Sunday, 20 December 2020

DM-Laputa Rework

 The last few weeks I've been doing a major rework of my original map DM-Laputa.

No that's not Spanish. The name was inspired by the anime movie  "Laputa: Castle in the Sky". 

Just about everything has been reworked from layout, item selection / placement and spawns to meshes, materials, textures and emitters. The old version was far too open with great sightlines everywhere so I added a lot of sight blockers (rocks, walls, towers, trees, etc.) to fix that. There's quite a bit more vertical variation too, lots of level changes to make the gameplay more interesting and fun.

There are climbable (walkable actually) ladders in a few places and don't forget to try some barrel racing.

I'm waiting on feedback from a few testers before releasing a new version to the public but hope to release one before Christmas. Anyhow, way to much changed to easily list most of it here, so here are a bunch of screenshots.

Sunday, 6 September 2020

September free for the month

 September has been a good a month for free UE4 marketplace asset packages. Besides the two mentioned in my previous post, the September "free for the month" packages were released a little later. I plan to use two of them.

First there's Bunker, a nice, very modular set of meshes for making underground bunkers.

It can be installed on Unreal Engine 4.16 or higher and uses very simple materials so it's quite easy to down port to a lower engine version like 4.15.0 for Unreal Tournament 4.

Packing the demo map in UT4 filesize comes in at over 1.1GB but that's with a lot of 4k and 2k textures. By simply LoD biasing to reduce texture sizes to 2k/1k I got it down to a little over 120MB with not much loss of visual quality. Packing the metallic, roughness and ao textures into MRA maps would reduce it even further.

The other new package is Starsphere. Something that is very lacking in UT4. Similar to the skysphere blueprint only for space skies and more versatile.

This is a very small but quite good package available for UE4 4.12+ (I wish I'd noticed that before porting it by hand from 4.25 to 4.15). Besides the many adjustable parameters for stars, it has parameters for things like space dust, blackholes, novas, Saturn and the Sun. There is also a planet blueprint with panning textures that make the planets look like they're rotating with different speeds for surface and clouds, have atmospheres and includes textures for Venus, Earth and Mars.

Friday, 28 August 2020

Factory Environment

I just found this new permanently free package on the UE4 Marketplace. Downloading it now but it looks like an amazing pack for industrial / factory interior maps.

Factory Environment Collection

854 unique meshes!

There's another new permanently free pack up too.

I might have to use that croc somewhere.

Sunday, 16 August 2020

DM Titan Fortress

 I've been working for a while on a large new deathmatch map, tentatively named Titan Fortress.

To keep the filesize down I decided to mostly use assets from CTF-TitanPass. I started with 2 meshes (mirrors of each other) that make up the ground in TitanPass mid and added castle wall / tower assets from the UE4 Vehicle Game demo.

After trying a bunch of different things and finding the filesize kept getting too big very quickly I eventually decided to use several more ground meshes as well as the "skybox" / background setup from TitanPass too. That reduced the filesize significantly but makes the map more similar to TitanPass than I wanted, hence the name. If you're very familiar with TitanPass you'll definitely get deja-vu on this map.

Then I made a landscape material and a few custom ground meshes. I also added some odds and ends from other sources. Barrels, gargoyles, banners, metal spikes/spires and so on.

Here are some screenshots showing progress made so far.

The lower middle parts of the map probably won't change too much from what's in the screenies above but I'm still working on blocking out the layout and meshing behind the highest walls on both sides of the map.

Let me know what you think!

Monday, 4 November 2019

Stupid Crow

I spent hours last night troubleshooting a very simple blueprint.

That's it, only 4 nodes, nothing at all complicated. But I couldn't figure out why it wouldn't play the sound when I shot it (Event PointDamage) yet worked fine when I bumped into it (OnComponentHit). It made no sense at all.

Then around 4:30 A.M. I finally fixed it...

It turns out the sound was playing the whole time after all. The problem was the sound of the gun I shot it with drowned out the crow caw sound. All I had to do to make it work as intended was add a short .3 second delay between receiving the hit event and playing the sound.

I'd better wait until tomorrow before trying to add a trigger event to make the crow caw whenever a player comes within a certain (configurable) distance of it.

Monday, 21 October 2019

Another useful site to get free PBR textures from is with texture maps for 150+ materials.

The best thing about this site is all of the textures are completely free with no watermarks, resolution limits, daily download limits or any other limitations. You can download textures freely as individual zips, with all the textures for a single material in a zip, or you can pay $5.00 for access to 6 large zips (roughly 500-800MB each) containing all the textures for all the materials.

Most texture resolutions are 2048x2048 and/or 4096x4096 but some are odd sizes (2685x2685 for example) that are not powers of 2 and thus can't have mip maps.

Quality is very much a mixed bag, some are pretty good, others really aren't very good at all. Hand adjustment through liberal use of lerp, power and multiply nodes in your materials can make many of the not so good ones look ok too.

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Just a quick FYI for UE4/UT4 mappers... has some good quality textures in the PBR section. All materials are in the metallic/roughness format and in general look pretty good in UT4/UE4 without any tweaking through materials nodes. You can download up to 15 1024x1024 textures per day for free and there are no watermarks on the free versions either!

Higher resolution versions of the textures are only available with paid credits. I'd probably buy higher res versions of several textures if the payment scale wasn't so heavily weighted against small purchases. It costs a lot more per texture to purchase a small number of credits for immediate use than a larger pack and even less for monthly credits (credits are monthly, payment for them is all up front).

Many of the textures in their extensive collection of non PBR diffuse textures work quite well too after using a tool like ShaderMap4 or Materialize to generate proper PBR texture maps from them.