Build bet­ter en­vi­ron­ments

World build­ing en­vi­ron­ments for video games has its fair share of chal­lenges. Olly Law­son shares his pro tips to help get you started

ImagineFX - - Issue 141 December 2016 -

Pro tips for world build­ing from Olly Law­son.

For this work­shop I’ll be bring­ing you my tips and ideas to con­sider when de­sign­ing en­vi­ron­ments, from the re­search­ing and idea gen­er­a­tion through to the fi­nal pol­ish­ing stages. I’ll be tak­ing you along the same process I used to gen­er­ate these in-game ar­eas, with some key ad­vice along the way.

I’m tasked with bring­ing to life a long‑aban­doned is­land palace, based on sim­ple line art and boards of ref­er­ence im­ages from the client. There are many ways to ap­proach this kind of as­sign­ment, but here I’ll show you a method I cur­rently pre­fer for its con­sis­tent re­sults and ef­fi­ciency. I be­gin by block­ing in ba­sic shapes in Google Sketchup, ren­der­ing out in Keyshot to show the forms and add light­ing, then fi­nally paint­ing over the re­sult to add colour, de­tail and life.

Sketchup is free soft­ware from Google that has a very gen­tle learn­ing curve, but as with any soft­ware, you get out of it what you put in. Lots of pro­fes­sional artists use it to quickly block in build­ings, or en­vi­ron­ments. I like to work in it for sim­ple lay­ing-out be­cause the soft­ware can be fast, it in­ter­feres very lit­tle with my in­ten­tions, and the lim­i­ta­tions of it be­ing a sim­ple pro­gram stop me from get­ting dis­tracted with adding de­tails and ma­te­ri­als. I use Keyshot to ren­der out my im­ages, sim­ply to add nice bounce light­ing and proper shad­ows, some­thing sketchup can’t do with­out plug­ins.

These con­cepts are de­signed for Spell strike ( www.spell­, an up­com­ing in­de­pen­dent strat­egy game that I had the plea­sure to work for.

So, let’s be­gin build­ing…

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