Enviroment: Treehouse


I’m trying to diversify my portfolio with other stuff like enviroments and props, etc. A person I watch on DA posted this pic and I was like - “Wah! I wanna model that!” so I’m gonna take a crack at it.

This is the image the whole thing is based on -

Like I said - the pic wasn’t done by me. It’s just sort of the inspiriation. :slight_smile:

I’m planning on doing all the ropes with opacity-mapped-planes, but I decided to give actual geometry to the planked floor. I’m also going to use some layered opacity mapped plans for the edge of the straw roof. At this point I’ve got it basically started, but I’d like some advice on a few things.

What would you expect the final poly count of something like this would be in your average game today? Supposing that the character could walk up the stairs and interact with most of it (I probably won’t model the interior).

What would be the best way to get the leafy top portion to look good?

Any other misc tips? :slight_smile:


I’ll post some of the model as I progress a bit further.


can’t wait to see this.

Brings up a good question though, how many polys/tris are the games pushing around?


Okay, I’ve got some early progress to post.

I still intend to add several layers of planes with opacity maps for the hay roof and over the window. I’m also still trying to figure out the best way to do the leaves at the top of the tree. o_O Any advice in that department is greatly welcome.

Oh and it’s currently sitting somewhere around 4,000 polys.

C&C Welcome!


I really dig this concept. It looks like a lot of fun and it looks like a good physics engine would suit the game quite nicely. My only crit is in the doorway of the model, the stairs and the roof shape.

I think the door NEEDS to have that subtle bend at the top like in the concept and the whole roof seems toned down from the concept, not as round. The shape seems less exaggerated I noticed this most from the window above the door it looked very toned down. Lastly the stairs, I think you can cut them short and just bring up the root for access(this will cut down on poly and look more like the concept I think. Killer design, cute model and I’m dieing to see the textures, it’s rare to get excited about game models on CGtalk it seems, and to actually want to see them in a game. Cheers!


Nice, I’d consider switching to opacity mapped planes for the string though, and instead add to the silhouette of the tree, as it looks awfully lowpoly for 4000 polys.

Otherwise, looks exactly like the concept :slight_smile:



nice start.
i would use at least a 6 sided cylinder for the branhes tho. they look really square.

i guess the only way you can do the leaves are the old “opacity” map technique, so you better get rid of those “strings” :slight_smile:



Sevenfingers “looks awfully lowpoly for 4000 polys.”

  • Yeah, the vast majority of those polys are going to the steps and ropes. It’s not that the steps and ropes have a lot of polys themselves, but rather, the fact that there’s just so many of them that it adds up.

The ropes are just single planes (2 polys) with a rope texture and opacity.

For the rope that goes around the top platform, I did made it a 3-sided "cylinder


  • Yeah, I was wanting to add more detail to the tree, but I was worried about the ned polycount since all the little things will add more too it in the end.
    I figured the old opacity leaf trick would have to be my fall-back. I never can quite get that to look good though. sigh

Btw - What’d you mean by “get rid of those strings”?

My husband keeps pointing out that I’m gonna end up having a lot of opacity maps flying around and that it’d be hell on a lot of engines to deal with so much. Guess he got me worried on that part.

Any other opinions in that direction?


this is awesome, can’t wait to see it textured

i love the style, very nice


Maybe you could try using 1 plane with an opacity map for 6 ropes, then you’ll save some polys if you know what I’m talking about. Basically you could just put a 8, maybe 10 sided cylinder around the tree with an opacity map. This should save a lot of polys and it won’t look much worse. Also, if it was to go in game the planes with the opacity maps could be used for collision detectors but I’m probably wrong. And if you realy wanna cut down on some polys maybe you could just use 2 sided planes for the steps rather than the cuboids, from first glance its gonna save about 400 polys at least (8 x No. of steps). Anyway, I hope you finish this, it looks really cool. I hope you make the tree look a little less round though, and try to stop the bottom from looking like melted ice-cream. :thumbsup:


I completly laid out the uv’s for the house/tree limbs part. wah - what a tedius pain. ^ ^;;

Anyways, I got started on texturing the roof. Most of the roof is actually a single texture on the original geometry. Aroun the bottom, and the window are layers of opacity-mapped planes to give it the grassy feel. I’ve tried to make the two come together as seemless as possible.

The rest of the house is still grey. (the house currently has 100% self illumination. Those shades etc. are all burned into the texture map)

The current texture on the roof is still a WIP. Mostly it’s just there to make sure the opacity is working alright.

I’m actually thinking of having the textures more painterly. Nitzmoff’s enviroments sort of got me thinking in that direction - especially considering that the pic I’m baseing it off is already rather painterly.

Anywasy, I’ll post more as I progress.
Thanks all for the C&C!


Okay, currently sitting at 4,429 polys (which is less than I thought I was at, so it’s actually kind of relief). I haven’t been getting as much time to work on this as I’d like, but I’m managing with what free time I have.
I’ve got some more texturing done. I remade the texture for the hay roof, and got the woodplanked walls done. I’m adding in more detail then was in the original drawing for astetics, etc. It just looks too plain without more added too it.

I think I’m gonna tackle the tree limbs next. Either that or I’ll texture the floor platform and the little platform over the doorway.

C&C welcome


your scene is coming along nicely!! I am enjoying seeing the progression! one comment, I think that the walls need to contrast more with the straw roof. as of now, it kinda blends together. look at your original concept art to see what i mean. light roof, darker wood.

but like i said… it is coming nicely!


Ah, Thank you for pointing that out Kendall. It really helped the look of the whole thing once I tweaked with that.

neways - I unwrapped the rest of the tree (stump, platform, etc.) and I burned in the lighting on what was left. I’m gonna try to find some more time later tonight (probably after midnight) to work on more texturing.


This will probably be the last update of the night.
Aside from a few small things I intend to add around the tree and branches, the mass of it is finished. Now I’ve gotta focus on the leaves… I still don’t know exactly how I’ll do that. I’ll probably try a bunch of things until I get something that looks decent.

Anyways - C&C gladly welcome as alwasy :slight_smile:


Very cool! You’ve certainly stayed on target with the concept art, imo. No critiques from me, just can’t wait to see it done.:slight_smile:


This came out much better than I’d expected, great texture work. I still think it would be worth the extra polys to make the roots look a little better though.


Great job so far Athey. I love the texturing, especially the moss on the roots of the tree. My only crit would be that I think the house could be a bit darker, I think it blends with the roof a little too much. Can’t wait to see it finished.:thumbsup:


Okay, got some leafy foilage in there. I’m leaning towards being done with the leaves, but if I get enough people that think I need to do more with it, I’ll try.


This really is awesome stuff.

I think you could put some decoration, hanging lights, sun beams, butterflies all around, maybe make the scene soon in the morning with contrasty bright, warm lighting. Only suggestions :wink:

Edit, I think the house is a bit too bright compared to the other things around.


WOW! This is looking awesome!. If this is for a video game some graphics look like slightly low quality CG. Great! I think the leaves should have clusters here and there, and make it seem like seperate leaves, not a sheet with leaves on it.