A few weeks of diaries all at the same time…

Toby – Managing Director

A bit of a mish-mash of diaries spread over the past couple of weeks, here, as I lost track and didn’t publish last week. So that makes this a kind of bumper edition I guess..
What with so many events on hold and meetings similarly postponed we’ve started talking to our existing clients about projects that can leverage the skills of our team but that aren’t strictly “Immersive Technology” based. Ultimately we have a team of talented artists and programmers so if we can help with other projects then we will. Over the past fortnight we’ve been discussing an online event, replacing an annual “Awards Dinner” and a communications campaign that kicks off later this year. In fact the latter started out as a piece of work looking solely at some graphics and subsequently morphed in to something much more exciting.

Our driving simulator actuator rig is still on the production line, in Poland, we’re making tweaks to the experience in our innovation centre, and we’re continuing to work on some more strategic projects that will stand us in good stead for 2021. Honestly can’t wait to see the back of 2020; as a business owner a large part of your role is navigating choppy waters but this year has felt like a bit of a slog at times. I take inspiration from the energy and output of the team here in W4 and look forward to what’s shaping up to be a strong pipeline in the new year.

Josh – Programme Manager

Two important projects for me to report on this week. The first is a step change to the way that our road package functions so I’ve been researching the key principles of highways construction (every day’s a learning opportunity 😉). We do talk a lot about our attention to detail and how important it is; well that is borne out in the sheer volume of reading I do on subjects that I never thought I’d be fishing around for but it is worth it in the end.

Sergio – Programmer

During this week, I have been continuing my work on networking events on Incident Management project. Have been to the office for a day to do some IT work on our computer machines for the team and while there, got a chance to train more on Star Tracker mapping processes. I have managed to finalise the mapping and configuration process and feel far more familiar with the technology. I got the chance later in the week to visit the Innovation Centre itself which offered an opportunity to test “Live” onsite and gave me plenty of learning points to take back with me to the office.

Aside from that, for the rest of next week, I am planning to finish improvements on UI for our Animals On The Network project and my dev-ops work on our website pipeline.

Stefano – 3D Artist

This week I created a draft concept of an English motorway. The deadline was quite strict so I decided to create the foundation of the environment in Unreal Engine, to have a fast preview of the structure of the image, while sculpting the terrain, drawing the road and planting virtual trees.
When I was happy with the overall picture I rendered it and edited in Photoshop to improve the lighting and add all the details.

Since my first render, back in the day, I learned how powerful Photoshop is. I used to look at my render and feel completely satisfied. Then, after an hour or so of Photoshop editing, I looked back at the clean render again and felt an immense sense of disgust. Most of the time, add one hour render time (time spent + 1 hour) worth less than applying a “contrast” command in photoshop (time spent = 1 second). However, with a less strict deadline, I would have chosen to work on the 3D software much more, and have a more robust starting point in Photoshop.

Slava – Lead 3D Artist

This was a short week as I had 2 days off. I finished virtual office environment prototype for health and safety project. It consists of parking space with surrounding building and the office itself. The office has detailed interior, which includes reception area, office rooms with computer desks, meeting rooms, kitchen, toilets, and nice atrium with area for relaxation in the middle of it. This atrium serves not only to architectural aesthetic, but also as a reference point for the user to help to find the right direction.

I started investigating on how we can improve our road system to add more typical environments, such as fields, farms, and urban zones. This task also includes searching the way to add more features and maintaining high level of diversity without enlarging the size of the road package. I also need to specify which type of environment and objects we need to make for future.

In addition to the open-bed truck and milk lorry we now have a highly detailed large goods vehicle, which is the most popular type of truck on English motorways. This new model is very versatile. It has a wide range of level of details (LODs), so can be used as a highly detailed asset in a static scenario and as an optimised version in moving traffic. Its non-overlapping UV layout allows me to make variation of textures, such as adding weathering, making custom colour schemes, or adding a logo on the trailer. Its material also allows us to change body-paint colour directly in Unity manually or using script. The new model also shares several textures with other truck models, which means the size of the project didn’t increase very much with addition of new truck.

Kyung-Min – 3D Generalist

Work continued on the dragon with one of the major improvements being the scales added along the body to break up its flat appearance. I also added the basis for an emissions texture that will be bringing some lighted patterns to the dragon’s body and head. The emissions texture once complete will help to make the dragon more interesting to look at creating a bigger spectacle with sections of the dragon lighting up over time.

With the first dragon complete I then started work on a second one with less focus on optimisation and more on high fidelity details. This time around I decided to go with a more western dragon design with the traditional legs and giant wings resembling a lizard over the snake-like appearance of the eastern dragon. With the base finished in Maya, I took it into Zbrush to begin adding secondary details such as muscles to the base. This style of Dragon will require a lot more in terms of rigging and painting weights.

Jordi Caballol – Programmer

Lately I’ve been researching on how to make a usable and powerful road editor for our projects.
During this week I’ve been checking existing editors to get ideas on what functionality would be the best for us, and I’m quickly coding some of these prototypes to test them.

Also we tested our Incident Management project on-site. As we encountered some problems with the user tracking I’ve spent some time on working around them.