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    Unreal Skyboxes

    Hi guys (and Epic artists ),

    after running recently through almost all maps of UT99 and UT2004 if ound that skyboxes have a BIG! influence on the overall visual appearance of a map, and often the are really the secet factor of providing this special "wow, this is Unreal!" feeling.

    So far we have only seen the final skybox of Outpost23, and while it is pretty and somwhoe realistic for the map setting, i still think it is missing a bit of the 'extra touch' making it Unreal... Hence, i thought about starting a discussion focused on skyboxes. From my point of view ther should be various "themes" and moving effects are providing the bit of extra. Some ideas and 'most favoites below

    - Moving auroras e.g. for artic / night based map environments
    - Sunset will full spectrum colors, from yellow read to dark blue
    - Falling stars, firelies
    - Tornado like twisters like in CTF-Magma
    - Colorfull space nebulas like often visible in StarTreck
    - Rain, ligtning behind cloulds or between couds (with thunderstruck sounds)
    ...

    Some of my favorites:


    As this seems to be an in-game shot, my hopes are high Epic-guys, maybe with a bit of lightnight behind the clouds

    UT2004:
    --------

    BR-Bifrost
    BR-Colossus
    CTF-Face 3
    CTF-DE-Lavagiant2
    CTF-MAGMA
    DM-Hyperblast2
    DM-Plunge
    DM-Phobos2
    DM-Sulphur
    DM-TokaraForrest
    DOM-Outrigger
    DOM-Ruination

    UT99:
    ------

    DM-Bishop
    DM-Crane
    DM-Morpheus
    DM-Peak
    DM-Phobos
    DM-MetalDream
    DM-Hyperblast

    Sorry, no time to grab the pics . So let me know what you think and what kind of skyboxes YOU wanna see.

    Cheers
    Attached Files

    #2
    The 'skyboxes' are purely based on the theme of each map. As more wild maps are made, appropriate sky systems will accompany them. Outpost is just supposed to be on an earth-like planet with normal weather hence why it is how it is.

    A few other maps in the Pre-Alpha have some pretty crazy sky concepts noticeable in game. CTF-Bigrock and CTF-Face to name a couple. With time as the asset register builds up and we get more sky versions to play with there will be much more variety with them. Most of the time people will try to recreate the same sky types as older UT's with new versions of the old maps, but the visual quality needs to be much better than a simple panning texture on a sphere. If you have some time, check out the sky setup in Outpost and see how its built and you can also see what else the folks at Epic were exploring before the final release. Fun stuff.
    3d Artist
    UT Cosmetic Items |
    UT Cybernetic Build

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      #3
      Yeah, I really hope to make a BR-Bifrost style aurora borealis sky in my map, effects like that give a map great spirit.

      Great tip to examine the Outpost 23 skybox, I will do that soon.

      Comment


        #4
        Hey Van, good topic. This is actually something we artists talk a lot about internally. Some of the things you suggested (shooting stars, etc) are things we want to do but just can't do yet because we don't have an FX artist (or even a non-fx artist who is good at winging it). But, eventually, we will.

        Skies today are a lot more tied to the overall look of the level. Not just as a big painting in the sky but, working in conjunction with a skylight, how the level lights. A lot of this depends on how much of your level is exposed to the sky. Take any level, change the sky material and then update reflection captures and you'll see what I mean.



        I really like skies with a dark, broody look to them (as in your example) and hope we can do some of those in the near future.

        Rick Kohler

        rick.kohler@epicgames.com

        Comment


          #5
          how about Day/Night cycles? would be cool to have this feature in Invasion or Onslaught

          Comment


            #6
            This may be a stupid question as I have not delved into skyboxes yet and am no FX artist -- but why could a skybox not incorporate some level of particle emissions to achieve certain effects like the aurora boreallis and/or shooting/falling stars? From my basic understanding of the particle emitters this would seem doable if scaled up/down correctly. Is processing power for an approach as I suggest the limiting factor? I really don't know.

            Comment


              #7
              To be totally honest, while I agree that a skybox definitely makes a map, beyond a certain level of detail its not really that important to the game. UT is such a fast paced game that during regular game play I am never going to notice a shooting star or stop and watch the pretty sunset. It seems like a large amount of invested energy and time for a feature that ultimately only exists so if you are bored and standing around in a server alone you can look at something.
              PayBack

              Comment


                #8
                You can legitimately make that point about any visual aspect of the game. Many people notice the smallest details and comment on them (which makes me happy). Others are happy to play in BSP shells. My view is that part of the appeal of UT is the visual element.
                Last edited by Rick Kohler; 09-15-2015, 12:16 PM.

                Rick Kohler

                rick.kohler@epicgames.com

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                  #9
                  Word. Speaking of which, I wish we had more skybox options in the engine. I want to be able to set up a moon and have better cloud cover. The stock "skysphere" BP lacks a lot of customization settings. Maybe improving that would be a good place to start improving skyboxes overall?

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Would also be great to get a tutorial on how you create both the skybox and environmental meshes that complement it for maps like outpost 23 and titan pass. I'm always wondering how you guys pulled it out exactly.
                    RASTE IN PEACE !
                    Maps: DM-Hydraulics | DM-Affliction
                    Weapon: Redeemer

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Raste View Post
                      Would also be great to get a tutorial on how you create both the skybox and environmental meshes that complement it for maps like outpost 23 and titan pass. I'm always wondering how you guys pulled it out exactly.
                      +1 to this ^.
                      Unreal Carnage.com UT4 Maps: DM-Maelstrom DM-SpaceNoxx

                      Comment


                        #12
                        ElectricFields immediately comes to mind: I would LOVE to see a UE4 version of this map.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by Raste View Post
                          Would also be great to get a tutorial on how you create both the skybox and environmental meshes that complement it for maps like outpost 23 and titan pass. I'm always wondering how you guys pulled it out exactly.

                          Good idea! I'll see if I can get the artist who did the sky/vista for OP23 to write something quick up. He's super busy on another internal project right now but he might be able to spare some time. Might be a little while but I promise to bug him about it.

                          Rick Kohler

                          rick.kohler@epicgames.com

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Rick Kohler View Post
                            Good idea! I'll see if I can get the artist who did the sky/vista for OP23 to write something quick up. He's super busy on another internal project right now but he might be able to spare some time. Might be a little while but I promise to bug him about it.
                            That would be super useful. It doesn't have to go too much in the details, but I'd like to understand the thinking behind the process rather than the technicalities. How do decompose in objects the background, how to customize a ton the skybox, etc.
                            RASTE IN PEACE !
                            Maps: DM-Hydraulics | DM-Affliction
                            Weapon: Redeemer

                            Comment


                              #15
                              I think my favorite part about skyboxes in Unreal and UT99 is how easy it is to make animated skyboxes that appear to be actually there instead of looking like a video file or something.

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