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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 you have got a module ready to clone, it's important to check over it to see if there's any last geometry you can eliminate prior to texturing. We know we are going to clone a module so that the text to repeat seamlessly. However, we know we are also cloning modules. Therefore, if we can eliminate one or two polygons on one module, that may translate into 50 or 100 polygons saved over a whole model of a building. That means you really need to take a careful eye to optimizing a mesh prior to cloning.
I had taken my module and done a test clone, seeing it was aligned with my construction shapes. Now I'm going to pick a module and carefully look at over and see if there is anywhere in here I can eliminate a polygon or two. The first place I will look at is down here on the windowsill. If I look in the photos, this windowsill is actually a continuous piece, which means the top of the windowsill gets a continuous color. For modeling, that means I can go to polygon by pressing 4 and instead of using 2 Polygons to span, I can bridge from outside edge to outside edge and I can do this on the top as well.
What we're seeing here is the difference between design and the actual construction again, that I've designed it, bridging across edge to edge to make sure the openings work, but in the actual construction I am going to let a polygon span all the way across. I will switch to Edge, pick the top edge hold Ctrl and pick its opposite, and under Edit Edges choose Bridge. Down in the bottom I will repeat this step, picking a bottom corner edge, holding Control and picking its opposite, and choosing Bridge under Edit Edges.
On this module now, I have two fewer polygons. As these are stacked seven high and three across the narrow side of the building, this is a decent savings and every polygon counts. For this building, the savings on the narrow side alone is 42 polygons, just by this simple optimization. Now I am ready to check the clone of this again, if I need, using either the Array or the Snap. I'll show the Array tools, a possibility in cloning, just to make sure that the design works overall one more time.
If I have one module like this, to clone this using the Array dialogue I'll choose Tools > Array. In the Array dialogue, we can do 1, 2 or 3D arrays, specifying a number and a distance for each. The first move I will do is on the X-axis, 144 units. This accommodates the width of the module plus the two foot spacing between. On the 1D Count I will put in 3, for 3 modules across the bottom.
The 2D Array, going on the Z-axis will give me the height of the building. On the Z, I'll put a height of 120. That was the height of my plane and also the floor to floor height. On the 2D Count, I will put in 6. I will check Preview and see if this works. It looks like I need one extra on the 2D Count to bring it out to the right height. This is good and here's my building facade. Cloning as an Instance, in case I need to make further changes and see how they look.
Now in my facade, I have a clean clone from floor to floor, right below the windows to right below the windows. Turning off the edged faces by pressing F4 and possibly hiding a Construction layer allows me to see clearly. In the Layer palette, I'll check Hide on the Construction Objects. Now I can look at my building and see if there are any gaps or anything else I need to adjust. It looks good. It's important to remember when you're modeling to check every step of the way, rather than getting knee deep in a module and figuring out that, whoops you missed a couple of pieces or couple of inches. It's better to do it, test it, check it, prior to texturing.
Once for into texturing, moving meshes around is a very big deal.
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