One of the things we need to do when creating buildings and other props for the game is to build LOD (Level Of Detail) models. LOD Models are low-resolution models that are used when you are looking at something far away. If you imagine a door with hinges, keyhole, door handle etc. When you are 50 meters away you cannot really see any of these, so there are no reasons for the computer to spend CPU and GPU power drawing them.
Continue reading to see how we got there :-)
The old system was an automatic unwrapping process and, while fast, it did not look good enough, so together with Reto.RedBjarne I have begun to update the LOD models of buildings in the game with new models and new diffuse textures.
Reto.RedBjarne has written a bunch of fine scripts in Softimage XSI that extracts the LOD0 ingame mesh
(that is the model you see when to stand close to a building) and the LOD1 model (thats the model you see from a distance)
I will show you here a small walkthrough on how we create the new LOD models and textures.
Here is a building you might recognize from the game, in our master system browser XSI (made by Redbjarne again) the building is called the lovely and homely name “House1D”. The object has no textures or shaders in XSI as it is a reference object.
LOD1 model and UV editor
Here is the tool Reto.RedBjarne made that I use to get a hold of the models. I start by creating the LOD1 model and then I UV map it, again the LOD1 model is the model that is used when seeing the building from a distance. That is why it is more primitive and simple to look at than the LOD0.
LOD0 with textures
Now I extract the LOD0 model, here shown with all the shaders and textures. The LOD0 is the model thats used in game with you are standing right next to a building, its the model with the most textures and shaders compared to the LOD1.
LOD0 and LOD1 model
Following this I place the two extracted models precisely on top of each other and use XSI’s Ultimapper to bake the shader effects and textures from the LOD0 model over to the LOD1 to make them as close to each other as possible while still keeping the performance from using the low-res model.
After going through these steps we now have the final LOD0 and LOD1 models, ready to put in the game and use for cover. The first of these updated LOD models will be visible in game in the Jefferson build and more will show up over time as we get the old ones updated.
It has been a while since we updated the LOD models the last time, so we hope that you will enjoy this small update. When we have been through the buildings, we will the continue to work on getting more LOD steps in and generally update the models both to look better, but also to improve performance.
I have updated some buildings that will make their way into the Jefferson build, the rest will follow as soon as I get them done.