VR Level Design

For this week’s project we were to design a VR Level in Unreal Engine 4 – Yikes! The level had to be  a soothing and calming zen environment. Essentially I had to work with the 3 things I knew nothing about – Unreal Engine, Level Design and the topic of Relaxation.

I decided to look at the work of some other artists that have made minimalist designs this was as much part of the theme as a technical constraint as VR rendering can be extremely taxing on a system… so simpler designs are the way to go.

I have been a fan of the work of motion artist Murat Pak and I saw this as the prefect opportunity to try and recreate his work in a real time environment. These are stills from his short film  Node

 

I quickly blocked out some basic shapes for my level using Softimage

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As a quick reference I wanted to test out weather or not i could recreate similar environment in a ray traced renderer as at this time I did not know how to use the Unreal Engine 4.

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Happy with the overall shapes and materials I proceeded to learn how to use UE4…
After importing my models I recreated my materials along with their displacement and specular maps.

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Once this was done I decided to try and learn how to make particle effects in UE4 and went with making a simple snow like effect coming from the center of my environment.
I started by making 4 simple materials.

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And then using a blueprint to make animated particles.

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…and here is the end result

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I finally wanted to give the level a more finished feel so I decided to learn how to make First Person Camera so the user could walk around and interact with the level easier. The only issue is that the controls and the mouse came out inverted – this issue could easily be fixed however due to the time taken to compile the level it remained in the submitted prototype.

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In the end I also had to fix some lighting issues that had me switch from the original Real Time Global Illumination system to a pre-rendered one that had better light bounces and deeper shadows.

Finally to add additional details I added several rock sculptures that I made from free resources available in the UE Market Place that were inspired by rock balancing

 

And here is the final result!

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