Wednesday, 29 January 2014

FMP: Icon

Naturally this whole project requires a front and a name. Flags and banners are going to one of the most frequently occurring props, and of course they are often the identity of the building and the owners; so it seems only natural that it should be the logo for this project. There will be more than one design in the level of course, but these designs are for the castle itself.

Given my desire to include animal statues in the level I felt that it should also be included in the design. Lions have always been a symbol of courage and strength throughout culture across different time periods; given their status as the King of the Jungle (despite the fact they live in Savannah and not jungles!) Due to this they are also used as symbols of royalty and stateliness.

Banner shape and icon style ideas

Initially I wanted to have the icon in a style similar to that of the Skyrim holds, for some of them the design was simple yet ever so bold.

Whenever I see the lion used in crests and coat of arms its always the whole body used; and it is altered so the figure is not anatomically correct, like a leaner body figure or a ill-shaped mane. I wished to go for a side view of the head whilst roaring, as a sign of supremacy or dominance. 

These were my original ideas however they do not appear to look correct when compared to the examples I had found during my research. The central icon is always a solid colour with minor markings to define detail and shape. I basically turned these into silhouettes. Furthermore it occurred to me that I could also have heads for the flags, and full bodies for the banners.

Lion head and bodies
Banner designs, this was before I considered using full bodies for banners, heads for flags

FMP Research: Heraldry

Heraldry: a completely new term to me and it is now part of the growing list of castle dictionary I have accumulated, at this rate I could settle for a career as an architect with this knowledge!

It is basically the system of creating coats of arms and other armory bearings, many other terms have a second meaning when it comes to heraldry. For example achievement refers to a full display of a coat of arms components. In general it is called the latter but in the terminology of heraldry its incorrect.

Attitude: it refers to the position of the beast emblazoned, regardless of its role. Many attitudes are used by predators  such as the lion, eagle, griffin and dragon, which are the most common featured beasts. Furthermore the beast may be additionally described by other parts of its body. Such as if its teeth and fangs are bared, if its tongue is out and the positioning of the tail, having the latter between the tail is a sign of a coward etc.

The positioning of the figure in question is also a factor hat has to be considered, my research has shown that all beasts are always facing the viewers left, 'to dexter' as it is officially known. Dexter is the Latin translation of right. whereas sinister is left - this is from the views of the bearer to the shield, so if I were wielding one, the right to me would be the left of whoever was looking at me. Yeah I'll let you get that around your head...

other positions include looking straight at the viewer (affronte)and  looking in the opposite direction as if over its shoulder (regardant).

Several types of attitudes reserved for lions include:

- Rampant: A rearing up position with the front paws raised. The hind legs position varies however as many examples feature them apart as if moving.

- Passant: A striding position facing dexter, with one paw often raised.

- Sejant: In a seating position, if its front arms are raised then it is sejant erect.

- Dormant: The clues in the name, lying down with its eyes closed. This is an odd choice because it doesn't really convoy strength or power it its asleep!

- Salient: A leaping position, its also the rarest for lions. Often reserved for stags and more docile animals featured on crests.

Combine these attitudes with the directions to give the official name for the beast, such as 
Lion Rampant Regardant or Lion Passant Guardant.

Personally the sight of a lion up on its hind legs is the most intimidating so I'm in favor of the rampant position to dexter. Pretty standard yet effective.

FMP: Modelling Updates

Apologies for the big gap since the last post, I've been really getting into the project. I must admit to begin with I abandoned whitebox mode and when straight into finalizing the gatehouse. I didn't bother with an interior for this since it is not the a area worth exploring, its a placeholder as a first line of defense for the front entrance.

Despite not having an interior I had to adjust it because to begin with it was only going to have two stories, ground floor for stairs entrance, however It did not look correct due to the fact that it needed another floor for the mechanism that operates the portcullis, since I haven't modeled it on the top floor. 

Raising the top half of the gatehouse allows more space
for the portcullis and the middle floor in general.

Afterwards I then produced a selection of bridges to connect to the actual castles main gate via drawbridge, I was torn between a couple of designs as I wanted to have an alleyway of statues to give a sense of grandeur and pride. 

Early ideas for entrance bridges and potential statues. 

However I have been rough ideas for the overall layout of the castle, they need to be tweaked and experimented with more until I get a layout that looks suitable.
A couple of ideas

I need to finalize this part quickly because all of my other activities have taken me off course, according to my original schedule I should be putting the whitebox in CryEngine. My work on the gatehouse should have been saved for Week 4, so I plan to finish the whitebox by the weeks end so I can get some feedback and correct it over the weekend. 

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

FMP: Whiteboxing

So it finally begins! I gotten straight underway with structuring the following 16 weeks and working out how much time I will need to tackle everything. Knowing my own work pace I have estimated how long each process should take me, and I hope that I will not have to overun into the next allocated weeks.

So far this week I have began with creating portions of the castle for whiteboxing, I eventually want to put them into CryEngine as soon as possible so I can get a sense of scale for my level. What I've done so far includes:

- four variations of turrets
- two types of arrow slits
- six variations of castle wall merlons

- three castle wall portions with different staircases

Of course these will not be the final versions, they'll be placeholders until I'm satisfied that I have my final layout design figured out.

In addition to this I have been looking for other examples of castle architecture online for some ideas as to how I can make the battlements more unique. The curtain walls and towers will be repeated more than any other modular parts of the castle so it would be ideal if they were more detailed or interesting. 

The most helpful online sources have been models of castles and ones people have built themselves, the most insightful were actually Minas Tirith and Helms Deep, because the author had taken close ups of particular angles of the battlements and towers; exactly what I needed.

Before I build anymore parts, I should begin designing the actual layout of the level so I'll know how many of each part I'll need and what else to whitebox.