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Creating Modular Environments


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Hey everyone,


I have been working in blender for the past day making various modular environmental art pieces.


This all started when I saw a talk by two people from Bethesda Games Studios talk about their level design process of fallout 4 on the GDC youtube channel.


The talk is called

and you should watch it. Lots of good stuff and examples on how they use prefabs and the like.


Anyway - I have been working on some modular environment pieces. Which I am super happy with so far however nothing is textured yet.


http://i.imgur.com/HiRLMW4.png


http://i.imgur.com/obBeYh5.png


http://i.imgur.com/lCw19zD.png


My end goal is to make a series of Modular kits for my game. :)

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So, one of the drawbacks of modular environments is that they take more drawcalls (as 1 simple house that could be just 1 drawcall, is now 1 for the door, each wall, the roof etc.)

Do you know how much of an effect that has?

Is it possible to compile a prefab into "a single model" that could be drawn in fewer drawcalls? Does anyone know if it even matters?


Just asking because I love the concept of modular design kits, and would love to hear more about your ventures!

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Many static shapes can impact performance negatively in Torque, I don't know how far instancing, prefabbing etc is to counter that.

It also depends how large your scenes going to be, if you want to build an open world MMO then you will have to invest in developing technology to improve performance with the modules, but on small levels it does not matter much.

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So, one of the drawbacks of modular environments is that they take more drawcalls (as 1 simple house that could be just 1 drawcall, is now 1 for the door, each wall, the roof etc.)

Do you know how much of an effect that has?

Is it possible to compile a prefab into "a single model" that could be drawn in fewer drawcalls? Does anyone know if it even matters?


Just asking because I love the concept of modular design kits, and would love to hear more about your ventures!

 

Yeah, that's *exactly* the issue we hit prior to cooking up that workflow (Thanks again Jeff and John for the tools). Jumped the resultant fps from 20s looking across the map to 100s plus. Do note at time of writing, re-exporting a collection of meshes drops lods and animations off the side though, so it's still more of a blockout tool at present.

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Most excellent. Keep up the good work! :)


And yeah, there's a built-in utility method for baking meshes together. As Az mentioned, we need to get LODs and probably animations working at least. Also want to get an option in there for baking the textures into an atlas as well for further cut down of drawcalls, but that's less critical comparitively.

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Is there a way to snap these pieces to create some house, and tell T3D to merge them as one model ?
No.

 

As Az and JeffR said LODs and animations feature is missing.


Still you can used, you can use modular static shapes, select all the meshes and then export to collada and re-import to the engine as one mesh (A) or you can use a tool to "merge the meshes" (B) is the same as A but in one step.


(A)

http://i.imgur.com/EGE8gEP.png


(B)

http://i.imgur.com/Cijicuj.png

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Ah now I see them, I had a blocker on.

Regarding the merging thing, I would just use the modules in blender, combine them there and then export as one mesh, would be the best solution, since blender offers better snapping tools etc and you will have a truly merged model.

Modular level design is most often used in big teams, where artists and level designers work independendly, so the level designers can build levels and the artist model elements at the same time.

But if you do not have a team, you could just merge it in blender already.

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