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[V.SPACE.R] Bialystok University of Technology

When we started working on our UE4 map durring last summer as students, we thought that the only thing we would get out of it was the fun of doing it.

Now, as IndyGo! Media, a company that formed out of this student project, we are currently virtualizing the entire campus of the Białystok University of Technology. This will be a virtual walk though each important part of the campus, with implemented elements of games and interactions, as well as setting placement. This will allow the university to have the first in our country (maybe even in Europe), games about itself to display on many occasions such as expos, trips to high schools and other events; of course with the use of VR headsets.
We would like to share our journey, which of course is still on its way!

The primary idea was to create a simple virtual walk (Faculty of Architecture) without any kind of interactions, mini games and special effects. It was to be a visually nice looking, simple, but with as much realism as possible – identical colors, forms, and materials. We want to show here complete step-by-step breakdown of our work, so maybe it’ll be helpful for UE beginners:]

This is what the site looks like in real life:

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Our faculty – positioned away from the main campus of the Bialystok University of Technology, the building is surrounded by smaller buildings and trees, located very close to the center of town…

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The first view that our students see when entering the site, enriched with the morning caffeine that just hit the bloodstream :smiley:

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The back door for spies and ninjas.

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The great hall – one large space for basically everything, where the entire magic of the faculty happens. Oh, and as you can see, a very rare sight of empty parking spaces!

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The side façade with its eerie simplicity (distortion for empowering the effect)

The first steps

Before we started work in Unreal, the group had to get acquainted with the free 3d modeling software Blender.

The amazing Bart taught the team everthing they now know from scratch, from simple forms to efficient use of the tool. After two weeks of modeling, we had a complete model of the building of the Architecture Faculty…

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Blender model

The finished model and its way into UE4.

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Model in Unreal Engine.

Bart started to teach the team everything, all of which he learned some time before that :smiley: We started to tinker with things like ligting, shadows, postprocessing, and the most simple interactions. We should highlight another important factor – we started from absolute zero. We had no idea on how to create games, or how to prepare models for the engine. Nothing, nada, zip, zero, null…

And** this forum** proved to be the ultimate guru for us, for which we are greatly gracious!

part 2

The model of the building started to get its colors. We made **textures **and materials that were as realistic as possible.

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By taking a very slow walk around the building, we looked at certain details that were not visible to us before. These little thigs helped us create the realism that this game has.

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Slowly but surely came the next elements – trees, bushes, lamps, benches. We tried to model them out as close to the reals ones as possible, so each and every new detail increased the realism of our project. We learned how to model faster and more efficiently, which improved our workflow.

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In-game menu

The obvious part of the project was to create a menu to play the game. The first solution was a 2d menu with links and simple buttons. This turned out to be a major problem, as the evil Oculus crumpled up our plans for world domination, and proved to us that 2d menus didn’t look good in VR. The menu look awful in stereoscopic view of the oculus rift. The buttons were off-screen, the menu background was distorted, and it was nearly impossible to maneuver through it. But hey! We were not going to give up, were we!

And so… we made a 3D menu – one where the player is placed in an abstract area with levitating menu buttons for interactions. This was a bullseye for us, because Oculus even multiplied the effect of the eerie menu area. Since we had no idea on how to code “clickable items”, we hid the gun and projectile and allowed the user to shoot invisible yet active projectiles that would start events placed in the screen’s blueprints.

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Great work guys, the virtual looks better than the real thing and I really like the menu

Thanks kilon, much appreciated:]

part 3 - Magic Gates - Movement & Water

Apart from the virtual walk, we decided to implement a few interactive elements to our production. To stay in the feel of the game, we decided to reach the climate of the setting which concluded from the architecture classes.

One of the first tasks that students have to complete while studying here is to design a “gate”, which by all means can be a metaphor of something, or may symbolize a given topic. These must fit in a bounding box of 3m x 3m x 3m.

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The building of these gates is an annual tradition, which can be seen in the above photo.

For the purpose of the game, each one of us had to design and model out our own gates, which could be literally anything. Our virtual gates did not have to obey to the** laws of physics**, building costs and any other real world limitations. Each one of the gates has an interaction built into it, with things like animations and the spawning of falling objects. A very important thing to mention, is that these gates also had to symbolize an element such as water, fire, earth, wind, mass, energy, motion and light.

It was the gates that took us the longest amount of time to complete, in particular their special effects such as motion, color change, element spawn, and sound effects. All of this was very complicated and confusing for the team, as this was the very first time that we had to “code” and implement blueprints. Many problems were solved with the trial and error method, others had to be searched in various blogs, tutorials and QAs. We also looked for solutions that could minimize the amount of complexion in these blueprints and schematics.

First, we present to you elements of movement and water:

**
Movement**

Consists of several wooden frames, all forming a regular composition. Each one of these is like a note in a more complex verse of music, all forming a correlative harmony. With the approach of the player, the frames rotate and create an perforated hallway.

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The wilderness of nature, shown with the use of wood, was implemented in the rough and mechanical movement.
First sketches and thoughts. Each team member went through this individually :smiley:

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Water

Irregular and twisted form, its shape was generated with the help of the parametric program Rhinoceros + Grasshopper, which both are incompatible when it comes to parametric architecture and organic forms.

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The form itself looks as if it was rocking in the wind of the ocean breeze. Through the numerous holes in the structure, water falls through in a waterfall manner. Matted chrome material became a very important part as it reflects sunlight and emphasizes water droplets.

part 4 – Magic Gates – Energy & Mass

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These gates were no easier to complete. The authors had to maneuver through many different obstacles in order to achieve their desired forms and special effects. This was not easy, as we wanted the rotating sparks to follow closely behind the rings, and the falling blocks not to drown our player :smiley:

This is our final form ;D

**Energy
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The general idea of the gate was to combine two opposites. By these, we mean the raw power of electricity which forms in the result of atmospheric discharges and the delicate round rings. This general gap between the two used elements was softened by giving them a constant rotation along the z axis. The additional sparks and electric flares gave the gate a unique effect.

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The inspiration used to create this effect came from the “Superman” film from 1980, where on the planet Krypton, General Zod was imprisoned in an untypical arrest. The electromagnetic field illusion was achieved by using a very simple technical method, constant rotation of** two simple rings**.

Old Hollywood magic inspires even after many years: D

Mass
(then strength;))

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At least we finally used the perspective drawing class for something…

The concept came to be as a result of an analysis of the meaning of mass and weight. The first idea was a cube set up in a way that showed its monumentalism and sheer volume – which naturally made us want to use rocks instead. We later decided to simplify the rock geometry and play around by sculpting the faces and adding more detail. To increase the unnatural look, we made the internal faces white and the exterior black. The last element was the addition of falling blocks that was amplified by viewing it in a VR headset.

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They were to fill up a given shape, much like cereal in a bowl. In the end result, we created a massive form that had an avalanche effect of falling blocks.