Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Cory Zicolella 11/1 - 11/15

Well, for these last two weeks for me, honestly it's been rather straight forward.  I've been working almost exclusively on the ball hero asset, as it is probably the one thing you (should) always be looking at.  I ran into some issues between weeks, and have since addressed them so the current model is in about as best shape as it can be.

Originally, a big worry was the style of the ball and the polycount that both Unreal 4 and the Vive could handle.  It was decided that the base primitive would be a quadball set to 25/25/25 subdivisions.  Given that it is a spherical object that could potentially be in the player's face, the ball required much hard-modeled detail.  Not only will a normal map not be able to accomplish what a mesh can, specifically in VR and in your face, normal maps tend to not work at all and look bad.  So, my first pass of the ball had about 90,000 tris when all edge loops were placed where they needed to be; this isn't simply a circle, it has plates on it, and without edge loops, it looked less than desirable.

Personally, worrying that this high of a polycount would be an issue in the future, and needed to address some other issues the team had anyway when I brought it back to critique, I started from the drawing board.  This time, the quadball base was only 15/15/15 subdivs, I made certain to turn on symmetry so the model would look identical on all sides, and I used half as many edge loops.  Unsmoothed, the ball was 36,000 and smoothed, it was about 50,000.  Plus, I made it in about 3/4 of the time.  Noticing that I increased efficiency by effectively 50%, I decided that this was a good design on the ball, and the team liked it as well.
(I hate maya nothing will render for me more than a corner of the window.  Same with any orthographic views.  I haven't been able to fix it.  Here's viewports.)

Side View

Front View

Bottom View

Top View - the center is a pane of glass

From there, I took to RoadKill, recommended by Mike C., to do the unwrapping--this came with its own set of difficulties however.  I needed to learn the program, and also in my initial trial it wasn't functioning correctly.  After conferencing with Mike over a sample object with screen sharing, I got it down and got to unwrapping.  This program really really enjoyed making a bunch of edits where I didn't choose it to, though, so plenty of time went into damage control and making sure the UVs were as good as they could be.  That being said, RoadKill still seemed to think my entire ball's textures would be stretched out (as per the colormap), so I brought it into Maya to check, ran some tests, showed it to the group, and agreed it was okay for texturing.

Green = Good, Red= tight, Blue = stretched. But Maya's checkerboard revealed it was OK.
On another note, RoadKill is like UV layout, so that's cool.
Maya's Colormap UV - not nearly as bad

So we moved forward with a base texture on the ball of tiled fiberglass, topped with some grime and scratched glass to give the aesthetic we're trying to capture.  Moving forward this can definitely be refined, and the plan is to have the centerpiece as an emissive that fades away and acts as a visual shot clock to the player.  The glassed area will also show the team logo the player is on, and the ball will be accented with colors accordingly.

That was the main amount of my work this week, but I also edited together the video draft for my group.  That took a few hours, and aside from running into capture issues with attempting to get widescreen (which after some efforts we had to get to work on editing the mirrored footage), but I believe it came out well.  This is just a rough trailer and it can most definitely be refined in the future.


  • Alot of work got done in this last sprint, and I'm happy about it
  • Managed to cut poly count in half
  • Learned a new program
  • Finally got to do some video editing (!!)
  • This week displayed alot of teamwork
  • Alot of work takes ALOT of time
  • Other classes are really becoming a bother right about now
  • 7/11 still has subpar food, but hey its open after 11pm
  • I basically made an asset and entirely recreated it as it was finished

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