Featured image of post The Neon Graveyard - 02 - Blockout Props

The Neon Graveyard - 02 - Blockout Props

First blockout props added

First Week Progress:

UE4 screenshot showcasing barren, checkerboard textured landscape. On it there are lots of gravestones with neon sings. The cathedral in the distance now has neon signs attached to it too, and compared to the previous post images is larger in scale.

A few days passed since the last blog post about the project. I am back with some progress on the blockout. The first very notable thing is that the church (or more like cathedral, judging by its size, scale and type of architecture) actually looks like something now. I’ve worked on it quite a bit but we are still in the phase of weird mixture of modelling bits that are finished but need texturing and tiny bit more detail, and others that are still placeholders.

Screenshot from Maya. Showcases the cathedral blockout and modelling. There is a tower in the background. All materials are gray and blue placeholders.

I’ve been tweaking the scale of the different volumes for each part of the building. I don’t want it too massive, as I am limited on how long I can work on the project. At the same time I don’t want it dull and tiny. Above you can see a view from Maya. I don’t have it as one big chuck in Unreal. I’ve split it into multiple files so I can optimise the textures and light maps better later on.

Another Maya screenshot. To the left is an Unreal mannequin in a T pose (or A pose more like). To the right are five gravestone and headstone tablets. All in different shapes.

The initial idea was to have all kinds of graves with variety of gravestones on top scattered all around. As such I’ve been modelling some of those.

I will most likely still be tweaking their position so I can make the best composition in the main shot of the whole place. I’ll also work on more detail with the texts and neon on them.

Scripts and Symbols

As I promised in my last post, lets dive into what exactly the writing that I’ve put in right now stands for.

My initial idea was to change the inscriptions on each gravestones with a neon. I though I might try a fancy looking script. The ones that can be seen in old-fashioned movies and neon signs. Then I started to wonder, what would I write on those gravestones? Names? I mean, that’s what goes on gravestones, right? I decided I will have to create some random, obviously fake names (so no one sees a name of someone they know and gets creeped out, or even worse, offended). And because I want variety and more Cyberpunk-ish vibe, I thought I might try a few different languages too. That’s when I decided it might be fun to try something very, very old. To try to use a script that exists and is real, but is no longer in use.

To the top left is a screenshot of the Glagolitic script, the oldest known Slavic alphabet. Below it is a screenshot from the cathedral, zoomed in. To the right of those two is a detail from a wood sculpture of Prudence, by Andrea Brustolon.

That’s when I looked back into my native language for some inspiration. Bulgarian uses Cyrillic alphabet. To quickly introduce you to it, I’ll quote Wikipedia.

The early Cyrillic alphabet was developed in the First Bulgarian Empire during the 9th century AD at the Preslav Literary School by Saint Clement of Ohrid and Saint Naum and replaced the earlier Glagolithic script developed by the Byzantine theologians Cyril and Methodius.

And now, next time you see Russian, you will know that their script has origins quite deeper and further away, into lands different from their own, and more close to those of my home, Bulgaria. But I don’t have you here to bore you with History lessons. Soooo, back to the topic at hand!

The so called Glagolitic script is what I was after. I thought that its weird visual look might add quite a bit of interest to the scene. Another fun detail is that I can actually write real phrases with it, as Glagolitic has its script correspond to Cyrillic letters with exact match in sound and use. But I don’t think I will dive in that too deeply for now.

Going away from scripts and languages, lets mention what the neon sign on the very top of the building stands for.

I want to have different symbols and signs in neon on the top. I’ve thought of multiple ideas I might try later on. One was to create a logo and design that implements the infinity symbol in it. To sort of broadcast towards the viewer the idea that this cathedral is a place of technology. Old and abandoned but afterwards repurposed, as I said in my last post. And maybe, in it, in this Cyberpunk world, people cheat death. They augment bodies to make them immortal. If said bodies get damaged irreversibly, maybe they transfer consciousness into new shells. I decided infinity sign might be a bit dull and is kind of overused. That’s when I remembered about the Ouroboros. Which basically translates to the same idea, but looks much more mystical and cool, we can agree I am sure. And when I was searching for some inspiration on that, I came across by a wood sculpture detail from Andrea Brustolon. It implements the idea of a snake eating its own tail, and also has a woman body in it. What a cool idea, I thought!

I can make my own version and convey the idea of infinity through the creation of new bodies through science. But I will have to work more on the designs later on.

Progress GIF

And because I just love GIFs, lets have one now and see the progress so far:

Animated progression gif, combining static screenshots into a timelapse where you can see the blockout take shape and the lights progress further.

Hope you are finding the progress, and reading about it, interesting.

Dev log number two out, until next time,


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