With the characters finished, I turned my attention to engine work and setting up a scene for my Robots with a few props and scenery items. As I wanted to create a forest scene with my robots sat around a campfire, the first thing I made was a tree which I could copy all over my scene (though if i have time id like to make more than one to break things up a bit), using the usual method of extruding along splines and multiplying lots of alpha'd leaves. Before I made any other props, I setup this first tree as a static mesh with collision, and exported it as an ASCII file. I made sure I had all my materials set up first, especially the Alpha's around the leaves as I know the transition between Max and UDK can be awkward unless you set everything up correctly beforehand.
Starting in UDK, I decided on utilizing the terrain editor for the first time ever, as a way to create some interesting landscape instead of just a flat surface (as it's a natural environment). Following tutorials I was able to create a clearing over-shadowed by a cliff face, with a flattened area in the center for the character setup. Took me awhile to get used to the settings and controls of the terrain editor, as it was easy to get a bit carried away with the height creation of the mountainous areas I wanted to make. To make the terrain look more natural, i smoothed over the hard looking edges, and flattened other areas to make them more hard surface.
Once I had finished shaping my terrain, I looked at applying a few basic materials to it, applying them in layers to get the desired effect: Rock, Sand and Mud (grass), with mud resting on top and sand, and finally rock underneath, rock being most prevalent on the vertical areas, so that's where I painted it most heavily. i tweaked these maps several times until I was completely happy with them, as they wouldn't tile perfectly, but I left them after awhile as I didn't want to waste too much time on this aspect of the project. At this time I also began cloning my trees, populating my landscape with my forest setup.
With a good amount of trees filling up my scene now, I looked towards creating teh rest of teh props for my level: A wall to the village that the robots reside in, a gate (in the shape of a giant gear), crates, girders, steel pipes, platforms, corrugated iron and steel drums. I tried not to spend too long creating these things, keeping their geometry simple, which is fine as that fits into the stylised fashion of my characters anyway. I positioned a lot of teh props around to create a sort of messy, shrapnel laden environment, as if the robots that dwell in their village constructed their home from bits and pieces that were found littered on the ground.
All props in scene: I will mess around with positioning, and placing more to make it more busier, but I'm fairly happy with the amount of props I made to populate this scene. Obviously given more time I would make a wider variety, but I'll have to see how I go. Next step is bringing in my characters.