"Solid Hall Gallery" is the working title of my game project.

At first, I wanted to make a virtual 3D gallery as a way to arrange my portfolio. Later, when The Neeostar Project was started, I decided to expand on the idea and create a detailed environment taking place on Raehna, the artificial planet. The player will be able to explore a small area of the planet's surface and discover more in-depth info about Raehna, its population and the history of the Neeo system.

All the modelling and texturing is performed in Blender, while Unity is used for setting up the scene, applying shaders, making interactive elements, etc.
As usual in The Neeostar Project and my other works, I create all the visual content from scratch; I'm also going to record all the sounds and compose the soundtrack. However, I might have to borrow some scripts and other programming stuff if needed.

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Architecture concept (won't be used in the game), test 2019

The scene is an island with an area of around one square kilometre, located in the middle of a wide lake. The local climate is moderate, it's probably the beginning of summer. A mossy hill forested with pines smoothly turns into rocky terrain as it transits down to the island's shores strewn with pebbles. Green hills afar are reflected on the calm surface of the lake water. There is a thin tint of Raehna's shield barely visible above the clouds.

One part of the gallery building stands on the shore while another part protrudes into the lake with its lower level underwater. Currently, the concept (renders above) includes several large open halls with exhibition and recreation spaces, a café and four suite rooms for visitors. There also will be a couple of minor buildings, installations and other architectural forms scattered on the island.

I'm following a few priorities:

  • Environment

The main focus of the game is the island's detailed scenery made of three parts: nature, architecture and interiors. While the first part is expected to be managed relatively easily, the other two require more careful considerations. I'm an enthusiast in these areas but will attempt to achieve decent quality at least. My greatest inspirations are minimalism, futurism, constructivism and similar styles, so I'll try to design the building and its interiors light, discreet and aesthetic in every detail, making strict artificial shapes to contrast natural landscape.

  • Realistic lighting

Lighting is one of the most important parts of architecture and interior, so I'm going to pay a lot of attention to setting it up in the most atmospheric and thoughtful way possible. How exactly? Well, after making a test scene in Unity (screenshots below), I decided to give up on its lighting options. Instead, I'm going to set up all the lighting in Blender using Cycles or any other photorealistic renderer, then bake it into textures.
All the shadows, the illumination from the sky and the sun, the light from obvious sources, ambient occlusion, bounces and other features of real light behaviour will become an image on a model surface and won't be calculated additionally. This is a great solution to achieve both realism and high performance, though with a major limit: baked lighting is static and will be the same the whole time you play, no sun movement or turning off that lamp, but that's fine.

  • High performance

With baked lighting, optimized models, levels of detail (LODs) and other optimization methods, the game should run with at least 30 frames per second on most PCs and laptops, even those with very modest specs. I also aim to limit the weight of the game up to 5 GB.

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Unity test scene, 2020

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