Building a better bridge
The biggest issue with my level at this point was actually testing it and making sure it worked as a level. In order to do that, I need to ‘fence in’ the level and put up walls to contain the playing area. I started to put up fences, but as I was doing that, I got distracted by still quiet poor looking tunnel where my portals were. As a result, I added some meshes to them to make them look a bit more passable. I still have to work with them, but the new meshes conceal the edges of the fluid surface portal and clean things up a bit.
We are experiencing technical difficulties
UDK had been yelling at me since I first started the level since I did not have a LightImportanceVolume, so I decided to quickly plop one down around my level to fix that and possibly speed up building lighting. That was a terrible idea. It immediately screwed up my lights by seeming arbitrarily making some of them about 10 times as bright as they should be when baked. Not when per-computed before baking though, only when baked. I tried adjusting them and deleting and replace them but it didn’t fix the issue. In the end, I simply removed the LightImportanceVolume, since it wasn’t worth bothering with the volume when it didn’t affect lighting build time that much.
The area behind the shops is simply an alley with some side fenced off side areas. I added some walls to create this back area and added some chain-link fence to create some empty lot looking areas. Since I didn’t want there to be two identical looking empty lot areas, on one side, I added a fenced-off areas to look like a power sub-station and some pipes to a building, which gave some variation to the two sides.
Crummy parks, empty buildings… worst. neighborhood. ever.
One idea that I had that I though would be cool, is to have a shoot-out in a park… IN A VIDEO GAME (not in real life, that’d be crazy talk)! So, I had an idea to add a little park or garden area in front of the big building/capital/office to the south. So, I started out by adding some walls, and then placing trees (sort of, UDK doesn’t have trees but it does have some burnt stumps) in it. I had to adjust the placement of the trees several time to deiced exactly how long I wanted the park area to be, but eventually I had a good area that could work out, especially when I add some flowers and little garden stuff around.
At this point, I was at a sort of dead-end. I needed to decide exactly what to do with the building since I still hadn’t decided what it was and what its structure was going to look like. I started out trying to add some steps and a little raised patio area, but that ended up looking dumb, so I scraped that and just threw up a wall for the front of the building. I still wanted a raise area though, so I built a little covered entry way in front of the building that wound up not looking too bad.
I had idea for a multi-story building and although I wasn’t sure if I wanted to add more rooms or something, I started to construct the central room. I added a basic floor, some walls, stairs, etc. and I added an imposing looking statue, since the room was theoretically a lobby and needed some central decoration. It was becoming abundantly clearthat this wasn’t going anywhere though. The multi-story set-up meant that players could see over the walls at the edge of my level, meaning that I’d have to populate a larger area with good looking buildings rather then being able to just add simpler buildings in areas where players can’t see. The top floor was also pointless since It had no draw and was too exposed for any player to want to move up to it. Over all I didn’t have any good plan for the area and it showed.
I decided the best way to use it might be to not use it at all. I still needed to add a portal in this area, so rather then putting it inside the building somewhere, I put it into the doorway of the building. This means that the building is nice eye candy but doesn’t have an interior area. My level will probably already be more then large enough once it is duplicated several time anyways so I didn’t really need another building.
End of the day
At the end of the day, I had a fenced in level area with most walk-able areas placed. I still need to finish my train station area and the basic design of the level sections will be finished and test-able.