Shinjuku in Neon is an imagination of what could be; based on an exploration of Tokyo, informed by 'Expectation' Vs 'Reality.'
Shinjuku High-Street reforms the lost connection between the people and the city. Focusing on the Otaku (geek) culture which caters to a large user group of people between the ages of 20 to late 40s in Japan. The proposal emphasizes the over-the-top performance of the Robot Restaurant and places it above ground.
The final visualizations show a Hatsune Miku Vocaloid concert, a projected animated character performs whilst the synthesized Vocaloid software sings. Vocaloid characters are very popular with the Cosplay Otaku, and event such as this would flood the space with color and and energy provided from the audience themselves.
The project forms part of my thesis submission for an MA in Architecture at the Oxford School of Architecture. I am part of the Design Studio OxfordDS6.
Credits; Thomas Cheek (Modelling and Concept Design), Ant Andrews (Video editing), and Rob Dutton (Article editing).
You can play the game online using this link here: https://tcheek.itch.io/shinjuku-high-street-neon-challange.
Site Photo and Context - Shinjuku, Tokyo:
Context Building and Site Modelling:
I used SketchUp as my modelling program before exporting the project into Unity. Using 3D Ripper and Google Earth 6 I was lucky to be able to rip the context buildings with some textures. I felt I had to model the neon signs and lamp posts in order to recreate the atmosphere of the area.
This diagram illustrates modern Japanese architectural culture stripped down to its signs. Unlike western society, businesses behind the signs are arranged not only horizontally but also vertically.
A subterranean shopping mall sits beneath the site and is incredibly dull and depressing with no natural light. Similar to Comic Conventions it is important to consider why atmosphere of a place isn’t being considered as part of the shopping experience.
The model explores the physical connections between one side of the street and another. The key elements of the proposal re-connect people to part of the city where an 8 lane road restricted flow, views and interaction between people. In addition, the bridge links the existing 1st and 2nd floor shops to provide a better shopping experience, whilst creating playful spaces for events and performance leading to a central stage.
Unity Assets and Helpful Tutorials:
Blending probes were used to calculate reflections, however this greatly slows down the process of production due to baking calculations taking place during the modelling process. This was resolved by turning them off and reinstating them for rendering each scene. The video tutorial below shows how they were created for the project as well as setting up a day and night cycle.
Use of Timeline, Post Possessing Stack, Cinemachine and Unity Recorder:
Timeline was used to set the positions of the cameras and create the movement path between each position as a means of animating the cameras. Postprocessing stack was used to add filters to these, such as bloom and ambient occlusion which were applied to enhance the atmosphere. Cinemachine tends to focus on a moving character and as the model is largely static buildings, Cinemachine was not used to its full advantage. However the transitions and blends between scenes proved to be of use as a result of attaching the 'cinemachine brain' to the cameras. Unity recorder was added to the timeline and turned down to 30fps to save time. It was a pleasant surprise this outputted a reasonably small video file of high quality. Although the Unity tutorials mentioned in the briefing description offered some incite on how to set and use these assets Brackeys tutorials proved to be the most helpful for this process.
UnityConstraints - Used for Face-me characters and this script
MegaGrab - Used for Screen Capture of Perspective Image
Sonic Ether Natural Bloom and Dirty Lens - Plugin used to illuminate Neon Lights
Lowpoly Trees and Grasses - Life is just better with trees