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NiGHTs 3D model (WIP)

Hello! I’m working on a NiGHTs model in Zbrush, which is still a work in progress. Originally, I just wanted to do a couple cool renders w/ Keyshot, but then it dawned on me — wouldn’t it be cool to do a game project involving flight? Sort of replicating the the 2.5D-style used in the original 1996 version of NiGHTS on SEGA Saturn or perhaps maybe doing a more modern free-form flight game in VR? I have ZERO programming skills and don’t own VR equipment (too expensive!), but I heard Unreal Engine is the most artist-friendly of the bunch and has something called blue-prints visual scripting, which still sounds kind of daunting. I just want to jump into the asset creation and build worlds!

Anyway, I figured I’d start a project with the NiGHTs character as a center focus. It would probably keep me interested in further pursuing a Unreal game project. Down the road I could swap out the NiGHTs character if I wanted to go the commercial route or to just do something more original. However, I do have some unique ideas for worlds and a NiGHTs-inspired project gives me a lot of wiggle room in that area because NiGHTs into Dreams is based on dream worlds. Anything goes basically!

I have another project in mind (complete w/ a game doc), but honestly it’s a bit more darker-toned and mature. NiGHTs is very colorful and vivid. Could be a fun project to pursue and I think it would be fun to stick with. However, where exactly do I get started for a game project like this? For starters, I’d just like to get the NiGHTs character flying around in 3D-space. Then I can put in my worlds, props, etc. Does UnrealEngine still use brushes to make levels or is it advised to bring in meshes from 3D Software? I’m pretty well-versed in Maya Student Edition (don’t do subscriptions!), Blender, and ZBrush.

Honestly, I’ve always wanted to work w/ a game engine. The idea of programming frightens me and I don’t know if I have the patience to learn. If I can just start basic and get a character flying around on screen I think it will give me more motivating factor to continue on. Any ideas on where to start exactly?