Judges Reviewing
Beyond the Wall
Updated 3 months ago

Set on the edge of a thriving future city. While only a few hundred metres away the townsfolk are eating well with 16 hours a day jobs, the rest of the world beyond the wall are struggling to survive. Their only contact with the wall being census drones that track the population in the outskirts.
Most of my work is based around coding and project management so setting out a scene like this based on a few ideas and concept photos was a challenge I wanted to take up to learn some good processes for working with these assets and get familiar with the post processing stack, cinemachines and timelines.

Production Process

After looking through the concept artwork provided I wanted to create a mix between utopian and distopian with a focus on the distopian portion as that is the part most interesting to me. I liked the concept art showing wasteland bog environments, so i decided to focus on a community of scavengers living outside of a giant walled city just trying to survive in a wilderness without much vegetation and a lake which is quite possibly polluted.
Wanting to work on this project solo I have used a lot of Unity Asset Store packages to fill my skill gaps.
I had a rough idea of the environment required so I started sculpting it with Gaia which I like to use for its ability to stamp height map data to a unity terrain making it simple to start creating realistic environments.
For terrain shading I like to use CTS which didn't have any desert presets that worked for me so I created a new one based on the sand textures provided with both Gaia and CTS.
After I was happy with the layout of the terrain I brought in Aquas which is one of my favourite water engines, Enviro and Fog Volume 3 to manage the weather conditions of the environment and Thor lightning.
This is where I wanted to start roughly laying out assets where I wanted them to be on the terrain keeping in mind the various camera paths I could use. I started with the biggest items being the wall and the city behind the wall. The wall is actually made up of several storage crates from the HQ PBR Warehouse Kit that was on sale at the time. While the city was an asset from Blacksmith Atmospheric Scattering package from the Neon Challenge Recommended list.
It was now time to work on the more detailed environment and decide how I wanted to capture it. I started once again with the bigger items with the intent to only add detail in areas the camera will see.
There were a number of asset packages used here, many of them free but I also had some suitable ones from a previous project, so i set out laying out the detail with Rocks and Boulders 2 (which is by far one of the greatest free assets available), Apocalypse Pack, Neon Signs, Old Building, a few minor assets from FPS Level, Ultimate Fantasy Creator Lite, Free Desert Plants and Wooden Dock Builder Kit.
I really like the retro perspective of the future and wanted to bring some elements of that vibe in to this project, I could have attempted this with lighting and tinting but felt the post processing stack would yield some better results, so I worked on making a much warmer environment colour graded towards the red / pink side of the spectrum.
This could be explained by the level of pollution in the air which has affected the atmosphere so much it tints the incoming light from the sun.
While this is a barren landscape I wanted to fill out the detail a bit more with patches of dead grass. For this I used a new package called Vegetation Studio which allows for a lot more control than standard Gaia. For the dead grass I used textures from Rustic Grass.
At this point I had a pretty good idea of what animations I wanted to include and how I want the cameras and post effects to be handled. While the environment could use more detail and tweaking I started work to set out the animations with the camera path.
I was impressed with how smooth the video motion was with timeline of only 11 key frames. I decided to use timeline to animate the incoming and outgoing aircraft from the city as well by setting a key frame at their start position and end position and looping.
I wanted to have a census drone, that scanned the area for numbers of poor outside the wall. I found a really well designed drone that was perfect for this purpose. Once again I used timeline to animate the path of the drone.
Music and audio clips were sourced from audioblocks which allows royalty free commercial use of their sounds for members.
This was an enjoyable project and I have learnt a lot from the experience.

Neil North
Sole Developer / Content Creator - Producer