Thursday, 23 January 2014

Project Brief

Main goals; Create a racing game with one track based on a real-world circuit (Stretton Circuit, Leicester) with an interactive element in the form of a playable vehicle which represents the main character.

Purpose; Emphasis will be on the accuracy and attention to detail of the real-world circuit in order to showcase my environmental modelling skills, the vehicle model will also demonstrate my ability to model existing objects/ vehicles with a high degree of accuracy and attention to detail. The playable vehicle will demonstrate my knowledge with the chosen game engine as well as my problem solving abilities. The main goals will have complete priority during the project and will need to be completed to a visually and technically high standard.

Secondary Goals; My secondary goals include items highlighted in page 11 of my design document including sound, a HUD, variable weather and the inclusion of AI etc. These items will only be explored depending on the status of my main goals


Mobile Device/ IOS;
  • Huge market appeal for mobile games development which may result in better job opportunities
  • Mobile devices are becoming more and more powerful, and are able to run games with reasonable 3D graphics
  • Support for mobile game development from Unity 3D and UDK
  • More suited towards solo game development
  • Graphically less impressive that console and PC games
  • Have to be extremely optimised to function properly, some sacrifices may need to be made on more CPU intensive tasks such as particle effects etc.
  • Less functionality typically due to lack of dedicated gaming controls, usually touch screen/ tilt functions
  • Outrageous number of devices and operating systems on the market, IOS or Android are probably the only two worth approaching
  • Would possibly need mobile device to demonstrate project for degree show

Current Gen (PS3, Xbox 360, moderate gaming PC)
  • Most familiar modelling 3D assets with specifications aimed towards this category
  • Good graphical capabilities
  • Reasonable freedom with ranging poly counts
  • All supported by optional game engines (Unity 3D, UDK and CryENGINE3).
  • Project development will take place using lab computers which falls into this category, lab computers will also be used during degree show
  • Potential for fantastic looking portfolio work
  • Lots of job competition in the current market
  • Next gen consoles now released
  • Finished project would have to be extremely polished to be acceptable as a current gen game

Next Gen (PS4, Xbox One, High-end gaming PC)
  • Familiarity with 3D model asset creation for current gen is easily transferable
  • Extreme graphical capabilities
  • Lots of freedom modelling and texturing with huge budgets
  • Only recently released, little support from optional game engines (Unity 3D, UDK and CryENGINE3) apart from the CryENGINE3.
  • Much longer development time required to reach next-gen standard
  • Need to consider hardware limitations, are lab computers on par with next-gen consoles?

Choice; (PS3, Xbox 360, moderate gaming PC)

Tools and Software
  • Digital camera for gathering reference images.
  • Photoshop CS3 for image manipulation and texture painting.
  • 3D Studio Max 2012 for Modelling, Mapping, and manipulating UVs (texture coordinates).
  • Zbrush for high poly meshes and normal mapping.
  • The internet/ library for research and any additional reference material.
  • nDo2 for Normal and AO maps.
  • Marmoset Toolbag for final renders.
  • Open office/ Microsoft Word

Engine possibilities;

Unity3D Engine;
Notable games developed in Unity3D; Drift Mania, Rain, Call Of Duty Strike Team

  • One notable racing game as noted and extensive car tutorial available
  • Meant to be an easy engine to learn
  • Ability to develop for multiple platforms
  • Extremely large developer community and lots of documentation is readily available (car tutorial available).
  • No prior experience with the engine and no support available from tutors at uni as the engine is not used on the Game Art Design course.
  • More advanced features such as real time lighting/ shadows does not come with free Unity3D download
  • Not as many advanced features as UDK and CryENGINE3
  • More suited towards smaller mobile games
  • Hardly any tools in comparison to UDK and CryEngine3

UDK (Unreal Development Kit);
Notable games developed in UDK; Remember Me, Dishonored, Borderlands, Mass Effect

  • Extremely large developer community and documentation
  • Some tutorials and documentation available on vehicle export into UDK
  • Lots of knowledge available at uni to help with an problems during project
  • Some experience with the engine through uni projects (Blitz Building and Rooftop projects)
  • No notable racing games developed
  • Program can be temperamental at times
  • Poor lighting compared to CryEngine3, lighting needs to be built along with other paths before playing level which is more time consuming
  • Tool-set and user interface can be complicated at times
Notable games developed in CryEngine3; Far Cry, Crysis, Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2

  • Incredible real time lighting and rendering inside the viewport which is more suited to outdoor environments such as my race track
  • Better for 'realistic' looking environments
  • Substantial developer and community support on the CryDev forums as well as the CryEngine3 SDK documentation including vechile asset production pipeline.
  • User friendly Engine and scene management allowing for higher polygons, more draw calls, and overdraw
  • Intergrated time of day system
  • Tutorials available on vehicle creation and AI usage
  • Documentation available on UI and HUD
  • artist-level programming in flowgraph is extremely powerful and simple
  • No notable racing games developed
  • Needs to be connected to the internet to run (only for first sign on in 3.5.4)
  • Smaller community and less documentation than Unity3D and UDK
  • Editor can run slow with real time viewport without decent specification PC

Choice; CryEngine3

Technical Specification

Final Project
  • Final project will need to run on lab computers
  • Target Framerate; 35 FPS, Lowest acceptable framerate ; 30 FPS.
  • Draw call limit;
    • Maximum average; 500 calls
    • Maximum Peak; 2000 calls
  • Track scale can be seen in page 14 of the design document, track length is 850m and should take on average 60 seconds to complete one lap depending on player skill.
  • The whole environment including track, props, surrounding complex and environment backdrop should be no more than 500k tris (subject to change).
  • Only the race track area will be explorable using the vehicle, this includes grass embankments and curbs etc.
  • The race track and surrounding complex (explorable area) will contain the most detail and therefore demand the highest poly limits. Poly counts for backdrop environment objects should be kept to a minimum to ensure the target frame rate and draw call limits are met and the final game runs smoothly.

Preliminary Environment Assets

    -Track, curbs -Track lights
    -Control Box, lights -Pit Lane and complex
    -Foliage -Fencing
    -Tyre Walls -Smaller huts/ buildings
    -Foam Crash Walls -Crowd Area assets
    -Cones -Environment background elements
    -Barrels -Fuel Tanks
    -Signage/ advert boards -Other unique assets

A range of these assets should be re-usable and/ or modular and have enough detail that little or no repetition is noticeable.

A full range of textures will be used ranging from 256 pixels minimum to a maximum 1024 pixels.

Preliminary texture usage;

-Diffuse, Diffuse with alpha
-Specular, Colour Specular

  • The drivable vehicle should be no more than 40k tris (subject to change)
  • If included, AI opponent vehicles should be no more than 30k tris (subject to change)

  • Vehicle should require no more than 2 unique textures at 1024 pixels.

Preliminary texture usage;

-Diffuse, Diffuse with alpha
-Specular, Colour Specular

Issue; Despite the chosen engine's (CryENGINE3) advantages in support of making my project look realistic, my research on using vehicles in the engine has so far failed to show any 2 wheeled vehicles being used, all documentation and tutorials, including the Crytek Dashboard documents, only describe vehicles with 4 or more wheels being exported. If I am to include a 2 wheeled vehicle (minimoto) in the final build of the game it would need to animate properly including leaning, tilting and correct physics. I will not immediately write off the possibility of the inclusion of a 2 wheeled vehicle, but at this stage the inclusion of a 4 wheeled vehicle (go-kart) seems more achievable all factors considered.

More research will be done on this before a final decision is made. I think the best way to approach this will be to export a very simple 2 wheeled vehicle and explore the various parameters to see if the correct animations needed can be achieved. Before this is done further consideration will be taken as to which vehicle (minimoto or go-kart) would be better suited to the final build.

My Final Major Project will be documented in my design document;
The design document will be on going and will outline the whole project, including research and development, problems I have encountered and solved, concepts and planning, as well as documenting the assets that are produced.
My Final Major Project will also be documented on this dedicated blog;

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