Stargazing Island - Dev Diary
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Stargazing Island - Dev Diary

Rocky Gabardo Arbigaus
by rocky on 16 Oct 2019

A magical floating island with an observatory. Perfect for Scholars, Wizards, and their Appendices. A 3rd person adventure level design project made to learn more about UE4.

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Update - 28 Jan 2020

Tweaking the sunlight. Had to disable "cast shadows" on the skylight.


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Update - 9 Jan 2020

I added TrueSky plugin, which made a ton of difference.


Update - 13 Dec 2019

Changed the river material and added a particle emitter in the waterfalls (River Water Tool bt James Stone). Rocks now have a waterline using a very simple decal with glossiness, low roughness, a bit of tint and a mask. Fixed the moss on the rocks as well.

Updated the brick building, and added a secondary color on the master material via masking.
Added some vines on the building (From the Modular Seaside Town by Matima Studio)

The telescope has more grunge to it. Also, I added more light to the telescope dome.


Update - 6 Dec 2019

A telescope has been added to the scene. For the textures, I used a trim sheet.

The light was changed, and cloth simulation was added to the windmill.


Update - 28 Nov 2019

Added some localized volumetric fog to create some clouds.


Update - 25 Nov 2019

Adding more verticality. Also, a placeholder for the observatory and the Windmill sections.


Update - 22 Nov 2019

Building kit pieces so far.

Building test to check if all parts fits.

Testing the building parts with a distant camera.


Update - 20 Nov 2019

Working on the building wall modules.


Update - 13 Nov 2019

More grass on the island edges.
Procedural moss on the rocks.


Update - 12 Nov 2019

Testing a new approach for the island base


Update - 7 Nov 2019

Working on the boardwalk modules.


Update - 29 Oct 2019

Rowboat Finished


Update - 28 Oct 2019

Working with some textures. I was planning to use some photo-based textures, but I didn't like the result. So I ended up sculpting the wooden fibers and plank seams into the high poly mesh.
The fabric material was created in Substance Designer.


Update - 23 Oct 2019

Time to shape up the flying rowboat.


Update - 17 Oct 2019

One of the main things I wanted to add since the beginning was a floating dock with a Balloon Rowboat.
I created 2 modular pieces and a boat placeholder to see if it fits with the concept.

And here is a quick walk around test I did.


Update - 16 Oct 2019

I just added some placeholder textures to the rocks to get a feeling of the colors and tones I want for this level.


Update - 16 Oct 2019

For this project, the idea was to create a game-ready environment. At first, I was aiming for a watermill on top of a floating island with a flying rowboat. Considering the difficulty in finding a proper concept, I decided to build a reference board to create the overall mood.

 After a while, the concept shifted towards a windmill with an observatory.

With the board completed (let's face, a board is never complete), I started blocking the overall shape of the building.

At first, the goal was to be an external shot, but I digressed to build some internals, in case I decided to be able to explore the inside area. But this is a decision I'll be making when I start building the building modules.

Then I realized it was time to start experimenting with the terrain. At first, I thought of sculpting a big island in Zbrush, but soon I realized that it would be much more difficult about painting textures, foliages, and maps.
The other idea was to create a small terrain inside UE4 and enclose it with rock formations. That idea gained more traction when I found out that you could add and delete terrain patches, allowing for a non-rectangular terrain shape. I must say I'm pretty much happy with the results.
For the clouds effect, just a simple ExponentialHeightFog.

The main idea behind the watermill was to have water and sky waterfalls. That idea should not be wasted just because I changed the project a bit, right?
For the water and waterfall placeholder, I used Tharlevfx's Water Material from Epic Marketplace. I just added the waterplane GEO to a Spline.
For the vegetation, I'm using Epic Games' Open World Demo Collection and Dragon Motion's Flowers and Plants Nature Pack.