Procedural longhouse and other thoughts…

There were three things that I decided to work on today.

  1. Begin to investigate approaches for procedurally generating components for the longhouse.
  2. Continue to develop the painterly look inside substance painter.
  3. Develop the beginnings of our research book shared amongst the various teams working on this project.

For the procedural aspect of this project, it would be excellent to randomize various sections of the longhouse. That way, we can make some structures shorter and some forms longer and randomize all of the individual components within each section. Elements that could be randomized would include: pot arrangements, throw skins and bed covering positions, firepit configurations, drying food hanging from the ceiling area, and even the posts and support structures. The last would need extra attention so that the hookups would align when the sections are duplicated. We would need 2 main components (see attached): a midsection piece and a vestibule.

These sections would be easy to duplicate.
The major elements that could be randomized.

This Maya plug-in does something similar to what I was thinking. However, since we will have a Houdini expert joining our team, we could perhaps this could be done more effectively (and with more control) in that software.  

Moving on to the texturing, I finished the first pass of resurfacing the interior of the longhouse. Before going back and tweaking what I’ve done so far, I’d like to investigate a way of bringing everything into the Unreal Engine from Substance Painter. There’s a plug-in I purchased a few years ago that exports out entire shading networks to Maya called Substance Live Link (https://gumroad.com/xolotlstudio?sort=page_layout). I hope there’s a way to do something similar for Unreal because this would save a ton of work when hooking up all of the textures and materials. What I really hope exists, is a way of exporting the fully textured model from substance painter into Unreal (so that I can avoid the entire manual setup of the materials completely…but I think that’s just wishful thinking).  

I’m using the base color mode in Substance, so anything that doesn’t have a texture is transparent (reparented by the checker pattern).

There are a few things that still need to be tweaked or missing. The fire logs have older UV’s so it was difficult to get the effect I wanted. I’ll need to export and update that another day. Also, the bed coverings are missing (I temporarily hid them) because the cut maps weren’t working as well as they could be in the display mode I was using. Here’s a slighting choppy flythrough from inside Substance Painter.

Once I get everything into Unreal I need to generate stylized clouds, landscapes, and foliage. I’m also curious to see how the new Lumen lighting tools (https://docs.unrealengine.com/5.0/en-US/RenderingFeatures/Lumen/) work in unreal 5, and how it could affect this style.

Published by Kris Howald

I was immersed into the world of virtual archeology for my Masters Research Project at Ryerson University.  The focus of this project was the digital reconstruction of the el-Hibeh temple in Egypt.  After four months I believe I was able to demonstrate the potential this medium has to offer as a way of bridging the past and present. I'm currently visualizing the past, present, and future of a pre-contact indigenous community.

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