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How do I build an real, existing city in a game

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#1 Misery   Members   


Posted 09 August 2014 - 08:18 AM

I am working on a FPS game. I want to place the action in a real city from 1810 year. I got maps from museum, and a lot of photos, data, items etc from that time. My quiestion is where do I begin to create such city in Unity. I would like to create a map based on the real 1810 map. How do I do it? I haven't found any tutorial on how to create an existing terrain/location based on a reference in Unity. All tips would be appreciated.

#2 DiegoSLTS   Members   


Posted 09 August 2014 - 09:22 AM


If you want some automatic thing that creates the city based on some pictures you're expecting too much from Unity. Unity is not a 3D modeling tool but you can import any 3D model as an asset, so you should start making those models in another tool (like Blender, 3DMax, etc) if you want complex shapes. You can create some basic models with unity using cubes and spheres and textures, but you'll need a LOT of work to make something that looks kind of real.


You can model the whole city as one unique model and import that, but it doesn't sound like a good idea, so you probably want to model buildings and the different locations and then build the whole scene in unity placing the models. After that you'll need to add collision detection so you can't pass through walls or different floor heights, and it won't be easy.


Anyway, and maybe is kind of off topic, but creating a whole city probably takes hundreds of hours to a team... are you sure you want to create such a big thing by yourself?


EDIT: You can use the Terrain tool if you have information about heights, but it's just for the terrain.

Edited by DiegoSLTS, 09 August 2014 - 09:27 AM.

#3 SeanMiddleditch   Members   


Posted 09 August 2014 - 12:33 PM

This is something you need an experienced 3d artist (or more likely, a team of artists) to pull off. Not only do you have to model the buildings and other props in something like Max or Maya, they also need to be textured, the terrain needs to be painted, proper lighting must be added to the scene, VFX must be created to make it seem alive (good clouds, dust, moving trees, etc.), a soundscape needs to be created, and so on. Depending on whether you're going for a photo-realistic look or not will greatly change how much effort is required here, too.

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#4 Misery   Members   


Posted 09 August 2014 - 12:51 PM

I have a lot of buildings and items created in Blender. Now I need to create a terrain to place those all. I need to create rivers, hills etc based on the map. How do I do that?

#5 Code Fox   GDNet+   


Posted 09 August 2014 - 01:28 PM


Before taking on a large scale 3D project like this, you probably need to plan things out first.

 How many pictures / drawings / descriptions do you have of each building type ?

If you are going for the realistic approach ( this will require a lot of preplanning ), you need to start with a "mock up" of the basic layout of the city.

 You do not need fancy tools to accomplish this, you are just trying to get a perspective of what you going to build.

Active Worlds would probably provide the EASIEST environment to mock up a city layout ( and it's free as long as you are not planning on doing anything permanent ).

 Once you get a good idea for layout, you need to make basic mockups of each unique building you wish to build.

The easiest tool I know of for ( buildings / roads / objects ) mockup would be Google Sketchup .

 After you get a good idea of exactly how you want each of your buildings to look, it's time for the hard work to start.

Using a 3D modeling tool such as Blender 3D ( free ) or Maya 3D ( not free ) you need to carefully sculpt and texture your buildings based on your mockups .


 From there, you need to import them into Unity 3D, than carefully arrange everything according to the city mockup you made.


Note: you may also need to create a height map for terrain ...

Edited by Shippou, 09 August 2014 - 01:33 PM.

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#6 Gian-Reto   Members   


Posted 10 August 2014 - 02:14 AM

Be aware that there are tools to automagically create realworld locations (at least the Terrain) inside of Unity.


"World Composer" is one of these tools (or was it called "Terrain Composer"?)... anyway, you can get it from the Asset Store for around 90$...


What it will do is giving you the option to pick a realworld location (You can search on a google maps like interface it seems), and then you can select the area to crop from the world map. The tool will the automatically create the Terrain Tile for it and, if you want, create a Texture taken from satellite images.


This way you can get the terrain AND a rough guideline which buildings go where, as the buildings will be visible topdown on the terrain.


Of course this is for current day citys, depending on the city the terrain might have changed a lot, as well as buildings being gone.

#7 Tutorial Doctor   Members   


Posted 10 August 2014 - 03:22 PM

Google Sketchup

Google had the agenda for users to populate google earth with 3D models made in Google Sketchup, but Google found another method, so they sold Sketchup to Trimble.

You can still find some buildings on the Sketchup warehouse. You can also import terrain from google earth.

There is a "match photo" feature in Sketchup that helps to create buildings from reference photos.

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