Survival Horror Game Environment Details

Hi everyone, I’m beginning to work on a survival horror game in Unreal Engine 4. I’ve been modeling and texturing 3d models for years but am fairly new at creating assets for games. The game will be in the style of Allison Road and P.T. I have a few questions that I hope somebody can help me with. Mostly dealing with workflows for adding subtle dirt and grunge onto my environment pieces.

First is how do you think is the best way to add localized damage and dirt on meshes that are meant for tiling materials?

In this shot here. notice the black dirt and edge wear on the baseboard to the left and the wall on the very right next to the pizza box. I figured vertex painting is one way to go about it, but doesn’t that require extra unneeded geometry? Especially when i thought for a game the models should be as efficient and low poly as possible.


A grunge mask seems like it would be a little too random when you want the details placed in a more realistic manner on edges and corners.

So that leaves me with thinking one of two options. Either decals were used, or each wall and trim piece has it’s own texture. I’ve been tinkering with decals and have been having a hard time getting this effect. Would texturing each wall piece separately be a bad way to go about this, I was able to achieve the effect by painting each wall in substance painter but that means each piece gets it’s own texture, which also seems pretty inefficient.


I’d also like to achieve an effect similar to where the baseboard meets the wall. This grunge seems to be very localized and hard to achieve using a random mask. If I make a mask for each piece, wouldn’t it be just as good to texture the whole piece on it’s own?

Here is what I have so far:


Another problem is I can’t seem to get the trim to look good on the walls. It’s almost like there’s too much contrast between the two objects and they need to be “blended” together slightly and I’m not sure how to get them to look nice together as the Allison Road screenshots above are.


It actually almost looks like my trim pieces aren’t even attached to the wall. Is this a lighting issue? Or something to do with the materials?

Thank you for any feedback guys and I’m hoping somebody can point me in the right direction. I’ve been searching the forums for a while now but I’m off work this week and would love to make some real progress on this game. Once I get my workflow down I’d love to keep posting progress pics. I’m sure I’ll have many more questions as well.

I wish my wall trim looked as good as yours! I am not good at 3D modeling so I am kind of just winging it on my trim. Are you using 3dsmax?

There’s a few options, layering 2 grunge masks (one tiling one and one masking where the grunge should be on the mesh, using vertex painting with a mask, decals, or mesh decals

For vertex painting and modern game engines, polycount isn’t a huge concern. Basically don’t want a lot of small triangles or skinny triangles. Having a 2x2 square (how the GPU renders) split into tons of triangles is bad. There’s a quad overdraw viewmode that shows this. But adding splits to a long wall or piece of trim isn’t going to have a negative impact on performance, even if the polycount is 8x higher (as long as you pay attention to quad overdraw).

Also try turning off screen based ambient occlusion in the post process settings.

The contrast issue you are having might be mediated by removing the trims ability to cast static shadows. It looks like the trim casts a shadow that slightly bleeds below it on the wall, giving it the contrast you dont want.

Thanks, I’m actually reworking my trim pieces and using Blender. I’ve tried 3Ds MAX before but it’s hard to break away from the program you first learn on lol. Anyway to model trim do a google image search for “baseboard profiles” and the same for crown molding. Take an image of just the outline of the trim, use it as background image in your 3D program. I created a plane and just kept extruding my edges to match the trim’s profile.

I since have found out how to make some better looking trims. SS6.jpg

Stick with Blender!

I used to use Max years ago. I learnt everything i knew in max in blender within a couple of days. In my opinion it wipes the floor with it. Plus the cost of 3dsmax is a bit of a joke, especially considering you can just use blender.

Your work is looking really great btw! Keep up the good work!

good work bro :slight_smile: . looks great . A small suggestion just reduce the lighting . Will add a little mire spookyness with a fan on the ceiling so that U can attach a jumpscare to it like a hanging dead body. U can get may info about how to create a jumpscare in ue4 and as Thorax said Blender is really good . U need not keep shifting between modelling tools > I too have learned to use Maya as well as Blender . But, found Blender more user friendly

The solution for dirt is a combination of all techniques you mentioned, specifically mesh decals and vertex painting, but not in the way you think.
Basically on your mesh’s edges you create an overlayed strip of polygons, with a tiled dirt material (with alpha mask) applied to it. Then, use your vertex painting alpha channel to add or remove dirt in some parts of your mesh.
You don’t even need a very subdivided strip of polygon, for example on your largest wall you can divide in 6 or 7 segments, that’s more than enough.

Also, for your “lighting issues”, I don’t think lighting is a big part of it. Check your environment in diffuse shading mode only, I guess the contrast between your trims and wall paint is too strong to begin with. In your references, the diffuse color of trims and wallpaper is very close, they just have a different normal strength, roughness and specular values that make them reflect more light. Of course you can always tweak AO, but that won’t be such a big deal.