Finally finished modelling this bad boi ☝; The Lucky 38 Hotel and Casino (at least the first version of it). Also be prepared to see a lot of grayscale pictures of a 3D model 😞.
Well, maybe not finished yet... I might create simple shapes in Maya for the light sources (of the lights on the building), Making those created models emit light in the Unity Game Engine. But that's way down the line. All other pieces are modelled.
Instead of modelling the whole building, I decided to just create pieces of it. Being a 'round' building and all, I can just centre the pivot of each object to the centre of the building, duplicate and then rotate it to fit in the empty spaces. This helps cut down the time of the UV unwrapping/mapping, and also leaves more room on the UV map for more detail to put on the texture maps.
'Large' pieces of the Lucky 38 Building
For the Lucky 38 sign, I found two fonts (on dafonts.com. Links to fonts at bottom of blog post) that resembled the fonts used in the actual model in-game (Fallout: New Vegas). So, I downloaded 'em and installed 'em! And Jumped on the old Abode Illustrator train (and rode that shit till the sun went down! ... Too far? ...probably... anyways,). I just used the default Font tool and wrote 'Lucky' and '38'. Saved them as Illustrator files (.ai) and then went on the old Maya train (and rode that shit til--... I'll stop...).
Maya lets you import Adobe Illustrator files and turn them into 3D objects made of polygons. After spending way too much time cleaning and decreasing the polygons on each text model, I used a Non-linear deform called Bend on the 'Lucky' model. The bend deformer does what it sounds like it does; bends shit. Bent it just enough to sit on the 'backboard' of the sign (︵).
'Sign' process in 5 pictures or less.
Something I got to look into is having/showing two sided faces, so that it can be looked at from the front and back. As you can see in the images below, I'm going to try to make the 'side-middle' part of the sign just be faces and make the gaps (as seen in the in-game model) transparent. It's the double-sided face problem that needs solving (so it can be seen from both front and back, not invisible when looking at the back of it. I read somewhere on the interwebs that Maya has an option to make faces double-sided, but I don't know if that will transfer over when importing to Unity. Unity might have an option similar to this, or I might need to research into creating a shader that inverts and shows the model's faces as double sided. If push comes to shove, I might just duplicate and invert the model, or even extrude out the model to make it 3D. Lots of testing to be done either way!
The 'low poly' model (if you can even call it that at this point) is made up of just above 10,000 polygons! (Je - fucken - sus) Which is the model I will be primarily using. The high poly model is over 42,000 polys, which will be used for the initial detail maps (ao, normal). I also plan to create LOD (Level of Detail) models. So, when the camera is zoomed out and the building is in the distance, the model in the scene will switch with a lower poly model of the low poly model (if that makes sense to you), reducing the poly count.
Initially I thought about fitting the UVs of all the objects on one map and making that map size at least 4096 x 4096 (4k), but now I'm leaning towards separating them out, to make sure every object has enough space and detail (they rightfully deserve!). Well, ♫Heigh-ho, heigh-ho, it's UV mapping time, here I go! ♫ 👉
P.S. To make up for all the colourless photos of the model here's a picture of Kermit the Frog on a log, singing The Rainbow Connection (rainbow not shown). ⇩⇩⇩
'Airstream' by Nick's Fonts, <https://www.dafont.com/airstream.font?text=Lucky&psize=l>.
'Fontdinerdotcom Huggable' by Font Diner, <https://www.dafont.com/fontdinerdotcom-huggable.font?psize=l&text=38>.
G.E.C.K. screenshots taken from the Fallout New Vegas G.E.C.K. toolkit
The Muppet Movie 1979, ITC Entertainment / Henson Associates, The Rainbow Connection, The Disney Wiki, viewed 29 December 2019, <https://disney.fandom.com/wiki/The_Rainbow_Connection>.