In terms of collaboration for the project, it was an chaotic experience as in the second half of the project. There were issues with having a consistent deadline as the team members were in different stages of development as well as everyone having personal circumstances that further caused issues with keeping to the same deadline.
Originally the idea was to have a small area outside the blacksmiths which was the area assigned to me during the project’s first stages. The work in the group was split between different areas rather than with different tasks, that way we would be able to learn unreal engine’s variety of tools and also cover more ground with world building and modelling.
When deciding on the sub-theme, we all put down different ideas for what we wanted to work on and we also arranged a meeting to discuss this with members that weren’t able to contribute at the time.
After being given our main theme (Blacksmiths) however, we all decided it’d be interesting to work with feudal japan. As historically, we were curious about the difference between the western and eastern interpretations on blacksmiths as well as the story that we could build up from the themes.
The plan was to only make an outside forge, but due to the lack of space we were sharing between me and another team member; so instead I’d work with the outer area of the forge. This decision also allowed me to have more creative control with the large space I was given.
In order for our area tasks we’d have to work around the blockout. These blockouts were created by Damien to give a better understanding on how our project would be laid out:
However, due to the difference in deadlines I had decided to finish the outside area so the other team members would also be able to work with a completed set of the area whilst still giving them a large enough space to work with. I told this new plan in a meeting which allowed everyone else to focus on their 3D asset work.
Once I finished my piece of the project, I sent off the file to the team members for them to work on their own spaces. This way they’d be able to work around the area that was given to them whilst still keeping in track of my personal deadline.
Damien has created the building itself for the project and so now two other team members are planning on working from the inside and parts of the outside whilst Damien works on the outside forgery surrounding the building. Here are some examples of the inside area of the blacksmiths which was created by one of the team members: Brannon who created the particle and lighting effects, as well as adding their 3D asset into their scene.
In terms of working as a group, it was the main difficulty we faced during the project especially with the setbacks. We managed to solve them through working with different deadlines and on my end, giving them a space to work with.
Our group’s main strength was our creativity, we were able to brainstorm many story and visual ideas together online and in-person. We had many different inspirations that could work into our landscape together and we’d try to bring up as many ideas as possible.
We also had a strong plan on interweaving our 3D asset projects to the environment as well as a visual objective to work towards when creating our world.
If we were to choose any other theme, it’d either be corruption or infection. There weren’t many discussions on choosing another theme than Feudal Japan but if we were to choose either other themes we would work with a makeshift blacksmith that was created by a survivor only for it to be destroyed by the infected, a similar story to our project.
To further improve in my part of the project, I would set the project in a much more darker environment rather than in the morning as the lighting for the landscape would drastically change the tone of the story we were telling.
For the landscape, I would’ve also added more blacksmith weapons and armory around the environment to create a more chaotic area. I’d also add more destruction in the area such as adding fire particles and destroyed items such as walls or objects. I could’ve also added more blacksmith items in the empty space but this would’ve limited the creative space the other team members would’ve had and potentially make the area feel more cluttered.
For the environment as a whole, the landscape would’ve been placed better in a larger mountain / forest area, surrounding the landscape I worked with. This way, the environment would’ve been more claustrophobic and set in a more realistic area. In the future, I want to be able to have the grass and foliage be fully rendered across the landscape. This was more an issue for the video as certain areas would only be fully rendered if I was close enough with the viewport camera.
In conclusion, this group project taught me that communication is vital when it comes to working with the same environment. Our group is able to creatively come up with ideas but executing it as well as time management and planning is an area that we struggled on to work with as a team. Despite the setbacks we faced, we managed to push through the project by setting different deadlines and giving each other different places to work with, giving us an idea on how we’d tackle group projects and communication in the future.