This is an environment I built using the Unreal® Development Kit™ (UDK) to improve my modeling and texturing skills. Excluding some particles effects, all the assets were created by me.
My goal with this project was to obtain an high quality and realistic jungle inspired by the one seen in Crysis, pushing the limits of UDK while keeping the level playable (>30 FPS) on modern hardware.
Most of the assets were modeled in high resolution using Mudbox and retopologized in 3D Studio Max to obtain a low poly model.
As you can see from the images above I tried to keep the models simple and modular to be able to use them as much as possible to keep development time low and enhance performance in UDK. This proved to be especially important for architectural elements as I wanted to base them on the fairly complex architecture of the Khmer Temples in Cambodia.
While building the level I used the awesome Speed Tree editor included in UDK to speed up the modeling of trees. It proved to be a huge time saver, especially for leaves distribution.
The diffuse textures varies from a minumum of 512×512 for leaves and other natural elements to a maximum of 2048×2048 for architectural objects and rocks. Where possible I tried to derive the specular map from the diffuse to save memory.
Lighting is maybe the most important thing in a level and as such I spent a lot of time trying to get it right. In the images below you can see how it evolved during the project, thanks to the feedback received on the Beyond Unreal and Exiles Of UnrealEd forums.