Building Bridges

So I took a couple days off to go kayaking and camping, I guess that’s the plus side of not having a job, the hours are pretty flexible. These caves are about an hour drive from my house and I think they’re pretty cool. I want to incorporate them in a mod of some sort, I think it will be some type of hideout in the Fallout 3 mod.

As for work I’ve recently started modeling the Gooseberry Bridge. I’ve whipped up a quick working model in Max, and I will be going into detail in the near future. We had a major bridge collapse in Minneapolis a couple of years ago, (which was my route to the office at the time..kinda scary) so every bridge in the state underwent re-evaluation. Thus they made a detailed report on this bridge’s dimensions and just about everything else I’d want to know (240 page .pdf), so it’s really helped me out to make a 1:1 scale model. However I’m dumbing a lot of it down for a low polycount. Between this and the Visitor center this is a lot more modeling than I had planned on doing, but I’m getting faster at it.

Alright then, back to work!

(bottom 2 pics are real-life reference, top left is MAX view, top right is in Cryengine – obviously still very WIP)


Nature scene teaser

I’ve been hard at work modeling the visitor’s center, but I also took some time to spruce up some of the nature of the map. Here is a shot from one of the first scenes when the player is crossing a bridge over the Gooseberry River. I have also added my reference shot which helped me construct the scene. No Decals or TOD have been implemented yet. I want to do some snow on the trees like in the reference pic, but I think I will need to scrap due to performance issues…

On Location at Gooseberry

So I headed up to the State Park today to do some on location shots. Got a lot of good ones in, pegging them to their corresponding locations on a virtual topo map of the area that I have. I think I will go back next week as well and start recording a video design blog “how it’s made/developer commentary” style. And I’ll most likely release it on youtube in conjunction with the mod. (I have never posted on youtube before, I feel excited and behind the times in one emotion…)

Oh and I realized I was wearing my GDC 09 CA shirt (represent, what what) which I guess is kind of ironic. Note my nerdy half pose, I look like I’m scared of something…


Thought this was odd…

So I am moving to China for a bit, and my new apartment location seems a bit similar to my last one…..


Cabin modeled, now refining textures

Ok so I have the main cabin finished model, I’m still planning on adding an overhanging deck and some railings in places etc, will be also adding a garage/basement but for the most part it’s done. I need to work on touching up the textures (or making some for the bathroom), but here’s how it looks so far.

My bad guys are more eco-friendly than your bad guys

Well I decided to man up and just learn how to model in Max myself. It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a while anyways. After a couple of tutorials and forum posts I figured out what I need to make the basic building blocks of the cabin, as well as some of the finer details. Today I primarily worked on the roof. Learned how to make diagonal pieces of geometry but still have the textures (wood panels) run straight horizontally.

It’s pretty funny because it doesn’t sound that impressive, and I think I could replicate everything I did today in an hour or so, but the other few were just spent on a learning curve. I’m getting a better foundation in Max for it so all’s good.

I was mulling over what kind of material to use on the roof when I realized that solar panels look cool, and would make sense for the setting (near future economic collapse – energy is scarce).  I made the roof out of a simple 4 sided primitive. I could have made seperate panels but normal mapping goes a long way here and it’s ncie to save performance where I can.


Modern Cabin for Uprise

I finalized the layout for the cabin in Uprise North. This will be one of the players first objective locations in the level. The cabin itself is very rough and still needs a lot of decoration, but right now I am looking for a competent artist (preferably in Max) and has Crysis. The house is primarily solids, so I’m looking for someone who can convert the pieces to larger .cgf’s. I need to spend more time on level design and less making it look pretty 🙂




Two Tone Falls

I was just messing around with the particle editor and just figured out that I could two tone the falls. I think it looks more like the actual falls now – so I have to post the screenie of course before I call it a night. Er …6:45 AM…Wow. Happy Memorial Day!


Uprise Update

Just a quick update, I know I haven’t posted much in a while, been busy with the mod beleive it or not, lot of internal mechanics that aren’t very showworthy. Oh and moving. I am back in Duluth at least for a little while.

Because I’m lazy: (copied from a post I made on Crymod)

I’ve been hard at work designing the gameplay flow of the level, I actually kinda restarted from scratch in terms of the actual level (same basic concepts are going into it though)

It is based of a 1 sq km heightmap of Gooseberry Falls in Minnesota, 2030s or so, after an economic collapse which resulted in a destabilization of the U.S. A faction of hostile occupiers called the Federate have established a training camp and research facility at the former State Park.

The player is a member of a Resistance group native to the area. They lack the numbers of the occupiers but use guerrilla tactics, and have been able to stay competitive technology wise, mainly through theft of advanced technology developed by the Federate.

A new prototype weapon (Gauss Rifle) is being developed at the research facility. It could further tip the odds against the Resistance once introduced to the battlefield in the hands of the Federate. The mission is to get into the research facility and retrieve the prototype and return to one of the Resistance science labs for analysis and reverse engineering.

The player starts out by infiltrating the base through the outer walls, then makes his/her way through the camp towards the facility on the inner base. The player retrieves the weapon and then has to get out… The ending will have a twist leaving it open for a sequel.

Other features:
Since half of the base is actually a training camp I have worked on things to bring that atmosphere out.

Running to Cadence: I have a couple of patrols running around paths running to cadence.
If you guys are fans of The Unit you’ll recognize it. It is the actual cadence version of this:

Firing Ranges: federate troops are training on firing ranges

Other Things like hurdles and obstacle courses are tenative, if the animations are  done and I can do it with smartobjects etc then I will put these in, haven’t gotten to that yet.

Stealth gameplay: The whole level is actually designed so it’s possible to play through without killing anyone, as that’s the best way to infiltrate a base.  Of course I am designing multiple approaches and paths so that if you want to shoot up everything in the base you can.

One of the interesting mechanics I’ve just gotten functional is jumping down from a ledge onto  the cargo bed of a moving truck in order to get into the inner walls via a checkpoint.

Also I’m spending a pretty good amount of time on the nature aspect, it is in a former state park after all. Also Minnesota is rarely if ever represented in games. But, I was impressed by how easily I was able to adapt to it with CryEngine 2.

Here is a screenshot comparison of the falls in RL vs Crysis. Obviously different TOD and season (Uprise is set in late winter/ early spring) Also the rocks and stuff around the river and falls are WIP, I just very briefly touched up the area after I made the falls.

Also kind of ironic and weird but I didnt look at  that specific RL pic as a reference, I made the area from memory after the heightmap import (it’s a few miles away from me). I found the ref pic shortly before making this post.

TGC 09 and other stuff

So I have not updated this site for a couple weeks, I have been spending some time with family and traveling. Most recently, I attended the Triangle Games Conference in Raleigh NC. It was a great show with a good turn out, both in attendees and speakers. Of course Epic Games was there. Andrew Bains gave a great talk on GoW 2 Level Design. I also got to meet some of the good people at Icarus, they are making Fallen Earth, a game I have been following for quite some time! Jessica Orr, Michael Broadwater, and Dale Broadbent were all happy to talk to me about Fallen Earth, and the industry in general.

The conference is over now but I’ve decided to stay in Raleigh for a couple more days to check the city out, as I’m looking to move out of Minneapolis. There is certainly a big gaming presence here!

I’ve also been working on refining the design for Uprise North and am planning on dividing the levels up into 5-10 minute long playtimes so I can use them more effectively in my portfolio. I’m also expanding my team as I’m working with composers, voice over artists as well as 3d artists.

Blake Allen wrote a little music piece for the stealth section of the level. The plan is to have several ~ 1 minute long tracks with a similar theme but varying in terms of the mood of the level (Crysis has dynamic music and it can be set by a trigger, combat etc). I will post a link once it is uploaded to ModDB.

December 2022