When I heard about unity Neon challenge I have spent more then two weeks just drawing everything in my head over and over again, almost decided to drop the idea taking the part in competition. Problem was that everything I was thought about futuristic environment was traditional sci-fi Alien like art or darker and fogy Blade runner style visuals. Those were perfect and many great artwork was created after this movies, but in time this genre was oversaturated and was filled cliches. Even looks where improved by technological progress, but spirit and mood where lost. At least for me. And I didn't wanted to work on traditional Sci-fi art anymore.
So after two weeks of brainstorming I have decided to Start something different from traditional sci-fi and make my own experiment. Main direction I took from concepts organizers provided I thought it was the mood I was looking for.
One more thing before I'll talk about working process. Its already four years that I am full time asset store publisher. And I thought it will be more challenging to create everything from scratch, Because all this years all my skills were pumped because of working on asset store and also I was lucky enough that Rezi Qaldani Another asset store publisher promised me some his modeling skills. So basically we two people creating assets for sale are working on project and we agreed that after scene is done we will put it on store for free.
Blocking out gray box
Because time was short, I have started directly blocking out level and second stage of brainstorming was already in 3D editor.
Good thing about unity, It allows dirty work, without actually making your project dirty. Yes its not optimal pipeline but its quickest one. just having already constructed scene in 3D software, which includes all small objects all together, I just need to place everything I want in place and just with one click I have same scene already placed in unity, without worrying having to many files in different folders. It serves as a good time saver and also keeps project extremely clean. After finishing this state all I will have to do is just separately export all models from editor with batch exporter and manually replace them in scene. Oh yes, and I can also put all my materials on 3D objects already, so after I am done with blocking phase and will import final models I will not have to search and put materials again.
GrayBoxing In unity
My method for gray box pipeline came from actual game development experience. Gray blockout was good for both visual preview of the scene and for testing level design in practice. I usually use just white shaders, Post effect Ambient Occlusion for defining volume, And colored fog for defining distance. I am radically keeping myself from using any colors on objects.
Some terrain work
Second stage is always first attempt of landscape (Just for defining ground and organics). Because Inspiration came from thous concepts, organizers provided, I decided to have all my futuristic environment built in nature with green grass. Green grass always creates more oxygen in atmosphere, So I am using it very often.
Started Working on base textures on building
After several days of working on gray box Its always pleasure to start texturing. Also its important to keep textures very flexible and leave layers separated through all project time. Technically its easy with Tif files, which can have layers in it and also its uncompressed file format so I will not have to change them later.
Having Rezi Qaldani by my side giving me possibility to have interesting character in scene. I think sometimes characters are giving very unique identity to environment, That's why I often using characters in scenes as an explorers. Someone who is exploring with viewer serves as guide.
Then meanwhile its hard to keep myself from experimenting on lights and different screenshots while I have lot of work to do on details.
At this time Rezi already did great job with towers and I did questionable job by losing them in thick fog :)))
I have selected linear, However still thinking about it. From this point Experimenting will not end until deadline.