About the Artist
Environment Modeling
The Lost City of Gaius (Interior)
Software: Photoshop, 3D Studio Max
Platform: Undefined
Class/Project/Team: Designing Interior Spaces and Worlds
When Created: Winter 2010
In the Winter of 2010, I was enrolled in a curious class of dualities: Designing Interior Spaces and Worlds. In this class we were tasked with the endeavor of building two environments, an interior and an exterior, that were connected in some manner. The connection could be as simple as being able to see one environment while standing in the other. Since this was a class focused on the building and construction of environments to be used in games, and we were permitted to use ideas designed in previous courses, I decided to build a pair of environments based upon one of the very first game design documents that I designed for school: an exterior of a city which had fallen beneath the earth during a cataclysmic set of earthquakes, and an interior of one of the public buildings that resides in the city. The city is basically a set of barely-intact ruins sitting upon the edge of a waterfall.

In the exterior environment, the challenge was simple: I wanted to create fully-fledged terrains despite the fact that I didn't have the modeling skill (at the time) to do so. So I created them using height maps. For the interior, I took a much different tactic. I knew that if I chose a similarly ambitious modeling goal, I might not finish the environments in time, so I opted for simple modeling. Lots and lots of simple modeling. My challenge to myself for this interior environment was to create a distinctive style that utilized a limited selection of props, but ones that could be used to entirely populate an area. I wanted to make it looked as if the building was actually used as a set of offices at one time, but was currently worn down and destroyed. The first image, above, showing my layout, was specifically designed based around what I knew my modeling capabilities were. I designed what I knew I could build.

To this end, I settled upon a simple octagon design, for the rooms, for the pillars, for the lanterns, basically as a favored "motif" by the original designers. It gave me something solid to focus upon, even though my classmates and I were pressed for time to create two fully-fledged environments. So, I started out building single props in individual 3DSMax scenes and texturing them there, and then bringing them one by one into the main environment in order to populate the area. Booleans were used to help me break down pillars and architectural elements. The overall color scheme was restricted both because I wanted to create a somber mood and because it helped me to focus on the layout and placement of elements, as well as the use of light in the scene.

Looking back at this environment, from my new perspective at the start of 2013 as I wrap up my degree, I find myself with mixed feelings regarding this environment. I think that, if I were to make it again, I would choose very different tactics and a much more elaborate design, especially where the scene elements that populated the area were concerned. At the time that I made them, I chose speed over finesse, but now I would probably concentrate as much on light, color, and texture to really bring a sense of history and integrity to the scene. It's all about the light!
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