Game modelling in Blender?

Game modelling in Blender?

Postby Sauer2 » 14 Oct 2017, 22:50

Hi,

recently, I dabbled around in Blender to create low poly renders of space ships like shown in the attachment. However, making simple game models sounds interesting as well.

To my understanding, the general workflow of a whole object goes like
1. create low poly model
2. apply material, optionally with texture
3. UV unwrap
4. duplicate and move low poly object
5. increase details, like making dents with the sculpting tools
6. optionally paint on parts of the texture
7a. move low poly model in the place of the high poly model
7b. bake new texture and normals (and optionally other maps) on the low poly object
8. export low poly model

Does that make sense?

Are there experienced blenderers on this board willing to share common gotchas?
Like, how does one bring specials like light sources, transparent/glass/mirror surfaces or rotation independent parts of a model into a game engine?

Best regards
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Re: Game modelling in Blender?

Postby MTres19 » 15 Oct 2017, 03:34

It really depends on the engine. Blender is used for modeling for SuperTuxKart, but the exporter bypasses Blender materials entirely. Actually, samuncle (STK's lead artist) wanted to have PBR shaders for SuperTuxKart that would make Blender's Eevee viewport (coming in v2.80) visually compatible with SuperTuxKart's renderer. But that fell through since there's no one on the team right now with the patience and experience to disentangle the current mess of the engine—though it's not for lack of trying on Benau's part. If you used the Blender game engine materials would probably transfer though.

If you're looking just to do general 3D modelling for no particular game, I'd suggest going for the lowest common denominator: model in low poly, UV unwrap & texture, and do your higher-poly LOD models in separate layers (just like Photoshop layers). Probably don't bother with advanced materials because they won't transfer to the game engine most likely.
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Re: Game modelling in Blender?

Postby Sauer2 » 15 Oct 2017, 10:53

MTres19 {l Wrote}:If you're looking just to do general 3D modelling for no particular game, I'd suggest going for the lowest common denominator: model in low poly, UV unwrap & texture, and do your higher-poly LOD models in separate layers (just like Photoshop layers).

Thanks a lot. Would you consider normalmaps part of the lowest common denominator?
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Re: Game modelling in Blender?

Postby MTres19 » 16 Oct 2017, 02:56

Well, I can't say how other engines interpret normal maps, so it's probably best just to include the high-poly model from which you'd bake the normal map and let people do it themselves.
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Re: Game modelling in Blender?

Postby Sauer2 » 16 Oct 2017, 09:59

MTres19 {l Wrote}:Well, I can't say how other engines interpret normal maps, so it's probably best just to include the high-poly model from which you'd bake the normal map and let people do it themselves.

Hooray, less work. :)
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Re: Game modelling in Blender?

Postby leilei » 17 Oct 2017, 02:09

My steps:

1. make model for the game that would be used by the game
2. unwrap
3. paint.

What hi-poly materials?

gotta save the steps to deal with the export/engine pipeline frustrations after (only to be blown off by over-entitled graphics jerks complaining you're wasting your hobbyist time on a realistic budget and reachable goals)
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Re: Game modelling in Blender?

Postby MTres19 » 17 Oct 2017, 04:06

leilei {l Wrote}:My steps:

1. make model for the game that would be used by the game
2. unwrap
3. paint.

What hi-poly materials?

gotta save the steps to deal with the export/engine pipeline frustrations after (only to be blown off by over-entitled graphics jerks complaining you're wasting your hobbyist time on a realistic budget and reachable goals)


Well, a subsurface modifier isn't really much work, is it? But you do have a point that it's good to have a specific game in mind since different games have different styles of course.

RE goals: There's nothing wrong with setting realistic, reachable goals for hobby projects. But for many multi-developer open source/FOSS games the ambition I think is to rival proprietary games, which necessitates ambitious goals that you may not reach. So of course people shouldn't criticize artwork by comparing it to AAA games if an AAA game is not the goal, but that's what some people expect your ambitions to be if you post on this forum. Still, please don't inject bitterness into unrelated threads.
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Re: Game modelling in Blender?

Postby zedraken » 17 Oct 2017, 06:24

Sauer2 {l Wrote}:
MTres19 {l Wrote}:If you're looking just to do general 3D modelling for no particular game, I'd suggest going for the lowest common denominator: model in low poly, UV unwrap & texture, and do your higher-poly LOD models in separate layers (just like Photoshop layers).

Thanks a lot. Would you consider normalmaps part of the lowest common denominator?


Hi,

normal maps can be designed within Blender and exported apart, I mean outside your model as a bitmap graphic (exactly like a texture), and provided that your 3D engine is able to interpret them.
I do not know all the available engine on the market but some like Ogre3D and Urho3D (and probably many other) support those maps. And the rendering result (here again it depends on your engine capabilities) can be very awesome.
Now, having low poly models depend on how you want to manage the collisions in your game. Maybe you want to have very low accuracy in such a case having low poly is enough, otherwise your models can be quite complex and you have to include much details to have a very accurate collision detection.

Now, if you want to stay generic, my opinion related to models is that you should first define a very well detailed model in high poly mode. Then, when you need to have a low poly model, you can use the Blender "decimate" tool which comes with some flavours of decimation algorithms. Give it a try if not already done !
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Re: Game modelling in Blender?

Postby Sauer2 » 17 Oct 2017, 13:50

zedraken {l Wrote}:I do not know all the available engine on the market but some like Ogre3D and Urho3D (and probably many other) support those maps. And the rendering result (here again it depends on your engine capabilities) can be very awesome.

No doubt. It's just that if I don't target a specific engine there might be problems about the interpretation of the colour values, e.g. like stated here: http://www.werwackfx.com/index.php/grap ... malmapsart
That's just one example, I think I also saw a normal map with switched horizontals while searching normal maps.

About the decimate modifier: That works surprisingly well for removing subsurf edge loops, but the Blender manual says it's mostly meant to be applied on sculpted objects (https://docs.blender.org/manual/en/dev/ ... imate.html), which is not what I'm going for. Thanks nonetheless.
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Re: Game modelling in Blender?

Postby rogerdv » 17 Oct 2017, 13:54

zedraken {l Wrote}:
Sauer2 {l Wrote}:
MTres19 {l Wrote}:If you're looking just to do general 3D modelling for no particular game, I'd suggest going for the lowest common denominator: model in low poly, UV unwrap & texture, and do your higher-poly LOD models in separate layers (just like Photoshop layers).

Thanks a lot. Would you consider normalmaps part of the lowest common denominator?


Hi,

normal maps can be designed within Blender and exported apart, I mean outside your model as a bitmap graphic (exactly like a texture), and provided that your 3D engine is able to interpret them.
I do not know all the available engine on the market but some like Ogre3D and Urho3D (and probably many other) support those maps. And the rendering result (here again it depends on your engine capabilities) can be very awesome.


All engines are able to handle normal maps. If it doesnt, then it is in a very early stage.
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Re: Game modelling in Blender?

Postby c_xong » 17 Oct 2017, 23:56

Sauer2 {l Wrote}:
zedraken {l Wrote}:I do not know all the available engine on the market but some like Ogre3D and Urho3D (and probably many other) support those maps. And the rendering result (here again it depends on your engine capabilities) can be very awesome.

No doubt. It's just that if I don't target a specific engine there might be problems about the interpretation of the colour values, e.g. like stated here: http://www.werwackfx.com/index.php/grap ... malmapsart
That's just one example, I think I also saw a normal map with switched horizontals while searching normal maps.

That doesn't sound like a big problem. A quick image conversion script should fix it.
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Re: Game modelling in Blender?

Postby Sauer2 » 18 Oct 2017, 12:22

c_xong {l Wrote}:That doesn't sound like a big problem. A quick image conversion script should fix it.

True. At that point though, the user might just bake the normalmap himself. After all, if one was to use models from 3rd party artists, one'd be confronted with four orientations, different depth and different file naming schemes, making automation less useful.
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Re: Game modelling in Blender?

Postby Sauer2 » 27 Oct 2017, 01:01

In hindsight after trying to make an albedo/normap mapped model:
Leilei surely got the right idea and modelling probably makes sense only on a per-game basis.
I'm a total beginner to modelling, but I'd wager even otherwise it's easily 2-4 times the effort of making a normal low poly render model because of the way the high detail model influences the look of the low detail one.

BTW: Albedo maps somehow take surprisingly long ages to bake if you consider that it's only supposed to take the base color from the material...
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