Saturday, 22 February 2014

Optimizations and Various Bits

As I've mentioned before, I'm really trying to push the efficiency of my level as much as possible, to prove my knowledge of various modelling/texturing and engine techniques. A nice looking level is sufficient enough for me, but a nice looking level with extremely good use of texture budgeting and modelling is even better. Above is two shots of me testing out my painted brick texture (with the normals the wrong way round, fixed now). CryEngine's shader allows me to alter the colour of the diffuse to create many different variations of the single texture to use around my level. Each new colour will have to cost a new material use, but this takes less drawcalls than if it were an entirely new texture with just a different hue (if I've been researching correctly).

I also re-exported all my textures with the specular in the diffuse alpha slot (provided it didn't have a gloss map). I did originally say that everything would have a gloss; but I've come to realise that gloss maps are only worth the texture use if they really affect the specular, and this is only the case typically on metal or glass-like objects (with some exceptions, like my painted brick texture; giving it a bit of gloss helps establish it's a think coat of paint and not the colour of the brick itself). So yeah, I reduced my current texture amount by about 8mb just by saving out my specular maps in the diffuse alpha and not as their own sheet, if the texture itself didn't need a gloss map. 

I also finally started to put some of my modular assets in-engine. Building the actual buildings will probably take a bit longer than I expected, and will most likely carry over into March, but I will have all the modulars ready and finished to place on them in time. It will just be a case of modelling and exporting various buildings while I work on March's asset list. I'm using 3DS Max to build rough block-outs of the buildigns shape, as seen below, before exporting it and placing the appropriate pieces on top in CryEngine. The trouble with having a level that is seen from all angles is that I can't really get away with the Wild-West-cut-out style buildings, and actually have to model the top and rear as well.

As I said earlier, I'm doing a lot of reading up on CryEngine, which is definitely coming in handy, though a lot of it I doubt I'll need (like the entire character section).

I feel today has been extremely productive, in addition to finally starting the high poly of my rooftop pieces (see below), I've also started my corrugated roof pieces. Initially I though these would look ugly and make the level appear too run down, but used effectively these actually seem to add a lot of character to the place they're in rather than just make it look instantly degraded.

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