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SOMIT Episode #03 (04-1987) Developer Log
in Gaming | Wednesday, April 27, 2022 | 20:56

From the progress of my VR project "Stone Oakvalley's Moment In Time" I will start to post some updates on the scenes behind developing this VR experience called "Trespass The Mansion", also known as Episode #03.

Episode #03 [04-1987]
"Trespass The Mansion"

Note: The "Stone Oakvalley's Moment In Time" project deals with 10 episodes, I just randomly chosen Episode #03 as my third focus after Episode #02 and #07 which are also still in production.

Introduction - 27 Apr 2022

This episode is currently very early in the planning/developing stages, but research already began in January 2022. I took a small 1-day break from working with Episode #2 and #7 (since issues there was luckily solved and had moved forward) I wanted to start to prepare some 3d-models (based on found assets on internet, but as always they must be heavily edited and improved by me to reach my intentions).

The story of this episode involves a car, road, landscape, dead trees, scary house mansion, some statues, interior of a hallway, study room and some more. The experience is based on a classic production in the mystery/horror category. Of course since most of my episodes draw inspiration from those productions I do not intend to recreate a full experience as the original ever was. My intention is to play around with a segment and focus on that as a stand-alone VR Experience/Game.

For the moment, I have started editing on a car, but need to replace the interior with a different asset to achieve a bit more details for the first scene of this experience. Since I have worked alot with Unity Terrains the past month, this experience will also be designed and sculpted using my very own VR Editor inside the Oculus Quest 2 headset (check my post about Episode #7 to know more about that one).

For now, this is just some teaser of the elements beeing focused on right now here at Stone Oakvalley Studios!

16 May 2022:

The past weeks was used to study light and shadow baking to understand performance and graphics in general. I added some notes especially about the Lightmap baking procedure which had haunted me for months. My problem is that what matter what I did, the shadows never seemed to bake on objects or on the terrain at all! Very frustrating, but after testing and a lot of baking and waiting, the thing finally produced some results. This will help for performance but also add realism to the objects, as running this on Quest 2 requires us to watch out for realtime shadows and lights and how and if you should use them or not to get the graphics and performance needed for a triple AAA-game like experience :-)

In other news, my VR editor needed some code change to support an array of terrains as my previous version only worked with a single terrain. This will take some days to get coded correctly, but so far its working great!

I'm one step closer to actually start design levels inside Quest 2, and this editor is also beeing used for Episode #7, but also for future unrevealed Episodes as well.

06 May 2022:

A lot of progress in this project too since last time. Started working on terrain, coloring, car, fence, tree for testing and some code and setup for the graphics performance. It looks really good and is so close to my goal of how I re-imagined this to be when I started working on it a couple of weeks ago already!

The next days and more ahead, I'll work on more models and texturing, finding models (www.polyhaven.com is amazing resource that matches the exact models I need to this particular experience), but I'll also work on my own models or modify some other free models I have downloaded.

The development of this will also use my own VR Editor inside Quest 2 once I have enough objects needed to design the level, just as the plan is for Episode #7 and probably some other undisclosed Episodes yet, stay tuned, I might start prepping and releasing information on those once I have done enough research and starting setting those projects up to in Unity. One of the Episodes is gonna feature snow and skies, so that will be interresting to start working on, as well as some gun mechanics, reloading, scope and experiments using the motion of the Oculus Touch Controller to move the player ahead.

27 Apr 2022:
Obviously, the title says it all. There is a mansion involved, here's a default mansion model that will not look like this in the final, as I have to redesign parts of this quite heavily to fit my source of inspiration.

27 Apr 2022:
Just a small model of an tower, might be used or not. This one is lacking textures already from the original model I downloaded.

27 Apr 2022:
Just a small model of an template wall, got some nice details that might copy and use or not. This one is lacking textures already from the original model I downloaded.

27 Apr 2022:
This statue will probably be modifed a little bit to fit the original source concept.

27 Apr 2022:
This one has incredible details, also found on Internet. I might use the pidestal or maybe just the heads, who knows.

27 Apr 2022:
These two models was downloaded and found in the 3D warehouse sketchup site and was in this stupid .dae format. Not to mention the horrible .skp format that almost no software can convert properly (except Unity!)

So, they were loaded into Unity, then exported back to .fbx format (brilliant) and then loaded straight into Lightwave without any polygon errors.

But, the original model has bad surface naming, double-up polygons or other (conversion?) errors and lacks some details for the interior, so I found an amazing detailed car interior also on the same website. They both have no good textures or none at all, so I have to do that on my own.

29 Apr 2022:
Managed to merge in a new interior with much more details.

29 Apr 2022:
Finally got up an new Unity project running so I can be inside the car to check if this is something that I expected it to be. Naturally, the textures are all messed up at this point as well as the overall graphics.

The landscape is from my Episode #7.

30 Apr 2022:
First scene setup with a terrain, skybox, nice dusk environment and most importantly a better view from the front seat of the current car in testing. Added also some trees for effect and testing.

01 May 2022:
Starting to add textures to the car based off photos found on internet.

03 May 2022:
Even more textures applied.

06 May 2022:
Starting texturing a cranky old fence that is crucial to the atmosphere I'm trying to re-imagine.

06 May 2022:
Another screenshot of the current test scene in Unity. I'm really happy with the dusk color as this is an horror/mystery experience and should match the original inspiration as much as possible naturally.

There's even a new car now!

06 May 2022:
Looks like the first car I stared modifying and texturing was really a bad model found on internet. It had multiple polygon problems as well as bad design. The door was like 1 pixel thick!

I must have a proper door that can be opened, as the first scene of the experience really needs that!

So, went ahead and dug deeper into internet and found this Chevelle Chevrolet which had a couple of textures and most polygon wise was pretty much okey. I will have to re-do almost all of the textures/uv-mapping, add effects, animation and improve some details here and there to match my expectations.

16 May 2022:
After experimenting and investigating how the Baked Lightmaps works in Unity for a whole week, I finally managed to understand how it worked and how to check if it really works :-)

Unity has a Lightmap view function and the idea here is that the checkered plates here are small enough to actually bake the shadows in. If they are too big, expect almost no effect at all, so had to tweak that resolution until if was showing some actual shadows becoming baked not only for the "static" objects but also against eachother and most importantly the gigantic terrain!

For the object, I went into "Lightmapping" and adjusted the values of normal "1" into other values and watching it realtime update using the Lightmap preview function.

Clues I noted down to get it right was:
1: Light should be Directional with "Baked "option set.
2: Intensity and Bounce must be 1.
3: Objects and Terrain should be "Static", but only the "Contribute GI" and "Reflection Probe Static" should be tagged, otherwise the objects could not be moved by my editor for instance!

16 May 2022:
The settings used to get the results as shown to the right. Lightning should be "Baked Indirect" and the Ambient Occlusion turned on, otherwise the rest of settings are basically the quality and resoluton of the final bake (which all comes down to how long you want to wait).

16 May 2022:
Finally after 20minutes of baking and moving object I could FINALLY see that the terrain picked up that and was really showing a baked shadow map of the wooden stub I moved away.

Other things I learned from this:
1: My terrain was gigantic and thus the highest resolution even was not enough to even show faints blobby shadows, so in this test I scaled down the terrain to 50% of its original size. But, that is a problem, because naturally your 1:1 landscape won't be realistic anymore.
2: Solution was to break the terrain into 14 equal pieces, which I could now increase the resolution for textures and sculpting purposes as the triangle was 14 times smaller. That helps with more detailed sculpting and painting of textures as well as baking shadows onto its texturemap!
3: For terrain splitting I used a small tool/script called "Dvornik".

24 May 2022:
Spent last days slowly modifying a mansion 3d model which had a lot of polygon issue and bugs, getting progress on that cleanup and to isolate the different surfaces/textures needed. It will also be adjusted in width/length and the entire entry area redesigned to fit my goal.

Posted by: GameDeveloper, Stone Oakvalley | Publisher: Website Designer, Stone Oakvalley
Last revised: August 25, 2022 - 21:13 | Page views: 109

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