Is it possible to create a whole "city" in 3DS Max?

n00b 101 Aug 11, 2013 at 09:00 android mobile gameplay


A couple of my friends and I want to create a futuristic, open-world game for mobile platforms, with a city to roam in. I’m in charge of designing and creating the city; I would like it to be at least 5-6 sq. miles. The original plan was to make the majority of the city in Sketchup, and the detail-heavy stuff (skyscrapers) in 3ds Max, but Sketchup is far too limited to do anything major (meaning anything at all). So that made me want to create the entirety of the game world in 3DS Max, but the problem is that 3DS Max files get heavy very quickly, making for a significant problem in development, especially since we’re making the game for mobile platforms. But it doesn’t hurt to ask. Is it possible to create the whole city in 3DS Max, maybe created in separate files? If not, then what software(s) do developers use to create cities in open-world games (i.e., how do they do this), like in the GTA series?



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Vilem_Otte 117 Aug 11, 2013 at 11:06

I can’t tell about Rockstar, but as we’re developing open world game too, I can tell our approach.

We prepare each object in a game as separate model (e.g. it’s created separately), the world is composed inside the “world editor” then. The “world editor” can be actually started in our game by just switching it to edit mode. Of course none of the open-world engines holds whole world in the memory, you stream it from the disk and free the data you don’t need anymore.

Reedbeta 167 Aug 11, 2013 at 18:43

At Sucker Punch we did something similar. We used Maya, not Max, but the idea was the same. Each building would be in its own file, plus we would reference common objects like street lamps or air conditioners - they’d have one master file that would be referenced every place they were used, which cuts down on memory a lot. Once these objects were built you could place them either in Maya or in the in-game editor, but people used in the in-game editor wherever possible, since it was faster and you could see how everything would appear with the real game shaders, lighting etc. (in Maya you had only approximate shaders and Maya’s built-in lighting).

fireside 141 Aug 11, 2013 at 19:24

I think Sketchup is a little limited in texturing, but other than that it works well for buildings. I just export with colors for walls, etc, and texture them in Blender. You’re going to probably want to use as many seamless, repeat textures as possible to save memory. Sketchup does a pretty good low poly export for square type buildings. You’d probably want to do the interior separately for mobile apps, also. I don’t know what 3ds max is like, but it is generally easy to do a whole building in the same program because you can stay with quads. Sketchup triangulates for export.