Before I throw myself completely off the cliff into bottomless waters, I wanted to segue into more complicated models by way of lesser geometric opportunities. Again, blocks and panels and cylinders are fairly easy to manipulate using simple tools, and Great Things can be achieved even without breaking open the more in-depth techniques. As one of my ultimate goals is to create assets for game development (ideally to maybe pack up and sell), I wanted to make some standard sci-fi walls that could be used to construct a space station or starship.
From humble beginnings: this started as a two-dimensional plane. It then because as a true 3D object, but over time I hacked away at the back faces until…well…I ended up back at a two-dimensional plane.
I thought that this segment of wall could be useful for the inhabitants by providing them with information through a few means. The first is the large screen in the upper portion, which could be used for whatever info the crew member needed to see. The black strip would be used for color-coded displays, or could be used to display arrows pointing towards escape pods in the event of an emergency.
Two panels at the bottom are access hatches for repairing whatever components are hidden behind the walls. At the top and bottom we have some vents, because pumping out oxygen and sucking back carbon dioxide is important when in the vacuum of space.
This is only a first pass for the design and texturing. I hadn’t really thought too much about the coloring or materials; in fact, I was modeling this on the fly with only the vaguest sense of what I wanted to make, so it’s all still a work in progress.
As for whether or not this could be used as a game asset in its current state? I have no idea. I wanted to keep the back side rather sparse because I figured that no one would see it, and I wouldn’t have to deal with it during the unwrapping phase. I also could save a little on vertices. At the current time, this model has 2,131 vertices, 1,741 faces (which seems a little high), and 4,93 triangles when the quads are processed. I did a quick perusal around Ye Olde Internet for a guideline on how many vertices are too many vertices but didn’t find much about scenery; I understand that this is a moving target kind of question, where the target is which engine is being used, which platform the product is intended for, and all of the factors that go into creating a level for a video game.
One thing I did have a difficult time with was creating a “low poly” version. I don’t know that I’d consider this to be a “high poly” model, but I have absolutely no frame of reference. I know that with the help of a normal map I could flatten out a lot of the geometry here and reduce my geometry counts even further, which would make me feel more comfortable. However, I don’t know exactly how to reduce this geometry for a low poly version. I could replace the removeable panels with flat faces, and the screens with buttons could be bump-mapped, but what about the deeper recesses? I couldn’t really sacrifice the geometry around those without the asset looking completely flat when used in-game. I tried ditching a whole bunch of stuff, but Blender didn’t want to bake my normal map down to something that didn’t look like it spent time in a real blender.