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Lighthouse Game Environment and Assets

Lighthouse Game Environment and Assets

by hollyhudson on 29 May 2021 for Rookie Awards 2021

Photorealistic assets and environment for a horror-style game featuring a lighthouse island.

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I began this project with the aim to create photorealistic assets for a horror-style game. I decided to utilise colour, weather and composition to create a dark and atmospheric environment in which the game would be set. 

This moodboard looks at inspiration from specific architectural styles to develop an idea of setting for this game, and concepts for assets. From these ideas, I chose to base the environment off of 19th century lighthouse folklore; it will be using the themes and history surrounding the 1801 Smalls Lighthouse Tragedy in Wales. 

For primary research, I took photographs of the lighthouse at Beachy Head in Eastbourne. These photos provided me with a first hand idea into the shape and structure of the lighthouse I will be creating for this project. It was also interesting to see how the lighthouse was isolated and encompassed by the waves, even though it was close to shore. The surrounding cliffs, rocks and plants will be used as references when creating the island and foliage for the environment.

I also used photographs I took in Plymouth a year ago of Smeaton's Tower. I chose to use these photos as primary research as the tower's structure was in use from 1759 to 1877 which covers the time period I am researching. The tower was largely dismantled and rebuilt into what I have photographed below.

Secondary research into lighthouse structure and the surrounding environments

I have produced several iterations of the lighthouse model. In each one I have faced different problems and design flaws. the first model covered over the light that I wanted to show in the middle, so I created window frames so that it will be visible. This model had the cladded wall design that I used from one of the reference images. However, when texturing it was difficult to fit a texture nicely on top of this detail. I then opted for a completely new design, one in which the walls are flat and smooth and there is more detail at the top of the lighthouse e.g. more tiers of railings. Initially I struggled to texture the object due to the way in which it gets larger towards the bottom, and also the intricacies of the railings and windows. With some advice, I tried a cylindrical UV projection which worked perfectly and only required small amounts of tweaking and resizing.

Instead of having one object, I decided to take a modular approach and split the railing into one quarter. This way, I could texture this one quarter then duplicate it in Unreal to form the circular railing.

For the house, I only changed the design slightly throughout the modelling process. The first model lacked detail, so I added in some extrusions on the wall edges to give a timber effect.

I textured the assets using Substance Painter, basing the textures from the research I made earlier.

I began to block out the island environment for the assets. In blueprints, I created a rotating light for the lighthouse

It felt that the environment was a little lacking of geometry so I modelled a small rowing boat to sit on the beach, adding more depth to the foreground. The next steps involved finalising the lighting, adding foliage and creating the cameras for rendering. 

I edited the shots together using Premier Pro. 

The finished result for these game assets and environment :) 

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