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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.
When you're working on a project and especially in a game, proper naming conventions are absolutely essential. You may think it's not such a big deal, it's only a few objects and we were just dealing in a small scene. But when you start work in thousands of unique named assets in the game it's a big deal. We might have hundreds of meshes, hundreds of lights, animation clips, scripts, and other in-game pieces like skyboxes, all of which need a proper naming convention so we can find them. Remember also, we're going to use things like scripts that look for either variables or unique names.
So we need to have a naming convention we can read easily. And more importantly, we need to have a naming convention we can share. You might be in a studio interfacing with the wetware as we call it. You know what that is? The other people. Who will be very mad at you if your objects are not named well. To start, I'm going to get this building ready for bringing into Unity. Right now it's a design model. I've got it unwrapped, I've got my textures on, there are two materials, a Cornice and an Upper Floor, and a bunch of objects. I'll pick really any one of them, right- click, and convert it to an editable poly.
This makes it no longer an instance and bakes the UVs in. Then I'll attach it to all the other objects, right-clicking and choosing the dialog next to Attach. In the Attach dialog I'm going to filter, turning off lights and cameras to make sure I just have geometry. I'll do a quick scroll down the list and check as well. Looks like its all geometry, so I can pick the Select All button and attach all the objects in. Yes, in this case I'd like to match the material IDs to the material.
Everything is in. I need to fix some smoothing issues down there it looks like. I know that part of the building is flat, so I can pick all of its polygons and just clear off the smoothing. It looks like the problem is fixed. Now for the Material IDs, because keeping it clean is essential there too. In the Polygon: Material IDs when I select Polygons I can see I have 1, 1, 2 and 3, okay. That's little odd.
I should just have two materials. I'm going to right-click and choose Top Level and look at the naming in the material first as part of sorting out the IDs. In my Materials right now I have a material called Cornice and one called Upper Floors. That could be for any building. I'm going to assign a naming convention and make my Multi/Sub-Object material clean. I've already started to do a name here. In this case I've attached the letters BLD or Building and then _Building01.
This would be building one of however many I do. I've put in some shorthand that I think I'm going to use repetitively. Upper Floor is UF. I'll also see a CN for Cornice. Lastly at the end of the name, I put a single letter designation for the place of this map. In this case C is a Color or DiffuseMap, N is for Normal, S would be for Shine or glossiness, and so forth. This makes it easy to look down a list and see where a map goes and also what it's attached to. I may have other prefixes in there, such as STR for street, TRE for tree and planter, all kinds of things that are necessary in my city.
I'll make a Multi/Sub-Object material and clean this up, choosing of an empty slot and clicking on Standard. In the Standard Materials I'll pick a Multi/Sub-Object. I'll discard this one. That's okay. And first I'll set the number. I'll put the Number of Materials at 2. I only need 2 in this building. I'll name the first material as I create it, clicking on the None slot in number 1 and picking a standard material.
I'll name this standard material per its maps. This again will be BLD so I know it's a building material, _Building01_UF for Upper Floor. That way the Upper Floor material gets the upper floor maps and everything works together. Into the Diffuse channel so I can verify it works I'll put in the Upper Floor. Going in my Maps I can see here in my Scene Materials I have that map already. I'll select it and in this case an Instance or Copy doesn't really matter.
I'll choose Instance. Now I need to add the normal map in, just to check and make sure it also works. I'll go into Maps, into the Bump slot, and add a Normal Bump. Here it is again in the Scene Materials, Normal: Map #5 (BLG_Building01_UF_N). I'll instance this and put the strength up to 100. I'll repeat this process with the other material, making the same choices in naming and placement.
When it's done I'll show how to get the Material IDs straight. Now that I've got my materials made, with both standard materials having the correct name, Building01_CN for Cornice in this case, and the correct maps with their designation. I've named the Master Material BLD_Building01. As the names get higher or more towards the root object, they will get shorter and shorter. This is a root object, a root material here, the Multi/Sub. So Building01 is all I need. Now I'll check the Material IDs.
I'll select my object and assign this material to it. I'll make sure that my materials in the Material Editor are set to show in the view. Clicking on the Material and turning on the Show Shaded Material in Viewport button. Looks like I'm in pretty good shape. I need to fix a few material IDs. It's important to streamline these, so we don't see extra materials coming cross into Unity. I'll work by polygon or by element and select the middle elements on the top floor.
These will all get ID 2. I'll scroll down in Material IDs and change that. In the Polygon: Material IDs I'll set their ID at 2. And we can see a change, as the Cornice material with the relief panels is applied. The building is ready. I'll name this object BLD_Building01, and I'm ready to set the pivot and bring it into Unity.
This is what I want to stress over- and-over, and I tell my students this. Proper naming is essential. Searching through box 1 through box of thousand for an object is a drag. Trying to find something uniquely in a script with the game engine, searching through box 1 through 1000 is a nonstarter. Your game is not going to work. Everything needs a unique name and everything needs to follow a naming convention to the later. Even if you pressed on time, follow the convention you set. I personally like an Excel spreadsheet.
I'm going to list out all the possible objects, their prefixes, and examples of the names. That way if there's any question or if I'm bringing somebody new on to the project I can hand them a naming guideline. Even if you're working in a solo project, a naming convention is important. Finding objects is what you want to do, not hunting through a mass scene.
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