Interactive realtime environment “Collector” that lets you explore remains of a long lost civilization. Originally project was created with Blender, Houdini and Unity. Recently I remade it in Unreal Engine 4, as a base for further experiments and tests.
It is about a nomad traveler on a dying world – exploring ancient ruins of the precursors. Their techno-magic still gives water and life to few precious living things that have survived the collapse of planets terraforming infrastructure. Ancient values – equality between art and technology is visible in the Hydrator unit – which still, after centuries of abandonment, is generating force field that brings water out from the depths of the dry sand. On the opposite side – Collector, shows harsh reality of the survivors – gathering and retrofitting scraps of what remains to survive in the inhospitable environment.
Concept, modeling and programming was all done by my self . Initially everything was put together in “old” Unity renderer as the new HD render pipeline was not production ready during the development of the project (some visual features needed for the concept were not yet implemented or stable). Later I updated project to new HD Render Pipeline – also adding some new effects based on new Visual Effects Graph – such as vectorfield animated particles.
Interactive part gives viewer ability to interact with the piece with a mouse – by moving sideways, viewer can offset the viewpoint on a predefined track or move to the next viewpoint with a click. If left idle – application goes into automatic mode, looping through all viewpoints.
Initially project was made for a gallery exibition, but later I used it and updated it as a part of my Procedural Asset Generation in Houdini research project. You can read all about my efforts and results here.
Recently I remade the demo in Unreal Engine 4 without the interactive part, as a platform for personal experiments and tests. Also I wanted to do a direct comparison of the Unreal Engine pipeline and capabilities vs Unity.
Experimenting with a rainy surface shader.
Walkthrough of the demo with a virtual camera. You can use iPad as a virtual camera – walking around physical space, but looking through screen into the 3d scene and filming like with a real camera.
Recording of the updated HDRP version
Here is a recording of the original experience in Unity “Classic” renderer.
Blender 2.8 Eevee Test
To make things interesting, I alsto tried to recreate the environment in the new Blender 2.8 real-time render engine Eevee. You can read more about this in a blog post.
Eevee is super exciting and promising renderer, but it is still quite raw – it lacks some features. One crucial missing feature needed for this demo, was ability to exclude lights from being visible in volumetrics. Also overall performance when having animated objects and materials was quite terrible and far from real-time (Compared to Unity where I could easily achieve 100 Fps). Nevertheless – Eevee offers the best quality real time viewport rendering of all 3D DCC applications and promises revolutionary new ways of rendering content.