'Underzone is a procedural rogue-lite game for PC that takes place in a future version of London; ground zero, in the aftermath of a national disaster. Taking control of 'The Mole', a re-purposed off-world mining mech, players must burrow through the 'Underzone', a sprawling subterranean network of living spaces and large industrial complexes buried deep below the surface of the city. As they carry out a search and rescue operation looking for survivors, players will uncover the mysterious circumstances of what happened above ground and soon come to realise they are not alone in the deep.
These cityscapes were created for the game's main menu screen and serve as an introduction and transition into the game for the player. The scenes are presented in game as a live feed from an aerial drone depicting the desolation caused by a catastrophic event on the surface world. These shot were also used in marketing material for the game including the trailer below.
The scene was created in 3Ds Max using a an instanced modular workflow with 'hero' buildings modelled and textured separately before being merged into a master scene consisting of smaller models and 'greebles' to create density. As the scene became larger and more difficult to manage, proxy models quickly became necessary however as we knew the scene would be a pre-rendered cinematic, there were no limitations in terms of geometry and texture resolution.
Once the scene was lit and animated it was rendered using Vray and imported into After Effects for additional effects work such as fog, fire and depth of field, colour grading and an interface to simulate the drones analysis of the area.
Following on from the drone feed, we are taken down to city level with a shot of a Solar Reach drop pod used to survey and identify access points for the Mole to burrow into the Underzone. This shot appears in the trailer but was also used in game after selecting 'New Game' from the main menu or when starting a 'New Run', as the game is a procedural rogue-lite. This meant that each time the character fails, a new Mole must be deployed and new levels are generated in real time for the player to essentially begin again. Unlike the city scape shots, the drop pod scene is created in real time with camera work, particles, lighting and colour grading all captured completely in Unity.
Due to time constraints on this element of development, the drop pod model was provided externally which I then used as a base to create a high poly model to bake down normal and AO maps including additional details and re-texture the asset.