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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.
With the design of a structure together and the texture mapping underway, including unwrapping and sharing texture sheets, we need to think about how do we clone structures and start to combine them to head into unity. We don't want to leave our structures as a bunch of separate pieces. We'd like to unify them or attach all the objects together at some point. However, we want to make sure that the design is nice and solid first. One of the techniques I'll use in design is cycling the axis constraints. This allows me to move and clone things without using the Array tool; instead snapping and cloning based on geometry I already have.
What I like to do is to configure it as a hot key. That way also, I can hide the move gizmo and see exactly what I am doing. To begin, I'll go to Customize > Customize User Interface. With the Customize User Interface window open, in the Keyboard tab I'll go down to find Transform Gizmo Axis Constraints, shown as Transform Gizmo... In this case, it doesn't have a hotkey assigned. You can assign any hotkey you wish. I prefer to put it where my hands are most likely to be. For me, I am right-handed. My right hand is on the mouse and my left hand is on the left side of the keyboard.
That puts the signal quote under the Tilde or Escape button within easy reach. I am going to assign it here by pressing that hot key and switching it away from Redraw All Views and Assign. You can save out a keyboard chart if you need as well or just close this dialog. With the Transform Gizmo Axis Constraints cycle enabled on a hot key, now I can use it in cloning this building. I'll select one of my modules, and go into a left view so I can see it clearly.
If I press W for move, the yellow handle is highlighted, showing which axis I am constrained on. What I like to do for design to make it easy and quick and also to really carefully constrain the movement is to use that to cycle which way I am going. As I press that key, you can see different parts are highlighting in yellow. That's the direction I'll be moving in. For cloning this, I am going to pick this whole left side, press Spacebar for Selection Lock, and zoom up to the top where I can see a vertex.
I'll register my snap on one of the corners. In this case, I am going to use 2.5D Snap to make sure I am not snapping through the building on something, registering the snap and my axis is constrained to the x-axis only. Now, when I hold Shift and drag, I can constrain it to only move on the x-axis and clone parallel to the other elements. In the Clone Options I'll set these up as Instances and I'll make seven copies.
This gives me the long side of the building. Next, I would mirror over and complete and stretch those cornices out, much in the same way we stretched out the vertical elements in previous chapters. The important thing to keep in mind is precision of movement. At all times when we're making an environment, we want to keep things snapped and tight. Anywhere we can avoid an environment leak, where there is a hairline crack in something that the game engine has to think about, we get better performance. Game engines, to put it humorously, get very existential.
If there's a crack in the world, they'll spend a lot of time thinking about the nature of the crack in the world and incidentally your frame rate and hence your gameplay goes downhill.
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