Time Warp – Day 2: We built this city on copyPaste

Station building:

The next thing I wanted to work on was putting in the basic meshes and large obstacles in the level. Once the basic layout is fixed, I can test the level for flow and see if players can find their way and enjoy the level. The two major parts that remain in the level are the station and shops to one side and the large building on the other side. I decided to start with the stations and shops. I started with the stations since it is the largest and most complex building.

UDK does really have any building mesh or pre-fab structures. It has a good number of walls and doors and windows, and such though. As a result, creating a building involves actually building one out of pieces. I constructed my building using the design from my sketches while modifying it to fit the meshes. For example, there are no spiral staircases so I had to use straight stairs.

Little shop of horrors:

Once the station was done, the next step was shops. I already knew I wanted to make them each generally about the same shape, although different size. As such, I mostly had a to build one, and then copy it while altering the proportions. I built a shop similarly to how I built the station. I also wanted to find some meshes to make a counter and some shelves to make the building actual feel like a shop and not an empty room full of nothing. Unfortunately, Unreal 3 does not have shops… at all. As a result, the old adage of designers kicked in, ‘when you don’t have what you need, throw a bunch of similar looking junk together to make it.’ I built a self from cobbling together another mesh.

The stretched texture on the ground was really bothering me, so I did some research into landscapes again and found a better way to set up textures and paint the landscape. That fixed the grass texture but made me wonder if I could paint a tile texture under the shop and not have to use meshes. It turned out rather badly since I couldn’t get a harsh division between textures and two always ran together. The result was the grass bleeding into the til texture and looking awful. If I can get a more harsh transition it might work, otherwise I’ll have to use meshes.

The power of copy-pasta compels you!

Once I had one shop done, the next step was to copy it and adjust its size. The scaling tool worked remarkable well with my groups of meshes (it usually ends in a horrible mess), and although I had to adjust some walls to fit afterwards, the copy-pasting of the shop worked remarkable well.

Walls, buildings, and gates… oh my:

Now that I had the basic structure of the shops, I wanted to put some work into the building in the other section of the map. Although I’m not sure where to put the building yet, I do know that I want a fence or wall in front of it nest to the road. So I found some meshes for walls that had curved and straight sections and plopped them down around the road. I have also found that adding pillars to the joints between wall sections helps to disguise the seem in the meshes so I added them, and some statues (because statues are cool). I also added a big imposing gate to where the entrance will be, but its going to need to be adjusted since the doors don’t look good. I’ll need to add hinges or something since the doors don’t look connected right now.

I’d gotten rather tired with how empty the landscape looked, so I quickly put a bunch of city sections from CarbonFire around (and cursed Epic for not including other meshes from CarbonFire that I need) to add some ambiance of a city.

End of the day

At the end of the day, I had added a station and some shops, a gate for the large building, some decorations, and improved the landscape.
Zipped level File