Sunday, 12 February 2012

Environment Development

Different parts of my environment have different influences and sources for my research. For the transportation part of my lair I liked the idea of having a precipice stretching out into a huge dome, like 'Cerebro' from X-Men.

After researching sever room layouts and atmospheres I decided that the way the game Half Life 2 portrayed living quarters best described the feeling I intended for the room. The civilian houses in this game had a grimy, abandoned look to them that I thought would fit the look I was going for as the character would spend little of his time in this room.

There would also be a main hall and atrium to the building, decorated with ornately carved tables, accessed by an automatic aperture style door at the entrance.  After researching how best to structure the building if it were to be placed in an icy tundra I decided that the entrance should be shaped like an igloo, in order to keep the cold at bay and the roofs slanted or curved against the arctic winds.

My lair would also need a power source for all this, and so I intended to put a reactor room underneath the facility as a power source. This room also became the lab where my character's assistant Xalek worked and lived. I researched reactor design and looked at images of reactors and how they were laid out to get an idea of how to structure my own.

In the early plans, where the portal now stands there was initially a bowl of liquid that the character was going to use for skrying (a process by which one gazes into the water and sees far off visions) however in the first 3D designs, this became a floating orb, a globe, with which the character could control the weather, but this idea also changed into a portal that was controlled by the globe ad used to travel to anywhere on earth.. The whole area was also not originally encased in an orb.

Another difference from the original designs for the lair was that the ice and snow started off as sand, but ice seemed to lend itself better to the build and architecture that was taking shape. 
I took the idea of the broken fences peeling open to allow entry and instead allied that to the doors, the doors in the lair automatically open like the gaping mouths of a living creature, giving the feeling that the building itself is alive.

Learning to use this software was slow at first as I learned the basics of how to manipulate simple shapes, but once I had successfully learned the basics, the rooms took shape rather quickly. The hardest part was learning to apply textures and manipulate them on the objects surface.

Once I was happy with my model, I decided to start texture mapping. This was very difficult at first as I was unsure of how to modify textures on the surface of the objects, and the default for the program would occasionally come out looking over stretched or oddly distorted. Luckily once I figured it out things became much easier and gradually my textures began to take shape in the environment, giving it a lot more depth and detail and making it look much more realistic. 

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