Modelling an entire City -what would you do?


I’m in the process of (finally) starting a 3d model of a city I invented 18 years ago :eek:

The area I’m working on is 15km x 15km with about a 3rd of it being water. Right now I’m laying out all the blocks as ‘planes’, fleshing out hills, waterfronts etc as I go (I loaded a lo res jpg of my city to go by). I’m taking my time, think a couple of years.

Now! My question would be is this a viable way to go??

Obviously, regarding the sheer size of area I’m covering, I’m keeping it simple - maybe as simple as just having the street grid and farm out the actual 3d stuff to smaller files (each of them covering part of the city). I’ll see how far my comp will take me along.

This is probably my main question -how would you go about doing it? Would you model all the blocks in Blender or just have a reasonably hi-res JPG be your terrain?

I thought I’d ask at this early stage where I can still start from scratch failry easily.

Squinting at the overview on my screen, I’d say I’m about 15 per cent through the terrain work, going on 700kb filesize, doing ‘join selected meshes’ all the time as I go along.

Marco :slight_smile:

:smiley: that’s not a easy task you have there.
well, I guess the first thing I would do, would be establish what is the purpose of the city.
For an animation scenário, I would define the camera movement, model just the near buildings and paint all the far away stuff.
For a city Fly By, Matrix Reloaded style, I would use level of detail. When the camera is far away, everything made of boxs and as it aprouchs replace that by more detailed buildings.
For just modeling a city, I would model every thing as reasonable simple as possible, using the minimum poligons and then add all the details with textures tecnics. I wouldn’t use just a Jpeg for your terrain.
Anyway the best way to do something is make it.
Let me know how things develop, In a near future I also need to make something similar for a animation :wink:

I’m also making a city, and the way I plan on doing it, is to make the whole thing fairly low poly, with only as much detail as is necessary, then, for areas in which there will be a scene, I will substitute higher poly buildings, and other objects, as well as people. Btw, I found that a good way to make building textures, is to make a building, in blender, then render it from top side and front views, and UV map it onto a cube. You can save alot of polys that way. I’m kind of working backwards from how you are doing it. I have been making a bunch of buldings and vehicles and stuff first, and only now am I starting to make the layout in terms of blocks and streets and stuff. If there is a particular texture you need, just give a shout. I have made textures for everything from buildings to dumpsters for this.

hey thanks both!

It’s indeed a tall order but when if not now??

Having it be more detailed as you zoom in sounds like a good idea, pretty much along the lines of what I was thinking of (just having a glorified city map to begin with).

I’ll be keeping you posted.

edit, what am I going to use it for? Mostly to use it as a reference frame to create images of my city for now I think, though obviously a fly/drive through would be the ultimate goal - like I said this is something of a continuous thing, no urgent time frame.

Marco :slight_smile:

I would start with the terrain, which many times defines where cows wander which results in roads, and where roads intersect is where houses are built first and thus are densest. Then you have the basic layout.

As far as then modeling the city, I would say to just plunk down randomly sized blocks first to get a rough layout. You can always texture these with actual building photos to get a basic feel. Then you can start with cube.001 and work your way thru each, adding detail etc.

Or just buy a model already made.But i guess that would be cheating, wouldn’t it?

hah! thanks Smurf, actually the ‘historically correct’ approach is pretty close to what I’m doing, this city dates back to 1989 when I was 14 :eek: I’ve been totally immersed in it on and off ever since and I could pretty much write you a small essay on how it came to be (in fictional time over a few centuries lol).

Sparing some thoughts on how real places develop adds so much naturalism …


I don’t know how detailed you want this to be but maybe this software may help?
It’s called OGLE which stands for Open GL Extractor, I haven’t tried it yet but when I have time I will as I’m thinking of cityscapes as well.