Blender n-gons game asset management

Hi, i am a relative beginner. I have a question that i am not able to answer, i know that in general n-gons are fine on flat surfaces if the model doesn’t have to be deformed and quads are not necessary all the times. The problem is: i had to make this asset, and for now i really like the boolean workflow because it’s fast. After the boolean if the shading is ok use the triangulation modifier and as far as i know inside the game engine then everything should be fine. I also have to keep the polycount low.
The problem is that the guy who gave me the task asked to not leave n-gons, so i tried to convert it to quads with knife but it’s really tedious and long so i hope to don’t have to do this again honestly. The polycount is also much higher compared to the first model with n-gons, and since i have to keep the polycount low this makes no sense to me. My idea was to model with my boolean workflow and simply apply the triangolation in the end. In fact the model with n-gons and triangulation has exactly the same as the one with quads and the shading is perfect. What can i do to avoid using knife for 2 hours to make all quads? I really enjoy modelling but i don’t know what to in this case and for future models requested by the same person.

Thanks in advance

Using booleans is not part of the usual workflow when your goal is clean quads and tris, especially for game assets.

I realize the image you’ve posted in an example (and thus, the following doesn’t apply to ALL cases), but there’s nothing about that window asset that required using booleans at all. It could easily be done with simple cuts, insets, and extrusions.

You led with “you’re a beginner”, so I suggest you spend some time learning to model at a more basic polygon level, without trying to use booleans for a quick shortcut. They are not the proper method, for your stated goal.

1 Like

Yepp… some planning ahead and taken advance of the repeatition… some simple extrusion… was waiting for something else in the last half an hour and inbetween did this… (very unconcentrated…)

1 Like

Thanks, i quickly tried to do the model without boolean (it’s very ugly and not finished but was just for exercise), the problem is: takes longer, it’s harder and it’s destructive, i know that i have to do more exercise but i don’t like forcing myself modeling with this workflow that i don’t really like, i mean modelling in this was seams less enojable to me, and i keep thinking that after boolean, hard ops, box cutter etc. i can just triangulate and the shading looks fine. I don’t know i was feeling i was trying to model in a non necessary (in this case) more difficult and tedious way. During the past months of studying Blender and hard surface modelling i saw a lot of tutorial that recommend to just triangulate in the end if the model doesn’t have to be animated and this honestly makes sense to me.
Sorry but this is almost driving me crazy because thinking of changing the entire way i model is very frustrating…

So just triangulate (with a triangulate modifier). If it works for you, it works- no need to try and find a new solution if you have a working solution

The problem is: you didn’t listen to him… nobody told you to use the knife tool to make quads… right ? So why not just Select → Select All by Trait → Faces by Side: Greater Than 4 Ctrl-T

Then you will have no fun in 3D… it’s changing all the time…

Or does : Old dogs don’t learn anymore tricks… apply to you ??

I think: It’s everytime anew fascinating to learn how something can be done differently… this may not apply on the spot… but then i knew and can use it if it may fit…

But the problem is that i see almost all the time that when you use face triangulation and tris to quads there are always tris left, so i could use that function and was probably the best idea but i am always scared that i add to much geo if i try fix those triangles left by hand. I am also scared that the topology will look really ugly using those options, but maybe this is a non-issue because inside the game engine nobody can see it if the shading is good.
Btw i still consider myself a beginner so i am little noob in some things

It all depends on what you want to do with the model, use it yourself, sell it, export to game engine - which game engine?

As a general rule Ngons are fine in blender as long as they are on a flat face of an object that is not going to be distorted, bent etc. But that is only good practice if you use the model yourself and take this into acount.

When you go out of Blender things are more complicated. Most programs will triangulate everything. Even Blender internally considers a quad as 2 triangles, if you lift one vertex of a plane you will get this in Blender.

Note the shading is 2 triangles.
Any quad that is not totally flat will shade as 2 triangles. Another tip is to keep all your qauds FLAT.

The problem with Ngons is that there are many ways to triangulate them, possibly resulting in different shading problems. Different programs (or game engines) can deicide different topology when triangulating, some will handle Ngons better than others. With Ngons you loose control of how the faces will be triangulated by the destination software.

There are many ways to triangulate the same Ngone, the destination software will decide how.

If you want to sell assets it is always best to stick to quads, people like quads because they are able to edit the assets with more ease, even if the model is hard surface they may want to edit, distort, explode or bend them.

Qauds define the flow of the edge loops, the flow of the topology. Ngons and triangles kill those edge loops.
There are occasions where you might want to kill an edge loop but as a beginner I think you should avoid it as much as possible.

As has been said it is often easier to model correctly with quads in the first place than to fix the bad topology that results from booleans. You should try to keep your topology clean and either avoid booleans or fix the resulting topology before exporting. Definitely avoid Nogons if you sell the model.

I do not think that is the case, even more so in modern game engines that use GPU ray-tracing.

Someone posted this link here not long ago. Great topology teaching.

Scroll down to the pictures of the cylinder with a cube poking out of it. Read that section. If its useful, keep reading all his posts.
Pay attention to the comparison between edge flow and holding loops along the edges.

So must it be one piece? The bricks with holes along the front could be done as one segment that goes through all 3 of the holes where it is visible. Then the rest of the model can have far less topology. Or do one brick with no sides and duplicate it 3 times.
Remember you can run the extra edges around the back and join them too each other where they will not be seen. Is it OK to just have everything with no back?

(…yes of course… someone… :wink: )

It’s the main struggle you have to deal with… how do i fake the real geometry with the less possible glitch… …that’s the reason because it’s called polygon artist… except someone expect every users to buy a 500$ graphics card to at least see a little of thh overdone detail… but better 800$…