Monday, 30 April 2012


 So overall I'm very much in two minds about how this project has turned out. In terms of how much I planned the project, there's no question that I did my research, but I felt as though I tried to take on too much. During the production, what I was producing, for the most part, was how I wanted it to be, but keeping up with the amount of work I'd given myself proved difficult and really showed through most during this stage.

Looking back at the planning, I really took it head on, well in advance, taking advantage of the fact that I was living in France before this project stated. I visited museums "musee de neandurthal" and excavation sites and really got down the facts and figures that I needed. When I came back to the UK, I followed through my research, visiting the natural history museum in london and filled out the gaps with books and online research.

When It came time to actually planning the level out: whiteboxing and doing all my concepts, my research really showed through. particularly with how I wanted each species to look and the kinds of assets I wanted to definitely be in my level. I quickly had an idea of how I wanted the lighting to be and got straight into combining all these factors and blocked out thelevel in UDK. However, when It came to writing up my technical spec, and asset list, I soon realised that with the number of assets I would need, that I'd given myself way too much. Luckally, I had accounted for this possibility already and knew exactly which rooms I could and couldn't cut out. In the end I ended up reducing the size of my level by 50%. 

With the technical spec submitted and uploaded to this blog, ( I set about working my way through the asset list. Once again though, Even though I had a plan, more crash began to show as I realised that I had given myself too many assets, and had to cut some out of the list. It's not that I couldn't model the assets, Only that I probably wouldn't be able to texture them. Texturing is most definitely my weak point and can take me up to 3 times as long as it would to model an asset.

When getting my assets under way, I started off with the busts and skulls, which to be fare, I did take to long on, but they're probably the most successful parts of my level. That and my Dinofelis skeleton. Once I had those done I came to the most problematic area of my FMP, the display boards. For the infomation there was no question that I had enough infomation to fill the boards. The problem was that half of my research was in French. It took a massive amount of my time to translate all that research, and then type it out and make into into a display board format. In addition, Once I added the boards to the level, they couldn't be read. Initially, i thought that a 512 texture sheet was generous, but It wasn't enough for the text. It was only readable at at least 1024x1024. This meant that I would either have to have a level full of illegable writing, re-design my museum to not have writing or go beyond, well beyond, my texture budget. I chose the latter, purely because having no writing seemed completely unbelievable and I didn't have enough time to redesign my level; which would result in a loss of planning marks. In the end my overall texture size came to, 280mb. The biggest flaw in my planning process. Probably should have tested the size that each sheet would need to be before I tried to put each one into the level.

In any case, the rest of my asset modelling went mostly to plan and was within my triangle budget.The only other difficulties I had was with my neanderthal proportions, and changing in lighting between different production levels. Overall, looking at what I have and what I initially planned, particularlly with the last room, It's obvious that I initially intended to have much more assets than what I had. The final room feels empty in comparrison to the other rooms, and there are obvious spaces where there should have been archways or doors into other rooms, which because of my display boards, I didn't have time to change.

Overall, despite all my planning, and my outcome being largely very loyal to what I intended, I can't help but feel that If I had just planned a bit more, the overall outcome would have been better and I could have set a more realistic set of budgets for my intended goal.

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