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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 the modular design of streets and sidewalks is done, we are ready to start building our kit of parts to add detail to the city. This video will show techniques for building driveways, curbs, and ramps, so that they can be placed as needed. We'll explore polygon modeling techniques for optimizing geometry while achieving the look of the most common place, the very sidewalk under our feet. In this model, I've finished replacing my proxy or placeholder streets with my actual streets, complete with mapping and texture, and the intersections sized to include the radius corner.
Now I am going to make part of my kit of parts for driveways and ramps. I have placeholders in of just boxes color coded that let me know that I need to put a driveway object there. What I'll do is I'll take this driveway and press Ctrl+V to clone as a copy and I'll move this clone off to the side temporarily. Because it's still a parametric box, I can put the Width Segments at 3, then convert this to an editable poly. This is why we need to replace this object rather than just adjusting or remodeling in place is that we end up with fundamentally different geometry.
First, I'll press 2 for edge and pick the two center edges and press Loop on the Selection menu. Then press R for scale and scale these out on the x-axis. Now I'll take the front center edge, press W for move and F12 for the Transform Type-In, and move this down -7 inches, giving me a one-inch lip of the driveway. Finally, I'll optimize this, removing any back and bottom polygons so that they don't add to the poly count in the game.
I'll continue working on this and show the completed version. The driveway component is optimized and ready for smoothing correctly. I'll pick the Element button and select the whole element and scroll down to the Polygon Smoothing Groups menu. In Smoothing Groups, I'll clear all. That way I have hard edges all the way across here. Lastly, I'm going to take these top- middle vertices and weld them on to the corners to give me triangles here on the ramps instead of possibly all mesh lines across.
I'll press 1 for vertex and then right- click and choose Target Weld and Target Weld from middle to corner. So this shows up cleanly, I'll press F3 to switch to a wireframe and click and drag-- notice the dragline-- across. I'll press F3 again and F4 to turn off a wireframe on shaded or edged faces. So I can see my object cleanly.
I have crisp corners at the ramps and a crisp edge along the bottom of the driveway. This object is ready for texture and placement in my model. I'll rename this to driveway001 to differentiate it from the proxies. Sometimes we also need a small straight ramp in the middle of the sidewalk. I'll take my driveway object, clone it by pressing Ctrl+V, renaming the object to ramp001, and moving it over and then simply grabbing one side of the vertices and pressing F12 for the Transform Type-In and moving them back by 8 feet.
This gives me a small ramp I can add in the middle of my sidewalk. Now I can take these objects, F4 for edged faces again, and replace my driveway white box models and further complete my street. Now with the actual driveway complete, I'll replace my placeholder object, selecting and deleting or using the Align tool. I'll pick the driveway and then press a line and select the placeholder.
And for these, I'll align on the x, y, and z position, center to center, as it both came in the same size object. Pressing OK to accept the alignment and finally selecting the placeholder a proxy object and deleting. I can do the same with the ramp. I'll continue working on this and show the completed version. As you can see, my ramp is a little bit bigger than the original proxy, as I need to adjust the sidewalks to fit. I'll select my sidewalk proxy objects, press 1 for vertex, and using my 3D Snap in this case on just the x-axis in red, snap these vertices onto the edge of that ramp.
Later, I'll come back and replace this sidewalk proxy with a proper sidewalk that's textured and has fewer polys. Constructing street and sidewalk elements is an exercise in careful placement of minimal polygons, beyond the simple placement of mesh lines. We as designers are charged with constructing conditions and transitions that we navigate regularly, that the sidewalk under our feet we have to think about, even though in walking around the city we may not notice it.
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