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Dawnfindel, The Frozen City

Dawnfindel, The Frozen City

by alejandrozambrano on 26 May 2024

A city buried in the cold snow of Vowvania, Dawnfindel has suffered an endless blizzard that has plagued its streets for centuries. But it's hard working people never gave up and have created a safe haven for those who travel through the frozen lands.

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Dawnfindel is the final project for the "Development of 3D Environments" class at my university. The whole project lasted the full semester, approximately 5 months. It was a fun but challenging experience, since I had no experience working with Unreal Engine 5. During the course our teacher gave us insight on industry standards for the videogame creation pipeline.

We went through many stages, going from early concepts, to planning what to model and how, to actually modelling and texturizing the assets. Once everything was imported to Unreal I focused on the lighting, composition and special effects that were needed.

Programs Used

Maya - Modeling and UVs.

Gaea - Landscape.

Zbrush - High poly sculpt for the Hero Asset.

Substance 3D Painter - Texturing and Baking Assets.

Substance 3D Designer - Texture Tiles.

SpeedTree - Tree Assets. 

Adobe Premier Pro - Cinematic.

Render Shots

Some renders with the height fog turned on and off.

Asset Showcase

Most of these assets had been planned out to be modular, as I decided I wanted to make variations of similar buildings without needing to create each individual one. Being able to combine them to make a structure in UE5 is quite useful.

Hero Asset

I struggled at first to think of a Hero Asset for this project, originally it was going to be a statue that explored a bit of the history of Dawnfindel. Then the idea was to place this statue on top of a frozen fountain. Then ultimately I wanted the idea that this city has been freezing for many years and decided a small piece of glacial ice was the result.

Substance Designer 3D

We had to learn how to use Substance Designer to create tiling textures to use in out landscapes and assets.

UE5 Niagara VFX

I got to play around with Niagara and created 2 particle emitters to emulate snow. One was influence solely by gravity and the other I added some wind to create a more distinct snowfall.

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