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Project We Xist – Development Blog

Welcome to the blog for Project WeXist!

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We’re a group made up of film makers, modelers, concept artists, designers, and programmers. All working together to make a VR game! Our goal is to tell the story of WeXist while mixing our individual skills together as a group to create an amazing end result.

Story

30 years ago from the present, a benevolent, highly intelligent alien species makes contact with earth. Landing their spaceship in the middle of a large metropolitan area. Eager to share their knowledge with the earthlings, technology advances at a rapid rate under the advanced knowledge of the aliens.

But on one day, the aliens decide to lock themselves away inside their spaceship, along with a group of scientists that also disappeared with them. The world around them is in shock and confused, but neither the aliens or the scientists have shown themselves since that day.

With no way for the world to enter the highly advanced space ship, governments and militaries fail to do anything about the situation. The world has since forgotten all the good the aliens brought, but it never forgot or forgave the aliens for how they went completely silent out of nowhere and took some of their brightest people. The ship abandoned by everyone except for the last security personnel.

Meet Peter, a young documentarian that is intrigued by the aliens and studies their impact on the world. This is not completely unrelated, Peter’s father was one of the scientists that disappeared along with the aliens. Eager to try and get to the bottom of his father’s disappearance, he has been trying to get answers for the last 30 years.

One day, Peter gets a call from a mysterious source who calls herself Hannah. She claims to know how Peter can get into the ship and wants to help him do that. She invites him over to a train station, promising to meet him there and get his journey to find his father started.

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History

The project was started as a continuation of Project They Are. We got handed over all the assets and documents, and started working on how we wanted to go on with the story, which you can read above. We’ve since added our own twists to the universe, and set up a plan to turn it into a full VR game by the end of the summer.

 

The Team

Every teammember has their own introduction post, you can check out the team here:

Anton Volkholz

Alexander Shanov

Carlos Klazinga

Iris Reuver

Luca Huys

Mariska Wildeboer

Robert Aanstoot

Rob van Schooten

Stefan Pelskamp

Viktor Nedelchev

Social Media

You can follow us on other social media platforms as well, we post a lot of smaller material on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ProjectWeXist

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/we_x_ist/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/projectwexist

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Hand-in day

Today is our hand-in day, at least for the official end day. Some of us are presenting WeXist tomorrow for our Minor Skilled examination. We’ll continue to work and polish WeXist into the summer holidays. We intend to finalize it before GOGBOT 2018 in Enschede, where we will put our VR experience on display!

https://2018.gogbot.nl/portfolio/saxion-cmgt/ (Information should be added shortly)

Meanwhile, enjoy a nice atmospheric logo loop, and a gameplay video of the experience! If you don’t want to get spoiled or want to wait for the final result, come look us up at GOGBOT 2018! It’s from 6 to 9 September in Enschede.

Bugaway spinoff

On the fmx we had an idea for a hart van nederland style tv episode about escaped bugs from the spaceship and we all gonna play our own roles

News man/women: Welcome to the heart of people a tv news show that focusses itself on the people. today we have a special episode about the escaped bugs from the space ship that landed in our neigbourhood, so what do the people think of the bugs mariska ?

Mariska: Thanks …. im here with iris iris what do you think of the bugs?

those bugs are destroying my whole …

Rob: Those aliens took my job

Iris: as i was saying

Rob: shut up women and bring my beer, they took my jobb.

Mariska: as you hear people here are very upset …

Rob: they took my job.

Mariska tries to leave with the cameraman

We will be back after the break:

Add buggaway:

Do you hate those anoying alien bugs

victor incecten spray

We had all kinds of idea’s sadly there wasnt enough time to make this and finnish this project. Maybe the next group could build upon this funny idea.

Unreal Level building (Anton & Rob)

We have entered the last week of school and we are moving towards concluding our project. I have spent the last 2 weeks Learning the basics of Unreal and building the Core chamber level.

 

Part one: Building the outer walls

The first step was to build the basic shape of the level, to set the boundaries and have a workable space.

Set dressing 1

This is also the part where minimal set dressing is done with the available assets to get a playable version of the first level.

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Part Two: Asset creation by Anton

Anton worked on modular assets, where he made the models and textures. These could later be implemented in the Unreal engine.

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Scene tryouts

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Using the assets I made the final scene.

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Part Three: Lighting

Once the build was made, I looked into the lighting.

Unreal has a lot of great features, like atmospheric fog and volumetric lighting. After a lot of tweaking, I got a lighting setup that I’m very satisfied with.

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Phase 4 – Polishing (week 20)

In this last Phase we are all a little stressed of course, to finish the project. There was a lot that got done in the final weeks and there is still stuff to be done in fact.

The environment turned out amazing so far and we are still working on more assets to fill the scene. The game play done by Stefan is awesome to experience and there are even some cool eastereggs that Victor was working on in the scene.

I did a lot of polishing on the alien model again. The hand needed to be rotated 90 degrees to make rigging and animation easier. This meant I had to alter the high poly sculpt that was given to us by the “they are” team. This was quite a challenge, since the sculpt had a very distinct style and I needed to resculpt parts of the wrist, thumb and lower arm. The change wasn’t as drastically visible as I had expected and rebaking all textures was also quite easy in the end.

The final alien model with animation has yet to be put into Unreal and the cloth simulation tested. However we already have a very nice playable version of the game ready. I am sure we will be able to further polish the current state of our VR experience, and I know it is something we can all be proud of.

Phase 3 – Production (week 15)

After the Preproduction Phase, that we spend a little too much time on, was done, Rob Carlos and myself started on creating the actual assets needed to build the environment in Unreal. We looked at the Blockouts and created Building Blocks that could be used to rebuilt the games environment in Unreal.

Since time was a problem at this point we decided to change to a very modular workflow. Instead of having a large amount of different assets, each with their individual texture maps, we wanted to create fewer assets and use base materials that could be used on multiple objects throughout the game world. This way we only had to make a couple of assets and textures and could already build up a nice looking environment. Later on we could get into more specific assets that had individual textures as well. Overall a lot of assets needed to be reusable and have a lot of variation, so the scenes wouldn’t look too repetitive.

This approach worked out very well in the end. With the first basic assets our level designer Rob managed to create an amazing environment, and with more specific assets he could give the scene even more life.

I spend a lot of time on the alien character model and the clothing for it. It was challenging to combine the alien detail and the clothing detail to be baked on one model, but with a neat setup it turned out to work very well after all.

 

Phase 2 – Design (week 10)

Up till about half of the project we a lot of time on designing the VR Experience we were making. The Spaceships interior needed to have a distinctive style and our environment artists made amazing blockouts and concept art on the interior design.

I was working on concepts and style for the alien clothing, as well as the environment design. I created a couple of concept sketches for different types of clothing of the alien and tried to come up with different designs in Marvellous Designer, a program for cloth simulations and clothing design.

It was a bit of a challenge to find a clothing style that reflected the backstory of the aliens that Victor wrote. Their appearance should portray a very wise and monk like presence.

After a couple of iterations and lots of feedback especially from victor on colours and layout of the clothes I ended up with 3 concepts, only one of which was actually worked on in 3D in the end.

Phase 1 – Analysis (week 5)

The first 5 weeks of the project I will define as the Analysis Phase. I joined the project a week late but immediately got included very well by everyone into whats happening and what we are going to do for the upcoming months.

At this point we still had our nice office in the old hospital. We all worked on ideas for this project, what we wanted to achieve and what everyones contributions might look like. We analysed the previous project “they are” a lot, since wexist was the follow up project. We had to figure out where to go with the story, the style and design of the environment and the way the gameplay would work.

Most of the problems at this stage were outside the project. We had to leave the office room we were working in and move to rooms within Saxion buildings. Since there was no dedicated project room within Saxion available at this point we had to search for available rooms to work in for about 3 weeks.

The concept and preproduction phase was going well however and we managed to come up with a lot of interesting ideas to follow up on project they are.

I spend some time concept sketching and exploring different approaches to the environment art with our concept artist Rob and got lots of constructive feedback from the group.

Learning Goals

This post is about my learning goals for this Minor and how well I managed to work and progress on these goals throughout the past 5 months.

 

Initial learning goals:

– Improve concept to 3D asset workflow

– Create concept and reference art that can be used for modelling and texturing a 3D asset

– Create 3D assets ready for level design and set dressing in unreal engine

My learning goals were very much focused on creating 3D art in general, but specifically for game environments. Exploring own concepts by creating sketches and concept art was important, but using these along with concepts from our story writer and concept artist and turning them into 3D assets that can be further used in a Game Engine like Unreal was the main goal.

 

Development of learning goals:

– Learned a lot about zBrush to Maya and Substance workflow

– Created concept sketches and art that could be used as reference for 3D production

– Created 3D character and environment assets, ready for rigging and animation as well as level design in Unreal

I ended up creating a lot of concept sketches and exploring ideas on different components of the wexist universe together with our story writer Victor and concept artist Rob. Many of the concept sketches I used as reference for 3D modelling in zBrush and Maya. After texturing the assets in Substance they were ready to be used by Rob in designing the Levels and building up the games environment.

 

Retrospective:

In retrospective I believe I have achieved what I intended and more during this project and learned about many new techniques as well as refining the skills and workflow I already have developed. Working in a large team like this gave a lot of freedom to spend time on more specific components and techniques and helped me very much in further developing myself as a 3D artist.