Week 7: Restart

Due to Unreal being such a powerful engine it takes a decent computer to run. With the settings and the amount of assets my level design took too long to save and crashed when building the light. To overcome this issue I tried to find solutions to the building light problem and why it was crashing, I came to the conclusion that is was the amount of CPU and memory it was using on my computer to process the lighting causing it to crash. I eventually found out that my level design was much bigger than I expected which was causing the CPU and memory to overwork when it did not need to. I eventually exported the entire level to a new level map and started from scratch. This proved to be more useful than frustrating since I have learnt much more about the tools within Unreal than I did before such as the smooth, sculpt, flatten and ramp tools within the Landscape Editor. I also learnt how to create a material texture which can be painted onto the landscape to create a more realistic level design rather than the whole level being one material, such as this cliff. Before, I started with creating the landscape I created a flat landscape at the right scale which is 8 by 8 components with a 63×63 quads in each section. This allowed me to create all the assets with 1 as the size so I did not have to resize anything to fit within the level design like I did previously.

I used the Landscape Editor tools to create a hill look then I added the materials which were from the starter pack (Ground Gravel, Rock Basalt and Ground Grass). I repeated this process to create the mountains and hills across the level. However, I still needed a mud like texture for the mud patches within the design for my level, so I outsourced this texture from the internet. To create these materials so they can be used with the Landscape Editor paint tool I had to create a material blueprint.

This blueprint allows me to paint the material onto any landscape I want however, rocks, dirt and grass has texture within it so it is not a flat colour onto the landscape to do this I had to add the normal map within this blueprint. By adding the normal map, I was able to change the shine onto the different textures which I turned off since dirt, grass and rocks do not have shine in real life. The blueprint also allowed me to change the size of the texture that was being painted so each square of the texture was not tiny since a texture is the same image placed over and over again to create the illusion that is it painted on. 

Once I completed the landscape once again, I moved onto making the castle walls again. This time the proportions are correct, so they do not look ridiculous. I lined up all of the walls and tower’s so the level makes more sense rather than placing them in where ever. By placing them carefully you can see where the troops would go in rather than them disappearing into the tower’s walls.  

The overall level design has changed slightly to make more sense for the player such as the mountain behind the castle now has a lake behind it rather than dropping into a flat plane. 

Next, I added the houses once again however, with a different design this time to create a more realistic community type rather than what was optimal for spacing within the walls.

With the new house layout, I added a dirt path to show a road system within the castle walls where people would tend to walk around. Along with the roads I added two farms within the castle walls, I made this using the mud texture which is on the outskirts of the castle walls. After, I made the farms I used the foliage tool to create a brush which allowed me to paint grass, trees, flowers and bushes onto the level design. This is much easier compared to what I did before which was import each asset one by one onto the level design which made me have over 2000 assets within the level (Which could of been another issue with the lighting crashing). However, the bush I used was too dense and making the performance of the engine worse to ensure that the engine would run smoother while still achieving what I wanted I made the density of the bush 10, this included the grass, trees and rocks due to the amount of each asset I am using. Rather than adding mass amounts of each I placed a few of each which made the level look good while still maintaining the performance I need for the level to function properly.

The roads were also made to make it look like people have been walking on them so I used the sculpting tool to create a ditch within all of the paths to add a more realistic look to the overall level design. This can be seen throughout the castle paths.

Once the trees, paths and grass was added I used the foliage tool once again to create rocks within the pool of water near the castle walls, using the foliage tool this took me seconds to find which density I wanted to create this look compared to placing hundreds of individual rocks which I previously done.

I am now ahead of where I was previously with the other level design. Personally, I think this design is much better and shows more skills within the Unreal engine next time I will make final touches to make the level feel more realistic along with making it look better. After that, I will start making the 2 minute video using tools from Unreal such as the Matinee and Sequencer.