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Wondering, is there any rule of thumb on how many times a piece of asset can be repeated in a stage before it gets either noticed that its repeated, or it feels repeatative? or can anyone refer me to any articles about asset planning? I am basically designing a small village, about 10 or so houses, for my game and have no idea how many unique houses i require to make it feel alive. My thanks to anyone who can share advice on that, or tricks and technique to 'stretch' the useability of assets.

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Well, this is a question I would like answered as well, but I'm working on a city myself (20+ buildings) and the way I see it, I build a few "standard" models that I change with props/scaling etc. along the way. For example, a standard house can be distinguished by having a cart/car, different trees, fences/walls, additional side shacks, roofing/texturing variances, and maybe chimney/porch/window variances.

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After having just finished a library of 40+urban environment models, I was quite surprised to discover that certain elements are repeated over and over again in real life. I actually had a hard time finding new things to do after a while. Another stop sign, another streetlamp, all the same block after block? Houses, though, have more variation.

Scott

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I believe it really depends on the environment you're going for. An old English workers area almost requires endless rows of similar, worn off houses, while the center of town isn't really the place for repeating buildings, with all those companies trying to give their office a distinct look.
What can be helpfull is combining buildings with building parts: there's still some building repetition, but less obvious. It's a typical example of layering things. Eventually people will look through it, as with many things, so it's no silver bullet.

I also think it's a sort of feeling you'll have to develop. And of course, asking others for feedback helps.

As for the village feeling alive, avoiding repetition is only one aspect of that. Creating appropriate objects and placing them where they logically fit in is another, and of course some activity and movement helps. I always like to see trees waving a bit in the wind for example, or civilians walking around and chatting with each other. And sound, of course - which can become repetetive too bytheway.

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Really, the funny thing is that you can go to suburbia, america and see rows upon rows of the exact same house... if that is what you were going for. But I would say if you need 10 homes in your town, then I would recommend making them all different. If there were several more in your village/town, then I would say sure, nobody would notice one or two of the same.

If you wanted to trick the user, use foliage climing up the side of homes or strategically placed shrubbery or other objects.

Just a thought.

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Another trick you can use is to make two textures per object, therefore doubling the number of different buildings.

Another idea I had was creating individual objects for the components of a house, then sticking them together in the game. For example, a house could be two stories tall, has a porch, a roof, windows and a chimney. Create these objects indivually and then build a house in your game out of those parts. The next house you place in game could have the chimney and porch on a different part of the house and perhaps different textures. So out of only a few building blocks and a couple of different textures for each object, you could potentially have hundreds of different looking houses.

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It also depends entirely depends on the game. Every town in WoW has the same buildings but people don't care: in some respects it helps gameplay b/c you don't have to spend time wondering which building is the inn. =)

But people are very very very good at noticing repetition (especially of characters). As noted, however, with buildings it's pretty common in reality to have identical houses side by side. But people will surely notice. brain = good at pattern matching. You could get away with rotating the geo 90 or 180 and use the same model in a couple places w/out people noticing.

-me

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