Monday, 9 May 2016

UE4 Scene Development

With all props made and ready to go, it was time for me to start putting my UE4 scene together. How exciting! :D

I began by placing some trees into the scene (it's a forest so it made sense to start with them). I initially began doing this individually, so it took quite a while. It was then that I was introduced to UE4's foliage brush, and I honestly think my life has been changed forever.

What would have taken me a good hour took a matter of minutes (if that), and here's the result:

Not only is the foliage brush much faster, but it also provides a much more natural and 'organic' feel to the placement of trees. While I initially tried to make the placement as random as possible when placing them myself, there was still an obvious sense of organisation to the placement. The foliage brush is completely random and so eliminated that feeling completely.

It also allows you to decide on sizing variations. You input a minimum and a maximum size you want the meshes to be and the brush will spread out meshes between these sizes randomly, which is great for variation.

The foliage brush allows you to add multiple meshes, so I also did the same with both types of bushes that I made:

With trees and bushes placed, I then moved on to putting in other props - including a bridge.

I wanted the bridge to connect two pieces of the scene as it didn't make sense for it to just be in the middle of a pond. I made this happen by extending the scene out and having what is almost like a 'runway' up towards the Rock Family. The player has to cross the bridge in order to go and see them, so it isn't something they can just walk around or avoid - at least not if they wish to explore further!

Next I added various characters and dotted around some tree stumps which act as houses.

I wanted the rocks and little weeds to mingle so that the scene has a feeling of everything being united. I didn't want them to be separated, so I made sure to have parts in the scene where the two can be seen together, an example being in the treestumps above.

With these all placed it was time to start adding the finishing touches.

The scene itself felt a bit like it was floating in mid-air because outside of where the player walks, all that could be seen was sky. I used UE4's build terrain tool to create somewhat of a 'landscape' that I placed under my scene to give the illusion of mountains and more scenery heading off into the distance. This made the scene feel much more secluded and eliminated the feeling that it is floating in the air. 

The final change I made at this point was creating my own water shader (which you can read more about here) to try and tie the scene together some more. UE4's default water is nice but it contrasted greatly with the art style of my scene, so I had to change it. Here are some images of the updated water:

Then finally just to round things off, here are some final screenshots of my scene. :) 

I've also uploaded a video flythrough to Youtube if you'd like to have a look at the entire scene!

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