Friday, October 16, 2009

Creating Internal Environments: Part 2 Catacombs

Detailed Catacombs

In "Creating Internal Environments: Part 1" I discussed how I developed all of the parts to make my Catacombs for my game "Lost Kingdom". Now its time to put everything together! First I had to make sure all of my parts fit together seamlessly and looked good. Fortunately all it took was five walls and one pillar repeated over and over.

Catacomb Wall Pieces

I also had to make a bunch of caskets to fit in the walls and to scatter around. The idea is that a necromancer took over the city's catacombs and made a big mess wile creating a legion of undead. So some of the caskets are broken or opened.

Big Mess of Caskets

With all of the pieces and major decor finished, I had to make the level out of all of it. First I put all of the walls up where I wanted them and then put the floor in. The floor is just a block underneath each room. It took a long time to find a good texture to put on the floor. Nothing seemed to go with the walls and decor, so I severely modified a decorative floor I had hiding away in my texture collection. Gimp did wonders with it and with color correction and contrast enhancement I had the floor that I wanted.

Catacomb Walls and Floor

With the level layout done, I had to put in more detail like all of the caskets that need to go into a crypt. I have more stuff to put in such as lights, candles, and dead bodies. But those are not done yet and the bodies may not be put into the level until I am ready to put in the monsters.

Catacomb with Caskets

Filling the level with caskets took about five hours. Some are pulled out of the walls and some are broken all over the floor. Im quite happy with their arrangement, some of the rooms are such a mess that a player would walk in and go "OMGWTF happened here? And where are all of the bodies!?!" And then run around the next corner and get swarmed with zombies and skeletons.

A Big Mess of coffins!

It looks like something out of a Silent Hill game. Extremely creepy and satisfyingly dark natured. What will really set it off is proper lighting and some good creepy sounds and music! Another thing I will likely look into is making some blood to splatter on the floors and walls. I also need to place the light fixtures and candles around the level, but I will do that in IRREdit.

Wings3D is spitting and sputtering trying to cope with the size and complexity of this level. It has 211,888 polygons when it is triangulated and this is only two thirds of the level. You won't have to worry about that being high in the game though, IRRLICHT can handle that like its nothing. The last third of the level I will have to make in its own load cell, fortunately this layout makes it easy for me to do that. Once you have completed the first part of the level and have found the key, just find the right door and enter the second part of the level.

This is the first time I have made an internal environment and there are a few things to remember when making one. Scope is important. I would love to make a HUGE level completely full of details, however I don't want to spend a month on one area. When I do make a gigantic level I will use simpler pieces where I don't have to go back and put caskets in every wall recess. The more you componentize things, the quicker and easier the level will be to make. If you have an entire room completely predone it is easy to copy it and paste it somewhere else, then mess around with the decor or replace one wall to make it look different. And lastly keeping the polygon count of all of your objects low allows the level to load quicker and your 3D Editor will have less of a problem handling all of the geometry.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Wings3D: Modeling a Ruin Entrance

An entrance to some ruins. The model may be used in my game later. Modelled by RemixedCat (me) in real time with no alterations.

This may be the entrance to the catacombs andrakon showed here on this blog. I did this in real time to the song that was playing in Windows Media Player 11. I used FRAPS to capture it while it also recorded the song. It was very hard to do that before the song was over! it was very fun to do this and I will feature more videos like this later on. I will make some more improvements to this. This was just a base design that I will improve and enhance later as we need it. I hope you enjoyed this! :)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Wings3D: Modeling a 2 Story house

Time has not been altered in any way, the video is raw and unedited. Modeling done by Remixedcat (me). Porch columns were added later.

I did this in real time to the song that was playing in Windows Media Player 11. I used FRAPS to capture it while it also recorded the song. It was very hard to do that before the song was over! it was very fun to do this and I will feature more videos like this later on. Porch colums were added later as I could not decide the design, plus each porch with that house is going to be different to give the homes a custom touch! :)

Wings3D: Modeling a small Building

This building was modeled by RemixedCat (me) in about three and a half minutes.

I thought it would be very nice to show you that a small building can be done in as little as 3 minutes and 30 seconds in wings3d. I did this in real time to the song that was playing in Windows Media Player 11. I used FRAPS to capture it while it also recorded the song. It was very hard to do that before the song was over! it was very fun to do this and I will feature more videos like this later on.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Growing Skills: 3D Modeling

Have you ever sat down with a bucket full of legos and made a small town or tower? Its a lot of fun! I spent a whole summer just building things out of legos with my friends. We made a bunch of boats, buildings, robots, and airplanes and played around with them for hours! Its really not too much different from making 3D models. The biggest differences are that you can't run out of pieces and you decide how all of the pieces are shaped. Oh and your fiendish friends won't recycle them for parts when your not around.

My first experience with 3D modeling was actually in a game called Blockland. Its a game where you and a bunch of people online can create a game room and build anything you want in it with a bunch of lego like blocks. After you make a scene you all can go to war in it too if you want. Blow up everything and everyone with missile launchers and watch the blocks fly! Honestly this game has seriously improved since I played it. It now has physics plus more weapons, bricks, and options for game play. I played it when it was still in a free beta stage, but now you can play the demo or buy a key for $20.

Totally Awesome Blockland Gameplay Video

Some time after playing Blockland I wondered into someones project for improving upon some old 2D game called Crossfire. The new and improved version was called Deliantra and it was fairly fun and interesting. I never played for too long but it did have some unique gameplay mechanics for an older game being remade and revamped with better 2D graphics. I talked a wile with Deliantra's creator Schmorp, after a wile he described how they were improving the graphics. What they were doing was creating 3D models of all of the items and buildings, taking a picture of them from the correct angle, and replacing the old sprites with higher resolution images. I thought it was a neat idea so I whipped out Blender and made a building, then it crashed and burned my house down. After a little research I found K3D and remade my building, and it turned out great! I exported it in the right format and emailed it to Schmorp. A few days later my building was in the game! You can see it in the picture below, it is yellow with a white roof and shows up twice in the left hand side.


Generally this inspired me to set out on a journey to get some more experience in 3D modeling. I was inspired to make something more and improve my skills. The next game I got into was Sauerbraten, the sequel to Cube. In Sauerbraten several people could get together on a map and have a fragfest, otherwise known as a death match. Or everyone could collaborate on making a new map togeather. Every map in Sauerbraten was made completely within the game with its own editing tools. It was usually done by pulling new geometry out of existing geometry and then moving the faces of it around to get the shape you want. Its kind of like how Wings3D works, except Wings3D isn't as restrictive. After spending a couple weeks on maps with a bunch of noobs building random stuff, I learned enough to make my own map from scratch. RemixedCat and I spent a week working on our own map called Joro's Retreat. Co-operative editing really made it easier to make the map, but my biggest complaint at the time was there was no way to copy my geometry and paste it somewhere else. I think that was fixed since I played though. Anyway I submitted Joro's Retreat to Quadropolis, Sauerbraten's 3rd party map site. To my suprise it hit #1 of their top 10 list and stayed there for several months! The map still works with the latest version of Sauerbraten, but there are a couple textures missing out of the library because the bookcase texture and a rug texture was later removed from Sauerbraten.

A Great Map, Completely Full of Details

I spent most of the next year deciding what to do with myself and I didn't do too much 3D Modeling. I did occasionally look into different game engines and 3D software looking for a good process to make a game with. I eventually decided to make a game after I found all of the tools I needed. Look at my first post "Making a Game: Tools of the Trade" to see what software I decided apon. And after about 3 months of making a few models a week, my modeling and my project is coming right along!

Really the best way to learn how to make 3D models is sit down and start making a bunch of stuff. Expect everything you make for the first week to be junk, or if it does turn out good, it will probably have too many polygons to use in a game. That awesome looking reptilian head in my first post was one of my first models. It looks great but I used the smooth tool on it a couple times to make it look good. Now when I make things in 3D I try to make it without using the smooth tool at all. The reason? Because the smooth tool just about doubles the number of polygons in your model every time you use it.

After playing around in my preferred 3D modeler for a month or two I knew what just about all of the tools were used for. Plus in Wings3D they add new stuff to it a lot. In the experimental version they have a new tool called Ambient Occlusion. Its their version of a technique often used in games these days. It darkens wherever there is an area on your model that is always going to be in shadow. It makes the lighting look more realistic and it does a pretty good job. I used it on the Georgian Townhouse in my earlier post, and on the pillar in my last post. Oh speaking of my last post, here is a picture of my current progress.

Catacombs, still missing a floor...

I have about half of the level done. Fortunately my idea of modeling several walls and putting those together like this works quite well! I still have to put floors in yet but I'll do that after I get all the walls up. Also the black parts of the walls are supposed to be black. The background is going to be black and I will have large black blocks put up between the walls so the player can't see further than the room they are in. It should create a good view for the player when I'm done.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Creating Internal Environments: Part 1

Its getting closer to that time of year again! One of my favorites! HALLOWEEN!! So to keep with the holiday spirit I thought I would make a Catacombs for all kinds of undead to hobble around in. I'll be documenting my process to reveal it to you as your trick or treat candy! Enjoy!

First I started with an idea and a simple story for it. The idea is a Catacombs behind the Church in my first city I'm making. The story for it is a Necromancer broke in and started making undead from all of the corpses laying around inside. Your job? You guessed it! Go slaughter some zombies and skeletons, and kick out that Necromancer! So before the player gets to bash in their great great grandparents' skulls, I have to make the level.

First I sketched out an idea for a layout. Because its easier for me to model in standard sizes and re-use parts, I thought it would be best if I made the level out of several of the same size parts. I color coded which rooms are the same size and labeled a few things.

Catacombs Layout Sketch

After the sketch is done I decided I should refine the idea and make it with squares of equal size. So in Wings 3d I made a 32x32 grid and colored where I wanted the floors. I then refined the layout and added some elements to enhance flow. Things like locked doors and closed gates are different colors and labeled in their material names. I then extruded all of the walls to make it look 3D.

Catacomb Layout in Wings3D

At this point I have a layout and an Idea but I needed to refine the idea and decide what style I wanted to make the catacombs in. I spent some time looking at pictures of real catacombs to get some ideas. I decided apon the look of all of my pieces such as columns and recesses based off of those pictures. To make sure I kept true to those selected elements and to make sure they looked alright together, I drew a quick sketch of all of the parts I wanted in it. I did this for each different wall. This is the wall with three casket recesses in it.

Extremely poor sketch of a wall full of caskets, scary!

Armed with a sketch of all of the elements I needed to render, I am now ready to battle my way into Wings3D! I will be putting the dungeon together in pieces, so to make things easier I proceeded to make a plain empty square wall to make all of the various walls and doorways from. This way, once I have modeled and textured all of the different walls and doorways, I can say a room is three walls by three walls wide and everything will fit together.

Untextured Model of a Catacombs Wall

Staying true to the elements I drew out, I easily completed a few walls and doorways. I had also drew out some of the things you would find within the catacombs like coffins and light fixtures. I modeled these as well and made several variations such as broken coffins or coffins with their lids off. With that done I had to go on to the hardest part of making my catacombs, texturing! Usually when you see a picture of a catacombs, the walls and decor is worn off and the place is falling apart. Thats usually because its several hundred years old. But this catacombs is a bit newer because the game is supposed to take place in a past setting, those several hundred years haven't happened yet.

Textured Model of a Catacombs Wall

At this point I'm pretty well tired out for the day. I modeled five different walls, an arched doorway, a gate, several caskets, and some light fixtures. I still need to texture most of the items but at least I textured all of the walls. It took me at least two hours to decide what textures to use on them and I had to make a couple new ones too. Fortunately since the game has more of an overhead view I do not need to make any ceilings.

I will show you the rest of the process in Part 2 once I have gotten that far. Mostly it will be about putting all of the pieces together and adding in more fine detail. Part 3 will be about importing the scene into IRREdit and adding proper lighting and lightmaps!