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Abandoned Lisbon Underground

Abandoned Lisbon Underground

by JoeWoodbridge on 30 May 2021 for Rookie Awards 2021

My final year project at the University of Worcester. This environment is based on the real-world location, the Baixa-Chiado underground in Lisbon, Portugal. This project has been very challenging, however, I have learnt a great deal from this project. Credit to FAKE and PonyWave for their graffiti art murals.

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Abandoned Lisbon Underground

This project is inspired by my somewhat recent trip to Lisbon, I came across this station and wanted to recreate the environment within 3D software. The Baixa-Chiado Underground station is located in the heart of Lisbon, Portugal. For this environment, I wanted to focus on lighting, environmental storytelling and texturing to convey the abandoned and dark tone of the world. I took inspiration from "Tom Clancy's The Division" when creating this environment, looking to create a realistic environment that closely resembles the real-world location as much as possible whilst taking my own creative liberties. The story of the world is due to a worldwide pandemic, the COVID-19 virus has swept the world, due to this pandemic, much of normal, everyday locations have become abandoned in fear. 

Throughout this project, I wanted to heavily focus on building a game-ready environment within Unreal Engine 4 to better my knowledge of the industry-standard practices and pipeline. Having never used Unreal Engine before, this was my chance to expand my knowledge of the game engine but also better my understanding of producing high-poly and low-poly models, baking and texturing assets. 

Throughout the environment, I have produced a modular kit that can be used to produce unique and varied maps based on how the user would want to set the environment up. I wanted to use environmental storytelling to tell the players about the world and hint subtly at the location and reasoning behind the abandonment. I used decals and vertex painting to break up the uniformity within the assets whilst keeping the number of assets limited. 

The train was the obvious hero asset of the environment, the train is comprised of modular assets so the train can be customized to the needs of the player and I could keep the assets to a good texel density whilst maintaining the highly detailed textures. I wanted the player to be able to explore the inside of the train too as if there was a fully functional game, the train could be used to hide loot and be explored by the player.

There are posters and hints, in Portuguese, around the world that tell the player about the COVID-19 outbreak being the reason for the abandoned station. There are posters with COVID-19 information and protocols, face masks on the floor, graffiti and graffiti art that hint at the COVID outbreak and the departure boards with information too. 

This a breakdown of all the props in the scene, except the train pieces. There was a fairly large number of assets within the scene so modelling and texturing them all took a considerable amount of time to get right. 


The lighting was a major part of my scene. I wanted to replicate the type of lighting used within "The Division" where they use warmer and cooler lights to help guide the player and provide points of interest for the player to explore. The lighting took a considerable amount of time to get right, going through many iterations until arriving at the final outcome.

I wanted the lighting to provide the majority of the storytelling, heavily hinting at the abandoned atmosphere and providing that sense of a darker game world. Since the game world was based in an underground world, with no lighting coming from the outside, this was a particularly challenging environment to light well.

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