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Workflow for creating game levels: lighting first or texturing?

polycounter lvl 18
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shotgun polycounter lvl 18
Specifically, for X-COM-like games that have isometric 3D perspective, tile-based environment and gameplay where the environment is mostly cosmetic and seen from a distance.

I've seen some workflow that jump into the materials and texture blending as soon as the basic geometry is in place, reserving the lighting for the end. A more sensible workflow seems to me like:
1. Block in layout per gameplay using cubes
2. Block in mood and atmosphere using key lights and secondary lights + fog / fog of war
3. Apply basic shaders (flat colors, metalness, etc.)

At this point, the level is basically ready as a whole yet is clearly still a palceholder. A second pass would be:
1. Break down blocks to higher-geometry and more complex shapes
2. Tweak lighting if necessary
3. Replace flac colors with full materials

With final tweaks, post-process and so on wrapping things up, as usual.
So, how do you feel about texturing and materials early vs lighting? or does it not even matter as long as all the assets end up fitting together?


  • poopipe
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    poopipe grand marshal polycounter
    If everything is pbr compliant it makes basically no difference. If you're not working pbr then you're into a series of cyclic changes that will drive you mad.

    There are benefits to lighting an untextured environment but that's what viewmodes are for.
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