[WIP] Ancient Cistern

I wanted to create an environment to put on the marketplace because i learned a lot of what i know by deconstructing and dissecting other people’s work.

So a while back i started working on an Ancient Cistern which will make heavy use of tessellation and vertex painting for extra detail but will be setup in a way that can be utilized with realistic game play performance goals in mind.

A Cistern is basically a water storage tank but in ancient times the Romans created huge underground Cisterns which were ornately decorated. This environment is loosely based on the Basilica Cistern but i am not restricting myself with only using roman style architecture and decorations, it will be a mixture of styles.

The final product will have both a VR mode and a standard mode.

There seems to be a slight stutter in the video which must have been caused by YouTube’s processing.


Looks awesome! I really like the mood you get when you watch the video.

Thank you!

Seems awesome! I really like the high detail of water!

Superb work, I remember your early WIP of this. Well done! =)

Thanks! It’s come a long way since i started, and now i need to finish the actual cistern area of the environment since this is just the entry way :slight_smile:

Wow that looks superb. Fire looks kind of out of place imo, quality wise compared to everything else.


Yeah, the fire is just the default particle system that Epic provides in their samples, i already have a replacement for it I’m working on which uses my new depth offset video material with a flip book fallback combined with a particle system, looks amazing so far.

I may eventually utilize one of the Nvidia GameWorks integrations like Flex or Turbulence for the final fire effect though.

I also need to fix the transparency depth sorting issues with the cobbwebs behind the fog.

Looks great! The Tessellation is adding kind of an organic look. Really like that.

That’s a really beautiful scene, lots of attention to detail, loving every bit of it, materials, lighting, particle FX, all the little touches here and there -like the vines- make for a great composition!

Wow man, that’s solid work!

Only nitpicks I can think of:

The movement of the flame lighting from the torches on the walls feels slightly off to me -It feels like the lamp texture goes from lit to unlit, I think if it was a bit lower contrast to that even the darker sections were still somewhat lit it would sell it more. If you study scenes lit by flame it’s surprising how soft and uniform it is in many ways. Other than that detail the lighting is spot on.

Some more variation in leaf size on the vine might sell the scale of the scene a bit more: I love how well the large leaves read at a distance but if you got some smaller leaves in there as well I think it would make the space feel larger. That foliage also kinda begs for some subtle movement, you do a great job of selling the atmosphere around there with the particle effects so I think if those leaves swayed in the wind just a little it would really bring together that sense of open airiness pouring through the skylight above.

The scene is very amazing!! Good job man!
The bloom is too much for me in some scenes.

Thanks for the comments!

Here are a few quick In-Engine Asset Turn-Tables using strictly HDRI lighting - Each Turn-Table is 30 seconds so you can scrub through them if you like.

All detail is created using Tessellated Displacement.

Wowzers!!! Who would have thought a spot where **** goes would be so beautiful? The actual SHAPE of the overall environment may be a simple layout, but the materials and models are so beautiful, so well done that it creates a mood unto itself!!! :slight_smile:

Thanks! :smiley:

So i finally created a new solution for my torch fire using a method i came up with that i haven’t seen used before - Here is a quick video demonstration.

I have the video switch between Lit, Unlit and Wireframe back to Lit to give a better idea of how the fire works.

1080P @ 60fps

Looking very cool!! has it all. Great Stuff!!!. Just wondering about your lighting setup within your scene. Do you need to close it all off so the light doesn’t leak.
Did you create some ceiling/roof for your scene as well? I couldn’t see it in wire frame. I’m currently doing more like sidescroller thing more like hallway thing
but I guess you would need something blocking light (leaking) like ceiling/roof. Is there any news on 4.9 Advanced Mat Pack update submitted?

This looks awesome, Love the mood in this environment. Great work! :slight_smile:


So when i create environment interiors i always enclose them inside subtractive BSP structures, this helps culling and in this case helped get rid of Light Bleed.

I encompass the entire environment within a BSP cube with an unlit black material then carve out the environment structure with subtractive BSP and create openings in the BSP where i want the light to come through (the shaft in the ceiling)

For this particular environment, other than a few spot lights and the light from the torches, i’m only using a single dominant directional with high indirect value to light the entire environment which helps give it it’s look.

Your work just on 5 stars!
Sexy parallax displace. Particles looks like natural. Nice geometry composition.
I think, Epic must add section AAA in Marketplace.
Because Unreal Engine 4 is always associated with high quality and polished products.
And your content it’s must be in this category.
Only five stars!