Bloodwind Pass - World of Warcraft environment

polycounter lvl 6
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Elod.H polycounter lvl 6
Hello,

I have decided to create a new game environment project so I can practice and learn new.. mostly theoretical elements. I aim to create something very appealing visually, that would draw the player and make them want to play the game :) .
I plan to improve and will focus on the following things:

- silhouette
- color
- hand painted textures
- achieving a good balance between a hand drawn feel and a realistic one

Technically, I want to practice low poly modelling. I still have some unclarities on how to triangulate my meshes, so advice on this matter will be very much appreciated :) . Creating tileable textures, painting textures from scratch inside Photoshop are elements I will be focusing on as well.

The style I want to achieve is that of World of Warcraft. I`ll attempt to create an environment that fit's well into the game.

Reference images:

7VBSQ.jpg

gxYCN.jpg

I got hooked on the vampire, bat theme for this project. The center piece of the projects will be a building which is inspired by the bat theme + medieval European architecture.
Deadwind Pass from WoW inspired me somewhat as well.

IOuQE.jpg

This is just a rough idea of the colors so far. I like to experiment later on as well as the models come to life.
I've drawn out a basic concept of my building + the final scene which I am aiming for. A lot of experimenting and concepting will happen in the 3D phase of my work.

GpSoX.jpg

urpqY.jpg

At the moment, I am blocking out the scene, experimenting whit scale... and what looks good, what doesn't.

iz8Wy.jpg

Feedback, very much appreciated, guys :) !

Replies

  • Elod.H
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    Elod.H polycounter lvl 6
    Problem nr1: this is an issue I come across since I have started 3D, but never really knew how to avoid it... or what is the theory behind avoiding such problems. It has to do with triangles showing weird shading on the model.

    I have the building for example, which I have partly triangulated. The topology seems fine, but when I turn the wire frame off, I see a bit of shading error:

    aiSPK.jpg

    pb0WE.jpg

    JJOGN.jpg

    How would I resolve this issue?

    Thanks!
  • artquest
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    artquest polycounter lvl 8
    I'm not an expert on this matter but here's what I think could be going on:

    When two triangles that form a quad aren't planar, you get shading across the triangles. It can be easier to hide this effect by adding a few more polygons but in some cases some vert pushing/pulling can fix this. Also I find it more noticeable in software packages viewports but rarely notice it when rendered/ingame unless it's really bad.
  • Zack Fowler
    I think newer WoW buildings have more geo density than this building does at the moment, so that's one thing. Mainly though once you have your painted diffuse textures on the surface this issue becomes much less noticeable. Sometimes you can also change the direction of triangulation and that also reduces the effect.

    If you want to be ultra thorough about it you can manually tweak the mesh normals, but I really wouldn't recommend that to anyone who isn't already pretty experienced with this kind of work. It's something you could go back and try out later anyway, and could be a lot of work for just a little bit of improvement.
  • Elod.H
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    Elod.H polycounter lvl 6
    artquest: yes, I did notice that I get different results if I play around with the vertices... move them here and there, connect them up differently. I will eventually import the scene to UDK, so I`m curious to see whether these errors will show up there.

    Zack Fowler: yes, I did notice in Mists of Pandaria, that the new play zones have significantly higher poly count models that the old ones. Good of you to remind me as I was aiming for the lowest possible.

    At the moment I will play around with the triangles a bit and test the models out in UDK. If the problem persists then I will look more into it.
  • ASGUARDVIKING
    Hey Elod

    I see that you are in max, and i would have this problem show up aswell and usually for me its a polygroup issue. so try clearing and resetting the polygroups.

    Will be cool to see this develop more.
  • Elod.H
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    Elod.H polycounter lvl 6
    Heya,

    So, before continuing with this fairly big environment piece, I wanted to do a bit of practicing on a smaller asset. The asset will be used in the environment later on.

    I`ve found this Blizzard weapon concept:

    fI1SNes.jpg

    I`ve created the base mesh in 3DSMax and assigned smoothing groups. I then subdivided the mesh based on these groups to get a high resolution version which would be suitable for ZBrush scultping.

    apStr1k.jpg

    I then sculpted and polypainted the mesh. The textures at the moment are kind of blocked in. I`ve tried to set the color values and a bit of color variety, but once I bake out my maps I will do a fair amount of tweaking in PS and nDo 2.

    Dlh5Al6.jpg

    At the moment I am retopologyzing the axe to get a game model.

    I`ve got a small dilemma: my game mesh does not have to be one continuous mesh, does it? I have a lot of separate pieces, which would involve a lot of welding and a lot more triangles.
    So, all the different elements of the weapon don't have to be welded up, right? My plan is to re-topologize them one by one and then just attach them under one mesh.

    If you guys have any other re-topologizing tips, I would be more than glad to hear them. I am using 3DSMax for the retopo.

    Thanks!
  • Rhoutermans
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    Rhoutermans polycounter lvl 8
    I'd model out all the spikey stuff in a seperate element :) The AO / normal will bake properly anyway if u don't intersect a lot of geo
  • Elod.H
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    Elod.H polycounter lvl 6
    Ah, ok. So it does not need to be one integral mesh. Yeh, will definitely model those out separately.
  • Elod.H
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    Elod.H polycounter lvl 6
    Guys, may I ask how many triangles/quads would be OK for an asset such as this one?

    Thank you.
  • BARDLER
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    BARDLER polycounter lvl 7
    tris count questions always get the same answer as always, it depends lol. Really depends on what the item is going to used for, is it a first person weapon, third person weapon, NPC weapon, or wall ornament? Obviously a first person weapon will need a lot more triangles then a decoration on the wall, but if that decoration is the center piece of your environment then maybe not.

    Basic rule of thumb is use whatever triangles you need to hold the major silhouette of the object, and let your normal map do the rest. Think about the viewing distance, and viewing angle of the piece if it is a wall decoration. Also think about how important it is for defining your scene.
  • praetus
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    praetus greentooth
    You mentioned before that you're focusing on low poly modeling. As for the tri count of the weapon I would look into the poly count that WoW uses if that is what you're going for. I would also factor in the consistency of your scene. It's fine if you wanted this to be a higher or lower count, but just make it consistent with the rest of the objects you're making.
  • Elod.H
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    Elod.H polycounter lvl 6
    BARDLER: Thanks for the reply! I am creating this weapon for a third person use. You'd see it on the player's back and in combat.. WoW style.

    Also, I`m a bit confused when it comes to circular shapes. If the game model's circular area isn't completely matching the high-res's one (due to poly limit), then will this have a negative impact on my bakes?

    ErUNMma.jpg

    Thank you
  • BARDLER
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    BARDLER polycounter lvl 7
    You probably want to check out EarthQuakes thread about normal maps.
    http://www.polycount.com/forum/showthread.php?t=81154
    Basically the further off your low poly is from your high, the more waviness you will get in your bakes.
  • Elod.H
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    Elod.H polycounter lvl 6
    praetus: thanks for the heads up. Yes, consistency will be a priority. As for the poly-count: I`m aiming a bit higher than the one seen in Mists of Pandaria. With every expansion, the details go up and up and I`m kind of aiming for what you'd expect in the next expansion.
    I will look into this more. Thanks!

    BARDLER: ah thanks very much. The thread looks like a gold mine of knowledge :) .
  • Elod.H
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    Elod.H polycounter lvl 6
    Guys, I`m having a bit of confusion once more.

    I`m building the low poly axe, but am unsure when it comes to positioning some vertices. Some areas would require way too many triangles to achieve a perfect curved shape. Now, I am unsure whether to let my LP stick out a bit from the HP.. or whether I should push the LP in a bit so I make sure it always covers the HP.
    Although it's not one of the most extreme of cases, here is an image of my dilemma.

    Thank you!

    sK4n7lS.jpg
  • BARDLER
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    BARDLER polycounter lvl 7
    Doesn't matter if the high poly is behind or above your low poly. When you bake all that matters is that your control cage completely encompasses your high poly. Obviously it is impossible to get the low poly to match exactly, just get it as close as you can to avoid baking problems.
    This image is key.
    waviness05.jpg
    The black is the highpoly.
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