Jump to content
  • Advertisement
Sign in to follow this  
Giuno

Workflow and Software usage questions

This topic is 738 days old which is more than the 365 day threshold we allow for new replies. Please post a new topic.

If you intended to correct an error in the post then please contact us.

Recommended Posts

Hello everybody.

First of all, sorry for my bad English. It’s not my native language, but I try my best to be understandable.

 

I have a couple of questions, and I hope you can help me clear all the fog I have clouding my mind.

I got an apprenticeship in the game industry, which stars next year. Now you can imagine, that I am really excited and I don’t want to wait until next year to start studying. So I put some money on the table and got me some subscriptions on online courses like Gnomon Workshop and Pluralsight (digital tutors) and it’s amazing how much content there is online. But with all that content and information, there comes a ton of confusion. And with all that choices, I have a lot of trouble making a decision.

Basically, I want to develop small indie games and animated video series in the next few years, to accompany my apprenticeship. I know, I know. I don’t plan on developing the next big MMORPG or Call of Duty. But I want to be able to make simple versions of games like Diablo 2. Really simple versions.

 

Some decisions already have been made. I will be using Unreal Engine 4 as my game engine and Maya, since the company I will be working for uses Maya ( I got the Student license ). I also will be using Photoshop (bought License, since I was Studying Art and Design a few years back, I am 27, so yeha a bit older). As for the last piece of Software im not sure for now. I thought about zbrush, so at the moment I got the 2 Month free Trial version, and will be deciding in the future if I want to buy it or not. But as far as I know, the company I will be working for, also uses zbrush. So the good thing is, I know which software to use. But, I don’t know what to use them for. No Clue.

 

Everytime I start watching an online course, or some youtube videos or other tutorials, it seems like so much is done in Maya, while others do some things in zbrush, or other things in Unreal. It’s so confusing. I don’t understand how a Professional, uses these Software, his workflow basically. When to use what and what is best for what. What to start with, where to start. What needs to be done first, what last. Should I first know how do model before I start using unreal? I really don’t want to use any free stuff, I want to create everything on my own. Because, like I said, I want and need to learn this.

 

I know this is much text and a lot of rambling around. I’m sorry. But my head is spinning with all that information out there. I looked for days before I posted this, but I never got good answers, if any at all. Sometimes even more questions.

I hope someone in here can help me. Would be pretty much appreciated.

Have a nice day

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Advertisement

This is normal commercial marketing what you experience, combined with high skills, and lack of standardized workflow.

 

Everybody is trying to grab a as big as possible share of the market. In software, that means, be able to do everything that the competition can, in a better way, or more ways, or preferably both.

 

The second point is skill. Computer programming and making art are skills. They take years to develop to professional level. Once you have a skill, you can do amazing stuff in that skill. Since there is big money in selling software and selling education, be assured the videos you watch demonstrate that.

 

Finally, there are a lot of different ways to get to the end-point where you want to be with making a game. Everybody uses his/her preferred ways, there is no single way of workflow that works for all and in every situation. (If you model in program X, thingy P is better, while if I model in program Y, thingy P is not as good, but thingy Q is much better. Today I want lots of P and not Q, so X is the best solution to this problem today.)

 

 

The thing you should work on are your skills. Make models, make a table in 3d, make a chair. Study computer programming, learn a language, make a tic-tac-toe program, or a hangman program, start as simple as throw a die.

Watching other people do amazing stuff doesn't quite work, you have to do it yourself, experience it. That gives you understanding, progress in your skills. Make hours doing stuff yourself.

 

 

As your experience grows, understanding where all the fancy software fits in your workflow will come. (You start to understand all the pieces of the puzzle, and slowly will see the big picture, all the steps you have to do.)

 

 

Hope this helps in clearing up the confusion somewhat :)

Edited by Alberth

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ZBrush is a sculpting tool. It's primarily for making 3D models of characters, which the game will display and animate.

Maya is an all-round 3D modelling and animation tool. It does more than ZBrush, but isn't as directly focused on characters or sculpting. You might make models of characters in it, or environments, or props, or anything you like.

Unreal Engine is the bit that does the 'thinking'. It takes the models made in the previous packages (or other similar packages) and decides how and when to display and animate them based on the game code.

In the industry, teams are usually divided into artists and programmers. Artists would make the visual assets in ZBrush and Maya (and Photoshop). Then they export the models for use in the engine. That's where programmers come in; they will take Unreal Engine (or whatever engine that team uses) and write code to implement the game rules, including deciding how to use the art assets created earlier by the artists.

The overlap area is the engine itself; the artists might run the Unreal tool to ensure their assets are loading and displaying properly, but they wouldn't write any code. The programmers write the code to use those assets, but they'd rarely touch ZBrush or Maya.

If you want to make an entire game yourself, you will need to do all of these things - but be aware that a 'professional' probably doesn't do it this way. They have different people with their own specialisations.

To make everything yourself, you probably want to make a few models first, and get used to that. Then once you're relatively happy with something, try getting it into the Unreal engine, and then try writing code to move it around.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Unreal engine handles game logic, programming and level design. It's the game world that you can manipulate. It doesn't give you the ability to create objects, but only give you control over designing game elements. If you want to make a first person shooting game, you use it; if you want to make a third person stealth game, you also use it. It lets you design what type of the games you want to make. You design enemy AI, how player moves, and how enemies are positioned.

 

To have the objects or in other word, models, you see in the game, you need to use a 3D modeling software. Maya is responsible for creating 3D models and animations. Once you finish making the models you want, you export it into a certain file format, and let Unreal Engine loads it, which means let the engine know where the model file is so that it when you need the model displayed on screen it can do so.

 

The work flow is pretty simple. You have an idea of what kind of you want to make, and how the characters and environments in the game will look like. Then you make all those stuffs in maya and export it and import it to the game engine. Maya isn't responsible for making textures, which means you only get to design the shape and size of the characters and environments(objects), not the color of the surfaces, but you can make the textures in other painting programs, and import the textures to the engine(let the engine know where to find them).

 

The game engine is also responsible for various special visual effects like lighting, particle movements(fire, smoke, water, sparkles), and how you place everything relative to everything. It lets you decide if you want a third person view or first person view. It lets you design enemy AI, when they attack and when they retreat, for example. Maya is responsible for making the shape of game objects you want to make, and when they are combined with textures(basically the surfaces of the objects in the game world), they become what players see in the game. You can choose what features you want to use. So you can first make some models in maya, import them to the engine. Then you think of a level and place them accordingly. Design how players attack and how enemies respond to the players. Then run it and you would have a simple game.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey everybody.

Wow these are some pretty good answers. Thanks for that first of all.

The fog is starting to fade.

Just to clarify how I would go on about stuff. The Objects I want to see in my game, will be created with Maya and/or zbrush and then will be imported into Unreal, to code how these Objects will behave in my Game. I think I got that. But with that, just a few questions arise again. I hope that’s okay with you guys.

 

So. I don’t want to fight a software war, but as far as I understood, it doesn’t really matter if I use Maya or zbrush do create the Models for the games. Both Programs can do it, it’s just that zbrush is specialized in doing that, and it might be easier doing it there, if I don’t have any pre knowledge on any of the two? Is that correct?

 

Next question ( so sorry ). Gamervb said, that maya isn’t used for creating textures. What Software is used for that in the industry? I mean, there is probably more than one answer to that, but would photoshop be a good solution?

And what about materials? Do the pros make them themselves or do they use the defined materials in the software they use? For example a door made of metal. What software is used, to actually create the illusion, that that door is made out of metal. I think I understood, that later, in the engine, I would tell the engine, that that door should behave as it was made out of metal. So when light hits the surface It would look different, as if it were made out of wood. Or when the door was getting opened, the metal door would sound different then the wooden door. But what software is used, to define that this is how a metal door should look like. I hope I made myself clear und understandable.

 

One last question ( for now… ). On youtube, there are a lot of people showing off whole environments done in Maya, and I don’t understand why. Because as far as I understood, maya would be used to create the assets, the objects, the models. And then a game engine would be used to get these elements together, to create an environment. Or are the environments they create in maya used for cinematic/animation/movie purposes? Or are they just showing off their skills? I don’t get that part.

 

So that’s it for now. Thank you so much for the help so far, you made my life already easier. I hope its okay to ask some more.

 

Have a nice day!

Edited by Giuno

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Both Maya and ZBrush can be used for objects, and they're both good at slightly different things. The artists at my studio use both, depending on what they're making.

Photoshop is the standard tool for image editing, which includes textures, yes.

Materials in a game are usually a mix of standard ones and custom ones, and they just pair up texture maps with shaders. (Unreal documentation is here: https://docs.unrealengine.com/latest/INT/Engine/Rendering/Materials/)
When we talk about materials, we normally just mean visuals - physical behaviour and audio are typically completely unrelated, and are implemented separately.

If you're an artist, purely working on a portfolio or on a practice piece, you might create a whole environment in Maya, because there's no reason not to. But I can't guess why the people in those specific videos do what they do - ask them?

Usually, for a game, the art assets are indeed assembled inside a level editor. This means designers can move things around to suit the game, instead of having to ask the artists to re-export the whole level every time a designer wants a tree moved (for example).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

About exporting game assets, I mentioned importing means letting the engine know where the file is, and that one of the engine's purposes is to design a level, which means position your game objects in a scene. Based on all that, exporting again whenever the designer needs to move an object is unnecessary, because the engine already knows where it is. All that's left is "position" them, which is the aspect of designing a level.

 

Game engine is supposed to be in charge of almost everything related to game design. Sound should be an necessary feature. So to make a metal door produce different sounds than a wooden door, you just need to make the sound effect that a metal door would make and let the engine play it when something happens. Usually the engine you use already is able to handle sound effects, and you can use it through the graphic interface. If you create your own game engine, you need to know how to work with sounds in programming. If you don't want to program the sound aspect of the game, you can use a third party library. As for metal surface of a door, you need a metal texture for that.

 

I think creating the whole scene in maya is to know how an entire level looks like, and some artists might finish the whole scene before giving them to programmers to do their jobs. A whole scene can be treated as a single object that designers can move around. They can import the whole scene in one go which is more efficient when you import one object by one object. This is just a possibility.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay. I think I have a better understanding now. Thanks for all the answers. Your're all so awesome.

 

In terms of what I should be focusing on at the beginning, I guess it would be the best decision to start learning the basics of modeling in Maya and zbrush, to then learn about the basics of unwrapping, texturing, baking, rigging and animating. After that I could use my own simple stuff and learn with them the basics of the unreal engine.

 

Would that approach make sense and be advisable, or is there a better approach in your opinion?

 

Although I’m sure there is not really a right answer to that question. But I got to start somewhere, and it would be nice to know, if I’m heading in a good direction, or if the direction I chose is horrible.

 

Thanks again!

Edited by Giuno

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Advertisement
×

Important Information

By using GameDev.net, you agree to our community Guidelines, Terms of Use, and Privacy Policy.

We are the game development community.

Whether you are an indie, hobbyist, AAA developer, or just trying to learn, GameDev.net is the place for you to learn, share, and connect with the games industry. Learn more About Us or sign up!

Sign me up!