Ok it's friggin close as youtube takes it sweet ole' time processing the video. I was watching the dang thing render for like what felt like years. But it's ready now. I didn't even get a chance to watch the final render, that's how close this submission was.
I need a drink.
Ok Final Call Out Sheet
Post Processing Stack
Recorder by Unity Technologies
Basic Bandit 1.0 by Will Morris
Destroyed City by Profi Developers
Drone V0 MultiSkin 1.0 by Iggy-design
Free Preview of Animations for RPG - Humans 1.0 by Shine Bright
Laser Construction Kit 1 by Bubaproducer
Move Motion Free Pack 1.1 by Polygon Craft
Raw Mocap data for Mecanim 1.1 by Unity Technologies
Realistic Effects Pack 4 by kripto289
Rock and Boulders 2 by Manufactura K4
UMA 2 Free Military Hats 0.76
Urban Town Pack - Middle Eastern by Flaming Sands
Wall TVset 1.5 by 3d.rina
War FX 1.8.02 by Jean Moreno
Various Noises and sounds by Noiiz.com
Gun sounds from GoodSoundForYou XileF's Youtube under CC 4.0 License
Market Sounds from Free To Use Sounds Youtube under CC 4.0
Ocean Sounds from FreeSoundsLibrary.com
Massive Shout out to texture.ninja website for awesome textures for free.
Last but not least smart-page.net for their normals calculations software.
The Making of Lumina
So, I was able to get some footage and audio put together and my thoughts on the whole process. I have enough time to fix somethings and finalize my video so that's what I'm doing now.
It's gonna be CLOSE.
There are some things I want to edit and I still need to make my "Making of Video", only 11 hours I know. But it needs to be done. I just have slept in forever and I have already had two seizures because of this challenge and pushing myself too hard xD so I need to make sure at the critical point I'm good. But... here is what I have so far. If I have time, I will be re-rendering this and fixing 3 things I only noticed at the end that are annoying me.
One last hurrah..
Ok, it's been a bit of a miracle and a couple of sacrifices. I wasn't able to get a background city that was going to put the icing on the cake but I have everything else, just putting the final sounds and camera effect tweaking.
And one addition, Kimberly Patterson, my mother, did some voice work for me as well so we have added someone to the team.
After the final submission, I'll add a 'making of video' as well and call out sheet too. Good luck to all the submissions out there. I know some of you guys worked really hard.
Ok so first I'll just say we haven't just started on this, we started like the second week of the challenge when I heard about it. Me and my brother Joshua, who is in the Army, spent whatever free time we could together trying to come up with something. He was on leave for Christmas and New Years and we pretty much spent the whole time cracking out what we could.
Both of us are novices when it comes to full on unity game development. I'm a programmer by trade, I research Synthetic Intelligence for an English start-up in Spain but I'm American. My brother, as I said, is a Sergeant in the Army, who has done some modeling like 10 years ago in high school. So between both of our work, the crazy crypto trading week, helping my grandparents move, our relatively weak skill set compared to the competition (and let me say some of you guys have some damn beautiful art), and the ever increasing sense of urgency with the impending deadline, it's been a hell of an adventure and I wanted to update everything after most of it was done. We saved some footage and screenshots while we worked.
So we knew there was no way in hell we could go toe to toe with some of these artists, we had to think like guerrillas. We had to design around our own advantages and skill sets and patch any holes in our weaknesses as a team with assets from the asset store. We both wanted to shy away quite a bit from just slapping assets from the store into the scene. We felt it detracted quite a bit from our creativity and ability to be unique if that's all we relied on. But if we did that, we were going to have to have a solid plan to even be close to the competition.
We knew right from the start we wanted a story. Something that could be told without to much content but was clear and concise. We threw a couple of ideas around but ultimately landed with a dystopian cyberpunk world devastated by climate change. We wanted to do a lot more with the story but had to settle on a good stopping point because we knew we weren't going to make it if we got too ambitious, (even though this was an ambitious enough project based on our skill set and limited time), so about half of the story was cut out from the beginning.
I won't go into the story too much because I want the final render/play-through to speak for itself, but I'll give a quick overview. Here is the image that gave us the inspiration.
Earth has been devastated by unchecked reckless human development. We have tipped the delicate balance of natures chaotic order. Many nations fall to a series of natural consequences. First weather disasters, they cripple food economies and many of the already vulnerable nations. Violence and terrorism spread from these nations as they become breeding grounds of pure human savagery and the need to survive by any means necessary.
Many semi-stable nations start their own conflicts over these unstable territories and political jockeying over the worlds increasingly important natural resources. War, famine, and now the melting ice caps cripple economies and trust in governments giving rise to radicals from all sides of the political spectrum. Much of the worlds population lives within the range of the rising sea levels and are displaced.
Many libertarian nations spring from this chaos. One such nation, a city state on a slowly disappearing island, makes one desperate cry for help to secure its people and future. It relaxes and removes all rules and regulation for scientific research as well as property grants for those educated and qualified. In return, these qualified scientists must help design, engineer, build and maintain a colossal wall to save the remainder of their city from the slowly encroaching ocean.
The City of Lumina rises to be one of the new scientific power houses of the world and is one of the few nations with any semblance of the world that disappeared. Genetically modified humans, cyborgs, synthetics, and a whole manner of new customs, cultures, and sins, grows and flourishes in Lumina.
However, decades of worsening conditions and complete collapse of all normal life gives rise to a powerful neo-Luddite religious cult bent on exacting vengeance on those who crippled the world.
Our Main character is an assassin for this neo-Luddite cult. I won't go into too much detail of the onscreen story, but the assassin is in a cargo ship being smuggled into Lumina's docks, and his mission is to assassinate a researcher in a night club. A top geneticist for Lumina who has been modifying fetuses so they are born modified rather than elect to be modified in their adult hood. The cult believes this to be wrong considering most of the modifications are purely cosmetic and have nothing to do with the child's health.
Our video will end at the docks when he lands, overlooking Lumina. We figured if we just focus on building only the path he takes, we can avoid a lot of work. The city can be low poly, as he'll never go into it, and what close ups we do have we can make sure and spend our time and skills on to get it to a decent level.
The cargo ship will fly through a busted broken down ocean slum, the edges of Lumina where the ungoverned and those who can't afford to live in Lumina reside. Like the rest of the world, they are just surviving, but now days survival means doing some damn distasteful stuff.
We figured we would fly the cargo ship through the slums using some nice cinematography tricks to get the viewer to focus on some key elements and get them thinking why and how its important. One of the key parts of the story telling I wanted to do was let the viewer fill in the blanks with their imagination. For example, when you think of the Evil Dead, it was scary, but they never showed you the Evil. That's because Bruce Campbell was a student when he made it, he didn't have the budget to make it, and... let's face it, he's a genius. The Evil wasn't scary because of what it looked like, but because of what the viewer thought it PROBABLY looked like. I don't know if he did it on purpose, but I like to think he did.
But that is kind of the guerrilla story telling we try to do in this challenge. We thought, if we could show just enough to the viewer to get their mind racing, just enough to piece all of the story together, in their own head, we might have something capable of competing with the drop dead gorgeous scenes some of you guys are coming up with. But more importantly, we would have something we could be proud of, without taking the easy way out by buying everything or slapping a bunch of post processing effects on it. We wanted our skills to be tested, not our wallets.
Where We Stand
Currently, I'm working by myself. My brother went back a few days ago and we have quite a bit left, but its mostly just tedious detailing of the environment. Not being an artist, I had to pull some programming tricks out of the hat. Most of the environment is just massive copying and pasting, but I made a couple of scripts to add variation to the prefabs that have been copy and pasted.
For example. There is a shipping container village that has slight positional adjustment, random door variation, color variation, and soon wires, ac's, windows, fake logos, and overhangs, all which will just be turned on or off randomly on the prefab and chosen from arrays of textures or prefabs. Super simple script, maybe 100 extra lines total to the current variation script they have on them.
//This little script saves us a whole lot of time. You just set up all the ones you are going to //have close ups of manually, and slap this script with the appropriate vairables on the rest.
//It helps breaks up the symmetry of the original placement. I use a Gradient to save the colors //rather than an array of colors. Just personal preference. I don't choose from the graidient
//just the color keys.
float xVar = Random.Range (-offcenterVariation.x, offcenterVariation.x);
float yVar = Random.Range (-offcenterVariation.y, offcenterVariation.y);
float zVar = Random.Range (-offcenterVariation.z, offcenterVariation.z);
transform.localPosition += new Vector3 (xVar, yVar, zVar);
int fCol = Random.Range (0, connexColorRange.colorKeys.Length);
int sCol = Random.Range (0, connexColorRange.colorKeys.Length);
connexBody.material.color = connexColorRange.colorKeys [fCol].color;
int type = Random.Range (0, doorTypes.Length);
door.GetComponent<Renderer> ().material.mainTexture = doorTypes [type];
door.GetComponent<Renderer> ().material.SetTexture ("_BumpMap", doorTypeNormals[type]);
So to the left you can see about what it comes out to. There appears to be a size limit of some sort for images, so I had to keep it this small sorry if it's hard to see. But all of those doors, they are just pictures I ripped from online images and then I used the perspective tool to correct the angle.
We also used a tool my brother found called Smart Normal. It's browser based, you just upload a file and generate a pretty good normal from it. In fact almost all of our normals were made with this. It has a couple of simple attributes you can edit to get the effect you desire. One of the Sites we got most of our textures from didn't have any normals so my brother went through all the work of making them for each one. Most of the textures we don't even use but we got them just in case and they are useful later on even after the competition as well.
This is one of the perspective corrected doors. It was originally on a container that was turned 45 degrees away from the camera, but I just went in and cut out the door with a lasso tool in Gimp 2.0, then corrected it. Even the windows on the slum buildings I used this method along with a couple from an asset we purchased.
We currently have 4 run down broken buildings, one of which a shot takes place in and then flies out of.
Then we have a church, the container village, a market, and the two slum buildings we will be passing between.
The vines were actually my favorite to make. Its actually just a particle system with a sub-emitter and the particle shader is a leaf shader from speed tree.
We wanted to get a lot more shots of insides of the buildings, but with how long it was taking us to build them we were only going to be able to do this one shot from inside and then a quick pass through the container village for a special shot I won't spoil. Think Blomkamp style. Hoping I can pull it off. Then the camera will cut to the market after some commotion as the ship passes by.
What we have so far, admittedly looks rough still. I need to do a lot of work to get them up to competition level. But I haven't even done any camera post processing effects other than bloom to check the city lights so far. I had to wait for so long for this post and the final camera work because of the massive work load we put our self under. But that's kind of what we do. We never really go for the easy things, you don't learn, it's not fun, and the victory isn't even worth remembering. So we really put ourselves up against the wall and tried to see what tools unity has for us that can make our story pop and the models and art work we currently have interesting and quality enough to watch.
It's important to remember that we will only be seeing models and the scene from good angles and all of the post processing and lighting will be catered to those angles to make it look like one cohesive world. You don't necessarily have to have a full world to make the viewer believe there is a full world. I also still have a lot of detailing to do in terms of making it feel like a real world. Sure there are textures and little lights and stuff. But it's too game like right now. It needs more clutter and garbage and little birds and life and such. I was actually an extra with my cousin and friend for the last Jason Bourne here in Vegas. So I actually have a tiny idea of what they try to put into the movies to make it feel more natural. If only I had the art skills to do that fully. But like I said me and my brother are novices and it's just going to take some time or money, or both, to get there. For now, I have to work with the tools and skills I have.
So In summary, we have just under 11 days left and I still have done zero camera work with cinemachine and timeline. But everything else is almost ready and cinemachine and timeline are actually really easy to use. So it's just down to me filling the background with low quality rubble, rocks and greenery, procedurally placing some garbage every where, making the dock scene, getting some people set up in the shots, and doing some color grading and post processing and shader tweaking. It's going to be rough, but it will get done.
I'm only sleeping like 4 hours a day for this last stretch. But this is the type of stuff I enjoy. There is something about the struggle and journey that is fun. The prize, sure $20,000's is nice, but I've already learned so much about unity and the new tools they are developing and I can see why the independent film community is talking about it. Somewhere before the final submission deadline, I'll have a full walk through of the camera work, some neat tricks I learned with post processing, cinemachine, and timeline overview and the important features that got us our final product. Along with the full call out sheet and everything we used. Including the tools and resources I used to make the theme song for our submission. Still needs a tad bit of mastering, but it's not bad right now.
2nd Update - Camera Day Yay!
So I am super tired but I got a lot done today. Figured out a neat trick to save me loads of time. Originally was going to program a physics based AI for some vehicles that are important to the story, but.... cinemachine dolly and cart tracks are friggin amazing. I've posted at least six hours of live stream footage on my FaceBook of the pretty quick learning curve to pick up cinemachine and timeline. The tools are just really easy to use.
I can't embed them in here for some reason and I'm really tired. So I will just link them for those that want to jump through some of it. Ignore my sleep deprived humor.
OK, time for bed for me, but I'll be up in 4 - 6 hours to knock out some more of this bad boy. All music outside of the timeline song was streamed from Umami's SoundCloud and was just for me to stay awake and work. I was just listening to it, it has nothing to do with my project. If I use the footage for my final actual submission, I'll strip the audio clean and use my own music I'll make with samples.
Oh yeah, and while we are on the subject of copyright, I am going to have to change the name of the city as well. There is apparently a real city/business/experiment call Lumina. Some sort of self sustained full community in a building. So I am not going to be able to use that name unfortunately. I might be able to, but I'm not gonna risk it.