For environmental design, we were given a group assignment that mainly focuses around creating different spaces in an isolated environment. For this task, we were given the main theme “blacksmiths” and so decided to go for the sub-theme “Fedual Japan”.
As an individual, I’ve always been interested in the visual aesthetics and the cultural and historical meanings behind Japanese folklore, more specifically on demons (most commonly called “Oni” – a type of “Yokai” which is a class supernatural entities and spirits in Japan) and the various techniques used to exorcise them. This inspiration would also play a large role for my Hero asset in 3D asset design.
So we decided on a visual narrative for our Environment which goes as follows:
“we’re planning on setting up our blacksmiths in the aftermath of an demon invasion, The blacksmith’s area will show signs of damage and wear and tear to suggest that the residence is long gone but something was possibly left behind.”
We also decided not to produce an incredibly gory set piece however there will be signs of a struggle throughout the environment for narrative purposes (blood splatters and smashed items etc.).
For set design inspirations, I created a pinterest moodboard for all of us to contribute to: this included old Japanese building structures ( if we ever wanted to model the outside of the blacksmiths ) and different Blacksmith’s equipment as well as japanese blacksmiths and weapons that would’ve been created around the edo period.
Link to Pinterest Board: https://pin.it/1lKyHmM
Designing the Area
When designing my area for the project, I originally planned to have a small plot of land to work with for the final product.
However, due to personal circumstances that affected my other team members, we decided it’d be best for me to work on a much larger scale so they’d work around the project as the main blacksmith’s building wouldn’t be done for a while. So I started working on a design I could make for the outside area. I started off with finding outside inspiration which I found from doing photography.
After gathering a couple of photographs, I was able to come up with two mock up designs for the area that I’d be sculpting as well as potential assets that I’d use in the scene.
These are the main two designs I created, they have a similar layout but I wanted to be able to replicate the isolation surrounding the area. The trees would have added a foreboding tone to the area but in terms of rendering, Unreal Engine would find it difficult to render lighting with large amounts of trees in the area. So instead I went for the alternate design, the hilly area which provided more flat space to work with which would make it easier to add larger structures into the scene.
I also wanted the ‘katana’ area to be a part of the travel up to the blacksmiths so I gave a more small but dedicated area to it near the blacksmith’s plot. Originally in my work, I was going to have broken down walls as part of the environment but difficulties with unreal engine prevented me from adding them. So instead, I created more debris in the surrounding area.
My main game inspiration for these designs comes from a game called Yakuza Ishin which is set within the Bakamatsu period, ahead of the edo period however still relevant as they still used traditional structures at that time. I would like to use some of the smaller details in the areas as well such as paper lanterns and possibly wooden signs as well as implementing wooden structures inside the blacksmith’s home.
SEGA (2014). Yakuza Ishin! Japanese Ver , Available Online: [ https://thatdamnpixel.wordpress.com/2013/09/09/yakuza-ishin-will-be-a-ps4-launch-title-in-japan/ ] [Accessed 27 March. 2022.]
SEGA (2014). Yakuza Ishin! Japanese Ver , Available Online: [ https://www.gematsu.com/2014/01/yakuza-ishin-playstation-4-features-detailed ] [Accessed 27 March. 2022.]
SEGA (2014). Yakuza Ishin! Japanese Ver , Available Online: [ https://alchetron.com/Ry%C5%AB-ga-Gotoku-Ishin! ] [Accessed 27 March. 2022.]