Polycount, a leading community portal for video game artists, hosts a 3D art competition called BRAWL. In the latest contest, artists were charged with bringing to life classic fighting game characters and scenes using today’s high-end graphics tools and technology.
Epic Games Senior Technical Artist Jordan Walker tapped into the muscle of Unreal Engine 3's DirectX 11 feature set to produce a palpable interpretation of E. Honda's bathhouse from Capcom's Street Fighter II. This re-imagined environment took home first place in the 'Stage' category.
When asked what inspired him to recreate this particular scene in the Unreal game engine, Jordan Walker said that he “chose E. Honda’s bathhouse because I played Street Fighter II a lot when I was younger and it’s the stage that stood out to me the most.”
In terms of process, he said, “I first gathered my reference, which ranged from Street Fighter screenshots to photos of actual bathhouses. I then drew quick sketches for layout and to get an idea of what types of objects I would create. I then blocked out the scene in UDK using simple meshes that I refined over the course of the contest. As I added more complex meshes, I incrementally lit the scene. Once all the assets were created and placed, I spent a week refining lighting, post processing and effects.”
“The quick iteration time was extremely useful. Being able to import assets quickly and place them in a short amount of time enabled me to spend most of my time creating art,” he explained. “The material editor combined with the vertex paint tool was extremely helpful in creating interesting surface effects, such as water and grime gathering in localized areas.”
The continual evolution of Unreal Engine systems and game development tools were crucial to Walker’s success as well.
“All of the DirectX 11 additions allowed me to create higher quality visuals,” he said. “My scene was heavily reliant on image-based reflections to sell the idea of realistic tiles and water on the floor. I was also able to utilize Screen Space Sub-Surface Scattering to create realistic looking skin and translucent materials, such as the towels.”
When asked what other Polycount users seemed most impressed with, Walker said, “people are excited about the new DirectX 11 features. They’re very new, so everyone is eager to see them in action.”
And as for his use of UDK, Walker said, “The quick iteration time, monthly updates http://udk.com/news and content-driven workflow make it a great development tool for artists. Being able to create custom materials that are simple and cheap – or extremely complex – makes the engine very useful to artists.”
Naturally, we asked what advice Walker would give to other artists and level designers looking to make high-end content with UDK.
“Plan your work out carefully so you can distribute your time wisely,” he remarked. “Working in layers of detail is very useful. Try to get a basic scene blocked out, and then incrementally update the quality. It will make it much easier to see what areas need to improve and which ones require more time. It’s also helpful to create smaller test scenes as you’re working. I usually have a neutral scene with neutral lighting to view assets and materials in while I work.”
Download UDK to get started making your own scenes with the Unreal Engine 3 toolset. Epic would like to thank Capcom for granting permission to post this content inspired by the legendary Street Fighter franchise.