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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.
In a city most of the detail we see is flat or nearly flat and can be painted into the texture of a model, giving the city a sense of construction and place. This example is another picture in Seattle and it's really important to get out and take photo reference of the type of environment you want to model and if you can't get out and take photograph reference of the place, Google Street View is a fantastic tool to take you to really nearly any city in the world and see what it's like. In this building these windows are a great example of a texture opportunity, because they are shallow window openings without a very deep ledge or without a very deep side.
The yellow area here marked out is where I'd use a texture. Another example, this is trim on a building, this white archway, and also this sill over the window. Again, we can't really get to a place to see that in silhouette, but we need to have it. It's a very important design element here in this building and that's a great place for texture. And also when we join materials together, here is white quoins. That's spelled q-u-o-i-n-s, and it's a harder material at a corner, which also a decorative element.
That's a great place for a texture opportunity, because again, we can't get to the side enough of it to see it in silhouette. What I've done here in 3ds Max is constructed a simple building with the idea of displaying detail through texture, as we can see in this realistic shaded view. We have wrought iron balusters on the ground floor and dentals on the cornice below the brickwork that are all done with texture, and I'll switch over here by choosing Realistic and Lighting and Shadows and turning off the Shadows, and also switching over to Shaded Materials without Maps, so we can see the actual geometry.
I'll press F4 to show the wireframe as well and we can see this is very low polygon work that has an amazing amount of detail with the text applied. The amazing part is really how much of an environment's detail can be shown in texture. By carefully examining concept art and getting out and taking reference photos or using Google Street View to get to know a place, we can train our eye to the difference between texture and geometry, and by doing this you can lay the foundation for building a really elegant low polygon model that appears to be in a certain place.
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