Final Major Project - Highgate Cemetery [Brief]


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A detailed project brief for my final major project at De Montfort University studying Game Art Design. Within I explain my intentions to create a detailed environment based on the story of Bishop Sean Manchester and The Highgate Vampire

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arron manchester ­ fmp brief the highgate cemetery 1 arron manchester fmp brief the highgate cemetery initial ideas in an attempt to focus on my ability as an environment artist my initial ideas were formed around an ambition to understand the environment design process for this just like in drawing i believe the best method to learn is by recreating or strongly referencing something that actually exists when thinking about what most environment projects i have seen achieved in the unreal development kit include i realise that i would need an area that features a variety of natural and manmade materials textures and with a multitude of assets available for reference my final major project should aim to successfully demonstrate my skills in asset generation and understanding of how a game environment is implemented in engine.


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arron manchester ­ fmp brief the highgate cemetery 2 i often find myself talking to new friends about interesting personal trivia when breaking the ice and more often than not the story of `bishop sean manchester arises stemming back to when i was around 9-10 i have always found his story intriguing not only is he the president of the british occult society and the archbishop of glastonbury but he is also the only known british `vampire slayer so it is claimed i first found out about the bishop when flicking through some paranormal magazines my dad collected when i was younger under the bed covers with my torch i terrified myself with all the eerie stories within and as you can imagine when i saw the article about a bishop vampire slayer in england who shares my surname i was immediately fascinated life as it does took its precedence over any serious investigation but over the years during spare time i would learn more and more about his story from magazines news articles the internet tv and from relatives the story that stood out the most was regarding his exploits at highgate cemetery london media frenzy took place in the 70 s evolving around the bishop and his claims that he was hunting a vampire in the grounds of the cemetery.


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arron manchester ­ fmp brief the highgate cemetery 3 dressed in catholic religious-wear and equipped with holy water crosses and stakes and a devout priest he was adamant that `the vampire contagion had emanated from the cemetery and it claimed it was his duty as a catholic minister to remove it from existence he later announced that he had indeed successfully hunted the vampire drove a stake through its heart and burned the corpse a female companion at the time had apparently been bitten and possessed and had required exorcism by bishop manchester there is much more to the story involving the disappearance and mutilations of animals around the cemetery grounds during the time and at some point it is said the bishop spoke of `giant vampirespiders of course the fantastical story whilst surrounded by actual events and real media coverage is open to scepticism but it is the closest thing to a fact-based supernatural story i have ever shown interest in the bishops `vampire slaying kit


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arron manchester ­ fmp brief the highgate cemetery 4 i first visited highgate cemetery in 2008 and was immediately whelmed by the daunting gate house upon arrival later during a tour i was impressed by the huge grounds filled with victorian celtic and even egyptian architecture the overgrown `egyptian alley lined with tomb entrances leads through to `the circle of lebanon a magnificent structure of twenty sunken tombs built around the roots of an ageing and ancient `cedar of lebanon tree.


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arron manchester ­ fmp brief the highgate cemetery 5 due to my being familiar with some of the grounds the first thing that came to mind when considering possible final major project ideas was the highgate cemetery and the story of bishop sean manchester the history context and the impressive environment seem to offer everything necessary for both interesting visuals and game plot for a final major project.


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arron manchester ­ fmp brief the highgate cemetery 6 expanding the idea now that the initial concept was in my mind it was time to realise the practicalities of it just how suitable is the environment what resources can i gather just what will be involved in the design process these and many more questions needed to be answered before pitching the idea to the lecturer panel and advancing the project to the next stage i revisited my 2008 photos and researched everything i could about the cemetery and its original designs i was able to find some original drawings above right by an unknown artist that helped me understand some of the monuments form and build better.


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arron manchester ­ fmp brief the highgate cemetery 7 i also used google maps and an aerial photography website to understand the placement of the main landmarks around the ground it also helped me to understand the scale of the map.


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arron manchester ­ fmp brief the highgate cemetery 8 with this information i was able to produce a 3d mock up of the landmarks and a very rough idea for how the level could be laid out i decided that for the first pass the main landmarks should be situated closer together i included the gatehouse memorial pillars egyptian alleyway and the circle of lebanon as the final and most focal landmark.


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arron manchester ­ fmp brief the highgate cemetery 9 the next step was to start thinking about colour schemes and the overall atmospherics of what i would like my fmp to include for this i researched similar environments already found in games and seeing as i had recently bought the third instalment of the gears of war franchise i noticed that they feature some very similar architectural designs


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arron manchester ­ fmp brief the highgate cemetery 11 i was interested to see how they achieved such detail so did a little research into how they generated assets and architectural models using high poly baking techniques


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arron manchester ­ fmp brief the highgate cemetery 12 i was adamant i wasn t going to go down the drab and dreary approach to recreating the cemetery and so thought extensively about the colours i could utilise the photographs i took in late autumn in 2008 were bright and colourful without any editing the sun was shining and the autumnal colours really made for a vibrant atmosphere i took note to make sure i document the different types of flora at the location on a return visit.


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arron manchester ­ fmp brief the highgate cemetery 13 after stumbling across a tutorial on night and day cycles within unreal development kit i considered the possibility of including such in my fmp to fully take advantage of the different ambiances the environment could offer in both day and night with perhaps the night time being lit by both the sky moon and lit torches candles and oil burners placed around the level i also considered including a playable character for the project based on the bishop himself for this i knew i would need his permission to use his likeness so i set about contacting him he agreed as long as i respected copyrights which of course i shall the pitch after putting together a presentation to pitch the idea to my course lecturers and after witnessing the dismissal of what i thought were quite solid ideas from other students i fully expected my pitch to be blown out of the water however it was quite the opposite i got a positive reaction from the panel and i can only assume it was down to the fact that i had established my ideas for quite some time and have been showing great enthusiasm towards the project.


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arron manchester ­ fmp brief the highgate cemetery 14 looking at others and their ideas i realised it was also in my favour that the actual environment is relatively local and not unrealistic to obtain first hand reference i explained the context and why i find the area interesting and soaked in the feedback from my tutors mike suggested cropping out some of the landmarks and focusing in on making one the circle of lebanon to the highest quality i could he brought my attention to the textures and detail in the photo references i showed and said it would be impressive if i could live up to the level of detail both lecturers commented on it being a solid idea i was quite taken aback by the positive response and felt a little uneasy that they didn t demand more justification from me nonetheless i became determined to live up to expectation technical specifications as i have quite large scale ambitions i aim at creating a mid to large map taking onboard the feedback from the lecturers i shall initially concentrate on making the circle of lebanon the main focal area at first and depending on time scale and the level of quality i achieve on that maybe expand outwards and include the other landmarks as it stands if i was to just model the circle of lebanon and surrounding area i would aim for around 80-90k tri limit this is based on looking at other udk projects online and the count of the example levels provided within udk itself as for texture budget i would guess at around 90-100mb this is only a guess and i base that on what was given for the rooftop project this semester if i was to branch out and include all the landmarks i would aim at around 140150k and a texture budget of around 180mb i would look at making things such as gravestones modular and use parts to create unique combinations as i shall be utilising the udk engine i would aim for the project to meet the specifications of the microsoft xbox 360 playstation 3 and pc i wish to create l.o.d s and use high poly baking techniques for most assets to ensure a good quality standard and optimise performance.


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arron manchester ­ fmp brief the highgate cemetery 15 possible assets include angel statues grave stones flat tomb stones urn tomb stones custom tomb stones gates and fencing modular walls modular tomb gravestone pieces large walk-in tombs chains plaques a variety of trees a variety of plant life grave items such as flower pots debris iron castings torches drains vampiric religious and occult items animated birds such as crows or rooks coffins to summarise in short i aim to create an environment that strongly references london s highgate cemetery to a current-gen standard working to the context of the story of the vampire slaying exploits of bishop sean manchester i shall initially concentrate on the specific landmark of the circle of lebanon but aim to expand outwards and include a playable character based on the bishop himself i wish to emphasise the beauty of the autumnal colours and overgrown nature within the environment during day time and the more eerie atmosphere of a cemetery at night i shall be learning new techniques along the way particularly high poly workflow and foliage creation and implementation as well as understanding what is possible with advance lighting techniques in the game engine i am eager to produce an fmp of high calibre wish me luck!



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