View Full Version : WIP - Urban Neighborhood/Modular Asset Practice

03 March 2010, 09:24 AM
Hey everybody,

I just started working on this scene. This is partially meant to be a practice in creating and using modular assets. Not sure yet, but I may end up putting this in UDK or something.

So I started out with this layout:

The idea is to have a high level of detail around this immediate area, but fill the rest of the immediate area with variations of the modular buildings.

After coming up with the layout, I started making the row house building out of blocks. I set the grid up in Meters so I could get everything to be in scale, so later on when I snap the building pieces together to form a building, they will fit perfectly together.

This is the basic layout for the Row Houses. I only did the front of the buildings since they are usually built together, so the sides will only really be seen on either side of a group of these...So I'll just make that a separate piece, which gives me more flexibility in how it will look.

Here are a few blockouts of some other Modular buildings that will be in the scene.

After making the blockouts of the buildings, I started setting up the scene:

Next Step: Building the Rowhouse Asset.

Critiques/Comments would be greatly appreciated!

03 March 2010, 02:19 AM
Question: What if I wanted to use the same normal/spec/etc but just change the color of the brick to vary it up? I guess I'll just have to have a new material for those, but I was curious if there is a way to be more being able to switch between 2 different color maps with the same material. Not sure how to handle that.

Below you will see how the low poly building kit looks now, as well as an example building using these pieces.

Also worth noting: Other things that will break up geometry, such as drain pipes, steps, etcc will be added later, but arent included in the buildilng Kit.

03 March 2010, 10:33 AM
I took the pieces into Zbrush, here is the low poly building with the baked normals. This was mainly just for the edges and stuff, I'll pull some normals from the color map as well later.

Next: Texturing

03 March 2010, 07:37 AM
Finished Texturing:

Am I just so good that you guys don't have any critiques :p

Next up: Working on one of the Store/Apartment buildings.

03 March 2010, 10:39 AM
Well I think you're doing great!
It seems like a massive undertaking (did a building kit once for a game level based upon and old dutch monastery) and I found that even though I had quite a good grasp on things I kept needing small extra pieces to fit everything together as it should be.
Luckily you don't have to fit a real building and can take a little more artistic freedom.

A little critique I have right now is that the grey blocks still seem a little pillowy soft and the fact that your bricks are not all the same size.

Looking forward to seeing how you tackle the grime and other decals.
Since the big issue here is to not fall in the easy gap and make all the buildings look alike.

Keep up!

04 April 2010, 02:21 AM
Thanks matsman!

Its still a ways off, but I have a few weapons to make the buildings a little more unique. There will plenty of decal maps as well as other meshes to fill the area (wires, electric meters, steps, boarded up sections etc...


Been gone from this awhile....Had a vacation followed by easter stuff, but I'm gettin' back at it. Just finished a building/storefront combination.

I've been setting up storefronts to be separate from the they can be mix and matched with the top part easily.

Next: Either setting up a UDK Scene/Stub or working on Modular Sidewalk will be a suprise!!!

04 April 2010, 05:31 PM
Looking good. Two suggestions; the trim at the top of the buildings could be a different material and have to second matsman, the low blocks are a bit pillowy/soft looking, they could do with sharpening up.

04 April 2010, 10:48 AM
I am a big fan of the frontsides around the entries, ah "storefronts" was the word i was searching for. Especially the red/white one, the details with the posters are really nice. i'm looking forward for the updates here.
your bricktexture doesnt repeat so nice in those larger areas tho, but i guess you are sooner or later working on that...


04 April 2010, 03:46 AM
Thanks for the comments guys.

urgaffel: Thanks! I may have to revisit those bricks then. they do look a little pillowy. For the variation in texture are you talking about the top of the brick buildings? They are separate pieces..but they do look a little too similar. I'll have to revisit that. I think that the taller concrete piece on the front of the taller building will probably house a sign or something to break it up in the future as well.

juicefoozle: Thanks. I like the storefronts too, I want to do more eventually. As for the tiling brick, it is quite an eyesore. I have a few tricks up my sleeve that I will be addressing soon. I'll be making some props to put on the building to break things up, like electrical boxes/meters and the like. Also, I'll work on some decal sheets, and I got this ( link from a guy at polycount which I'll have to look into.

So I started importing what I have so far into UDK. Its coming along, but there are/were a few hiccups impeding my progress.

First of all, I was working in meters....which is how we do things at work. Unfortunately, I didn't think about the fact that UDK's units work differently. Because of that, none of the pieces snapped together too well. I ended up having to go back in and modify the sizes of everything.

Luckily, 3dsMax's standard units coincide nicely with UDK units.

Here is what I have thus far:

The areas where the square brick sections line up creates some nasty seems, which I'm not sure how to fix. Looking at my texture, there might be the slightest crease on the upper part of one of the tiles, but it isnt so bad up close. When I get farther away though, the seams really stick out. I'm not sure if there is something I can do with this. Also...lightmass seems to color whole tiles different colors..I'm guessing this is maybe because there are only 4 verts on those tiles?

Here is an example of the seams...the close up doesn't look nearly as bad as when I pull back. anybody have any suggestions for this?

In the meantime..I just got started working on the sidewalks.

Not much to show yet, but here is an idea of how I'm planning on making a kit for them:

The idea is to have a 4 tile long version to fill it out, with a few single tiled sections to break it up. I'll be able to rotate them to.

I don't think I'll do the broken versions on here, as it might make sense to have a seperate kit that would consist of those..especially since there wont be too many areas with busted sidewalks on a main road...I would expect this to be more on side roads.

The sidewalks will be 2 tiles wide, and there are going to be skinnier curb pieces.

This may seem like overkill for the sidewalks, but I think it will be nice to have the extra detail where the player would walk, especially since I can raise up sections to break things up even further.

As always, crits are welcome. Let me know what you think!

04 April 2010, 05:36 PM
I could be wrong on this, in your case, but from my experience...

Those seams in your repeating bricks comes the pixels on the edges of your textures (in your case where the UVs are) bleeding/blending with the pixels just on the edges of your UVs borders. Seeing the texture itself and maybe the UVs of the wall might help in the area.

My way to fix this problem (for times when I have encountered it)...

Since the pixels along the borders are bleeding, bring your UVs in slightly. As in, to where the bleeding does not show anymore because the bleeding or blending is happening outside the UV space.

Downside to this, again depending on your texture and UVs, you might notice a slight seam if you look hard enough close up. This is because now that you are moving the UVs in some, in turn you are pushing those matching/repeating pixel/borders out.

04 April 2010, 05:45 PM
Meant this trim :)

The tile probem is down to how you've mapped your stuff and also the texture. If there is a slight lighter edge in the texture, it will show up more when you see it further away due to the mipmapping preserving higher contrast details. I'd try and fix the texture to start with or at least see if you can find the bright line/s. Tweaking the uvs might fix it as well but then you get seams instead so yeah, tricky fix if you're unlucky.

04 April 2010, 05:22 AM
PermaGrin and urgaffel: Thanks for the advice. I'm not seeing a whiter edge, but I'll have to mess around with it. Perhaps I'm just cutting it to close to the UV edge..I'll try shrinking them up just a bit, hopefully it doesn't create seams.

PermaGrin: Here is the Unwrap/Color map from that building:

I'll have to try those things and see what happens.


Spent a little time finishing up the sidewalk pieces. Here is a picture of the pieces and how they would fit together.

And here is how they look after Zbrush/texture. One thing I haven't been doing but did here and will continue to do from now on is bake AO into the diffuse. It made making the color map much quicker.

I'll get these exported and into the UDK scene soon, and get the streets done. That will probably be in my next update.

04 April 2010, 05:44 PM
Not to be a dick or anything, but why would you unwrap a whole wall then tile a small texture all over it? If you do that you might as well use a small tiling texture and a second uv channel to add detail. That way you'd get rid of your weird tililng problem as well, not to mention save on texture memory. If you really want to unwrap a whole wall with a unique texture, USE THE SAPCE PROPERLY. You should have a unique brickwall covering as much as possible, not have a tiling texture in there, it defeats the purpose of a unique map >_<

04 April 2010, 04:45 AM

I agree that the brick section in the unwrapped sections could use some unique detail and less tiling.

I completely understand what you are saying about not unwrapping the whole side in my texture. However, I didn't just take the side of the building and unwrap it. The individual tiles of geometry are unwrapped, so (in theory) the pieces can be fit together in-engine to make variations of the building shape. This texture is used for both brick buildings in the scene, and I will be able to use it for a few more buildings in the area as well. I didn't make a separate texture for the brick out of habit, because at work it is preferred to have less draw calls, so the less textures the better.

But yeah, the tiles I do have could definitely use some variation.

05 May 2010, 07:45 PM
I see what you mean. Ah well, best of luck with it :)

05 May 2010, 03:01 PM

Placed the sidewalks in the scene (just in the immediate area...need to put them going farther down the block)

Also added the street. I couldn't come up with an easy solution to making a kitpiece for the streets, since there are elevation changes and everything, so I just made the street one mesh with a tiling texture and made a detail kit for it with potholes/patches/etc... I have pictures of that kit on my home computer..Will add later tonight.

Also added the skydome. Some work will be done here...I just got tired of staring at the black background :P. I'll more than likely be making it so the sun shows through the clouds and maybe add some buildings at the base to make it look more citylike.

05 May 2010, 11:45 PM
The cracks in the street look too large, makes it feel like a miniature. The scale of the scene in general seem to be a bit weird too, just feels... small for some reason.

05 May 2010, 07:18 AM
Thanks again for critique rock :buttrock:

The scene does have a miniature feel to it, which I don't like. The cracks were meant to be this large..they are supposed to be ones that were this:

I think the main thing that is throwing off the size is the width of the yellow stripes..entirely too big..I'll have to fix that.

Anyways here is an update. Doesn't look a whole lot different, but I created a few more building types and threw them in.

05 May 2010, 09:18 AM
Aha I see, that makes sense. And yeah, I think it's a combination of the street being very wide, the buildings low and the stripes too large. It all combines to make it feel like a miniature somehow. Maybe you could scale up the buildings?

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