02 September 2009

Little Big Models

Schmung has updated his developer's blog with information about the technical side of the design process as an artist for FAS. While there is a lot of big flashy stuff that makes the main page, such as his gorgeous M79 skin, other aspects of his work are not as appreciated. Prop models for example are necessary for FAS but don't attract as much attention as weapon models.

Prop models are models in maps such as the deuce and land rover. Much of Schmung's work lately has been with making level of detail models of many of these props. Level of Detail models are models that replace the more detailed models the farther you get away.

"The version you see up-close might be 7000 or so triangles," Schmung said but, "view it from a distance and what you are actually seeing is a model with 700 triangles." (Schmung made it a point that these numbers are made up to illustrate how LoD works.) This also applies to textures as well.

These level of detail models are for all models in FAS, not just models in maps. When you select a lower texture quality in a Source game, what you are doing is selecting the maximum level of detail of the textures. For example, "when you set your model and texture settings to low, typically you will only see the last LOD even if you are right next to it," DysPatch said.

Though while this system has obvious benefits for low end PCs, Naota points out that it isn't always a clear benefit. "We really could save a good 10-20% of our overall weapon texture footprint by doing away with these absurd view model mipmaps," Naota said. He continues with stating that his first person texture models do not have mipmaps because it saves a lot of disk space and it ensures that the texture will always look right.

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