View Full Version : Environmental Modeling question

02 February 2003, 08:23 AM
Just curious what are some techniques you guys use when modeling an environment with a ground and then you weld everything into one big mesh? or just rest the buildings on top. With UT2K3 you can get away with doing that, but to me I feel like it could be sloppy.


02 February 2003, 09:38 AM
I make the terrain first then I set the buildings on the terrain. If it is really crooked terrain I just make a big foundation or put some supports under the buildings. You get the picture. :) Then just intersect the terrain brush and you will have a nice neat model of your building that conforms to the terrain. Hope that helps.

02 February 2003, 09:41 AM
cool cool. So the buildings and land don't make up a big mesh do they? I did that in UT2k3 and it seems to make the level a bit more laggy. So more like just ATTACH the buildings in but don't model them into the landscape?
Sorry, I'm just trying to really make sure I'm on the same wavelength.

02 February 2003, 10:33 PM
You are right. :) You dont want to make it 1 huge mesh because that would make it really laggy.

02 February 2003, 12:09 AM
For UT2 i'd look to have single static meshes around 300-1000 polys, although it all depends of what you have in view at the end.

The problem with large meshes is that they're always rendered even if they are not in screen if just 1 poly of it is. Ie. a building behind you will be rendered if it's connected to the ground ...since the ground is always visible, well mostly.

02 February 2003, 01:04 AM
What about a game like Soul Reaver or Lord of the Rings, those landscapes are so huge but they seem so unified. How do they do that, and keep it all so smooth. And what about when you go into a building does it just scrap the outside and then switch? At what point does the system know when to start rendering the interiors or a building, certainly not when your 40 yard from the place. Just something I wonder about.

02 February 2003, 02:03 AM
hmm dunno how that engine works, nor the Unreal engine actually. Never had to do with the technical side of it but we had some transitions from terrain to indoors too in UT2, so does U2.
I think the terrains are just BSP too, otherwise you'd have to switch yes.

To keep it smooth you usually build the terrain with occlusion in mind, hills and fog limit your sight, you can put portals or antiportals into hills (or walls indoors) that tell the engine to not render anything behind that portal. You can also split terrain into zones with the Unreal engine. Zones and everything in them are only loaded and rendered when in sight.

Also, the Unreal engine only has LODs for skelletal models (characters), other engines built with large terrains in mind (like bf1942's engine) have LODs on the terrain itself and/or static meshes.

02 February 2003, 06:53 AM
Soul Reaver and LOTR engines have streaming environments that account for both zero load times and massive and detailed scenes. One hitch is that if the CD stops spinning, your character could be standing in a sea of nothing waiting for the land to appear.

Strangefate thanks for that bit of info about big meshes. I'd always wondered about that. :)

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