Sunday, November 27, 2011

JII Version 4: Lobby Color and Ride Elevations

Version 4 of the interactive Journey Into Imagination simulation is up and running!

I've been working on the project quite a bit in the past 2 weeks.  90% of that work is behind the scenes stuff.  I had to do a lot of updating to bring the models up to speed with the new Play-up software version (that's a good thing).  I've also started trying to make the thing run better, and I must admit that there is a long way to go there.

Most importantly, I have rebuilt and upgraded the ride system (which had disappeared for a little while there).  It now runs better AND features elevation changes.  I finally gave up trying to find elevation blueprints and just worked out the elevations from watching online videos.  However, the trick is that I did it using videos of the current ride (which are much clearer than the old ride videos) and then compared the elevations against the old track plan.  I used both track plans and videos from Martin Smith to do this.  See here:

I've also temporarily added several placeholder photos of the ride scenes and some preliminary speed changes.  I'll adjust those speeds once I add the final soundtrack (that's my next major step).

Another thing that I've done in this version is adding a bit of color to the lobby.  I've been hunting for clean photos of the lobby murals and have had no luck.  I'm still looking but I went ahead and added what I could find for now.  I think it gives the proper look even if it isn't as accurate as I'd prefer.  The quest continues...

This version also features a new method for running music that I think sounds much better and is so much easier to manage for me.  I'm also starting to experiment with lighting.  In particular, I'm using lightmapping in a few places to varying degrees of success.  This is new to me but I'll get there.  I'm rapidly learning that my real-world understanding of theatrical lighting is almost entirely useless here.  Also, I'm using the free version of Unity 3D so lightmapping and shadows are limited.  Oh well.

Finally, this version has some simple effects added to it.  I think the animated fountains (not the jumping ones yet though) and sunlight flares add a nice finishing touch.  You be the judge.