Apr 19, 2008

Kinkaku-ji: The Golden Pavilion

I recently finished up work on a gaming level using the CryEngine 2 SDK. It was for my world and asset building class in the Game Art + Design minor. This is the first class of its kind, not just at Ringling, but in the world. That pretty much comes down to having the students in the class doing extensive research and trial & error in figuring out how to get things to work in this brand-new gaming engine. It's been a fun adventure learning how to create all elements of a world and make them work together.

My level is loosely based upon an actual building in Kyoto, Japan called Kinkaku-ji, or The Golden Pavilion. It used to be a retirement home for a shogun in the 1300s, but later became a Zen temple. It actually burned down twice, which is cool that it's still standing today. There's even a live webcam feed showing it off 24/7. I picked this building as my reference based solely upon the beauty of the building and the surrounding area during winter, when the snow falls enough to give a great contrast between the dark woods and the pond. The real challenge for this level was to build organic objects - like trees, rocks, grass, etc - from scratch, with no formal training in such a task. All in all, I like how it turned out.

And here's a shot of the temple at a different time of day, making use of a new color scheme to get a different mood.

I would have loved to get video of my level in action, but we're currently trying to work things out with video capturing software. It's pretty fun to move around in there, especially since the pond is frozen and you can run on top of it.