View Full Version : Environment: Wartorn Valley

01 January 2008, 10:45 PM
Hey everyone
This is going to be one of my Demo Reel pieces, and i would love to get some critique on it and hopefully improve it.

The Environment will be broken into Key models in XSI|Softimage and put together in Sandbox (Crysis)

It consists of a valley, with one team starting on the ridge above a foresty area and the other team starting on the opposite ridge above a lake & desimated village. In the middle of the valley runs a split gorge/river that creates an island-like piece of land which will be an area of heavy contention. Buildings scattered across this piece provide cover from long distance fighters while providing a dynamic playfield for close quarters fighters.

The buildings, monuments, and ruins are in a fantasy setting while still grounded in a earthy mythology with a bizantinian feel.

First I'll post some concept art, and a level layout of it then move on to the first building, which is busy sliding into the southern arm of the river, providing a great sniping spot for long-distance fighters, but leaves them vulnirable to other snipers with any care to look... for the quick sniper, it will be a good way to cross into the other team's area. (in reply)

Concept art:
(without buildings) ( (

Rough Level Layout:

01 January 2008, 10:55 PM
Here is the concept art and views of the Collapsing Building.

Concept Art:


01 January 2008, 03:06 AM
Well I think it is a good concept, and the sketches are good. They give a good idea what kind of look you are going for, and I also like the fact you have a lot of details planned out. Start pumpin some of this out; I'm excited to see where this goes.

01 January 2008, 06:19 AM
thanks for the comments, busy drawing as we speak and have some of the debris modelled out. :D

I'll post em as soon as I have the building block modelled (so they atleast have some sense of proportion) :)

01 January 2008, 04:19 AM
here is the progress i've made so far (working for about an hour or so) with an AmbOcc shader, going to work an hour more and then go to sleep :P

01 January 2008, 07:24 AM
cool sketches, but it seems a bit ambitious

01 January 2008, 11:45 PM
really? i guess it is a little, but i have quite a bit of experience working with level editing tools and i'm absolutely loving sandbox at the moment... the key is just to work at it a day at a time :P

i believe ambition is important in a demo reel anyways, if you don't try to do something challenging; chances are they won't accept it/you
thanks for the comment :)

01 January 2008, 01:35 AM
Hey everybody, hope you all had a productive weekend

as promised, i'm posting what i've finished so far today and i might post again a bit later if I make more progress than expected.

i've finished modelling the bigger parts of the building and next plan on moving to the smaller bits and/or piles of ambiguous junk. After that I definiately need to move on to the textures/normal maps and bang those out as effeiciently as possible

if you guys have any tips on how I should proceed with the debris or suggestions/comments on the rest of it, i'd love to hear em!

01 January 2008, 09:33 PM
Hope you all had a good weekend :)
finished some more on my collapsing building and I plan on moving on to another model while i texture this one.

modeled some more debris and the more defined cracks in the wall... the debris look like mounds with sticks sticking out of em... but as i make the Normal Maps and Textures it'll become more clear (they're piles of junk, bricks, poles, etc.)

02 February 2008, 08:49 AM
Nice I like it, can u show wires?

02 February 2008, 12:09 AM
I'll try to get some of my optomized wires up by next week, i've been working on my 2nd model lately, but i'm running into some problems

i've been trying to make some leaves/branches and i got it to work mostly... but there are these black bars popping up at random one the transparancy matte =/ it only happens one some of the branches, so i know it's not an error with my actual matte

I use XSI|Softimage and usually it's a problem with the optomization in the render engine
i tried cranking up the optomization settings... even all the way up to a hundred reflections/refractions, yet they're still there :(

anyone know what's wrong?
heres an image:

02 February 2008, 01:40 AM
You have a good idea, but I think the key thing you're lacking is reference material.

02 February 2008, 01:59 AM
erm, don't quite get what you mean... sorry

i Do have about 3 GB of reference for just this level if you want to see it ;)


i completely forgot to talk about my concept on this forum XD have this thing posted on another forum as well and lost track :p

The idea is that this valley is now the stage for a battle, but hundreds/thousands of years ago there was another battle... one that is more in line with a Fantasy setting

One race was a humanoid race who survived by building structures to shelter themselves from nature... often destroying any part of the environment that was a threat to them.
The other race are people who grew closer to nature and learned to communicate with their environment to survive (ei. tree people :P)

This valley is where they came to a head and finally wiped each other out. The tree (the one in one of my concept drawings in the first post) is a creation/shrine of the Nature People, the orbs that the tree is grasping is a form of magic that both races descovered in the valley (and turned out to be the catalist for their demise)... the spikes are a magical weapon cast at the tree to destroy it by the people who grew to hate nature.

The level is sort of a play on what's happening today :P with people who want to control nature and people who want to grow closer to it.


This tree i'm modeling now is an attack sent from the "Nature People" to destroy the monument.
It is meant to look a little unnatural, too flowy to be a normal tree while the other trees are naturally grown and look normal...
The roots buldging out of the ground is to show that this tree was sent to destroy the monument, almost as if the tree thrust out of the ground to destroy it

02 February 2008, 12:32 PM
been working on my level inside of Sandbox, testing out how I want the landscape to look
and also worked on my "Deadly Tree" model... since no one could really help me on the black bars problem, i decided to do the branches and leaves in the engine...
i'll either use a trick to do it, or just pull up ground through the tree (right under the mesh) and grow bushes out of the ground :p

the model isn't wonderfully efficient, but that's can come after i've sorted everything out :)

heres the model so far with no leaves:

02 February 2008, 11:23 AM
Im really diggin this! Could we get some wireframes on the buildings?

02 February 2008, 02:21 AM
i'll post those wireframes as soon as i can :) still busy optomizing the mesh

in the mean time, i finished a little of my level in the Sandbox 2 Editor... it looks a bit bare right now, but that's just because I can't figure out how to render textures at long distances in the Editorm so you guys are missing a lot of the textures XD

this is a very rough wip so far:

02 February 2008, 03:02 AM
if you ask me, it would be f'ing sick if you textured it to look exactly like the first picture.

02 February 2008, 06:17 AM
thanks :D and i plan exactly that... i just wish i could get the textures to render at a longer distance, still can't find out how XD

02 February 2008, 08:29 AM
how did you make the tree.
is it loft? the conections looking nice.
is there a special trick?

02 February 2008, 09:56 AM
how did you make the tree.
is it loft? the conections looking nice.
is there a special trick?

no special trick :p just did it by eye
it helps to study lots of trees and how nature interacts :)

Ie. trees reach for the sun, when a branch splits it's because it wants to take advantage of an area that it's not capturing sun from... when it branches out, it's not so much a split, as an extention of the original limb. meaning that the orginal limb keeps going while the branch "branches off" XD so the original stem will keep going straight, but will compensate for the weight of the new branch

i just took this idea and made it a bit less natural (to give it a "spawned" feeling)

02 February 2008, 01:14 PM
thats some nice study.

but how do you make it in max, is it 3DS max btw?
its not just box modeling, is it?

i did this once with lofts, but your conections looking better than what i got...


i read some more of your posts :)
its XSI!
thats interesting. what is the procedure called that you using for modeling the trunks?

02 February 2008, 08:50 PM
what i do, i start at the base with a cube just above the ground
then i take the bottom polygon of the cube, duplicate it then move it down
usually i scale it out a bit, then i take the four sides of the extruded piece annd suplicate those and scale em out again

that's for the base of the tree trunk just so i have polygons to bring out
usually i'll subdivide this 2-4 times to get the shape i want
after i've shaped it to what i think it should look like (or after some reference)
i take 4 polygons from one side of the trunk and scale them up a bit and rotate them a little (only like 2-6 degrees) in the direction i want the branch/root to go then i duplicate them, scale them in about a milimetre

then, i take the move tool and constrain it to move points along the geometry (so i don't move them to wierd places in space) and i round that new duplicated group of polygons into a branch shape

then i take that polygon, rotate a bit more in the direction i want it to go, scale it down a little, then move it far enough to save polygons but the sillouette stays smooth.

then i just repeat the last step till the end

may sound easy, but it's tedious and you have to constantly consider where the branch is going, your sillouette, how a normal tree would work, and the character you want to introduce to the tree

hope this helped :p

02 February 2008, 03:14 PM
sounds like a lot of work,
in MAX there is a function called "LOFT"
you make a line and a circle and difine the circle as shape for the line.

its a realy helpfull tool if you doing trees by hand.
you can also aply mapping, scale, twist and some more stuff.
just google for "loft 3d max" and you will find some nice samples.

02 February 2008, 11:47 PM
XSI can loft too, but for some reason i just like doing it the hard way XD hehe
i originally did my tree with just lofts, but it just looked better when i did it manually *shrugs*

03 March 2008, 11:20 PM
well... i haven't updated for a long while, and i'm very sorry guys... here are some major updates just so you guys know where i'm tugging along:

Collapsing Building:

I'm going to post plenty of updates in the next few days... so stay tuned ;)

03 March 2008, 11:02 AM
heres a waterfall I did for my level, how does it look so far?

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