As with many, I’m a solo budding developer just entering the world of game design and development. I’ve got a light programming background, with a heavy 2D design influence. 3D space is all new to me. I’ve played with things like Sculptris and Blender, however when it comes to implementation of models, importing, materials, meshes, properties and the like, I keep finding new things everyday, which is exciting! However it’s also a bit overwhelming. I keep running into the problem of where do I start? I’ve finally chosen a starting point: Level design. My initial goal is to make a working 3D space scaled appropriately to my vision.
Where this post comes in: I know backpeddling and revisions are inevitable in the development scheme of things, but as a developer I also know that it is also time wasted that could be applied anywhere else is… Well, wasted time. Of course I’m doing this as a personal project so I don’t have any deadlines, but still. My objective here is wondering if there are any free resources explaining 3D optimization, I’ve still yet to understand things like polycount and what is too much, what is too little. As I started playing with Land scupling, which is loads of fun, when envisioning buildings I’m at a loss as to where to begin. I sit here thinking: These boulder and rock models are great! I can easily scale them up to build a cave! … Then I think: Wouldn’t it be more resource effective to build the cave with these boulder parts in Blender, then form them to make a static mesh, which I then reimport? Does that matter? Is there a way to have the game not render or not show the parts of the rock at the rendered outside the game space? At it’s core I’m at a loss. I’m looking for best practices, or a theory to optimization. Instead of talking in very specific terms or programs, more of concepts that can be applied to any program. Fundamentals if you will.
My goal: Develop an initial semi-open world level, a foliage populated hilly forest with a village, hopefully with working doors, and if I get really creative, breakable windows. A working Night/Day Skybox, maybe working moon cycles as a stretch goal. Possibility of weather creation, the ability to trigger weather types with code. These are the starting points I wish to work on. I really want to get the environment and theme before I work on any other concepts.
Any suggestions of guides from practical knowledge, guides from other engines which can be applied ( I’ve found translating some concepts from Unity hasn’t been too bad, though I only tinkered with Unity in these same ways ), theoretical knowledge or concepts, my primary focus being learning optimization and best practices only level design in a 3D format. Any help would be appreciated, and yes, I know the UE4 Documentation is great, and I am making my way through it, however it does seem focused on explaining features to their fullest (As it should) rather than giving me any grounds for scalable optimization. I’ve been finding previously made or released Unreal games just sort of examining aspects and proof of concepts, ARK being the most recent. I noticed how massively scalable the content is in the sense of graphical intensity, Low settings being almost like early 90s games, while Epic settings pushed my computer to it’s limits and was visually stunning. It started me thinking that I literally have no clue how to scale these differences, as it was clearly texture and model upgrades not simply turning on/off AA, Bloom and the like.
I crave knowledge and have a lot of time to learn on my hands at the moment, I will gladly appreciate and accept anything you’re willing to throw my way! Bonus points to provide proof of concept examples I can physically tear apart in the engine to see how it ticks.
I’ll see it, very many thanks in advance!