In our second Developer Update, we’ll be diving deeper into the world of Urban Empire. Today’s topic concerns buildings and how they find their way into the game – from the initial idea to final in-game asset. The overall aim behind this is to create a living, realistic and organic townscape, with buildings covering a timespan of 200 years of European municipal history.
In opposition to classic city building games, in Urban Empire your first step is creating a whole City district by ‘drawing’ its ground plan and setting the parameters for its development. However, some buildings – like churches, theaters and museums – can be placed manually before you submit your district layout to the city council. We’ll be having a closer look at one of these buildings now – the museum.
It’s a long journey from the early concept through to 3D model and final in-game asset. In the beginning, there is research: how did typical buildings in the target timeframe look? Which materials were used? Which architectural styles are they based on? Are there repeating characteristics? The list goes on. After that, a kind of ‘building kit’ is created, containing small building units that can be varied with different materials – just like a virtual Lego construction kit. This makes it possible to reach a relatively high degree of detail for the buildings.
Next, the first concept of the building is created. A rough one at first, followed a more detailed outline which builds on the overall composition with details such as the texture of the facade, the structure of the roof, and so on. The first 3D model can then be created shortly afterwards. Creating the concept of a simple building can take a long time, sometimes up to a complete working day. And that’s before the creation of the actual asset has even started. Depending on the building, the complete process can take 24-32 hours of work. At this stage of development, we’ve currently created around 150 different buildings in the game. We’ll let you do the math to figure out how long that took… 😉
‘Näkemiin!’ – see you next time!
– Miro Vesterinnen, 3D Artist of Urban Empire.
Missed out on the first Developer Update? Check it out here!