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Ando

Creating game units for RTS games

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I am researching into the process of modelling game units (to use in 3D RTS games (such as AOE, C&C). Any info for developing the game units to get the smoothest gameplay possible? Cheers.

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As in, thinking up on their purpose and their abilities? Or about their visual appearance versus performance?

The latter depends mostly on how many units you expect to be on-screen at a given time (this could be a reason for artificial unit limits...) and their poly-counts, plus the average terrain detail polycounts.
But what specifically do you want to know?

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Visual appearance versus performance.

Im trying to find out the best way to create a unit(a soldier) that will be duplicated approx 100 times and displayed on screen. I want to develop the unit as efficiently as possible to use as little of the game engines/computer systems resources as possible.

Im not after tips for improving the game engine but rather the creation of the unit, I will mosty likley be using 3D studio Max for modeling, and photoshop for creating textures.

Im after tips and information in detail requarding issues such as:
- texture depth
- limiting the number of textures used
- how the number of surfaces effect performance
- how modelling parts of the body seperatley can improve the performance

Hope this is clearer.

Cheers.

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Also, the game camera will be something like AOE standard view.

Shown in this screenshot:
http://www.dailygame.net/Articles/media/screens/aoe3/aoe3-6sm.jpg

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From the limited experience I have with 3D API programming, I'd say using only one texture per model is a good thing - less texture switching. It's often perfectly possible to achieve this, too.

As for texture depth and poly-count, from a level-designers point of view this can come down to just plaing stresstesting. Vary the color depth, vary between a high and low poly version... obviously the lower these values are, the better, so it's a tradeoff you'll have to strike somewhere between looks and performance. I can't tell you the exact point, it's simply too dependent on many factors. Like the internal working of the engine itself, the (visual) expectations of the public, the importance of these models (seen often and/or seen from up close, or not?), the targets you've set for yourself (do you want 100+ units, or is look more important to you?)...

Is there a specific game engine you're working with or is this a research topic or such?

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You'll definately want to make the mesh as continuous as possible. There is a thread in the Game Art forum at www.cgtalk.com about modelling for games, I suggest you check it out.

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Nice one.

A research project.

Wanting to use different methods for creating game units for a RTS game, and load them into a simple OpenGL game environment and test performance.

Anybody know of any free software available that allows you to load 3DS Max files and give you feedback on how well the system performs i.e. shows the difference in the performance when a low poly model is loaded compared to a very high poly model.

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