like it would be relatively easy to make modular as there are very few unique meshes needed here. There's also a nice variety of foliage in this piece as well, which will give me an opportunity to improve my foliage skills. I love making stylized art and would love to work on a game featuring an environment like this someday. 

This definitely needs to have real-life references added for each material, but it's good enough for now. I'll come back to this later on.

Planning Out 

I did a draw-over of the art to help plan out the trim and tiling textures I'll be using. Then I copied it into a Trello I set up below. For now, since I haven't worked out dimensions, the modular pieces I'm making don't have measurements yet, and aren't yet properly separated in the Trello. That'll be updated later.

Most importantly, the trim sheet is going to be broken up into these elements:

  • Staircase Step Trim (red concrete)
  • Several Wood Boards - Most important trim
  • Roof Wood Planks - Could you just hue shift normal planks?
  • Studded Wood For Boat Trim
  • Wood ends of planks, boat roped place.
  • Rope strand for the boat.
  • Blue Roof Tiles 
  • Metal Bands for piping

Though I'm considering splitting each different material type into its own trim sheet and using the Ultimate Trim method, I think for this project I'll keep everything in a single trim sheet where possible.

 I also had a question regarding trim sheets and got some great answers in this thread on Twitter if you're curious. Basically, my question was how to make two different shells in trim sheets meet without having a very noticeable seam. For the most part, though, it looks like it's something you have to work around, whether that's with deferred decals, blending in a tiling texture with a mask, or some other coverup. Personally, that's a fair tradeoff for a great technique, but it's something to keep in mind when I get to making the trim sheet.

I'm a little unsure of how I'm going to accomplish some of the SFX, but nothing seems too advanced. Though getting the water to look the way I want might be challenging.

Next Time:

If all goes to plan, I should have a blockout in Unreal Engine and an initial lighting/camera setup; with some clearer direction on how I'm going to make the trim sheet.

Thanks for reading, see you next time!.