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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 many buildings, we can actually paint the shadows right into the texture. In some of them what we actually need to do is model a high resolution model in 3ds Max and render To texture with those shadows on possibly complex curves' ornate detail. And use that detail on a lower res model. This building, this modern one in the foreground here, is an example of where we can paint shadows. The detail right here on the windows and also the shading on this bevel is a great place to paint detail in. It's very easy.
And this building, which I've marked out with both texture lines in blue and mesh lines in green, this building has ornate detail up here in the cornice. While we could possibly paint it, this is much easier to model, replicate, and render in 3ds Max in high res for use as a texture with complete lighting. What we want to do as part of our planning is mark out areas like this in another easy-to-recognize color. I'll go on a new layer and I am going to use purple with a polygonal lasso in the general area.
And very roughly lasso around this ornate trim and fill it in purple and I'll slide the opacity on this layer back to about 40%. This will let me know as part of my plan that I need to budget time to model and render this piece. Trim like these panels below we can probably do as a drawing, because the shadows are very, very small and this shape is easy enough to draw with the Pen tool. This is another example of trim that we can probably paint the shadows pretty nicely.
As we can see in the dentals here, there's a general darkness around and on the flutes it's a nice even shading. We can do this with a gradient in Photoshop very quickly, versus having to model and render this piece. What I'll do is I'll mark out areas like this in pink. So that when I look at my plan, which is actually my reference photo with the overlaid lines of my building, I can see that this is an area I need to texture with shadows. The theme from this chapter is that we need to plan out what we're doing so that each building is a recognizable system of steps, versus a one =-off in a design, because we need to build a city with.
In this chapter we learned how to plan the development of building elements for game environments. We identified key details that signify a structure's age and materials and most importantly, whether to construct those as texture or geometry. This is vital for the game designer, as the environment should be as simple as possible, while maintaining the quality of the design and the visual continuity of the story being told.
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