The project was quite big for one person and needed to be done in 4-6 weeks. It's a prototype for virtual training so not really for a game.
Basically it's a visualization of Lashkar Gah located in Helmand Province / Afghanistan.
The project is 16 square kilometers in size and consists of the north city area which is visible as distant objects plus a rural "mission-zone".
The "mission-zone" requirement was pretty straight forward. Roads, enterable buildings, vegetation and landscape cover, plus a mix of greenery and desert like areas with less cover. With this several missions will be designed around the landscape by the client.
To get it done in a short timeframe (I was working without freelancers this time since the modeling had to be convincing but not state of the art with ultra-realistic stuff) the key was modulaity.
For a layout I had the Google Sat-Image to lay out infrastructure. With it's help I did also my terrain color map for vegetation and settlement zones. Leadwerks is limited to 5 terrain textures so I had to think of a textures which make sense. I also had no terrain decals for breaking up tiling.
I used several modular wall sets and 10 buldings. To keep textures at a minimum I used vertex painting with decals in 3dmax to get decent results and use some attachments to the buildings. The 10 buildings were also layed out to "stick" them together so they look like new buildings. Afghan buildings are often done this way and are basically cubic forms.
After doing several "blocks" of walls and buildings I just had to duplicate, rotate the clusters and connect them in a logical way with small paths and roads. With this modular way a big city was not a huge deal.
For the vegetation I created a whole new set with bushes, trees and plants. There are around 2.750.000 vegetation object on the whole level.
To speed things up I also painted rubble and repeating props onto the terrain. Just as a side note: The Afghan Vegetation Set can be bought on pure3d.de in the shop. ;)
To get good performance all stuff behind walls is culled after a certain distance and common LoD models are used.
If I had unlimited resources for such a project I would use some more scultping for the 10 buildings since those mud-made buildings are perfect for tools like zbrush/mudbox and put more effort to create nice zones with specific asset variation and of course nice hanging wires in the air.
But it's often a fight "art vs. economy vs. clients specs". :)
More Projects on www.pure3d.de