I’m new to working with Unreal and want to learn as quickly as possible so I can spend most of next year working on a special project.
**A quick overview of the intention behind the project: ** *Warning, long post, but potentially good read for some. *
I grew up in the jungles of Sarawak, Borneo (East Malaysia) where my mother’s people the Lun Bawang are indigenous.
A few years ago I returned after 20 years away, where I learned that government policy is that if indigenous people are not using their land to live or to farm, its taken from them.
As work and education opportunities are in town (hours away) the only option is to farm and cash crops are the obvious choice. Palm Oil being the best option as its in such high demand by the west and pays mega bucks.
If you don’t know about the palm oil industry I recommend a quick google.
My family are custodians to 2000 acres of ancient jungle, as are many other families, to similar portions of land.
My uncle explained we now have to start dividing the land up amongst the family and doing something with it or we will begin to lose it.
My uncle suggested we start to grow palm oil. I could not accept that and committed myself to finding an alternative option.
I came across a place called Green School in Bali and knew that this is what I wanted to do.
The concept is pretty simple. Use traditional materials with modern architectural design and farming techniques like aquaponics, vertical farms and permaculture to re imagine the village and return to inhabiting the jungle while still remaining connected to the outside world through technology.
I want to use Unreal Engine to create my vision and present it to my family as a game, that can also be experienced in Virtual Reality.
Approaching this as an interactive and gamified experience means the younger generation who have little connection to their roots these days can engage with it in a way that makes total sense to them.
If this is successful on a small scale, then I plan to expand it for other cultures around the world, whose identities and land are still relatively intact.
As much as it will benefit indigenous communities it will also show the western world where all the abundance is as there is.
I believe a project like this will help to enlighten those who think we have a population or food crisis.
We have neither. Cities are overpopulated, earth is empty.
We have a serious resource management crisis not a food crisis.
20% of the lands surface is indigenous and 80% of the planet’s biodiversity is contained within that 20%.
We could easily end poverty, hunger, homelessness, even support refugees in just a few years if we chose to inhabit jungle instead of cutting it down.
So for me the future of planet earth is super promising but humanity needs to know what a future earth would look like and how it can be achieved.
I plan to lead by example, learn the skills necessary to communicate my vision, and hopefully, maybe, start a little bit of a movement which all begins on this forum.
**So here are my questions to you: **
a) Should learning 3D modelling in Blender be my first priority. Modelling as many things I think I’ll need first like rocks, native trees, animals with the main asset being bamboo and then start learning Unreal or
b) Should I do what I can with existing online assets first as placeholders and learn to model things as I need them?
I’ve come to realise Unreal is pretty bare when it comes to its native assets and it looks like I need extra things to do a really great job.
Can you recommend the list of essential tools I’ll need for quality production of the environments I’m trying to create, this includes avatar creations.
It seems like these are essetnails so far:
- Blender for 3d modelling (can blender do sculpting like Z-brush?)
- World Machine for terrains
- *bump map plugin thing (note sure of name)
It seems Blueprint is an essential development tool to Unreal. Should I develop a strong understanding of this early or save that for a few months into learning?
I want what I create to be available on web, tablets, phones and in VR. Do I need to create something separately for each device or is it just a matter of making some export adjustments for each build?
If there is any advice you can give me on my journey that you wish someone had given you in your early days please let me know.
If there are any developers/artists/modellers interested in collaborating on something either because you’re passionate about indigenous issues, the environment or just want to explore socially conscious ways in which a game engine can be applied other than the obvious or just want a cool project for your portfolio please let me know. If a complete team comes out of this then we could get this project sponsored through channels I have.
Right now, I’m just one person wanting to learn some new skills as quickly as possible to help protect my ancestral land and inspire other cultures to do the same.
If I have some help, who knows what might be possible.
Deep thanks to the community here for your help.
Here is some shots to help you visualise the project:
Some of the 2000 acres of our land:
How we used to live once upon a time, amongst the tree tops, with everything we need freely and abundantly available from the land:
How I envisage our new and improved village to look:
What I’m trying to stop from happening: