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Train of Thought - Dev Log 03

Today's extra meeting was spent narrowing down the pipeline and schedule for our current semester's production. While it may seem like a simple thing on paper it does require a lot of forethought in understanding the amount of work it will take to create an Unreal Engine immersive experience. Below is our current timeline, which includes a research period in April that has two important research trips in order to get HDRI images, texture references, understanding the aspects of a train, and if lucky a wonderful bonding experience on top. I will break them down by image.





CONCEPT PHASE

The first week is planned to be a concept phase focused on refining the narrative with a firmer structure, on top of designing a core character in the story. This character is going to be the childhood friend that will be the main pivot point to focus on. The team is aiming for a semi-realistic style for character design, on top of very contrasting imagery from reality to the surreal journey of the mind.



ENVIRONMENT BLOCK OUTS AND ROUGH SCULPTS

The entirety of March is going to be focused on blocking out the environments, particularly starting with the core scenes of the narrative. As the design layout of the core five scenes are being worked on, we will be having rough digital sculpts of the friend character. The final week is branching into the image after which is the Research Phase.



RESEARCH PHASE



The Research Phase is a majority of the month of April, heavily focused on troubleshooting potential problems that will be important for production. Rigging, animation tests, and other aspects of character movement will be tested during this period along with two trips that focus on reference gathering. These trips are defined as the Golden trip and Glenwood Springs trip.


The Golden trip will be focused on traveling into Golden, CO to explore and take photographs of trains from many different eras, if the daylight is great we will also be taking photographs to obtain HDRI images for lighting purposes. The location of choice is the Golden Train Museum, with the hopes of also providing a team bonding experience with relating to the experiences the main character will be facing.


The Glenwood Springs trip is a longer period due to the distance, but the goal is to actually place the team within the setting of a real train ride. The sounds, motions, scenery, and ambiance are the core focus of what this trip plans to achieve. While it is at a slight cost for us as students, it is really important to be able to capture as much information we may possibly need ahead of time. The plus side is also enjoying some really nice scenery that may inspire better ideas for the story's core message.



MASTER ASSETS

This is the final phase the team will be facing which is focusing on finalizing the core character and ensuring a robust selecting of assets have been created for the environments we need to handle. While this may extend further beyond the dates given, at least in the long run we would have dealt with as many potential problems beforehand.

Overall I think that this will do alright, given the team on it is about 10 people plus or minus. While it is an ambitious project I have faith in producing something extraordinary. While my contributions are on the organizational side, I do plan to provide some creative inputs as well. I work on storyboards and refining the narrative, plus texture art and rigging.


I have decided to branch away from the main short due to seeing a need for my skills elsewhere. I want to ensure that the overall anthology is strong in all elements, including the smaller shorts. Here's to a promising semester.

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