Happy Friday, Reapers!

In the previous posts we mentioned greyboxing by the design team, and the 2D designs of Area X by the artists. In this post the artists will continue with what we call “the fun part”: realising Area X in 3D so you can walk through it in the game engine.

We will be showing our way of working with the 3D models we create by using a couple of examples.

We ALWAYS start with a moodboard! Moodboards are important because they show the rough outlines of whatever idea you have in your head. They’re also very handy in conveying your idea to another person. If your moodboard isn’t right, you’ll notice right away and save a lot of time. In such a moodboard you mind the setting of the area, the materials you want to use and the function of the model itself.

If that’s all good, we’ll take our ideas and merge them with the information on our moodboard to create 2D visualisations of the model we want to make. Here you can think of quick sketches of many different iterations, materials and composition. Using these sketches, we are at the next step of seeing how well the model would fit in the context we want to place it in, which in this case would be Area X.

After we pick and choose whatever 2D visualisation we think is the best, (usually after some iterations went over it already) we start creating a 3D model in which only it’s form and structure are important. This is called the “Low Poly” model. This Low poly is what we put in the game engine. Though it’s less pretty than what we’re doing in the next step, it’s better for game engines and will make sure the game will run very smooth.

The next step is the “High Poly”. This is when we take the Low Poly, which exists out of very little data, and amplify that data so such an amount that we can “paint it” or “form it” like clay. A little example would be that a low poly model would exist out of 400 triangles on the surface, while a high poly can be in the millions. That’s a large difference. Using this high poly we can add details like the scratches and holes on wood or metal to show that it’s been used.

Once the high poly is done, we use a tool to copy the details from the high poly, into a texture on the low poly. This way we don’t need a million triangles to make something look pretty. We basically fake it, so that both you and your PC can have a pleasant experience running the game!
That is also already the first step of texturing.

Texturing is applying the colors and materials to the model, and it’s the final step for the creation of the asset itself. This is when the model truly comes to life! Using even more tools we can decide how the texture of a model reacts to it’s environment. If it’s very smooth and made of metal, it will reflect a lot of light. On the other hand, if we want something to be rough, it will barely reflect any light. Think about the differences between a metal shield versus a rock.

This process is something we did for all the models within area X. And with that done, a new question arises: what’s next?

While the 3D process may be the fun part of it all, what comes next is the prettiest of all! Adding all the assets together and building a scene with them.

But that’s for next week!