Development Log #1

Joined
Dec 14, 2019
Location
Switzerland

Dragon & Phoenix Development Log #1​


Hi, I’m Nicolas_D and I joined the team about a year ago after reaching LemonHaze about the best way to get my hands on the 3D assets of Shenmue. I just wanted to be able to import the 3D models of the game in blender and try to do something with it. After a few messages, we talked about his plan to inject the whole game files in UE4 and the first thing that came in the discussion is the fact that it would be nice to remove the loadings between the different areas and have one big coherent map across all Yokosuka. This serie of posts will be about the way we stitched every maps together.

Before getting into it, you should know that all the screenshots you are going to see are from blender, so it does not represent the current look of the mod in UE4. There will be more posts coming with actual UE4 screenshots that will really bring justice to where we are now. Also, you might notice some textures misplacements, missing assets and other details that might hurt your eyes, we welcome any feedback, but keep in mind that it is a work in progress.

We began with the biggest piece which was the Hazuki Residence. The inside of the house was way larger than the envelope and the shape of the footprint was also different (see schema below). It is easy to notice in game that the indoor and the outdoor do not fit together just by looking at the windows. They have discrepancy in height, width and location. Modifying the indoor layout was a bit complicated given the low margin we had to change the geometry of the models without getting in a wall. So, we decided to align all the windows with the interior layout.Fig1_HazukiHouseIndoor.jpg
Fig2_HazukiHouseOutdoor.jpg

Fig3_HazukiHouseIndoor_Outdoor.jpg

We chose that the only thing that should absolutely stay at the same location was the house’s front door. Because when you get out of the house you are directly facing the residence entrance, and, naturally, you face the house’s front door when you arrive from Yamanose. It would have felt weird to face something else and it is nice to keep the shortest path to get out of the house, given the number of times you are going to do it. So that was the first landmark.

In order to make the two maps fit together, I imported both in blender and began to look for the best way to adapt the envelope to the inside. We know that Shenmue fans spent a lot of time running around the house and that they are remarkably familiar with this location, so the objective was to make it the least noticeable possible.

From there, I just modeled the envelope around the indoor walls, aligned the windows and doors, and adapted the roof and facades to these new dimensions. Once it was done, there come the next question. How do we adapt the environment?

We went again for the most logical way to do it. We kept the same dimension for the path and the space between the house and the dojo, stretched the ground and the surrounding flowerbeds. Then, we placed the different assets always with the same objective: making the changes the least noticeable possible.
Fig4HR_Original.jpgFig5HR_Dragon.jpg


On these screenshots, you can see that the size of the map has substantially increased compared to the original. Hopefully, once you walk as Ryo around the house without a "before picture" right next to you, I believe you don't really notice these changes. The next screenshots below should (I hope) give you a hint of what it will feel like ! You can also notice that a part of the roof of the dojo is non existant in the original. There are other examples where only the visible parts of the 3D objects are modeled. It's obviously to save some time (why take time to model something no one will see), but more importantly, ressources. We chose to model everything, because maybe in the future, especially in the phoenix version, we could use some new camera angles and like this, we won't be limited with missing geometry.

Fig6HR_Pov1_Original.png

Fig6HR_Pov1_Dragon.png

There's a lot more to say, about the dojo and the basements, about the kitchen's door that didn't lead anywhere, etc... I will stop there for now and talk about all this in the next post. Feel free to ask anything, I’ll be glad to answer as best as I can.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Aug 19, 2018
Really interesting stuff. I guess it‘s obvious in retrospect that the outside and inside of the original games house don’t match exactly.

Gives lots of insight into how the original games were formed and I’d love to know more as you break down the games further maps and environments.
 

Tentei

ライトニング
Joined
Jan 31, 2021
Favourite title
Shenmue II
PSN
miraigaara

Dragon & Phoenix Development Log #1​


Hi, I’m Nicolas_D and I joined the team about a year ago after reaching LemonHaze about the best way to get my hands on the 3D assets of Shenmue. I just wanted to be able to import the 3D models of the game in blender and try to do something with it. After a few messages, we talked about his plan to inject the whole game files in UE4 and the first thing that came in the discussion is the fact that it would be nice to remove the loadings between the different areas and have one big coherent map across all Yokosuka. This serie of posts will be about the way we stitched every maps together.

Before getting into it, you should know that all the screenshots you are going to see are from blender, so it does not represent the current look of the mod in UE4. There will be more posts coming with actual UE4 screenshots that will really bring justice to where we are now. Also, you might notice some textures misplacements, missing assets and other details that might hurt your eyes, we welcome any feedback, but keep in mind that it is a work in progress.

We began with the biggest piece which was the Hazuki Residence. The inside of the house was way larger than the envelope and the shape of the footprint was also different (see schema below). It is easy to notice in game that the indoor and the outdoor do not fit together just by counting the windows. But they also have discrepancy in height, width and location. Modifying the indoor layout was a bit complicated given the low margin we had to change the geometry of the models without getting in a wall. So, we decided to align all the windows with the interior layout.View attachment 10513
View attachment 10514

View attachment 10515

We chose that the only thing that should absolutely stay at the same location was the house’s front door. Because when you get out of the house you are directly facing the residence entrance, and, naturally, you face the house’s front door when you arrive from Yamanose. It would have felt weird to face something else and it is nice to keep the shortest path to get out of the house, given the number of times you are going to do it. So that was the first landmark.

In order to make the two maps fit together, I imported both in blender and began to look for the best way to adapt the envelope to the inside. We know that Shenmue fans spent a lot of time running around the house and that they are remarkably familiar with this location, so the objective was to make it the least noticeable possible.

From there, I just modeled the envelope around the indoor walls, aligned the windows and doors, and adapted the roof and facades to these new dimensions. Once it was done, there come the next question. How do we adapt the environment?

We went again for the most logical way to do it. We kept the same dimension for the path and the space between the house and the dojo, stretched the ground and the surrounding flowerbeds. Then, we placed the different assets always with the same objective: making the changes the least noticeable possible.
View attachment 10516View attachment 10517


On these screenshots, you can see that the size of the map has substantially increased compared to the original. Hopefully, once you walk as Ryo around the house without a "before picture" right next to you, I believe you don't really notice these changes. The next screenshots below should (I hope) give you a hint of what it will feel like ! You can also notice that a part of the roof of the dojo is non existant in the original. There are other examples where only the visible parts of the 3D objects are modeled. It's obviously to save some time (why take time to model something no one will see), but more importantly, ressources. We chose to model everything, because maybe in the future, especially in the phoenix version, we could use some new camera angles and like this, we won't be limited with missing geometry.

View attachment 10518

View attachment 10519

There's a lot more to say, about the dojo and the basements, about the kitchen's door that didn't lead anywhere, etc... I will stop there for now and talk about all this in the next post. Feel free to ask anything, I’ll be glad to answer as best as I can.

is those last images blender onlu? holy shit they look great! So let me get this right every area will be seamless?
 
Joined
Jul 27, 2018
Love the update Nicolas_D, thanks for taking the time to post it! Super interesting read, and an awesome solution that fits perfectly!

I find it crazy that I've never really noticed this before lol... It's so obvious that the interior doesn't actually line up (& fit) with the exterior model when you take a step back and look at it, but I just never connected the dots :D

The real question is, how many other buildings are like this in Shenmue I? Is the Hazuki residence an exception, or are you going to have to adapt a load of other buildings?

Thanks once again! Loved it!

P.S:- Would be awesome to take some liberties for the Phoenix Version and get the New Yokosuka Movie Theatre up and running!! Could go in there and watch the Saturn footage, or other Shenmue previews/trailers (or even cutscenes that you unlock as you play through the game) in there :D
 
Joined
Jul 30, 2018
Location
UK
PSN
sppeac1987
I never noticed the exterior doesn’t match the interior, but in hindsight yes it’s kind of obvious 😛 this is great stuff- I know you’re probably far off doing anything for Kowloon but I’m curious if the building exteriors match what’s inside there...
 
OP
OP
Nicolas_D
Joined
Dec 14, 2019
Location
Switzerland
Really interesting stuff. I guess it‘s obvious in retrospect that the outside and inside of the original games house don’t match exactly.

Gives lots of insight into how the original games were formed and I’d love to know more as you break down the games further maps and environments.

Thanks ! It's true that the layout of the different locations tells a lot about how the gameplay/story evolved during the development time. We'll definitely have some more things to show about that !

is those last images blender onlu? holy shit they look great! So let me get this right every area will be seamless?

Yes, it's all rendered with cycles inside blender, it's a path-tracing render engine, so the light gives a really nice look to the Hazuki Residence ! Yeah, we stitched every maps together, so you can walk from Hazuki Residence to Amihama without any loading screen.

Incredible work!

Thanks a lot :)

Love the update Nicolas_D, thanks for taking the time to post it! Super interesting read, and an awesome solution that fits perfectly!

I find it crazy that I've never really noticed this before lol... It's so obvious that the interior doesn't actually line up (& fit) with the exterior model when you take a step back and look at it, but I just never connected the dots :D

The real question is, how many other buildings are like this in Shenmue I? Is the Hazuki residence an exception, or are you going to have to adapt a load of other buildings?

Thanks once again! Loved it!

P.S:- Would be awesome to take some liberties for the Phoenix Version and get the New Yokosuka Movie Theatre up and running!! Could go in there and watch the Saturn footage, or other Shenmue previews/trailers (or even cutscenes that you unlock as you play through the game) in there :D

Thanks for your kind words ! Same for me, I never realized before I began to work on it ! It's not the only location that needed some heavy refinement. Some places did fit perfectly, and some others were way bigger than their enveloppe. And it's nice because there's always a way to explain it, or at least a way to guess why. We'll definitely do some before/after comparisons in some other updates ! And we've only scratched the surface of what will phoenix edition will have as features, the theatre is definitely a neat idea ! I've always wondered how it looked inside :)

I never noticed the exterior doesn’t match the interior, but in hindsight yes it’s kind of obvious 😛 this is great stuff- I know you’re probably far off doing anything for Kowloon but I’m curious if the building exteriors match what’s inside there...

Thanks ! For now I only worked in Yokosuka so I couldn't tell. Would be very curious to see if the buildings interior are related to their enveloppe !
 
Joined
Jul 28, 2018
Great work! This is really interesting as it'll help with the top-down pixel art version of the Hazuki residence I'm drawing at the moment. Not as impressive as this, of course!

Yeah, we stitched every maps together, so you can walk from Hazuki Residence to Amihama without any loading screen.
Ohhh, did you use a combination of the inaccessible geometry in Dobuita and the motorbike race map? :unsure: 😮
 
Joined
Jun 15, 2019
Favourite title
Shenmue II
Currently playing
Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin
This is so effing cool! Thank you for doing this :giggle:
 
Joined
Aug 19, 2018
I don’t want to hjack this thread but this appeared in my YouTube feed-


I saw someone already suggested he work with you guys but since he is already using UE4 he may be useful ally in your work? Just a suggestion.
 

xatruio

Site Staff
Joined
Jul 27, 2018
Location
Chicago
Favourite title
What's Shenmue
Currently playing
Shenmue 3
Glad you enjoy this project, thanks !



We hope so ! Even if in my heart, Shenmue 1 is already perfect :)
SO MUCH YES

On staff chat and in a public thread awhile ago--when Lemon was teasing the project but not officially revealed--I laid out a decent list of random small improvements for 1 and 2, but all of them were pretty small and inconsequential... because both games are already perfect and dont need much changed. the differences between the two are minimal and each their own unique characteristic.
 
OP
OP
Nicolas_D
Joined
Dec 14, 2019
Location
Switzerland
I saw someone already suggested he work with you guys but since he is already using UE4 he may be useful ally in your work? Just a suggestion.

Yes I saw his nice work ! I didn’t have personally any contact with him yet but I would be glad to collaborate with him !

On staff chat and in a public thread awhile ago--when Lemon was teasing the project but not officially revealed--I laid out a decent list of random small improvements for 1 and 2, but all of them were pretty small and inconsequential... because both games are already perfect and dont need much changed. the differences between the two are minimal and each their own unique characteristic.

I totally agree ! Do you have a link to this post ? I'm very curious to see that improvements list !
 

spud1897

Administrator
Joined
Jul 24, 2018
Location
England
Favourite title
Shenmue II
Currently playing
Destiny 2, Shenmue HD ;)
PSN
spud19870
Yes I saw his nice work ! I didn’t have personally any contact with him yet but I would be glad to collaborate with him !



I totally agree ! Do you have a link to this post ? I'm very curious to see that improvements list !
I've emailed Lemon the email address for the dude doing the UE4 remake. Not sure if he's reached out yet :)
 
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