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VR RACER

 

 

 

This project was my final year University project. It was designed to be split into different areas so there would be a lot of variety in my submission.

 

[WATER SHADER]

The water shader I am very proud of. It was created by looking at a photo I liked and then trying to recreate it. I looked at the photo and found there were several layers to water including a near, far,mid ground and spray. I used depth from the camera to make the far layer, distance to the floor below the material to create the near and middle, sculpting the terrain below to create realistic depths and finally I used a very small depth check for the spray. I also had to add in displacement and I used generated chaos to achieve this. Finally all my textures used in the various layers use two layers that pan with a sin wave, back and forth at different rates to create the randomness. There is also an edge that fades in and out after the spray as a sort of head to the spray created using yet another depth check.

[ROCKS – SLATE]
The rocks were built first as I wanted to construct the environment around them. I wanted something that would work from different angles so designed each side to be different. I tried to make them realistic and I wanted them to slot into each other well so chose slate for its layered appearance. I knew they were for VR so the roughness was the most important part to get right.
The rocks use a blended sand texture that always sits on the top and blends into the rest of the environment using world tiling textures. This means that they can sit anywhere in the scene and blend into other rocks.
[ROCKS – MOUNTAIN]
The mountains were added to reduce the overall number of draw calls, they use two sets of textures and blend between them based on the normal, that way sand sits on the top and rocks appear at the side, I tried to use the techniques used by Call of Duty to create realistic rocks and overall I think I achieved this although I feel I needed more variation in the rocks to get a fully realistic look.
The rocks were my third iteration as the first was with Unreal’s terrain tool and my second was very high poly and required many draw calls (made out of smaller rocks). I didn’t really like the look and made a third and much more complex mountain setup and showed it to a few people. Everyone liked that one best and so I made the rest of the mountains over around month.
[GRASS]
The grass was created by myself and was then setup for use with a dynamic grass tool to place it around the level and manage the grass in memory. This allowed me to have very dense grass that looked very good. In the end, even though it was very well optimised, it was a few too many draw calls (over 200k clusters of grass) and had to be cut down to run at a decent framerate. The grass is setup to blend with the floor and move out of the way and be trampled when the bikes fly over them, Its setup to move away from quite far away and in a large radius as I found that it looks the most satisfying when its setup to be a little larger.
[HOLOGRAMS]
I created holograms to guide the player. They are coloured so they contrast with the scene as the scene follows a compound colour scheme. They are coloured orange because it clashes with the background and that increases visibility. They move to draw the eye and where there is no backdrop for the holograms, I guide the player using other objects such as roads, buoys and also using compositional techniques such as lighter values and placement of other assets.
[DESERT TEMPLE AND START]
The desert temple was created with a large area in mind; this is to allow players to experiment with the controls and learn how to fly, I only included a single object to obstruct the player and I introduce the player to multiple routes. I tried to capture more of the Sci-fi elements by having a mysterious alien looking temple as the rest of the game is very natural looking and it would contrast with that. I also wanted some variation in portfolio images the project would create.
[GRASS AREA]
The grassy area after the desert temple was created to show players that they could interact with the grass. It was designed to be an open and without too much direction, this ended up being a problem in testing as players would not know where to go, to fix this I added a giant holographic sign and a road for the players to follow, plus I raised the end of the temple so the players get a chance to look for the exit before they are in the grass.
[TOWN AREA]
The town was initially a hotel area, it became a town because I could use a few buildings to fill a larger area, and it also plays better with two clear different directions the player can go down. I created 2 buildings and made sure the back was different to the front, this allowed me to have 4 possible combinations of buildings that could overlap to create more variation. The floor was added to help guide the players and because It would look nice. Holograms were also added to guide the player to ensure they knew they could go multiple routes.
[BEACH-TOWN TRANSITION AREA]
This area was based on my initial bamboo forest area which was cut. The layout is the same but it now features palm trees. This area did not incur as many draw calls and so I was able to keep the grass density, it also shows off how my terrain blends into rocks.
[BEACH]
This was the first area designed and utilises my water shader a lot. This is also where I tested rock types for cliffs and walls.
[CAVERN]
The cavern is my favourite area, it shows of a really good composition and had the best blending between rocks and the water and terrain. I am not too keen on the road and feel it could be done better but the player needs guiding through the route and so it is necessary. If you look out over the water you will see the route ahead and this scene shows of the most of my work.
[TUNNEL]
The tunnel was created to create a sense of speed; many items repeat within tunnels and this gives a feeling of speed. There is also a risk vs reward setup here as if you avoid the tunnel and take the beach instead then you will have a longer but easier route which the tunnel is harder to navigate asit’s an enclosed space but the route is shorter, plus you are rewarded with an excellent view from the cavern at the end.
[START AND END POSTS]
The start and end posts both have flags the guide the user. I created a clean area that was quite simple as I wanted it to look new and as if it had been built specifically for the race. I used masked cheap wind effects to create the flowing on the flags and signposts.
[GIVING LIFE TO THE SCENE]
All flags had to flow in the wind, just as the grass did, this provides liveliness to the scene and makes the scene feel alive, the game was supposed to look calm when still and fast when racing, I think I have achieved this through the use of moving parts, the water flows, the grass flows, the flags all flow in the wind.