View Full Version : Dark/Middle Age building

03 March 2011, 08:43 PM
Well I have decided to start a new project, the project is going to be based on creating real time game assets (for UDK) in an English dark age style. The main asset for the environment scene shall be a small house with supporting props to hopefully bring the scene to life. I hope to keep the poly counts to a minimum or game standard and hope to get some feedback and advice along the way :)

03 March 2011, 08:46 PM
Well I have to apologise for not updating this post but I total forgot I started it an its only just appeared showing...odd. Well I have been dabbling away on a little low poly project maybe for a portfolio piece but hey. Below are some screen shots in max the model that I have started, it currently has 5 planar textures applied. 1,700 Tris. Crits welcome!

03 March 2011, 09:01 PM
And again.

03 March 2011, 12:05 AM
I dont know about limitations and so on. I can only say what might look better.
Hard to see the wireframe but from what I can see you might be able to break the straight lines of the silhouette. Try to get the cornerstones to stick out or at least not be perfectly straight.
The roof on such an old house would probably be a bit caved in.
Some iron stuf on the big door maby?

Nice texture on the walls.
looking forward to see more

03 March 2011, 02:50 AM
As stated, breaking up the silhouette would be really nice. Also, maybe it is just me but the wall texture looks off, I cant quite explain it. To me it looks like you used the unsharpen filter a bit too much. Also there is a huge seam right in the middle of the building.

03 March 2011, 11:48 PM
Good start!

As mentioned before the silhoette could need some work as essentialy it is very close to a box now. Your wall texture is far too close the the photo you are using. You need to remove the lighting that is in this photo as it looks odd and clashes with whatever lighting you will add later. Be aware of how this texture can be seen on your model; with no edge anticipation like on the chimney it can look like an abrupt end.

I cant really see where you are spending all your tris now. If you are going to model each of those grey stones push them out and make those pollies work for you, you hardly see them now. Also look into getting some AO baked into your texture. May help.

Lastly this building keeps on hinting to me that it is early industrial age, not medieval. Too many straight lines (Think of wonky tudor houses) and something about that roofs shape.... I think collecting some good referances will help you alot.


04 April 2011, 05:22 PM
Hi guys, Thanks for the crits its always a big help! I will defiantly review the silhouette of the building as I admit that it is somewhat boxy at the mo. I am going to take your advice too and edit the roof to make it look more aesthetic and also pop the corner stoneís out more to get some more definition. I believe most of the tris are being used on the corner stoneís however I am not sure if I can get away with just having the corner stoneís as separate objects? Placing them into the building without welding?

Cheers Guys, I will update shortly :)

04 April 2011, 09:09 PM
Alright guys, well I have been again dabbling into this piece again. Hereís an updated shot of the ......17th C shack. I hope I am moving in the right direction regarding your crits. I have edited the Roof slightly with sag and reviewed the corner stoneís for the moment texturing to follow and maybe some more details to improve character?.

Thanks again for the advice and help![/img]

04 April 2011, 09:13 PM
And here is the wireframe.[/img]

04 April 2011, 08:38 PM
Hey guys, hereís just another screen grab of the shack, I have gone for another type of texture scheme, any opinions? I personally prefer this one as I believe the corner stoneís blend a little more into the complete building. I understand the texturing is naff at the mo but hey, I am just was just getting a rough idea.[/img]

04 April 2011, 08:42 PM
And again[/img]

04 April 2011, 10:44 PM
I like the overall look, especially the roof and corner blocks, but the texture on the blocks is very close to the wall itself. I think this looks bad because the wall texture is pretty noisy. Try going for smoother textures all around, particularly on the wall.

04 April 2011, 06:09 AM
is it just my problem? I think the roof is kinda bent~ or you did it purposely?

04 April 2011, 11:05 PM
Well I think I have become satisfied with the outcome of the shack. I have been playing around with the textures and feel that this scheme seems to work, Crits? The model is just short of 1,600 so I am hoping I can produce some suitable props such as a bench, wall lantern, an old cart etc without having a high poly count. I am going to aim to have a completed set including props within UDK equalling roughly 5,000 Tris max.

As it may be noticeable, this is a render of the model with a quick light set up and no Normal / spec maps added yet. I am in the process of creating them now :)

Thanks for the comment Jan, yeah I purposely sagged the roof to add a sense of age and character.

Your comments are more than welcome


04 April 2011, 11:15 PM
Here is render 2[/img]

04 April 2011, 11:23 PM
if you can spare any polys, I'd recommend modeling out a few of the roof shingles as if they were peeling up or missing, etc. it really helps to make the roof not feel so smooth.

04 April 2011, 11:21 AM
Hey man, thanks for that itís a good point! In terms of having them peeling up how might you go about it without adding more textures? Just extrude some individual slates?

Cheers man

04 April 2011, 05:31 PM
Here is render 2[/img]

That looks a whole lot better. The wall is much cleaner now, and it's nice to see it with shading as well.

The one thing that I think would be good, is to distinguish the roof color from the rest of it all. The corner blocks are nicely separate, but the roof and wall are now too close in color. Maybe darken the roof a bit? A more flat tone?

04 April 2011, 05:51 PM
Hi, thanks Alex. I am taking your points and KWShips and working on 3ds Max now so hope I might have somthing more to crit on laters


04 April 2011, 08:36 PM
This is progressing along nicely. My only suggestion would be to use wood for the roof, maybe something similar to the wood on the doors. Right now the roof feels like stone blocks that have no real support holding it on. Plus the blocky texture is getting kinda noisy, visually speaking. I think long, aged, sturdy, dark wood would compliment this nicely and make it feel more realistic. Great work!

04 April 2011, 10:06 PM
Hey guys, thanks for the response lately. Hereís some grabs of the shack at its latest, I have changed the roof and tried to break the texture up a bit with the newer and older tiles. I have also tried to give some definition to the slate at the ends of the roof as it seems to add interest to the silhouette from eye level.
I am looking forward to completing the house, ready for creating the specs, normalís and then hopefully exporting into UDK complemented by some props.

Your opinions always welcome! :)


04 April 2011, 10:08 PM
Heres slightly a better view o the roof and texture[/img]

04 April 2011, 10:12 PM
Close up, I will of cause rectify the stretch texture on the top of the roof.[/img]

04 April 2011, 09:39 AM
Looks amazing but I'm sure it will look 10 times better once you'll add an ambient occlusion layer on top of the diffuse :)

04 April 2011, 09:25 PM
Close up, I will of cause rectify the stretch texture on the top of the roof.[/img]

That's looking real nice. :) The roof' color and extra geo really make it pop!

04 April 2011, 11:49 PM
Very cool! I've been modeling similar things for quite some time. You've got a good silhouette and the stone trim provides a nice separation of the corners and the door so even far away that should read pretty well. I'd like to see a little more color separation between the roof and the sides, but I'm not digging the wall texture, imho. It's uniformly noisy, its almost exactly the same color as the wood, making the wood harder to read, and the weird thin black outline around a lot of the stones makes the texture look inverted, like the mortar is poking out beyond the stones. Just my 2 cents but it is definitely a good start.

05 May 2011, 09:07 PM
Hey shade, thanks very much for your comments! Very helpful. I canít help but notice were your working too, I have to say itís great to get some input from someone like yourself that is working for the company that got me into this in the first place...the days of Morrowind!

I canít help but ask as you said you have been modelling similar assets, have you been working on the development of Skyrim? If so, loving the work man!


06 June 2011, 10:34 PM
Well unfortunately I have not had much chance lately to update my work, I have been away from work for awhile and I am now back working on this project. I thought it would be worthwhile popping up a render of my asset updates.

As you may be able to see I have tried to take in and work upon all contructive criticism. I have reviewed the main textures as I agree after looking back the stone was quiet hard to read however I have also tried to pick a different colour scheme in order to complement the wood texture.

This model is roughly 3,000 tris as I am trying to focus on low poly, I am currently creating props for the shack so I hope to not run over 5,000 regarding the finished piece, I feel that may be a reasonable count.

You opinions always welcomed


06 June 2011, 10:36 PM
I donít suppose anyone knows of any good tutorials on how to create AO maps?

Many thanks!

06 June 2011, 02:30 AM
I think there's missing a doorknob to each door.
It's really important, because you can ask yourself how the character can enter or go outside the house. :)

06 June 2011, 03:25 AM
I have been following your thread for a while. You have done a great job listening to others and taking advice. I think that is really good. I like where you're at on this model now. It's looking really good. I like the updated stone texture and the roof. The colors have better contrast now and the roof stands out from the walls much better. I also really like the decay you added to the roof. Looks very good.

One thing I think would be really cool is some sort of extra texture map for details like moss and dirt. It would be cool to see moss at the base of the building, on the roof, and maybe some dirt streaks under windows or the roof or something. It would also help to break up the repeating textures. But I don't know if that would be more texture usage than you want... If not, it still looks good!

keep up the good work!


06 June 2011, 09:14 AM
I donít suppose anyone knows of any good tutorials on how to create AO maps?

Many thanks!

Do you want to bake the AO into the diffuse channel? If not,
1) unwrap the model in a second uv channel, make sure all uvs are unique
2) export model to obj
3) use xNormal to generate a AO map (
4) Maybe some post processing on the AO map in photoshop, gimp, or whatever

That is all really, not much to it.

06 June 2011, 09:27 PM
You did a good job at breaking up the silhouette. The biggest problem with your game mesh however is two fold... size + scope, and textures. Unless this is going to be for an isometric RTS sort of scene, the scale is important. Try creating a simple character or a mesh that represents the height and width of a character that would exist in that world. Then put them next to the building.

You might notice that the scale is off. Huge doors, window placement, low roof and very narrow in shape. You could get away with non realism in scope if the style was drastically different, ala World of Warcraft, however it seems you are going for realism based off your choice in textures and shape.

The corner stones should probably not be so big either, and show the most wear and tear of the building.

06 June 2011, 10:32 PM
Cheers for the comments guys and also the heads up Dogmad.

I have currently just been knocking up some props for the overall scene so here are some grabs of what I have made up to now.


Outside Porch - 291 Tris

Broken cart wheel - 500 Tris[/img]

06 June 2011, 10:35 PM
Hereís the Basic 500 poly wheel. In the process of UV and texturing now :)[/img]

06 June 2011, 10:43 PM
Scene set up at present. I have included some bipeds regarding the character scale I have been working with.

Thanks again for your constructive crits

06 June 2011, 10:09 AM
Just wondering, are you using normal maps on the textures? I think I would like to see what it looked like with normals maps in use. The side wall texture looks pretty flat to me, not much dimension to it. Wondering if a normal map would help out with that. I think the whole thing is starting to come together pretty good. Keep up the good work.

And check out my WIP - Military Compound if you have some extra time! Would love some Crits and comments.


07 July 2011, 09:56 PM
Well, it has been a long time again since posting on this thread. Since the last time been on this post I have completed my props for the time been and would like to think successfully incorporated assets into UDK. I will post my updates very shortly :)

07 July 2011, 10:03 PM
Here is Log Pile Prop - 264 Tris

I plan on having this placed out the front of the shack, sheltered by the porch.


07 July 2011, 10:08 PM
And again,

Simple bench Prop - 266 Tris

I also plan on placing this out the front just under the window on the far right.

07 July 2011, 10:21 PM
Well I am kinda happy to say that so far I have completed and followed my guide lines.

I have created this shack with some custom props. I stuck to my guns and have not exceded my poly count of 5,000 polys, I am currently at 4,006. I now hope to import them successfully in UDK and start getting to grips with the program to construct a basic Scene :)

Updates Shortly and your crits always welcome.
Thanks to everyone so far!

Below are some renders of the shack before I start importing.

07 July 2011, 10:23 PM
Render 1 - 4,006 Tris

It might be noticeable to some but I did take an an earlier post opinion in mind about down sizing the corner stones, cheers I feel its much better suited now.

07 July 2011, 10:27 PM
Render 2 - 4,006 Tris

07 July 2011, 10:33 PM
And for everyone that like to see topology :)


07 July 2011, 06:43 PM
As promised I am just updating this post with screen grabs from 3Ds max showing the final model and its props to be imported into UDK :)

07 July 2011, 07:04 PM
I have finally imported all assets created so far into UDK with what I would like to think success. After a few tutorials I think I have scraped the mere surface of the program regarding importing assets but at least I can view my assets within an engine now :)

As can be seen from the screen grabs I have been playing around with a rough set up of the scene. I checked a tutorial regarding creating the terrain too which has been quiet interesting. I have tried to roughly plot out the elevation of some terrain but I will defiantly advance on this...along with lighting and sky. I hope to create some more assets to fill the environment for example fences, sign posts, trees and so on, I hope to end up with a small community made up of a few houses props and foliage, generally resulting in an inhabited feel.
Of course this is early days so I greatly appreciate anyoneís constructive crtis


08 August 2011, 09:27 PM
Just a quick update as I have not recently....Been trying to fit time in for my portfolio work against going to work :/

Well I have been playing around with the scene set up and have been still getting the hang of the UDK engine, really starting to enjoy it :D I have placed some unreal assets, rocks and foliage around the environment to help plan out the scene before I create eventually create my own.

Below are some grabs of some extra props I am on with and plan to incorporate them within the scene. I also have an image of what I have so far with some added plan notes, rocks and foliage.


08 August 2011, 09:36 PM
UDK screen shot at present.

08 August 2011, 07:47 PM
You could turn off back face colling to save a few face render space unless you need it inside the model of any of those pieces, but looking nice buddy.

08 August 2011, 08:17 PM
Hey FalenAnjel2,

Cheers for the comment. What do you mean exactly by "turn off back face colling"
Sorry for being a noooob but that went over my head man :p

I am hoping to turn down the SSAO too, now I found out that's what's causing the dirty black halos lol

Glynn :buttrock:

08 August 2011, 06:45 AM
I think he wanted to tell this:

"In computer graphics (, back-face culling determines whether a polygon ( of a graphical object is visible. It is a step in the graphical pipeline that tests whether the points in the polygon appear in clockwise or counter-clockwise order when projected onto the screen. If the user has specified that front-facing polygons have a clockwise winding, if the polygon projected on the screen has a counter-clockwise winding it has been rotated to face away from the camera and will not be drawn."

and the main point:
"Double-sided polygons are rendered from both sides, and thus have no back-face to cull."


08 August 2011, 12:33 PM
You don't worry about that, ukd and other engines doesn't use Double-sided polygons. Good work btw.

08 August 2011, 12:21 AM
Hey FalenAnjel2,

Cheers for the comment. What do you mean exactly by "turn off back face colling"
Sorry for being a noooob but that went over my head man :p

I am hoping to turn down the SSAO too, now I found out that's what's causing the dirty black halos lol

Glynn :buttrock:

Sorry for the late response, pretty much what mucsiattila ( said is right, but I thought that it'll cut your poly count down since I thought I remember it did that. But I wouldn't worry about it like erwilly ( said, I don't know that software to much; although it is something to remember for other programs that might use it.

08 August 2011, 02:02 AM

500 poly's for the cart wheel? and you have 2?
that needs to be optimized. the rim can be done in texture. it doesn't need to be modeled.

also i would say that the textures are very noisy. they need some softening.

also.. the blades of grass next to the "house" are the size of palm tree leaves.

the modelling looks fine.

I COULD BE REALLY PICKY AND SAY... why would you have already cut logs in the middle of a pile of uncut logs? i don't think those are doing anything to help the model as they wouldn't be seen from a silhouette. also the logs on top. i'd just cut the geo to match the texture of the uncut logs.

08 August 2011, 11:39 PM
Hello All,
Cheers for all your comments and apologise for lack of updates however just working in my spare time.

Cheers @rob-beddall:

I am in the process of sorting those logs out as youíre not the only person that, I guess I was trying to cut polys like a tight ass yet break up to silhouette, I see your point tho :)
I am also optimizing the wheel, I felt it was maybe abit much for what it is and thanks for pointing that out.

Below is an update of progress so far.

I have re edited abit of the terrain as you may be able to notice and I have also added in the fence, sign post and water well.
From polycount someone suggested editing the sky so I have edited slightly and brightened the dominant sky light.
Updates soon and you comments appreciated!

Oh and does anybody have any good ideas/methods for closing off the scene in the background, I was thinking firstly to incorporate a hillside on the skybox texture?


08 August 2011, 11:43 PM

08 August 2011, 02:58 PM
I think your models are looking really Great! Great Job sticking with this and making it all work. I've been following this project and you have done an awesome job of tweaking this scene as others have given their input.

The only thing at this point, I don't really like is the sky. It seems to me like the perspective is off with the sky. Almost like I'm looking up at the sky, but horizontally at your scene, if that makes sense... It might work if it felt like the camera was looking up a steep hill at your houses but I don't think that's what you're going for. Also it seems almost too cheery for the scene, unless that's your goal. Just for kicks, maybe try something a bit more moody, like a sky closer to sunset with you dominant light casting longer shadows and with warmth in the light. And if you choose a more horizon-edge on sky, then you could stick in some mountains or big wooded hills as part of the image. Both of those are great backdrops for a midevial scene like you've got.

Anyways, Great work!
If you get a sec, check out my work on the Military Compound WIP thread. I could always use some good crits!


08 August 2011, 04:40 PM
Hey Ho,

just a quick post, I have been faffing about with a new texture scheme today regarding the ground so this is what I have come up with. I have got as you may be able to see three texture layers..Grass and Soil, I have blended this also with a trodden soil texture were applicable.

Hope this may be a..step.. in the right direction


08 August 2011, 04:40 PM
Hey Guys,

Well I have been tying to take on all your advice on board and this is what I have come up with so far.

I have decided to go for an evening sun set as It could prove to be interesting and fancied playing around and creating some moody lighting....this is what I have produced.

I have tried using the height fog actor but it I couldn't get the desired effect or the background, I think I need to just use Volume fog? just so I can place it in the background or where ever I want and not fog the entire scene. I also intend on breaking up the landscape with walls and hedges. I am currently using the UDK foliage until I produce my own.

Cheers for your help!

08 August 2011, 07:36 PM

I really like the update. The sky looks a lot better and the overall color of the image is better too. Makes your textures look nicer I think too.

I also like your updated ground texture. Looks less arid, more lush. I'm wondering if maybe your grass is a little too yellow or light greenish. It's not bad, but especially with your new grass texture which is a darker green, it might be good to try to make the grass plants a darker green to match it a little better. Just a thought.

AND, I know what this scene is missing. Finally figured it out. A windmill... LOL. You probably aren't wanting to build another big asset in this scene, but that would really complete the background, I think.

Keep up the good work.


08 August 2011, 11:08 AM
Hello Hello,

Just a small update and another screen grab. I have been doing a little tweaking with the lights and also the background and sky.

The most noticeable thing I am sure is the walls
I am glad I have created some now as I do feel it gives the scene some sense of flow in terms of composition and helps block in the main focal point.

More work to be on with updates soon.

Cheers for your input

08 August 2011, 11:09 AM
Hi guys,

here again. having abit of a problem and hoping somebody can help out. Below is the basic wall I currently have along with a reference picture of what I aim to replicate. Does anyone have any advice on what's the best way around achieving this result.


334 Tris

08 August 2011, 04:06 AM
I could show you how to achieve a relief map sort of effect that might look a bit better, but it's pretty expensive to render.

08 August 2011, 08:45 PM
Heh Glynn,

Off hand to tackle that type of wall the following methods spring to mind.

High poly all the way ......... Takes longer looks great

With this method you can model and texture all the stones and create a modular piece of wall that tiles with itself. From this you can transfer all the data from the hires model to a lower poly version to get the required maps eg. Diffuse, spec, ambient occlusion, normal map, cavity, displacement.

This will take a little more time but produce nice results.

Middle ground ..... Comparable to the results above if your nifty with Photoshop

For this method create a high poly model ( and low ) just so you can bake out the normal, AO, Spec and cavity maps. Then in photoshop create the diffuse using the other baked out maps as a guide.

Old School ..... Won't look as good as the above methods.

This is pretty much where you are going at the moment. You can create the textures in photoshop and apply them to the model. To add some depth to the model you could place some "rocks" floating over the mesh so they protrude from the flat surface.
Like what you have done for the top row. The model pictured previously could easily be improved with some more geometry to get it more like the reference image.

If you choose either hipoly method make sure the low poly has a decent amount of geometry so it's not totally flat.

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