Help designing levels in 3DS Max

Community Forums/Developer Stations/Help designing levels in 3DS Max

Kryzon(Posted 2005) [#1]
Hello everybody =) ,

Since i'm trying to make a 3d game, i was looking out for tutorials about 3d level modelling/texturing with 3DS Max, but i couldn't find anything. I was wondering if you guys know any tuts or articles that would help me.
Also, if it isn't too much to ask, i would like to know what would be best to do: model the entire level and then texture it (using something like UVW Map or UV Unwrap), or texture it while modelling.

Thank you,

IPete2(Posted 2005) [#2]

Just a couple of good ideas to think about:

The first thing you should do is pop along and get "B3d Pipeline".

This will make sure your models are exported especially for B3D - they will look right in blitz, and it offers animation export too - a great free tool.

Don't try to light your levels in 3DS Max - get Gile[s] instead - this is probably the best tool around for people who want to use Max, Lightwave etc. to model levels for B3d.

Ensure textures are powers of 2 ie

128 * 128
256 * 256
128 * 256
512 *256
512 * 512
512 * 768
768 * 768
1024 * 512 ... do you get the drift - combinations are ok to use.

Don't create too many large texture pages (>512x512MB), a few is ok depending upon the minimum specs. of the pc you are targeting your game for. Don't have loads of objects with loads of different texture pages. Try to put multiple textures onto the same page and you MUST use UV Mapping.

When you export your levels you MUST ensure your models and textures are in the same directory, or you will just get none textured levels.

Also before you go too far do some scale tests so you know how big your level will 'feel' when you load it into B3d.

Great other tools are:

Gile[s] (for lighting and positioning objects and other items through code)
Ultimate Unwrap 3D (ideal for fixing and tweaking things and converting formats)

Hope some of this helps.


AdrianT(Posted 2005) [#3]
learn the 3d snap tools both object snaps and subobject snaps. THat way you can shift clone/instance objects around your level and easily snap align them to one another.

Another tool thats useful if your building levels and not worying about CSG type convex hull construction is shift dragging edges, this extruses an edge making it extremely easy to create walls and flesh out levels really fast.

Also keep your slice tool close to hand, it works really well on objects and subobject selections.

Same with connect using editpoly, selecting edges and presing connect splits divides them cleanly at the edge center.

I keep snap tools on 90% of the time and swap between vertex, edge, midpoint edge etc all the time. This makes it really easy to get around your object, drag/cut/weld extrude, clone parts and move them elsewhere. Super useful for both fleshing out scenes, detailing and optimizing models.

If you use max, as mentioned before.... You really should use B3D pipeline it makes life a lot easier for artists and coders alike when used correctly. If you thin kof clever ways to use it it can cut out a ton of coding too.

JoshK(Posted 2005) [#4]
Use a box UV map modifier on everything when you finish the map, using a size of 512x512x512 or 256x256x256.

Kryzon(Posted 2005) [#5]
I'm starting to get it... Thank you all for the useful info :)


Vorderman(Posted 2005) [#6]
Use a box UV map modifier on everything when you finish the map

No, if you have textures that will be applied in set ways (such as walls, door surrounds etc..) you're far better off to make template pieces and then duplicate them than attempt to texture map the whole thing at the end.

ryan scott(Posted 2005) [#7]
What about doing texture blending? I want my level to look smooth... we've got Max, what else do we need? We can't do the blending in max can we?

AdrianT(Posted 2005) [#8]
what kind of texture blending? Like masking with a greyscale between 2 tiling textures?

You can do it allthough idealy you would have 3 or even 4 UV channels

Doing it in 3dsmax is quite tricky as blitz doesn't do alpha sorting. If you can design your levels with draw order in mind. you can get some masking like on terrain transitions in max be controlling the local pivot offset from 0,0,0

you still have to create 2 meshes and alpha one, or you can try multipass rendering in code, but you lose a lot of flexibility. Still, Blitz isn't well suited to this kind of thing as it only has 2 UV channels, so combining lightmaps with masking restricts you lot in what you can actually do.