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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 making a game you'll go through a lot of effort to build a lot of assets. The best philosophy is to see how many places you can reuse those assets. Especially on the design side, we need to populate a city with, well, a city worth of buildings, or at least a chunk of a city. We want to take our kit of parts, our assembly of windows and walls and frames and cornices we've made, and see if we can get one or two more buildings out of each one, rather than all this effort to make one place. This kit of parts I have here will easily yield me another building.
What we've been doing so far is looking at elegant design. Not that it's necessarily in heels or streamlined, but that the mesh construction, I'll press F4 to show it, snaps clean and easily, that everything is on the module, that taking this and cloning it or replicating to make a new building, is very, very straightforward. As an example, I am going to take this building and lengthen it, adding in another course of brick and also a couple of more floors. Maybe it's a larger bank or a larger office building.
What I'll do is first grab the upper floors and move them up. I'll select the top and then hold Alt to deselect those vertical elements. I am going to zoom in and use my Spacebar for Selection Lock. Press W for Move and I'm going to use my snap. I notice that possibly from a previous exercise, my Snap settings have changed. That I may be actually snapping to a pivot point on an object, as evidenced by the yellow highlight around it. I can set this back easily and I find I do so on-the-fly a lot of times, setting and reasoning my snap as I need, configuring my workspace to get the best results.
I'll hold Shift and right- click and uncheck Pivot. Now I am only snapping on vertices, as we can see by the yellow plus here. I'm ready to move. What I'll do is I'll register that plus maybe three floors down and I'll move this up three floors, snapping evenly. You can see the green rubber band showing where I am snapping to. I'll deselect and zoom out, hitting the Spacebar to do so. Now I've destroyed my building, which is just fine. I am going to stretch out my vertical elements.
You'll notice when I've cloned them, we'll look on the Modifier panel. They are instances largely. That means if I change one, they all change. So first I'll stretch them up. I'll drop down to the Editable Poly and this is a real advantage of keeping things separate. Going down to the Editable Poly I can select Vertices, grab those vertices, zoom in and stretch those elements right up. I'll press spacebar for Selection Lock and X to turn off to transform, so I don't accidentally change direction. I'll snap right up to the cornice, grabbing those three.
Now when I release those vertices and go back up to the UVW map, my brick mapping I carefully put on earlier still goes all the way up. This is flexibility in design, that I can take these elements move, clone, snap them, and have that mapping I so carefully put on, still be in the right place. Here's the other side. Notice also that because I'm using my axis constraints I can register my mouse wherever I need, stretching those elements up to match the cornice. Finally, I'll finish out the corner.
On this one, it's actually a couple of pieces and the reason is I had to move it and clone it and mirror it and take a piece off so it miters properly. It's only two, so it's not a big deal. While I am doing this, the main idea you should be getting from this is that it's fairly easy to stretch a building. That it should be a matter of moving and stretching a few pieces, and of course the mapping still works, because you planned it that way. Now I am ready to clone the middle floors. I'll select that row of three right here, making sure I have all of my elements by holding Ctrl to select any I missed, and then Alt to deselect those middle verticals.
Now I can press spacebar for selection lock, hold Shift, and register on a vertex. I'll drag up and clone and I've added more pieces to the building. I'm going to clone these as instances, in case I need to come back and change something. This building suddenly got taller. I could in the future take the whole building and expand it to the side or mirror it over or even stretch one of these brick elements laterally, because that mapping will still apply once I've stretched. The big deal is to make yourself a kit of parts.
If you make a kit of parts you can reuse it. If you make a one-off design, it's very difficult to repurpose and you end up making thousands of unique things for your city, which takes a huge amount of time.
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