Throwback to the production of my Show-reel video, featuring my first Maya environment. This was my first modelling project, for my first year of BSc Games Modelling Animation and Effects at London Met.
The prompt was to make a children’s playground, and I decided to go a step further and challenge myself to make the park Special Needs friendly.
A bit of background:
My Aunt, who I was raised with, and helped care for, is Special Needs- having been born with water on the brain. It was always very difficult trying to take her out for a day at the park, especially open parks, as she would easily get hurt or be able to run off. So instead of just an assignment, I decided to make a park for her, where she could feel safe, and where her guardians for the day could relax as well.
There is purposely one entrance to the park, where parents or guardians can sit and watch the children play independently, knowing they can’t get out of that park except by that one route. Every tight spot in the park, such as inside the rope walls or inside the slide, is transparent so the p&g have a view of their children at every point in the park from the sitting places at the entrance. They can sit and relax and always keep a watchful eye on their children should they need help.
Small spaces and semi-closed off spaces (while still having transparent walls) are put throughout the park as comfort cubby holes to add a sense of security (especially needed for children who can get overwhelmed easily, like Autistic or children with water on the brain). While the whole park should have a graspable foam floor, under every high-ish spot in the park is the spilled "tea" coming from the teapot, which would be soft poofy foam. This way if a child falls, the risk of getting hurt is as reduced as possible. The bottom of the wall is also the soft foam, and the height risk is reduced by having staggered transparent “tea spill” shapes to climb over. The roof of the walls are made of monkey bars to stop the children from climbing over the top from inside. The sugar cubes are made so the door open downwards to become a ramp, and hinges inside allow for the seat to be lowered and safety grips locked in to place to make each cube wheelchair accessible.
Even though you obviously cant see this background information in the end piece, I find the story and development, as well as such details, to be invaluable to the creation of a model. Keeping such things in mind definitely effected every bit of the design, from me going back to soften and round edges to the color palate used to be the most soothing, even if its not obvious.
As for the model itself, it was done using a mix of polygon and NURB objects, with the goal of keeping the poly count as low as possible. To this end I deleted the ropes shown on the climbing walls for the final render, but I liked how they looked and wanted to include them here. The lighting, Animation, Textures, and camera path were all done in Maya using key frame animation and copyright-free or self-made textures, with the music also being free for student work.
I started by first making rough sketches, then to concept art and different viewpoints. From there I built up all of the Poly objects, Then the NURB objects. It was a bit of an odd process from start to finish for a base model, but as this was my first jump into Maya, my modelling method was determined by what I was learning real time in class. Over all this was a 3-4 month long project, but now could be completed from start to finish I believe in a couple of weeks.