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Follow a practical guide to building 3D cityscapes for games. IAuthor Adam Crespi constructs a city block in 3ds Max utilizing low-polygon modeling and advanced texturing techniques. The course shows how to model common city elements such as buildings, intersections, curbs, and roofs and explains how to expand a city quickly and easily by reusing existing geometry in a modular way. The course also sheds light on simulating real-world detail with baking, lighting, and ambient occlusion techniques and offers a series of best practices for exporting to the Unity gaming engine.
Once we have the flat planes of a roof in place we need to add the elements that give us thickness at the edge or apparent thickness. In reality they are really built of planes of material and linear elements. For this roof I'm going to put a fascia on the outside and a soffit. The fascia is the board that caps the rafter ends, so it looks like a continuous edge. There is often a gutter or something similar over it. I'll also put a soffit underneath the roof. That way because the polygons in this roof face out, I have coverage underneath instead of a blank area.
So in a game if I happen to duck into this doorway or next to the building and look up at the roof, I see what really should be there: a solid surface. To start with on this fascia I'll go into top view and change to a wireframe by pressing F3. With my Snap on at 2.5 I'll press Ctrl+Right-Click and choose Box. I'm going to make one piece of the roof fascia here and a soffit and then clone this all the way around to finish out this roof. I'll snap this first box across from corner-to-corner.
If you notice, the box has a Length of 0, a Height of 7 point whatever really, and a Width of exactly 192. That's the important part. Now I can change the Length to 2, and I'll put the Height at 8 for 2x8 rough lumber. I'll take this piece and snap it onto the edge of the roof, then look at in the left view and make sure it's up to the right height. Now I need to optimize this before I clone it. I'll right-click and choose Isolate Selection so I can see this a little bit easier.
I'll convert this to an Editable Poly and choose Polygon. We'll take out the ends of this so it's open. I'll also take out the top polygon so I'm basically left with the tall skinny U. Lastly, I'll take the inside vertex, which for me is here on the right, and I'll move it down by 2 or 3 inches. I use the Transform Type-In and on the Offset Y put in -2. That will give me some thickness up here in the soffit. That way it looks like the right dimension, that the roof isn't just a flat poly.
Now I can exit the Isolation Mode and in a top view adjust the miters. Remember that the dimension of this was 2 inches. That way I can choose these vertices, on the Transform Type-In put in -2 and get a perfect 45 here. I'll do this in the other side as well. In this case I'll move 2 over. I'm almost ready to clone, but I have one more element to complete.
All of my ridges and valleys meet at a 45. On a roof this is a hip-ridge, meets at a 45 degree angle. The valley where two roof planes come together is also at a 45. Occasionally this varies, but those roofs get pretty complex and require a set of plans to detail properly. This is a fairly simple roof. I'll look up underneath that soffit. Right now it's blank and I have the fascia. I can pick this top inside edge of my fascia and extrude it out.
I'll do this in the top view so I can put it exactly where I want it. Notice that I switch between wireframe and shaded and move my views around to get where I need. Don't be afraid to really zoom in. I'll right-click and choose Extrude. I'd like to use the dialog for this. That way I can reset the base Width down to 0 and a Width of 10 is just fine here. I'll check OK and then I'll pick this edge and move it down where I need to go. Next I'll pick the vertices, pressing 1 for vertex, grabbing this corner, and on the X axis snap it onto the building.
I'd like to use the Spacebar for Selection Lock. I'll release the Selection Lock by hitting the Spacebar and do this on the other side. Next I'll check this in the left view. Hitting Z for Zoom and making sure my soffit is flat. This worked nicely. Occasionally, we may need to snap it back down depending on which way it extruded. I'm ready to take this piece and clone it and stretch it around to my other roof elements. What I'll do now, probably in a shaded view so I can see what's going on, is duplicate, clone, rotate, and move this piece along with stretching it out along the roof.
With this fascia element complete I'm ready to clone it around the roof. I'll clone, rotate, and stretch as needed and in the interest of time, come back and show the completed roof. I stretched the fascia and cloned it around the roof. Now on any side of my roof it appears to have thickness. Now when I look up underneath it I have polygons there. We're working in a single-sided workflow. Notice that if I pick any particular object, right-click, and choose Object Properties and turn on Backface Cull, it's still there.
If I were to view this in the other side it would disappear, but there is a roof. My roof is complete. The important thing to remember when you're making roofs is that they need to look like they have thickness and we need to get the details right, because they do occupy a large part of the view of a building. They also tend to be down low especially sloped roofs like this on houses and such, and so there is a bigger chance for going to see them closer up in our game.
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