Unreal Engine: An Award-Winning Project

The Office mood scene

In September, we had the opportunity to participate in the Real-Time Movie Challenge organized by McInnes Studio. The challenge invited participants to take a provided scene and use Unreal Engine to add assets, sound, and virtual camera work to create a moody, horror-themed scene. We decided to take on the challenge and see if we could create a scene that would capture the mood and impress the judges.

To create our scene, we carefully planned and executed a series of changes to the lighting, camera angles, and sound effects. We used the virtual camera to capture different perspectives and angles and added sound effects to enhance the mood of the scene. By carefully crafting each element of the scene, we were able to create a moody, atmospheric experience that evoked the feeling of horror.

In the end, our hard work paid off, and we were selected as one of the winners of the Real Time Movie Challenge. We were thrilled to be recognized for our efforts and to have had the opportunity to showcase our skills and creativity in Unreal Engine.

The process

Initiation
To create our horror scene, our team of Unreal Engine specialists began by brainstorming ideas and developing a script that included a riddle, an interlude to build tension, a murder scene, and a conclusion. We also drew storyboards to visualize the key scenes and elements of the script.

References
Once we had the script and storyboards in place, we began researching references to help us create a moody, atmospheric scene that evoked the feeling of horror. We were inspired by the style of filmmaker David Fincher, and paid close attention to the details in the office setting, from the furniture and layout to the small items on the desk. All of these elements helped us create an immersive and engaging experience for the viewer.

Some of the references we used are listed below:

We used Fincher's film's colors and lenses to capture the same look and feel. To do this, we chose a color palette that would be evocative of his work. We also used his signature lenses, which have a very distinct look. The Director in most of his film uses a 75 mm lenses for close-ups and 27 mm for everything else.

David Fincher is a filmmaker known for his distinctive visual style and moody, atmospheric storytelling. His films often feature complex, multi-layered narratives, complex characters, and a focus on the darker, more sinister aspects of human nature. Some of his most well-known films include "Se7en," "Fight Club," and "The Social Network."

Fincher's films are known for their precise, carefully crafted visuals, which typically feature complex camera movements, precise lighting, and a muted color palette. He also often employs non-linear storytelling and other unconventional narrative techniques to keep the viewer engaged and to create a sense of unease or suspense. In addition to his work as a director, Fincher is also known for his attention to detail and his willingness to experiment with new technology and techniques in order to push the boundaries of what is possible in filmmaking.

By emulating these elements of Fincher's style, we were able to create a scene that felt like it could have been taken straight from one of his films.

Assets
After completing the storyboard and researching references, we began working on the 3D assets for our horror scene. The challenge was to create assets that would fit the mood and style of the office setting, while also being realistic and immersive. To achieve this, we decided to use 3D models for the furniture and other objects in the room, drawn from our existing database of assets.

One of the key elements of the scene was the ceiling lamp, which we developed specifically for the project. The lamp included flickering methods at different speeds, light strengths, and combinations, to create a moody, horror-themed atmosphere. We carefully animated the lamp and other elements of the scene and added audio to enhance the overall experience.

By carefully crafting each element of the scene, we were able to create a realistic and immersive horror experience for the viewer.

Requirements
The challenge requirements were quite simple:

Large, open plan. Off-white.
Slender floor-to-ceiling windows. A vacant corporate cage.
A trial of bloody and mud on the carpet.
A single desk. On it, a circa 2000 desktop PC.
Message on the screen: 'PRESS F TO PAY RESPECTS'

We successfully achieved all the specified objectives and managed to capture an appropriate tone throughout.

The Press F to pay respects message was an interesting add-on to the scene, connected with the founder of MacInnes Studio - creators of this challenge - Jon MacInnes, who was the screenwriter of Call of Duty Advanced Warfare game. In 2014 "press F to pay respects" message from this game became an iconic internet meme and continues to be remembered fondly by gamers across the globe.

Easter Egg
As an additional touch, we decided to add an Easter egg to our scene. If you look closely at the printer, you will notice a picture of a cat with the text "Kicia (Kitty in Polish) is back." This picture was generated using AI, and was added as a fun and unexpected element to the scene. We hope you enjoy finding and discovering this Easter egg!

AI generated picture

The story

Brainstorming is a popular technique for generating new ideas, and it can be especially helpful when writing fiction. The goal is to come up with as many ideas as possible, without judgment or criticism, and that's what we used to create the story.

The story

In the main story, a creature (Kitty) enters a busy office and stays after committing a massacre. The hero was the only survivor of this, and now the creature is trying to play with him. The creature is playful and curious, but also dangerous and deadly. The hero must use all of his skills and knowledge to survive the creature's attacks and escape the office alive.

Final

The final step of our work was to add the post-processing. To do this, we used a combination of Unreal Engine's built-in tools and custom shaders. Overall, we're very pleased with how the post-processing has helped to improve the look and feel of our scene.

Bringing artists' work to the public is important to us. Feel free to take a look at the scene, and if you like it, share it on social media.

Thank you, and we hope you enjoy it!

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 · 
November 28, 2022
 · 
5 min read
Tagged: Unreal Engine
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