Where to begin?
I've been in the
industry on and off since the mid-nineties but since freelancing in
2009 have found myself drifting away from the AAA scene and more into
Indie game dev. This suited me fine for the last 10 years, allowing me
to spend more time with my family, but I'm now in the situation that
they're off to uni, and I'm here looking at my folio and realizing
there's not a lot of current techniques in there that would improve my
chances of a full time studio gig.
Hopefully that's where you guys and gals come in?
done a few projects in Unity and Ogre for small companies in the past
but looking at the industry at present and the chances of transferring
skills over into the entertainment sector in general I've chosen to
learn Unreal as my main engine. To this end, I've waded
through a lot of YouTube channels which have been fantastic for picking
up tips and tricks, but I always find myself in the situation of having
specific questions I can't seem to find the answers to.
I've made a basic Sci-Fi / Industrial
hanger environment (see above) that's been built out of modules as I imagine it
would be for games. I'm using this as my test room and currently
populating it with props to create a fuller scene to walk around, but I'm not sure on budgets, polygonal, or textures.
could really use some pointers from any environment / prop artists on
here who have experience with current consoles and the next gen as to
what the ballpark counts and texture sizes are so my stuff doesn't look
like leftovers from the PS3/XBOX 360 era or worse, so heavy it would
bring the frame rate to a halt.
I'm asking a lot and I will appreciate any feedback and/or guidance in the following specific areas.
Do we still refer to Triangles as Polygons rather than Quads? This was
starting to get a bit blurry last time I was in a studio. More recently,
I've seen meshes referred to more by their vertex counts. Is this the
new standard, or does it vary?
2. Poly Counts
What would you suggest is a common poly/texture budget for a hero prop like the crate design below?
I understand that a hero prop featured more
prominently will have more polys and probably a bigger texture size than
something that's background dressing, and I've probably erred well on the
side of caution with the poly count here. A lot of the detail I pushed
into the normal map that could be modelled into the actual crate itself?
Cryo-Crate - Wireframe (work in progress)
Is it still the case that a mesh has to be airtight, with no geo embedded or resting on the surface of another piece? There was a time when it all had
to be merged into one continuous mesh with no T-junctions, or a vertex
sitting on an edge and not connecting to another vertex. Is this no
longer the case, or is it a situation based decision? Doing it the
embedded way saves on polys but can cause issues with wasted UV space
and polys don't appear to be the issue they once were but texture sizes
most artists trying to get up to speed, I've been looking around at
what's considered cutting edge as a good benchmark to try and emulate.
Consensus seems to be Star Citizen for the kind of stuff I enjoy
designing and building. I realize its PC only, and you probably need a
mortgage to get a rig that does it any justice, but are these texturing
techniques filtering through into current console and indie games? I
know it was used in Alien Isolation a few years back, but how many
studios use it as standard today?
confident in UV unwrapping and using Substance Painter for such bespoke
unwraps but is this now an out of date approach and being replaced by
POM and decal mapping on assets for the next gen consoles?
5. POM and Bump Offset.
my hand at the Star Citizen workflow (be gentle, I'm a noob) I can
definitely see its worth in preserving that pin sharp clarity of the
decals but also notice you have the drawback of the tiling textures
repeating. Any distinct wear and tear on the texture noticeably
Am I correct in thinking a lot of UV sets per
asset are needed to blend a range of materials and weathering over the
top to break up this tiling? If so, how many usually?
attempt to add more surface centric wear to my crate, I've created
another UV set that has the more traditional full unwrap, so there are
unique pixels for each part of the model. Allowing me to bake some edge
wear onto a separate texture and then blend it in Unreal with the base
material shader. This still suffers from the old problem of the textures
blurring the edge wear if the player camera gets too close. Crouching
in first person and using the crate for cover would be the scenario I'm
Cryo-Crate - POM and material tests (work in progress)
anyone have a method I'm unaware of to keep it all at the same
sharpness, or am I completely barking up the wrong tree here?
Any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated
Thanks for reading.