Dissecting Reality
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Dissecting Reality

UV Mapping a Cathedral and Creating a Demo Interactive Fiction

After finding a Cathedral we had a few concerns about the model.

UV Mapping

The central piece to our Macro Project ended up being a model we found on SketchFab. After downloading it we were concerned about the number of polygons so I ended up watching several tutorials about how to reduce polygons in Maya.

While I was intent on doing this slowly and methodically at first, I realized that it wasn’t feasible with a photogrammetric model and so I decided that instead, I would attempt to use a hack saw and just used the reduce tool.

This resulted in some really interesting accidents where I stupidly only had about 10 vertices and the cathedral looked like a warped death star.

It was a learning experience, for sure.

Maya was not a fan of this and neither was my computer. The software crashed numerous times as it was processing my commands, but I eventually managed to get the model down to a third of the polygons sitting at about 300,000.

Edited models with polygons reduced.

Once the model was reduced I imported it into unity and used the assets we’d picked out to decorate the scene where the motion capture files would later be added.

Given that we were going for a more fantastical look, we decided that we wanted to UV map the cathedral with a different texture. I thought about how I could play with different surfaces, but when I pulled the UV Snapshot I found that that map was covered in tiny triangles and when I attempted to figure out where each one went it tended to cover a small part of the model.

So I decided to go back to a version of my work from high school.

When I was first learning Adobe products I made a lot of wallpapers. This was back when screens were 1024 by 768 resolution and I made several that were a blend of different images or textures. Basically, things like this:

An old desktop wallpaper I made in high school with lyrics from T.A.T.U.’s “30 Minutes.”
Another wallpaper I made years ago with lyrics from Meredith Brooks’ song “Bitch!”

What I decided to do, was take the UV map and essentially cover it with a monochromatic blend of crystal textures. I chose purples because I have this association with dreams and amythest and putting it under my pillow as a child to have good dreams.

The texture I made for the UV map.

I told myself, “hey, let’s see what happens” and imported the texture as a material into Unity. The result didn’t look bad so we embraced it.

The model with the texture applied.

In future iterations, I would want to take similar approaches with other parts of the world and make sure we recolored some trees or created crystal meteors in the sky.

Narrative Style

The other thing I was responsible for on this project was creating the narrative. Given that we only had one objective for this demo: to find the cathedral, I tried to focus on creating a narrative that was very light and that would make sense to those playing.

One piece of the story.

As a result, I took more of an archeological approach where the player had to move around the space and see what the witch might be up to. The “witch room” was the primary place for this since that’s where we saw our main character spending most of her time.

However, I knew that I couldn’t count on a player going to objects in a certain order, so I focused on whatever observations they may conclude within the space.

With more time, the story would get more branching paths and we would need to focus on creating a character for the witch. Even if the player never interacts with her until the end we would need to give her a solid goal.

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Coursework and progress blog for NYU IDM Virtual Reality Class

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Lauren Busser

Lauren Busser

Grad Student at NYU Tandon. Associate Editor for Tell-Tale TV. Pop Culture enthusiast. Writer with a dog. Knits.

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