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A question regarding the ideal work flow for texturing buildings in Dayz and Arma3.

(i made a new account but im actually a shy polycounter of several years and I know how to model etc.)

after a long break away from modeling I'm planning on making some buildings for Dayz. (i tagged Arma3 in this because it seems a lot of the workflow is identical but somethings are different and this post could help arma people etc)

Currently the only problem is getting hold of enough information about the best workflow for texturing the models I intend to make.

I dont intend to do the porting, other people will do that, but i have to provide them with models in a game ready state, this includes the LOD models, as well as the hit boxes etc ( there are few other meshes, similar to hit boxes, for ai and things like that I wont go into that here.)

a lot of the modders/modellers I've spoken to online all have really varying levels of advice, and I've found the various online groups for discussing modding dayz very mixed in their views, some aren't fussed about the file sizes.

also sometimes those communities aren't too nice, if I ask the same question twice, on different communities, i will often receive a dm from someone scolding me for asking a question twice. etc. and I've found that a bit stressful to deal with, especially when you want to provide that community with free labor.

for example with my own experience with 3d environment/building texturing, I started off texturing scenes for architectural renders, which involved applying tiled textures in Google Sketchup to my bosses' models. size wasnt an issue for this and I could have a folder full of loads of 512 textures.

then I moved on making game assets, using tiled trim sheets and striving to squeeze as much visual data on to a 1k atlas map.


how many shaders/materials can  I give to an object?

now with Dayz, I can't find a clear answer from people regarding how to compile the visual data, how many maps/trim sheets, should a building have? (an ideal number)

do I need to produce mip maps? or does the engine generate those?

would you go with 2k or 4k? (someone told me the buildings they have made use loads of 4k tiled textures ! thats not trim sheets, thats loads of individual textures at 4k, which seems a bit absurd waste of memory or a bit amateur.)

How many uv maps can the models allow? is there a particular naming convention etc?



once i know this stuff, I can actually move on and make something, (speaking for myself) there is no point making anything until I know how it will be uv mapped so I know if it has parts which I will bake etc.

Replies

  • Ghogiel
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    Ghogiel greentooth
    Most of your questions rely on knowing what the environment you are building is, profiling/testing in the engine, limitations of the shaders/engine. You're probably not going to like the answers from here because I'd guess polycount collectively knows even less about the engine than those dedicated modding communities :# .

    Use as few materials/trims as possible, the limit is going to be for the whole scene wih game conditions in engine, which no one knows, so nothing more specific can be said. You kinda need to have a real good look at existing levels, do some testing, and be prepared to make some optimisations if needed.
  • odduy77
    Ghogiel said:
    Most of your questions rely on knowing what the environment you are building is, profiling/testing in the engine, limitations of the shaders/engine. You're probably not going to like the answers from here because I'd guess polycount collectively knows even less about the engine than those dedicated modding communities :# .

    Use as few materials/trims as possible, the limit is going to be for the whole scene wih game conditions in engine, which no one knows, so nothing more specific can be said. You kinda need to have a real good look at existing levels, do some testing, and be prepared to make some optimisations if needed.

    i just had a message from someone elsewhere saying that the object they made had 7 different materials/shaders! no idea if thats what the engine was designed for, but it definately seems to go in the face to the usual stuff we get taught at polycount and in the cg community.

    also, currently I can't test out the models (Arma and Dayz have a thing called a p drive for stuff like this) because I'm actually without a gaming pc at the moment and im doing everything on a tablet.
  • Ghogiel
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    Ghogiel greentooth
    I take back what I was saying about polycount not knowing as much about that engine....
  • sacboi
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    sacboi polycount lvl 666
    Cheers, thanks for sharing your insight Frank, as an ex-player come wannabe modder of the game.
  • gnoop
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    gnoop interpolator
    There's a lot to unpack here...

    One of the reasons mod projects fail is most people just want to do the cool creative stuff
    For some reason all game companies I ever worked for  never  cared too much  for making something  simple and easy, and as much automatic  as possible   to do all that  game mechanics stuff.

    I recall writing and editing  long  special scripts  and then wasting hours trying to figure out what went wrong,    dealing with super crashy  and super user unfriendly  in house tools or even writing lengthy "objects properties" and viewing distances  in 3d max for one mobile game.

    My guess it's lots of expensive programmers time  vs cheap artists one and never a priority. 
     
    Even Unreal which is way ahead of anything in that regard is not a  great User Experience  achievement  IMO.







  • odduy77

    If this is a medium sized house or larger then it starts to make more sense to use a 1k or 2k trim sheet for that house since that still only counts as one material. In the end, that level of optimization is still on par or better than what's already in the game.

    If this is a large complex building or a series of buildings that will load in at the same time when players visit a town then it starts to make sense to use more polygons, trim sheets and a higher material count.


    Hey, sorry about the late reply, the last year or so, I haven't really been doing any 3d design stuff and I kept forgetting to look at polycount.

    firstly thank you for the in-depth reply.

    since the point when I last wrote this message, i have been asking the same sort of questions elsewhere and I have come across a really wide range of answers, one person said 'just dont go above 2k cause...' another person said they do all of their building textures in 4k, these are tiled textures for buildings, and no mipmaps they also claim, they didnt seem to know much about multiple UV systems.

    another person ex-BI via artstation gave some better answers, but still it was really vague and didnt answer the question, of how many textures I could expect to use on a house, what size they are and how they should be compiled.

    i will keep asking people. but it seems like the range of answers if quite wide and I prefer to go with the professional approach to this, instead of myself creating something which will be buggy and cause problems and generally be a waste of time.
  • Alex_J
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    Alex_J veteran polycounter
    odduy77 said:
    I prefer to go with the professional approach to this, instead of myself creating something which will be buggy and cause problems and generally be a waste of time.

    I think you got it backwards. Testing case by case basis is the professional approach. Because it is the only way to know.

    Make something based on the information you have now (frank outlined what the specs are in a recent challenge so that is probably as good as you can get), and get it in engine. Identify any problems. Then you'll be able to get it right through process of iteration (i.e., doing the work many times).

    That's called testing. Everybody does it. Nobody can avoid it. If you don't like doing work many times, you won't be a professional. That's just how the work goes. How do you think technical requirements are determined in the first place? Somebody spent time testing.

    It's not a "my daddy beat me, so I'll beat you" thing. It's just that you cannot know what the truth actually is until you do the test. Every situation is different so a responsible person who understands the work environment isn't going to say, "this is what you must do." Because they haven't done the test. They don't know.

    Having a narrow scope of responsibility and not having to do any testing will only exist on the largest teams and at the lowest levels. In making mods or your own projects, you'll never be able to work like that. The biggest part of your workday will be spent testing to figure out tech requirements and designing workflows through iteration. Once everything is figured out, then you actually grind out some art. Then you learn something new and go back to the testing phase. It never ends. 

    If you just want to make models and textures and not worry about anything else, you can do that but it would have to be part of a large team.
  • odduy77
    Alex_J said:
    odduy77 said:
    I prefer to go with the professional approach to this, instead of myself creating something which will be buggy and cause problems and generally be a waste of time.

    I think you got it backwards. Testing case by case basis is the professional approach. Because it is the only way to know.

    Make something based on the information you have now (frank outlined what the specs are in a recent challenge so that is probably as good as you can get), and get it in engine. Identify any problems. Then you'll be able to get it right through process of iteration (i.e., doing the work many times).

    That's called testing. Everybody does it. Nobody can avoid it. If you don't like doing work many times, you won't be a professional. That's just how the work goes. How do you think technical requirements are determined in the first place? Somebody spent time testing.

    It's not a "my daddy beat me, so I'll beat you" thing. It's just that you cannot know what the truth actually is until you do the test. Every situation is different so a responsible person who understands the work environment isn't going to say, "this is what you must do." Because they haven't done the test. They don't know.

    Having a narrow scope of responsibility and not having to do any testing will only exist on the largest teams and at the lowest levels. In making mods or your own projects, you'll never be able to work like that. The biggest part of your workday will be spent testing to figure out tech requirements and designing workflows through iteration. Once everything is figured out, then you actually grind out some art. Then you learn something new and go back to the testing phase. It never ends. 

    If you just want to make models and textures and not worry about anything else, you can do that but it would have to be part of a large team.

    so regarding my original question, do you have any idea if they use a single atlas texture or just a folder with loads of individual tiled textures in them?
  • Alex_J
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    Alex_J veteran polycounter
    Arma 3: How to make and import custom textures into Arma 3 via Editor - Bing video

    quick search i see at least five tutorials like this ^

    I skimmed through a couple and it looks like most vehicles are using a single texture image for most of the body. Probably other parts use another, and of course there is extra decals sometimes to. 

    So I think you are safe to assume a building can use a few texture sheets or more. If you go slightly overboard it's not the end of the world, you can always repack. 

    If you don't know a lot about how shaders typically work but you can get the textures from an existing building, it wont be too hard for any enviro artist to understand how they are being used. That is a more specific question that can yield a more specific answer. But you have to do some leg work first obviously. 

    Get ahold of an existing model and it's textures - one from bohemia base game would be best - and you'll be a lot closer to answering your question. Enviro artist can help you understand what you are seeing, doesn't have to be somebody who knows about modding this game.
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