Environment Design: Planning and Blockout


In the first week, our team was assigned the theme of blacksmith and feudal japan. We soon took to making a group chat for us all to ask questions and share our progress with the team, the first order of business was for us all to try and figure out what we wanted to do in a practical sense. We all met up and started spitballing the idea of having a very large industrial blacksmith, but didn’t decide on this as we found it did not fit the Japanese theme very well.

We really wanted to explore the theme so I went off and did some research into the history, and why their structures looked the way they did, by renting books from the library and watching youtube videos: www.youtube.com. (n.d.). ‘The Reluctant Master’: Sasuke 佐助 – famous Japanese blacksmith. [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6CdmgXUa6d8 [Accessed 4 May 2022]. As a group, we all had a big interest in Japan from the start and so we had quite a high base of knowledge. We each had sections we particularly liked and, I believe, this is demonstrated in our hero assets and set design. I take a big personal interest in tea sets so I chose the area that I would decorate to be the outside of the blacksmith with a tea set, as well as the building itself.

As we were a little divided, we made a mood board for the theme to try and gather photo references before exploring more ideas. Link to moodboard: https://pin.it/5cEmnxL . On looking at pictures which were more focused on Japanese structures, we settled on an idea of a small one or two-roomed blacksmith that was quite open. We liked this idea a lot more as it allowed us to evenly share who was doing what in the modelling, so that no one was left with a disproportionally large task to do.

Here is some concept art of some of the original ideas and a better drawn final:

These were the first sketches I did to try and figure out how the building would look, I had to scrap some as they were either too complex for my ability to be realistic, or they didn’t fit the Japanese theme very well.

I then picked out this wooden design as I thought it would be within my capabilities while looking very effective and, in Japanese blacksmiths, they would often be built out of wood so it helps convey that feudal look.

This is the rough design of the chosen building and what I wanted around it, as that was my area to make. I wanted to make it very open yet look like a real used area, so it had elements of mess with the used tea set, tools on the floor, dirt and furnace.


To help conceptualisation of the blacksmith I went into Unreal with my teammates around me and started to make some rough blackouts based on my initial designs to properly visualise them. This was also a good opportunity to get more practice with Unreal as a tool. I made the blackouts using basic shapes and using scale, move, and rotate to create a basic look.

I made this basic outline using basic cubes and reshaped them, I then added an object that stands for everyone’s hero piece and the area they will work on.

( I am the green cube)

I then noticed this was too small so I scaled the project up so that when it was time to model for real, it would be easier to look around.

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