Wanted to do a write up on some concept art - largely for me to understand the 'world' of it.
Thanks to FRANCESCO LORENZETTI for whom I'm using this concept as an example.
This is a very rough write up - I did it at work and was typing my thoughts - so excuse the English and grammar where it fits.
this is a huge environment - a lot of it is actually flat ground. a lot of the unique environment pieces are modular (the curvy overhang hill)
i might even need to scale this down a bit. this environment is of an epic scale. if you look at the river and the person next to it, the scale of the rest of the piece is huge, too big for a game environment.
the ground is made up of dry grass, some green grass, i can imagine lots of bushes and small trees, very patchy grass that can be painted - a few hills that go down to the river, very slight variation - as the whole environment is very flat
i could have the fore-ground railings and walkways in the foreground put over the large hole and get the largest buildings in the back to come a bit closer to the hole.
i could actually make the hole a lot smaller in regards to scale of the things around it and have the walkways in the foreground eventually lead down to the ground on the edge of the hole - to a "station" of some kind that can look over the hole and see down.
the walkways are essentially a way to get to the train rail up top which goes off into the distance - idea could be that the rail goes behind a building out of view and comes into the scene from behind another building
there are more rails in the distance. if i can set up an animated train, they can be running in the background
there are mini "stations" on the ground scattered around, some are under the overhang in the mid ground - some are around the hole edge
there is another hole on the side which isn't made up on technology like the foreground one is - very broken on the edges
the rail holders are constantly going - they are electricity powered which converts to the particles that come out the bottom like a flame, which is what keeps it afloat these also attach to the rail, powering it - which in turn, gives the train power. the holders also have spires which have smaller yellow flame jets - might be able to incorporate solar panels to the tops? maybe even solar to the train roof if the power ever failed
Broken buildings: these can be modular and different pieces used repeatedly because there will be a height fog and a lot of these buildings details won't be shown. they only provide a silhouette for the background, but some larger details can still be seen. the large circle cut into the left building, the split ring shape up the top of the right building, as well as various spires can be seen coming out and up from it, makes a good silhouette. there are various arches that can be seen - and i think ill need to take the modular environment hills with their angles to be near the buildings. i think once I get 3-4 pieces of building, repeating will be easy and quick. all to snap to the grid and re-arranged via UDK
Walkway: this is very modular as well, there are lots of poles and corrugated iron sheets which are semi-rusty and are used for overhang/cover. small ladders and platforms which would make this seem like Lego - very easy to assemble. just import the pieces into UDK and arrange like the broken buildings. wires, lamps, cloth parts and some angled shapes can make it a bit trickier but still doable. there are some landing strips in the close foreground (within the cave?) i think just making up some area around here in a shallow cave can be easy, using a mix of modulated broken buildings, modulated walkways, parts from the station, train parts in a holding bay? panels, wires. there could be a cut off area that is signed for people no to go
Rail system: I would have to scale this according to the scope of the environment I have so far, so I would need to block out the area first, then once I have that, I would use a spline and shape it up, then give it thickness to give it shape. I'm thinking of not making it a box along spline, but a shape like a wall/ceiling trim shape, maybe even lofting that - the material could benefit from having small lights at intervals, i would make those from self-illuminating texture mask. the powered 'checkpoints' seem to start on the side of the rail, come out, then the spires start, where the base of the posts are, then the panels go out to form the lower part. add some wires and a small particle system from within UDK (need to do some research for this) and it should be OK
Train itself: looks like a cylinder and a few boxes with some textures, with an attached light in front and behind with some textures, really easy. possibly make it slightly curved as it goes around the track. always semi-curved
Environment: it seems that the camera is looking out of a cave. hints of this is the right hand side there is a column of earth that stretches to the top and almost combine into another building - refer to the walkway section for an idea of the shallow cave area. the ground is semi flat. there are little vast hills around with green/dying grass, but it varies. bushes that can be repeated, little trees (very small amount, there are no larger trees). refer to the river as being very shallow like this area is untouched and this river is only made up of the damp fog and condensation - as it leaks into the tech hole. the spikes of hills that appear are modular as well, its the same angle showing up everywhere. these can be modeled once and repeated, they look about 100meters tall at its tallest part, maybe 70 meters at its most level. the spires that show dotted around can be either powered or not. they can have a slow strobe-light effect when powered and have it completely off when not, even on further inspection, can have the 'power box' been ripped open or something (claw marks?) or even flooded - sparking out. the whole environment has a green fog through it, not overly thick, but about 200 meters away it starts to give only silhouettes of the broken buildings. the tech hole would be a main focus, this is a perfect circle in the middle of the environment, it has the main river flowing into it - creating a waterfall. you can really see in it, maybe in game if you look into it, the fog would be too much and the tunnel would just disappear - or - there could be a bottom with a rail coming out one side and going into the other side (I'm thinking spirited away train when i think of it) going through some water as it does, some flooded areas of the ground, like an uneven road after it has rained, uneven puddles, but on a larger scale. could use the train inside the hole idea for further up? like bridges spanning the diameter? note the rim of the circle and the extruded areas - need to design around those if they go all the way down, or just on top - like there was a giant cover to the hole at some point that used to clip onto the extruded parts. i'd like to have the rocks inside the cave semi specularity because I want to be able to convey the dampness of the environment as a whole. some dripping from the roof of it, vines and ferns overlapping the mouth of the cave, possibly even a waterfall coming over the lip of the cave between the top walkway shown and the rail. there is also a dis-used hole to the right side, this looks very broken but looks quite used. id say tech panels were in there at one time, but have since been removed/recycled. maybe showing the resources these people have, need to recycle what they use on other holes (the middle one) - i can imagine this hole is just cliff side and dirt
Lighting: the lighting from what i can see is very soft. there seems to be no real given direction from where the light is coming from, it should be coming from above, but is softened by the fog and the clouds. looking under the cliff face, very soft shadows. even the front broken buildings are semi lit so some details can be seen on there. i would set up one large light with very soft shadows in the scene. some smaller lights from spires and the rail etc can be shown on the ground - also very soft light with lots of offset. i could even use a light mask for cloud cover - which could result in some light areas and some not as light areas which is where I think the light areas come from over the ground.
I'm thinking that this is set in the distant future - 300 maybe 400 years in the future - this area is either very collapsed from society, or is a mining colony where humans are not needed as much, as technology can be used with AI to do the work. the collapse of the area can be evident from the abandoned buildings in the back and shows how they are overgrown. either falling apart or have been taken apart by people who live there and need to assist with the mining. another piece of evidence of the lack of humans can be pointed out by the high train lines. they are well above the ground level which makes the trains go anywhere in the area and can travel great distances with little power as the checkpoint modules can supply powered rail for them. these train lines are very long and weave with the environment. the ground is largely untouched. grass covers the plains and the spires have not been used for decades. a natural river from the condensation/rain runs through the hills and into the tech hole which may have been abandoned as well.
flight would be mainly used in this time. with various runways and open areas to fly in - there seems to be a spotlight coming from a 'skeleton ship' hovering above the hole. surveying the area for life, possibly mapping this uncharted area or finding a fault in the system.
I think as a whole, the environment shows a weak area in the world. it is running, but from it's own power. the people here make a bit of money from trading on what they find, but there are no real passenger trains or reason for other people to come out via rail - flight would be the logical choice. turned off spires, abandoned holes and buildings. this seems to have more wildlife than human life. but is still striving at what the area is meant to be doing. harvesting the area around it to feed people in other area, with money, resources or power - this place is basically 'forgotten' for people who aren't already here.