When it came to building the Abbey for our concept a lot of the concept work was done for us regarding the architecture and layout of the site. While we adjusted the landscape or some of the buildings for our level to heighten the atmosphere and mood we heavily referenced the material given to us by the British Library as well as reference from other examples of Gothic architecture (which you can find here if you're interested) and our own concepts. It was the task of myself, Kit, to model the Abbey and Ewan, who'll be writing after me, and Ben created the crypt and cloister respectively.
Like I said, I was tasked with the creating tileset for the abbey. We wanted to keep as close to the real abbey as possible however we felt the our level would work better with a more enclosed Abbey which was less derelict than it is today to help create a much more intimidating and moody environment. First things first we took some shots from Google street view and began to look at the architecture of the site as a team we looked at other examples of Gothic architecture to better understand the features and building techniques of the style. From there we were able to easily understand how to modulate the existing building alongside our own additions to quickly recreate the site as we wanted in Cryengine.
After this I did some very basic paint overs to work out what we wanted our version to look like and combined this with or existing concept work by the team to better get a sense of how the architecture would work in-game.
With everyone comfortable with the concepts and the art direction I began constructing the modular assets in Max. Below you can see the abbey walls and roof tileset, Ben ended up doing the large transept end walls.
Underneath is an early screenshot showcasing how the tileset fits together in engine before adding the roof or adjusting any of the textures or lighting which. Below that is as the Abbey exists in our current build.
Hi guys, Ewan here, and as Kit said it was my job to model the crypt and at by now you've probably asked yourself "but I didn't think Whitby has a crypt?" and you're right, it doesn't. While we've stuck as close as we could to the existing abbey we were always ready to make changes from reality if we felt it pushed the mood we were going for and the crypt is definitely a quintessential part of the atmosphere we're creating. This left me with a unique challenge, with no crypt to reference from the abbey I had to concept the crypt to not only create the mood which was required of it but also fit into the existing architecture of the level. Below are a selection of the concepts created by the team of what we wanted.
With these images in mind I looked at the architecture of existing crypts and similar to Kit broke them down into modular elements we could implement into engine. I broke it down into three pieces, the pillars, the ceiling and the boss. Knowing what I need to create I looked at Whitby Abbey's and took out the key features I felt would make the crypt fit in architecturally, such as the multiple cylinders if the pillars which continues into the vaulted archways and this ultimately became the basis for the crypt design you can see here.
While I didn't model cloister the same idea of striking the balance of what we needed versus what existed was also something Ben had to tackle. We felt what was there could really be exaggerated to really drive home the Gothic feel of the environment. Again it was also a case of looking at what existed on site to make our new cloister area fit with what we already had to create an architectural continuity between areas. We also needed some of the most recognisable features of the cloister as it is to make people instantly realise where they are so we kept the center statue and manor house with a few minor tweaks to them.
After this it was a simple case of deconstructing assets to create the derelict and abandoned aesthetic of the level. All the changes we've made to the existing buildings and non existing have helped to heighten the atmosphere and the experience the player receives when going through our level. I feel we've struck a great balance between our interpretation of Whitby abbey's architectural features as to how it is in reality.