Cityscape modeling contest (minimum $500 cash prize)

My name is Anthony and I am writing as co-owner of Retina Software, a start-up game development company. We are currently seeking capital to get our first game rolling and hire some artists. However, at the moment we are putting together a demonstration of our technology to show to potential investors. As part of this demo, we need a model of a industrial cityscape for our ships to fly around and look pretty in.

This is specifically a Blender contest. We are embracing open source software as part of our company and have already developed the tools necessary for us to import Blender models into our 3D engine. Non-Blender submissions will not be considered.

Since we need this fairly soon and are posting this on multiple forums, we’ve decided to take a contest approach to the project. We are offering a minimum $500 prize to the best submission, though we reserve the right to withold a prize if there is no entry of an appropriate quality. However, we are willing to increase that purse to up to $1000 if the winning entry is of outstanding quality (at our sole discretion). We’re requesting submissions to be turned in before Monday, July 24, 2006. We also would consider the winner, and all other strong entries, for future employment when we get our funding (since we will be hiring solely Blender modelers).

The submissions will be renders (1024x768 or greater, .png preferred) sent via email to [email protected] . The final product needs to include the geometry and textures for the cityscape. Lighting is optional but would be nice as a reference for us. However, only the geometry and textures will be used in the engine. This is a real-time application, so please keep polycounts reasonable (i.e. absolutely no more than 4.5 million for the entire model).

I’ve attached a 2D concept drawing of roughly what we’d like to see. The coloration is “cartoony” in this picture, but we’re really going for a realistic, dirty, industrial look. The model needs to be 9 times the size of this picture (i.e. 3 screens x 3 screens so we can fly around), but repetition of buildings is fine. The screen overlay and ship models in the picture are already done, we just need the background. Also, while rendered in 3D, the model will only be viewed from a top-down perspective.

Please visit our website at for more details regarding our company and the contest rules. If you have any questions or comments, please either post them here or email me at [email protected] . Thanks, I look forward to seeing the entries, and good luck!


Hmm, there is a great incentive right there. But I am guessing we are competing against other artists on other forums using other programs?

Either way, i think I am in.

There are a total of six forums that we have posted to, but I’ll be honest, we’ve only received three responses (including you). As for other programs, we are only accepting Blender files. This is for two reasons: first, we want to support the open source community throughout our entire development process, and second we already have a custom-written exporter for Blender for our 3D engine.

So yeah, while we of course hope to get more than 3 submissions, at the moment your odds look pretty good. :wink:

don’t worry, i’m in :slight_smile:

of course, i’m sure other open source softwares such as wings3d and gimp are allowed right? only the final scene needs to be in blender3d

Glad to hear you’re in! (sorry mpan :wink: ). You are correct: you are welcome to use whatever software, open or not, to create the models and textures. As long as the final product is a .blend file, we’re good. :slight_smile:

I don’t see any other project specifications on your website, so i want to clarify a few things before i get started:

  1. You want a medium polygon count 3d scene that resembles a city, fully textured using a single layer image maps(no multiple texture layers), that means not Blender internal shaders, no ray-trace.

  2. lighting is not recommanded because it will not be used for the final product. So it’s best for the artist to realize the scene without the help of any real light.

3). Blender internal features such as fog, logic bricks (lovel of detail, occlusions) should not be used.

  1. What about reflective UV texture?


You are correct on your first three points. While we’d want many of these features in our final product, at this point we’re still a technology demonstration and we’re still working on some of these features in our exporter and engine. So, only single layer textures (if you need multi-texture, you may be able to blend them yourself since they don’t have to be reused), no internal shaders, no complex lighting, and no fog or LOD. Also, we say “city-like”, but we really are looking for something close to the image that is posted. Lots of pipes and cranes and storage facilities. Very much industrial, not so much residential.

As for the 4th question regarding reflective textures, I’m not exactly sure. I’d advise that you write a more detailed email to my partner who is the engine coder. He can be reached at [email protected]. He will email you back, and I will post an answer to this forum.

I’m in as well I believe. Dunno what I’ll manage, but this is great practice either way.


All submissions will remain entirely the property of the author. We will only have license to look through, examine, and use the submission to determine a winner. This includes the right to post the submission on this page, but you may specifically request that we refrain from posting an entry if you wish. We will have to rights to use or sell your work simply due to your submission for the contest. If you are chosen as the winner for the contest, we will purchase the work from you, and only then will we own the rights to use it. We respect the hard work that goes into artwork, and will not decieve or cheat you out of it.

Just wondering if that “to” is supposed to be a “no” or something like that. :wink:

Also, are there any age restrictions on this?


Wow, good eye! That’s a heck of a typo. Only one character wrong, but loss of a negative is pretty bad… So: we will have NO rights to use your work, unless we purchase it from you. I’ve corrected the webpage - thanks for noticing that!

As for age restrictions, I’m actually not sure - I’ll have to check on that. Very good question, we honestly hadn’t thought about it. The problem is that we have a transfer of copyright contract that the winner will have to sign in order to complete the purchase. I am not aware of what the law says for minors signing such agreements. We may have to conduct it through a legal guardian. Either way, I imagine that we could work something out. I will have a definitely posted answer for you tomorrow.

This is interesting and its a very nice approach you’ve taken.

However, I’m a little confused about the point of using Blender. If it is a “top-down” (scrolling?) shooter, then why do you need a 3d program, lighting, etc?

Wouldn’t a basic 2d image be sufficient? With layers if needed for a over/under 3d-effect?

That’s a good question. We are restricting to top-down for gameplay purposes. We want to get that old-school shooter feel to it. However, the graphics engine is a full 3D engine that will feature fancy lighting, special effects, and a sweet particle engine. This will let us really make the game very pretty, and the background more interactive, than if we just had a 2D background. You see this done recently in games such as Gradius V, R-type Final, and Ikaruga. Our custom 3D engine is one of the primary features of our company, so we really want to show it off. :wink:

ye im confused by this fly around city looks more like u just want a 2d image, from the top or objects, eg door wall bridge and turrets? or as you say it is 3-d should we do some stuff with perspective and layers… Gritty eh

hmmmmmm.your looking for a industrial themed render…have you posted here yet ?
Just mention that you are only allowing Blender…I know that a lot of the members there use blender because of a past poll disscussing what program we(the members) used…

I have some questions:

is it really not possible to use uv-mapping???

do you only want a render, or the whole scene(i think you could better do the last).

Maybe i am going to join this one


While it is a top-down view, it will be done in correct perspective in our engine. So, as you fly over a building, you’ll see the bottom face when you’re below it, only the roof when you’re directly above it, and the top face as you move above it. For the tech demo the ships will be flying fully above the background, but eventually we will likely have buildings that are tall enough that you have dodge around (or blow to pieces…). I’m afraid I’m not sure what you mean by layers though. As for gritty, just imagine it’s 30 year old mechanical equipment that’s been outside. Somewhat rusted here and there, kinda dirty. Basically just wanted to make sure we don’t get a clean, Star Trek looking environment (no offense to Star Trek - just not the style we want).


That looks like a great site, they have some impressive renders there. Though the user base it somewhat small so I’m not sure what my chances are. I will definitely post there, thanks for the suggestion! But the contest will of course remain open here as well. :slight_smile:


First off, sorry - didn’t ignore you, just was already typing when you posted so I didn’t see you. :-).

I’m going to give you a brief answer to the UV mapping, but we’ll have a much more detailed answer updated on our website in the next two hours (this is the realm of our engine programmer and he can’t back to his computer for another hour or so). This question has been asked a couple of times and I think we need a better clarification.

Basically, it’s fine to do UV mapping on small objects, but it won’t work well for us on larger ones. I’m honestly not sure exactly what the technical problem is myself, but we’ll have more details on the site in a few hours. Also, if you’d like to find out more, email [email protected] directly and he’ll get back to you with a specific answer.

We are asking for submissions in the forms of renders so that we can see what the model and textures look like. We encourage you to choose a set of renders that really show off what you’ve done. However, for the winning entry, we will need the blender/texture files because this will be loaded into our engine and running in a live, realtime demo for our presentation. I hope that answered your question.

Ok, I think I understand this better now. Our concern is that we can only handle reasonably-sized textures at this point. So, while you could do a fantastic UV wrap of one of the large buildings, it’d have to be too-high a resolution for us to handle in realtime. So, we tend to prefer simple textures that can be repeated across geometry. Thus, small UV is okay, but on large geometry it will be problematic. At this point, the webpage is also updated with a little more detail, and Chandler would be glad to answer any individual questions.

Hi Phoenix00017, I’m the admin of Industrial-Meshes. We’ve got a smaller user base, but we are currently averaging a hit rate of about 6-700 per day, so that seems to indicate that there is a reasonable throughput of visitors - just most don’t register and become part of the official user base.

I’d be happy to repeat your post in the news section of IM, re-directing viewers to your own website for more information.

I’ll also take a look at the competition itself - sounds interesting. If I can get some time, I may enter myself.


I would really appreciate if you would repeat the contest post. Posts always come across better when someone who is really involved with a site makes them. I will go ahead and grab an account so I can respond to any replies once the post goes up. Thanks for your help!

Done. I’ve put it in a news story on the front (being an Industrial City theme, it’s more than appropriate), and started a thread in the Industry News section to allow any feedback. As a first stop however, I’ve directed them to your website in order to centralise information.

I have made a little test file, cause i don’t really understand anything
I want to ask some questions about it:
-Are you going to use a camera position similar to this one.
-Are the uv-mapped textures(the buildings) O.K.?
-Does the scene need to be bigger, or only more detailed, with more objects?