Castle Brief

I have been assigned a brief in which I have to make a castle. I will need to learn the basics of the Unreal Engine 4 and Sequencer in order to create the castle using box brushes. My castle will need to be to scale and I will have to research features and layouts to inspire my build. A player would need to be able to walk around the structure and the build must contain a drawbridge.

Alnwick

The first castle I researched is Alnwick Castle in the North East of England. I have personally visited this castle multiple times and this was the first place I thought of when I was given the brief. 

Alnwick Castle is a 14th Century Keep surrounded by a (now empty) moat. There are both inner and outer Baileys and ramparts on the outer walls. The gate was refortified in the 15th Century and various towers have been rebuild or repaired between the 14th – 19th Centuries. The walls and towers have extensive views of the surrounding area and have a good view of the River Aln.

Alnwick Castle is most famous for its role as Hogwarts School in the Harry Potter films, The Philosopher’s Stone and The Chamber of Secrets.

I chose this castle due to its use of sections within the structure. The castle’s inner and outer Baileys are a great idea defensively as it allows a backup position for the inhabitants if the outer wall is breached. I may use this idea in my design in order to create a fall back defence against attackers in the game, should the player fail to defend the outer wall.

Bodiam

The second castle I researched is Bodiam Castle in the South of England. This was one of the first results on google images and I was drawn to it for its compact structure and near impenetrable defences. 

Bodiam Castle is a 14th Century Keep surrounded by a large moat. The large gatehouse still holds the original wooden portcullis and the interior ruins of the castle are still intact enough to allow visitors to explore the structure and to see how the castle was built.

Bodiam Castle was originally built to protect England’s south coast from raids by French armies.

I chose this castle due to its huge moat. The castle’s extensive moat is brilliant as it gives archers or other long range weapons a clear view over the surrounding area. According to architects, the original design for the moat also enhanced the castle’s aesthetics. By flattening the land around, the sheer size of the castle had more of an impact, both intimidating attackers and impressing allies. I may use a similar idea in my build in order to create an aesthetically pleasing design whilst making it difficult for enemies to access.

Neuschwanstein

The next castle I researched is Neuschwanstein Castle in the South of Germany. This was another top result on google images and I was drawn to it for its unusual and precarious placement.

Neuschwanstein Castle is a 19th Century Palace atop a hill in southwest Bavaria. The castle overlooks the village of Hohenschwangau and has an incredible view over the surrounding landscape.

Neuschwanstein Castle appeared in several movies, such as Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and The Great Escape and was an inspiration for movies such as Disney’s Sleeping Beauty and TV shows like Merlin (2008).

I chose this castle due to its strategic placement. The castle’s height on the hill gives it an excellent view of the surrounding area and allows any long range weapons a clear shot at attackers. By building so high up, it is nearly impossible to breach this castle. I may use this idea in my build in order to create a castle with a panorama for defensive gameplay.

Day 1

During the first day on Unreal Engine, I created my basic castle, landscape, moat, inner keep doors and drawbridge. I then textured these to add detail and allow me to differentiate between the standard grey boxes. I also learnt how to animate the doors and drawbridge to allow them to open when the player enters a specific area.

The player will begin the game outside of the castle walls. They must kill the enemies firing down from the walls before they can proceed. The drawbridge will then drop when approached and the player may continue.

Day 2

During the second day on Unreal Engine I added lighting, lamps and a well to the courtyard. I then began to place wooden boxes which will be used as cover during the fight in the game.

The player must use the wooden boxes for cover and use their weapon to fight the enemies around the courtyard. The player will then be able to proceed through the doors into the keep once all of the enemies outside have been killed.

Day 3

On the third day in Unreal Engine I decorated the inside of the keep. This included texturing the inside walls and floors, adding lighting, lamps, a fire pit, stairs and more wooden boxes for cover.

Once the player has entered the keep, they will have to kill the enemies waiting inside in order to reach the stairs. The player will be attacked as soon as they reach the top of the stairs. In this room, there will be more enemies and a boss to kill in order to complete the game.

Top Down Design

I used Adobe Photoshop to create a top down view of the castle. I created the courtyard and ground and upper levels of the keep. I made sure to include a key in each design so as to clearly show what each shape and colour means.

How I Used My Research

I tried to include a variety of features from each of the castles I researched.

I included a moat in my castle design and took inspiration for this from Bodiam Castle. Bodiam is built in the middle of a huge body of water and, although I did not create a moat as large, I believe that using a moat was a great way to implement the drawbridge required by the brief. It gives the drawbridge a purpose in terms of both game objectives and realistic castle defences. 

I also included 2 layers in my castle design and took inspiration for this from Alnwick Castle. Alnwick has an inner and outer Bailey and is built to keep its residents safe in the event of a wall breach. I used a similar idea to this as I created an outer wall and inner keep in my castle design. I think this was a good idea as it splits my game up into levels and allows the player to explore different environments.

I did not include any aspects of Neuschwanstein. I initially attempted to build my castle on a mountain but I didn’t like the way it looked. It seemed really out of place as I wasn’t allowed to landscape properly or include trees/foliage to blend the castle with the surrounding environment. Its placement on the mountain also made it difficult to create the moat I needed for my drawbridge. I eventually discarded this idea and placed my castle on a flat landscape and created a mountain-scape around the edges of the world to give some background and depth to the game.