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    [OFFICIAL] Welcome to the Art section of the Unreal Tournament Forums!

    Hi guys, my name is Chris Perna and I’ve been making art in some form or another my entire life. I’ve been in the game industry for over 18 years, 13 of those here at Epic. I have done, and still do just about anything related to art. My official title is “Director of Art World Wide Studios” but for this project I am excited to get back to my roots and live in the trenches to create something cool with all of you. After all this time I am still extremely passionate about what I do and would be doing this on my own even if I didn’t work for such an amazing company. I am happy to offer my knowledge and expertise up to you as we move forward. This is an exciting opportunity, and I’m really looking forward to it!

    Welcome to the UT ART section of our forums. This is where the Epic artists will hang out for the most part and we can have a back and forth conversation about art related topics. For now here are some thoughts and ramblings I have put together to get you thinking and allow you some insight into our discussions and thought processes here at Epic. I look forward to working with, and hearing from you all and cannot wait to see the things you come up with. This is an exciting time for us here at Epic and we are humbled by the outpouring of good will towards this project. Please be patient as we have never done this before so it will be a learning process for all of us.

    -Chris



    Forum General Use:
    I would like to use this forum for collaboration of ideas and inspiration as well as an ongoing conversation about art and anything art related with regard to UT.

    Visual style:
    Crisp and clean yet still graphically beautiful and not overly simplistic. I’d love to create a graphical evolution of some of the original UT look. I feel like this needs to have the same DNA. We moved away from that a bit too far with UT3 and would like to move back to a cleaner, more colorful visual style a more UT-centric style.

    We have a much nicer lighting setup in UE4 so we can do a lot more with materials than in previous titles so simple geometry should look a lot better and support a cleaner look without having to be too sterile.

    We will want to run at a fast framerate, and we also want to look good on a variety of PC hardware from moderate-low to high end.

    Simplifying the content a bit should have the added bonus of visual clarity to the play areas and also allow for a lower barrier to entry and better accessibility for artists and collaborators allowing them to create or emulate content in the newer UT styles without feeling overwhelmed or taking too much time to create.

    We will be updating our pipelines and best practices as they come online. You will be able to see how we here at Epic create content and learn, duplicate or just use as a general guideline.

    Environments:
    Ideally what I would like to do is create a few buckets for Environment sets.

    For Example:
    Liandri Tech-Dirty metals and concrete, distopian, slightly sci-fi?
    Nali Castle Ruins-Crushed stone, torches, stone block, medieval with a sci-fi twist?
    Krall Jungle and Swamp Fortresses-Alien Trees and plants growing on a primitive crumbled fortress set in a swampy jungle?
    Phobos Style Space Base-hard sci-fi space station type sets?

    What else? We should probably create a thread to compile people’s ideas on environment sets and bucket them.

    Once we have that sorted out and there seems to be a consensus we’ll start pulling reference and concepts. These may include fresh new takes on old ideas, entire illustrations or partial paint-overs of in-progress map shells.

    From there we will start building a mesh library. We will update you on best practices for that as well, show you samples of the meshes and answer your questions as best we can.

    Modularity:
    In the past we built meshes and materials and used the same ones in many maps. This is important for “bang for buck” as they say. It also allows artists and level designers to play with the geometry free-form and possibly come up with something new that looks much better than originally intended. Something to keep in mind. It also allows the meshes to be shared across maps and mods.


    Characters/Races:
    What would people like to play as here?
    Old favorites? Malcolm, Brock, Lauren?
    Skarrj, Nali, Krall?
    Others?

    We’ll need to be smart about these and also create them with modders in mind.

    Sky Boxes:
    Some initial ramblings on these seem to be leaning towards something a bit more detailed than in the past. If the play spaces are cleaner and less cluttered, can we do more fantastic things with the backdrops that still push the graphical fidelity through the roof.

    #2
    Hi Chris, thanks for this long post and lots of info!

    Environments
    I remember an interview with some old mapper (Cliffy B? Don't know) where they said they had absolute freedom in environments, that's why we saw castles in space, jungles, over-the-sky structures, old temples, etc. I think there should not be a precise theme, like, only hi-tech maps or only egyptian pyramids. I think everything is fine. So to answer your questions: Liandri tech-dirty metals and cocnrete, Nali castles and old temples, medieval structures and place, sci-fi twist here and there, jungle and alien things, spacestations, etc. As long as the level plays good, it could be set on a table where people are having breakfast (who remembers that old map? :P)!

    Modularity
    Yes, yes, yes! This is what I wanted to hear! GJ

    Characters and races
    Soldiers (Malcom, Brock, Lauren, etc)
    Necris (Necroth, Kragoth, Cadaver, etc)
    Skaarj (Throk, Baetal, etc)
    Lots of people complained about lack of personality and the "bulky" style of UT3 characters, but I guess you guys already know it. I hope you go for an approach similar to UT99, the teams were pretty cool there. Adding strange stuff that don't fit (egyptians?) is a good idea IMHO.

    Sky boxes
    Who doesn't remember the old space skybox in UT99 used almost everywhere? I don't know about these, but of course depends on the setting. Facing World, for example, won't need lots of useless details, put there a Earth and some stars in the space and done. Other levels like an industrial palace or something might require more. Depends IMHO, but as always I will stick to less details, I just believe less is more in my opinion ^^

    Thank you Chris, you certainly gave us some good news

    Comment


      #3
      I am relatively new to modelling meshes and although I can use maya i've never used my meshes in a working application or game. So my question is what sort of polygon count should we ideally be aiming for on our meshes.

      Example:

      Say we are creating a level... lets call it DM-Assemply line. In this level there are some of those robotic arms you see (in almost all sci fi games or films) putting vehicles together. How many polygons should we ideally be aiming for to create such an arm. I've made a mesh currently and i'm importing into a level but its 9,400 polys. Is that too high for a mesh?

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      Last edited by reloaded; 05-12-2014, 05:05 PM.

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        #4
        Characters are really important, what I like in UT1 when you play you reconize your opponent by his character, you could cleary see it, everyone was unique, it was like connection between man and pc.. and sometimes you get like ***** at someone and by reconize him in the game by his character you kinda push more to kill him, that was good in UT1, never like brightskins, no soul in them. Hope this make some sense it kinda hard to explain

        Comment


          #5
          Hi Chris - Thanks for setting all this up - really fun to day dream - Can you also add a User Interface section?

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by reloaded View Post
            I am relatively new to modelling meshes and although I can use maya i've never used my meshes in a working application or game. So my question is what sort of polygon count should we ideally be aiming for on our meshes.

            Example:

            Say we are creating a level... lets call it DM-Assemply line. In this level there are some of those robotic arms you see (in almost all sci fi games or films) putting vehicles together. How many polygons should we ideally be aiming for to create such an arm. I've made a mesh currently and i'm importing into a level but its 9,400 polys. Is that too high for a mesh?

            [ATTACH=CONFIG]2433[/ATTACH]
            Polycount is really going to depend on what the asset is and how it is used. How big is it, how prominent? Is it up front and center, or outside playable area; well lit and visible, or hidden in a darker area behind some chain link fence? Wireframe would be more helpful, and 9k might be a bit low for something as big as your crane arm, but seems too high for as blocky as it is. I don't want to clutter this thread with a critique (but I will anyway). For this game, I'd suggest exaggerating the details to be broader; the lipped edging is very small and I'd probably avoid using straight 90 degree angles as they join with the main body.

            Comment


              #7
              Thank you Chris!!!! (big fan here)

              I have played every version of the game, created maps, and characters for some installments, and even worked commercially using the unreal editor!

              I am glad the visual style is going back to the roots, I promise I will try to control myself! haha!!

              Characters

              I loved the factions in the installments, like a team sponsored by corporation A, and they all have similar outfits that felt tied in with each other. It really makes them feel like tournament fighters.

              I would love to see the Skaarj come back, in some form! Humans would cover many factions I guess, cyborgs were really neat in ut2k4, they were kind of scary! I love the necris, and I hope they come back looking more "dead" like in the original UT description, with white eyes and having a more gothic overtone!

              thats all I can think of at the moment! I was going to try to draw some things just for ideas, more to come!

              Bah_Mee

              Comment


                #8
                I would really really like to see something more modern with the characters, basically, character customization with interchangeable presets such as heads, hats/helmets, and bodies. UT3 had this I think, but ideally I'd like to see it in a cosmetics only progression system, which I'm not going to push much in here since this is art only, but designing for such a system may be worth knowing when starting up a character model if that's the route UT goes in. I'd like to see this with weapon skins too, that can be unlocked.

                Chris, I really like your take on the visual style. I always thought the weapons in UT3 and even some in UT2k4 looked too much like toys, and I don't necessarily mean the materials/textures, I mean the shape of them. They had too many parts that simply don't make any sense. I'd like to see the weapons that one could look at and guess how it works out of basic common engineering sense. Basically what I'm saying is, the Flak Cannon from UT99 makes the UT3 Flak Cannon look like a metal Nerf gun. The weapons should have big chunks of metal that are smooth when they should be and straight when they should be, this would cut down on polycount but still look better than any other UT so far, because of realistic materials. This doesn't mean they can't be colourful.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Thanks for this thread! It was really uplifting to read the post and see some structure and plans in this chaotic mess that dominated these forums here.

                  I hope this subforum will come in useful as well and I'm glad to see that people here generally agree on a clean look of the gameplay areas of the maps such as a return to the dearly missed styles (as mentioned: Nali castle, dystopian Liandri tech, deep space, outdoor swamps and alike).
                  S l y .

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Hi Chris,

                    Super excited for this project. I've been playing arena PC FPS games since the early days of Quake 2. I also played UT99 and Quake 3 semi-competitively, and it's awesome to see Epic taking such an open approach with Unreal Engine 4 and with the next version of UT. I've also had various levels of modding and professional experience with Unreal, id Tech, Source, and in-house engines. Currently, I am a UX Designer creating mostly web sites and web apps.

                    Originally posted by Chris Perna View Post

                    Visual style:
                    Crisp and clean yet still graphically beautiful and not overly simplistic. I’d love to create a graphical evolution of some of the original UT look. I feel like this needs to have the same DNA. We moved away from that a bit too far with UT3 and would like to move back to a cleaner, more colorful visual style a more UT-centric style.

                    We have a much nicer lighting setup in UE4 so we can do a lot more with materials than in previous titles so simple geometry should look a lot better and support a cleaner look without having to be too sterile.

                    We will want to run at a fast framerate, and we also want to look good on a variety of PC hardware from moderate-low to high end.

                    Simplifying the content a bit should have the added bonus of visual clarity to the play areas and also allow for a lower barrier to entry and better accessibility for artists and collaborators allowing them to create or emulate content in the newer UT styles without feeling overwhelmed or taking too much time to create.
                    I couldn't agree more with this approach. I would love to see a little less reliance on static meshes than some recent Unreal Engine shooters--for level design, it's really nice to be able to completely customize the architecture of your map with BSP/geometry but still build something that looks good. Great textures, great lighting, and a beautiful skybox could really go a long way toward making the graphics have modern-day fidelity while still possessing the clean aesthetic of classic arena shooters.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Chris, this is excellent news on the visual styles. I like that you get the concept that clutter free doesn't equate to plain.
                      Promotional consideration brought to you by: Tarydium Shards, those neat little projectiles that remove unwanted flesh...from your opponents!

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Nice to know that Epic in principle wants the same thing many of us do. So, I look forward to working together to mold the visual design direction.

                        Chris, you have an easy reference to all my concepts for characters, weapons or whatever else I come up with via my signature. I hope that some of it is useful.

                        UT4 modding discussion: irc.globalgamers.net #UTModders
                        Contrib Digest | UT2341 - Henrik's UT4 Dev Blog | Twitter

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Snow and water environments are a must after seeing the UE4 demo example

                          Comment


                            #14
                            hi chris and THANKS for that thread.

                            Menu and HUD
                            clean simply and leaned back to rusty things. not flying glass with too much space/universe behind it...

                            Environments
                            Back in the Days, UT99 had very different map-styles. the newer ones are all a bit 'the same'... i think.
                            - factories... rawsteel / industrial would be great. not to much glance... RUSTY!
                            - space... if it's like morpheus or phobos - that's a must.
                            - back in time... castles or volcanos were great and some alternative: want to see!
                            - jungle... PLANTS! yes, that was great and something new in the newer versions from UT - but please, not to much of it.

                            Modularity
                            yes, absolutely...!

                            Characters / Races:
                            i have something really important. please go with RACES, not TEAMS... because it's easier to identify. and please... no kralls... skaarj are alien enough!
                            - humans, led by malcolm
                            - robots, led by xan
                            - necris, led by akasha
                            - skaarjs, led by their queen

                            Weapons
                            go back too... anno 1999 there was those heavy and simply weapons.
                            - reanimate the ripper
                            - keep the sniper rifle
                            - enforcer and impact hammer is your standard-weapon
                            - let the redeemer fly


                            menu
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                            flak
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                            (MY WISHES!) )
                            cheers!

                            Comment


                              #15
                              I can't offer much in the way of specifics, but one thing I really want to stress, because I feel it is key to nailing the whole Unreal vibe, is go with 19XX's version of the future. A really physical, mechanical, functional version of the future. The kind of future that doesn't know about tiny hand held touch screen devices and yoloswag pop culture references.

                              CHARACTERS
                              I'd love it if the base game came loaded out with all the original(UT99) teams and styles, but also maybe with some of the more popular characters or "spiritual" fill-ins of more popular characters from the newer games. What is the time setting/"lore" of this game in relation to the others in the series? As for style, I think realistically proportioned characters are very important. As far as characters go, I think as realistic as possible would be the best bet, keeping a level of familiarity within this "unreal" world.

                              WEAPONS
                              In UT99, I liked how the weapons all looked like something you could see being taken apart in a grease shop and put back together for maintenance, I think UT3 really stepped towards a computerized, over detailed style for their weapons, and I personally found that a little disappointing. For weapon design, I'd personally love all the UT99 weapons simply being remastered into high poly, but a new design is cool too, so long as it is done in a way that looks as simply functional as possible.

                              ENVIROMENTS
                              I really liked all the environments in all the games, Ancient Egypt was pretty difficult to accept at first, but they kind of grew on me too. The biggest thing about environments is make sure that the characters fit into them, one thing about UT2004 (which was an awesome game btw) was that all of the players seemed miniature. In UT99 when you came around a corner in a hallway and encountered someone else standing there, you felt like they had a presence and an impact within the world. In ut2004, they really did just look like little targets floating around most of the time.
                              Last edited by Rotfodder; 05-13-2014, 12:27 PM.

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