I’m posting this thread here because, in all my searches, I’ve yet to find any topic really discussing it, anywhere on the web.
I’m looking to create a low-poly real-time game environment (terrain specifically), something like what you’d see in games like the Zelda series or other 3D plastformer type games. For PC games, I know Everquest 2 uses a similar approach.
Thing is, in all my searching, I’ve found that every relevant tutorial I could find on the subject seemed to rely on height-mapped terrain, either importing the heightmap into the 3D app as a displacement map, or creating the terrain in the modeler and then exporting it to a heightmap.
My goal is to not use heightmaps at all. While I know they’re “popular”, I’ve never really been satisfied with the results of them. It always comes out looking (to me) too much like “3D props dropped on a heightmap”, due to clear seam-lines, UV-scaling not being consistent, etc. Plus, you can get much more arbitary detail in a polysoup mesh since the vertices aren’t restricted to a grid with only “height” being alterable.
So, what I was wondering is, has anyone ever worked with a more arbitrary poly-soup approach to environment design, who can perhaps share some insights or tips/tricks they’ve learned or used?
In particular, how do you build out the terrain? Do you start with a very rough “block mesh” and then refine it later? Do you work in chunks, etc?
I’ve tried a few times to start out and have been generally happy enough with the results. However, I always fear I might be painting/modeling myself into a corner due to some poor approach or technique I’m using that won’t become apparent until many hours later when I think I’m almost done.
Hopefully I’ve explained myself clearly enough and didn’t ramble too much
Thanks for reading!