Monday, March 11, 2013

Rift Dungeons; Hammerknell Process

Hammerknell was one of the best dungeons in Rift in my opinion.  I had the privilege of designing and executing one of Hammerknell's chambers.  I was given a LOT of freedom on this room and was basically just told to design a compelling room with statues. 
 I wanted to make sure the room could showcase the statues well and still have a good sense of direction, guiding the player to reach the top tier and advance to the next chamber.
I quickly mocked up the space for the room.  Usually I take a few tries to get something that  I like.  At first the verticality was completely underplayed.  Even though this was just one room I still wanted the player to feel like they were fighting to reach a difficult goal.  Adding more height to the tiers and elevating the end goal chamber made for more of an uphill battle and also allowed me to show off all the different kinds of statues I would eventually make.
When given the chance to execute my own designs I'm always conscious of shape hierarchy   I want the biggest shapes to read clearly from far away and compel the player to view up closer where I would put more nitty-gritty details.  Here are some original designs I was able to crank through and get into this room:

Maybe the most American model I have ever made:

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Caterpillar Model

Here is a fun piece that I got to do.  Its a mutated caterpillar concepted by Doug Nishimura.  This almost didn't make it into the expansion due to the rigger/animation team being swamped with higher priorities but I managed to sneak it in to Ardent Domain as a spore infested corpse.
5000 tris

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Rift - Golem Foundry - Process

During the development of Storm Legion there were many new dungeons most all with tight deadlines attached.  My co-worker (Tri Do) and I were given the task to execute one of Doug Nishimura's designs (the Throne Room) into a playable boss room and recycle the new assets into another unique dungeon (The Golem Foundry).  We immediately started working on the concepts that Doug had made for us.  We worked it out so that Tri was point man on the concepted room and I would model support while I would be point man for the kit-bashed room and Tri would model support for me.  Here is the Throne Room finished (Tri Do did the majority of the work you see in this image, Doug Nishimura designed it, Leonard Williams made the tall dream-catcher in the middle, I grey-boxed the room, made the pillars, throne and statues):
Here are some of the models I did for this room (Pillar concepted by Doug Nishimura statue concepted by Carlyn Lim):
After getting the main model requests out of the way for the Throne Room I moved onto blocking out the Golem Foundry.  There was a lot of back and forth with the content designers and I ended up remodeling the grey-box a few times as they figured out the game mechanics of this dungeon.  The theme for the dungeon was a factory where Iron Golems were being crafted.  When the scale and layout was approved I moved onto designing the look with the models/textures from the Throne Room and what ever else I could piece together in time I had.  Because I was using recycled models and textures the challenge was to use these pieces and still make the dungeon unique looking, not just an offshoot from the Throne Room but a completely different looking dungeon that would hold up on its own.  I ended up filling the walls using the large circular windows of the Throne Room to form various vents and shafts, giving lots of opportunity for steam and flames and whatever other VFX I could get.  
I try wherever possible to get movement in any of the environments I design.  Even if its just adding rotating fans in the walls it makes for a far more compelling experience than just stiff geometry.  These are the fans used throughout the Golem Foundry:
The finished room took me about a month with Tri helping on golden gate in the back.  Opening up the roof allowed me to cast a nice directional light onto half of the level giving some nice bright contrast to the dark and gloomy dungeon.

In order to keep the factory aspect running I crammed these Iron Golems everywhere the play-space wasn't needed.  This is a shot throught the glass under the player's feet in the main chamber:
The final Golem Foundry:

Here is a somewhat high quality walk-through of the main chamber of the Golem Foundry.  Make sure you change the quality to high if you watch:)

Monday, March 4, 2013

Darkening Deeps Process

Its always fun when told to just make things look cool.  I was given a really rough layout and two small goblin house props and told to make an underground goblin city dungeon for the initial Rift release.  
The initial whitebox was roughed out by the lead terrain artist and then modeled over by me.
I was given a couple of goblin houses to spread around.  
I wanted the dungeon to have a very busy/lived-in feel.  Like a wasp nest or a beehive I wanted the goblins to just overflow in this room.  The lights from the buildings should act like stars at night; too overwhelming to count.   
Because of the budget restrictions on developing MMOs Rift had a very limited poly budget so in order to get this cave to look so dense with goblin houses I ended up baking the textures onto cheaper models and alpha cards and placing those up higher where the player would never reach.

Here is the dungeon release trailer:
The sewer section in this video was modeled by Jason Colombo.  The cracked egg prop was modeled by Dan Bingham.  The crucified Ent was modeled by Leonard Williams.  Design, lighting and world-building by me.