Monday, 7 July 2014

The Crypt Collapse

     For the crypt collapse I've already talked about getting the baked animation into CryEngine earlier on, which you can read here, but setting up a trigger for the animation and sound was another thing to sort out. I also spent a lot of time in Max with MassFX trying to get the final simulation right and  fixing the animation of those pesky bricks! Below is a phone video of the animation just after I was happy with what MassFX gave me before I tweaked animations and meshes.

     You can see in the video above that there was a lot of work to do in terms of fixing up the keyframes and meshes, the bricks look a bit odd and needed some definition in terms of the larger chunks/clumps of bricks. Along with this it was clear at this point that some particle effects were going to be essential for this aspect of the level. I talked to Elliott and he started to work on those. I spent a lot of time working on editing the meshes and keyframes to make the collapse and everything more real and a bit more of a spectacle. Below is a screenshot from Max showing what I ended up doing to the meshes to create the appearance of a structurally weak area before it collapsed and also create a congruent fit between the collapse roof and the other roofs.


Particle effects where ideal to adding a new layer of depth to the level; bringing in a further sense of motion and life without a large cost to performance. Ironically the place that uses the most particle effects is the Crypt, which atmospherically is the stillest area of the whole level.

In the Crypt particle effects were used not only to add the water dripping from the ceiling but also aid the dramatisation of the pillar collapse. The dust and fine debris added by the particles gives it a larger feeling of realism adding to the overall look of the scene but getting it to all work seamlessly wasn't easy. First off just getting the particles to look correct in the given lighting conditions was a task in itself, but then to have it all trigger at the right time every time to give the desired effect became more of a task than first anticipated. I found that even though the particles where made to trigger at the same time as the collapse they wouldn't always appear when triggered. I seamed that it would only work if they where activated when the player was near to their location, meaning that if you activated the particle at the start of the game with the player at the start location by the time you got  to the particles location and it should be spawning by the set triggers it wouldn't show.

This has been the most temperamental and timely part of getting the particle effects working in engine but now that I think we've got it working it means we can use particle effects to add to the mood and atmosphere built in the separate areas of the level; from the wind on the cliff, the eeriness of the crypt, the drama of the collapse to the calm sanctuary of the abbey interior.


     Here is the video of the final collapse happening, with sound and particles.

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