Environment: Critique Needed


Okay, I’m still midway through my modeling, so there’s not too much, but it’s been eons since school and I’d like my next job to be in games so I’m trying to make a new piece for my much outdated reel.

Last I had classes in games, characters looked like boxes with faces. The current standard for game environments is something I’m having to figure out by having my roommate stop and just stand around a lot in Bioshock and Gears of War, while I’m staring at bushes in Oblivion. lol







There is going to be over-grown weeds, bushes and trees in the large upraised areas in addition to the places bordering the whole place, I just haven’t done them yet.

The fountain is 11,500 triangles as is, and the table and chair combo is 2,300.

Any and all remarks are welcome.


Well, not much to crit about since there isn’t much to see. I think you are using too many polygons though, or at least too many polygons inefficiently- like in the con_front.jpg image you have these little tiny cylinders tucked away in the wall trim with tons of polys dedicated to those little things. That’s just one example but you’ve got stuff like that all over the place. Pretty much every engine these days supports smoothing groups, so I don’t think you need so many divisions in every cylindrical object as you have. You should figure out what’s eye level on the critical path of the player and focus your detail there first.


Well that’s really why I posted this before there was much to see, or redo. Those cylinders are mostly place holders, as I’m figuring out what I’m doing with that detail. Beyond those, I had thought the scene was rather efficient.

The fountain can be reduced (and I will do so) but as it’s a central focal point I don’t want to trim it too far.

The arches over the doors can’t be helped with smoothing groups as you can see the edges clearly. I think I have them at a good level but if I’m wrong I’d rather know now before there’s a lot that needs redone.

The table and chair is a concern for me, but I’m having trouble figuring out how to do victorian iron work in a lower poly (without it looking like a box). As it is, I’m edging the iron work with actual modeling with flat planes sitting inside the frame that I’ll apply alpha and bump maps to to make it look like proper iron work.


Maybe you’ve not got round to optimising this yet, but you have a lot of wasted polys in flat surfaces. Take the floor in the main ‘hall’ for example, it’s a plane divided up into what must be at least 200 little squares, which will be about 400 tris or more? You can easily cut this by using a plane with no segments, meaning you drop the floor poly count down to 2 tris. Same thing applies to the floor of the entrance corridor.

Also the fountain, you wouldbe able to loose quite a lot of polys from that without loosing much shape defination - but you say you’ve still to do that so thats cool.


You can cut the number of sides on the middle piece of that fountain to a quarter of what it is now and it will still look fine. I wouldn’t optimize the floor as much as Pruvaloo suggests though since you don’t want to use one large texture for the floor. Keep some of the segments but maybe not as many. Also, it’s better if you don’t have a lot of edges all convergin in one point. The curved walls are one such example where you have a lot of points converging, making it look like spokes of a wheel. It’s better if you turn the edges so they are going horizontaly instead. Also looks neat :slight_smile:


Yeah, I had the floor like that for texturing. I thought I had it at a good number but I’ll see about lowering that. I hadn’t thought about doing that with the end walls at all. I’ll fix that now. I’m also dropping the count of the chair and table. Unfortunately they’re something a player could get right up on so I don’t want to take them too far. I should have some new pics up, later on.


New versions




I’ve got the fountain down to 4447 tris, counting everything, and the table and chair combo is at 1804. I’m going to get the other props done, but if you see anything else there that needs work please point it out.


i love the style of this its something original :thumbsup: Im watching this :).

I dont understand though why you have a need for the ground plane to be divided up why not just have it 2 tris, like what pruvaloo said? Sureley you can just have a tiling texture for the floor then apply a couple of decals?

I am still a noob so i would like you to explain why its divided up :shrug:

As for everything else its a lot better than before. I would suggest some fancy cast iron bits dividing up and supporting the glass roof


The floor really depends on what your final goal is. If I was gonna have it be shiney clean concrete, a single plane with tiling might work out for me. But, if I want to go more indepth by maybe having the floor darker/dirtier around the edges and planters or having a tile border around the whole room it’s better to just have several texture blocks that I can apply to one square or another. The floor plane at the moment is 100 tris for a huge room and it lets me get much more indepth with my texturing quickly.

With today’s game engines, I don’t think it matters, but once breaking a surface up like this also helped lighting, unless I’m remembering wrong.


It’s funny, how you can think something’s fine until you show it to someone else. Well, I decided that my conservatory was kinda lame so I’ve added a lot to it.




I’m putting two iron spiral staircases in, but I do have a question. Back in the day. all railings were a single flat plane with an alpha, but I know they’re usually polygons now. This is the railing I’ve got now, but I wanted some opinions.


I don’t want to burn too many polys on the railing, but to make them plain rails won’t look right. Nothing in the victorian era was really left plain. Everything was covered by some little decorative bits.


Double posted.


I may be out of date in my knowledge, but I don’t see a problem with using a detailed polygon hand rail with alpha mapped bars, the top pieces will give the illusion of depth to the bars under.

One thing I have noticed on your cylindrical objects, you should be able to save more polys by converting their caps to horizontal lines across eliminating the polygons which all join to a central point.

Also, have you deleted the squares on the floor that are completely covered by your raised pieces? It may only be two tris per square, but savings are savings.


Well the big difference I’ve noticed when playing games that have real rails instead of alpha maped planes is in NPC behavior and firing weapons. I remember back in Tenchu hiding behind a very see through railing that the NPC couldn’t see through. Also, I remember when a railing was protection from gunfire, while now it’s hit or miss (literally). From a players end of it, I really like that people have moved away from mapping rails for totally non-artistic reasons.

And about the deleteing of hidden planes, I haven’t done that yet (waiting till I’m done so I don’t have to fix anything if I change stuff), but I will. I’m also getting those cylinder caps as I go. It seems counterintuitive to me, but I know it’s less polys that way.


I found it a little mind bending too, but unless you’re doing something with that point in the center it really does work out in the end.

I’d forgotten about things like NPC behaviour when dealing with clearly see-through alpha mapped planes. Some times you’d hid behind an object that they shouldn’t see you behind and they do, other times you should be plainly visible and you aren’t… and most frustrating of all, you’re sniping something and you have an obviously clean shot but it hits a solid alpha mapped plane and blocks the bullet.

If you space your rails out enough so that players can’t fit between them and it doesn’t look too sparse, you should easily be able to get the best of poly reduction and superior railing to NPC relations (plus cooler shadows)


I really don’t think this is much of an issue anymore. Pretty much any major engine has flags you can set for different collision variables, such as collidable but see through or projectile pass through. NPC’s usually act accordingly. It’s not absolutely perfect in all cases, but usually not as blatantly bad as the examples.


A good point. It’s all give and take in games, though, isn’t it. I think the biggest issue I’m running into with this project is that I don’t have a rock solid limit to keep in mind. Back in school I had a tri count limit and I’m sure I’d hit the same on the job. It’s rough guessing what’s too much or not enough.

As I still have the vegitation to add, I think I’ll have to come up with a solution for my railings, but that’s the kind of stuff that makes games stuff more fun, isn’t it? It requires more problem solving I think than other 3d art.


I deffenetly feel game work is more problem solveing with the issues not only with poly count but texture size, amount and detail. It always seems to go back and forth between poly detail and texture detail it is really a balancing act.

I am still lurning alot about the balance between the two…:scream:

stuff looks great cant wait to see some textures:thumbsup:


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