Flynn's Arcade - Level Design Project (2013)
To recreate an environment from an existing book or film that has not been featured in a game yet. The environment was created using 3Ds Max, Photoshop and constructed in Unreal Development Kit.
Tron: Legacy had released at the time so I was keen on the idea of creating Tron themed environment, however I decided against the neon style that Tron is known for.
One of my favourite moments of Tron: Legacy is towards the beginning when the main character - Sam Flynn - discovers his father's abandonded arcade and is digitised into the world of Tron. It's an area you wouldn't normally associate with Tron, but is an equally interesting environment. So I decided to recreate Flynn's Arcade, along with the basement in which Sam is sent into the world of Tron.
As I had decided to recreate a scene from an existing film rather than a book, I collected as much visual references as possible of both the arcade and basement environments from the film itself as well as sets from tourist attractions.
Click to enlarge.
Planning for this project was important as I needed to know what was going to be in the camera's view throughout the animation so I know what assets were required.
With this in mind, I created the blockout below in 3Ds Max based on footage from the film along with the references above. Once the rough blockout was finished I animated a camera through the scene to get a sense of timing for the final video.
Unreal Development Kit
Once the blocking was complete, I began to build the rooms in UDK, starting with the shells of the rooms and then populating them with 3D assets imported from 3Ds Max. Once the assets were in the level and the correct scale, they were textured and the scene was lit.
We had permission to use example assets provided by Unreal, however 90% of the meshes and materials used in my scene are my own.
Click to enlarge.
Upon reflection, I feel the atmosphere of the basement was captured well. It looks like a busy and messy environment like in the film. I could have spent more time on the arcade room upstairs, as it doesn't capture the dusty, abandoned vibe that comes across so well in the film.
Saying that, I am happy with the project as it was my first stab at an in-engine environment in Unreal Development Kit, or any game engine.
I would love to revisit this project some time in the future and put to use the skills learned from the first time around, as well as what I have learned with my time in game engines since then.