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Juan Gill Murrell
by juangillm on 1 Jun 2022 for Rookie Awards 2022

"Journey" was the theme of a game environment competition I participated in this year. I was tasked with creating an environment concept for use in a game engine. I decided to design, model & texture a small concept interior for a spaceship that would voyage on long journeys...

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Spaceship Interior Concept - Maya Arnold Render

Unreal Engine 4 Renders

Wireframe Render - Maya Arnold

The Journey project was a super insightful introduction to the world of Game Design. In this project I experimented with Unreal Engine 4 for the first time, and I believe I was able to produce a successful final product. For this project, I was tasked with creating a video game environment based upon the theme “Journey”. I gained new knowledge in the form of Unreal Engine’s node editor as well as the general interface of the program. It was an amazing experience to be able to see one of my environment models rendered in real-time. I found that implementing light sources in UE4 was a similar yet different experience than Maya Arnold, producing vastly different outputs across both render systems. It was also an interesting experience learning about how UE4 reads information from image files to create textures using less storage space. Through this project, I developed my skills as a modeller, texture artist and lighting artist with the idea of demonstrating that I can transfer skills from one platform to another.

For this project, I wanted to demonstrate my modelling and texturing skills. I knew I wouldn’t have time to make a detailed, vast open space for my concept so to mitigate this weakness I decided to create a smaller environment which I could decorate with lots of small details. For the theme of Journey, I decided to create a small spaceship interior environment, consisting of a corridor and cockpit. I modelled the environment using Maya, textured using Substance Painter, and rendered the final outputs in both UE4 and Maya. I decided to use repetition a lot to build the spaceship corridor and cockpit. This technique would allow me to create detailed segments of the ship which could be reused. This technique was very successful when I was modelling the corridor, allowing me to build only one small “block” that could be repeated to form the corridor. I could then implement small changes across the corridor to make each block slightly unique.

This experience has motivated me to continue exploring more environment modelling. I have really enjoyed modelling singular assets over the years however I rarely create environments. I am confident that I could use this piece in an environment/lighting artist portfolio, however, it does rely heavily on hard-edge models. In the future, I will aim to create more “organic” models using ZBrush rather than Maya. Additionally, this project challenged me to think about how and why some components of models exist. I had to justify a lot of my choices in terms of where I would place monitors, buttons and levers. From this project, my biggest takeaway would be to plan and document more of my ideas and reasoning., while also journeying into creative areas I have not explored.

I believe that the final result of the project will engage audiences through mystery. The ship appears abandoned or forgotten. The audience may wonder about the ship’s destination, the condition of the ship as well as its location in space. The goal is to show that the ship has endured a long journey, but where the ship has come from - and where it is going - is completely up to the audience.

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