Over the last couple of weeks I've been designing and modelling a set of 3D structures to use as the alien interiors. I wanted them to be consistent, sci-fi looking but also slightly alien rather than appearing like they were something a human would construct. I'm getting there but my inspiration is limited somewhat by my technical and artistic ability.
Being consistent they can all share a very few number of textures. This has the great advantage that if they are created as one model it only needs one draw call to the graphics card to display them. The Xbox 360 can handle huge numbers of triangles but gets much slower if it needs to make loads of draw calls.
I got a bit too carried away trying to get the minimum number of draw calls...
After having returned from the Olympic 3 Day Eventing final on Tuesday I started work on laying out another section of what will become the first level of the game.
I use Blender to create sections of the level and then import them in to the game and move them in to their final position using my own editor.
I've had to redo a lot of the work I did in Blender on Tuesday night. Perhaps the excitement of the day got to me!
I had joined all the models together too early on and moved vertices in Blender to layout a large sections of the level. I did this with the intention of making the draw calls more efficient but that was a mistake. The single model is now too complex to separate and adjust sections and I had forgotten to allow for shadowing!
The Diabolical engine does not self-shadow. This is where the triangles of a single model cast shadows on to other triangles in the same model. I have other posts on the unsightly effects caused by self-shadowing so I won't repeat that here:
For my game engine I need to balance the performance gain from having less draw calls for the Xbox 360 against the visual quality of having shadows cast correctly on to more surfaces.