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Brekslo
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« on: April 22, 2023, 01:26:00 AM »

Hi everyone this is my first post on this forum, hope to get some feedback and learn more.
Hoping this is the right place to ask this.

So basically I started my journey in this world, the game I wanna make is on paper pretty simple, a sort of walking simulator much like What remains of edith finch, in which the story is one of the main components.

Problem is I fear that what I'm studying right now isn't gonna be too much of use for my objective. Currently experimenting with Blender and following along with videos to try understand how all of it works, but now I'm having doubts and thinking that maybe Blender is not really the software that would work for me. And since I'm only one person pursuing realistic style of graphics seems so much work that would inevitably either lead me to abandoning all of it or just take too much time to realize.

Now I've recently been interested in cel-shading, and it looked much more manageable to me. Is it? What other styles of 3d shading can I consider?
Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. I hope I didn't make this unnecessarly long.

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DarkGran
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« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2023, 06:24:07 AM »

Hi and welcome! Coffee

As a rather impatient person I can't imagine I'd be engaged by a walking game (name you mentioned does not ring a bell), then again if you say it's a lot about storytelling, then I guess I'd like it, if the story's good. Smiley

As for your questions, seems to me that you're asking about two things basically (oh - and you weren't unnecessarily long... but I might be :p)

1. Is Blender the way to go for 3D?

YES.
There is some alternative software, but in essence, it's all the same.

The reason it feels brutally overwhelming is because yes, you can create anything, which means, there is a tool for everything (with even more specialized tools being added as the years go by). And those are all just two clicks away.
You actually need just 4 or 5 of them. And then you can work really fast really easy really soon. But how are you supposed to know which tools and where they are? When all "proper" tutorials seem to have 50+ hours.
Therefore really not easy to jump into Blender. To be a beginner in Blender alone is like a visit to Purgatory.
(Best way is having someone who can personally explain where the basics are - because everything you need as a game dev can actually be explained in 3-4 hours, not 50 or 100. You can search for a tutorial like that, but it will take a while to find one that's so... effective)

It is a headscratcher, but if you really want to make your own 3D, this is the way to go.
Whether you want low poly or high poly or whatever poly, whether you want to make photorealism or instead just make something super-fast, the answer remains the same.

2. Is there a shading method or stylization that can make creating 3D models easier?

Materials. Textures. Shading algorithms. And last but not least, shaders.
I will most probably disappoint you here.

These things are actually unrelated to the Blender question.
By which I mean, no matter what you choose, you will still be making models in Blender. (Actually "meshes" is what they are called (the "wireframes" filled with "faces" but no "textures or otherwise" on 'em).)

Even if you decide that you won't be preparing materials in Blender. Because you can, but don't have to. For example, when I work with Godot, I actually prefer setting up everything inside engine's editor, where I can see objects under the actual game-lighting, unless I need to set up UVs manually and perfectly (=so simple offset is not enough).

That being said, some styling decisions about your game can make things easier. For example, if you want your game to look medium-high poly, but the game's camera works in a way that it never fully zooms on things (for example it's isometric and the player can't zoom the camera at all), you will soon find out that you can actually use low poly models and noone will be able to tell the difference. (Low poly models are a little bit easier to make, which seems obvious, but high poly is not that much harder nowadays actually, just btw.)

Otherwise the stylization does not change much. No matter how you set up your basic materials, no matter what textures (if any) you use on them, and no matter which shading method and additional shaders you use - in most cases, you will need the same quality of meshes.

Obviously going for photorealism needs the best meshes. And you can't "simplify" anything like you would when making a game that's actually meant to have a "strong low-poly feel". But the main reason not to go for photorealism is not to have less work with meshes, but with the materials which suddenly need to be set up perfectly. And textures, which must be high def, and of course the UV mapping on the mesh has to be perfect for 'em. The shading, which is about how light gets calculated, has to be carefully chosen, and because you're making a game, it will be highly engine-dependent. Even placing the lights around the level correctly is a quest of itself.

Meanwhile going for "comics-like"/"cartoonish" means you may not need textures (at least in most cases), which means you dont need to map UVs, the materials can be all default except for the few you want to look like "metal", "glass" or "mirror" (or all three at once). The actual stylization is there so it does not look like shit, and putting meshes (proportions etc) aside, it comes from shading ("somewhat real" (the best by Disney, not kidding) vs "everything looks FLAT like Borderlands" (= only cel-shading and Toon shading are worth mentioning i think)) and shaders (outlines, pixelization, ...or none)

TLDR: The recommendation is: don't go photorealism. If you make good enough models(meshes), you can "upgrade" them to photorealism in the future. Because the biggest amount of work will be with the materials and textures anyway, not with the meshes themselves. (as long as they're "cleanly made")
(EDIT: Totally dodged animating the models, but it's the same thing - realistic models need realistic animations, low-poly models... don't.)
As you are only starting, it would be too much to learn at once anyway - start a bit lower and work your way to it. Wink
Which style you choose for now does not matter as long as you like it. Smiley

And obviously, the less time you spend on game's visuals, the more time you can spend on it's gameplay. Wink

One tip: If you have not done so yet, start up your favourite "best looking" game (presumably AAA) and go study the models. Especially the environment. Buildings, items, and trees and grass. You'd be surprised how low poly can a game that cost 400mil$$$ be.


If you have any more questions, feel free to ask. Wink
Cheers.  Coffee
« Last Edit: May 16, 2023, 11:59:14 AM by DarkGran » Logged
Brekslo
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« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2023, 09:34:09 AM »

First of all thank you for the response, I truly appreciate it.

Regarding "What remains of Edith Finch" I would reccomend the game if you still don't know its story, unfortunetely I spoiled it for myself by watching someone else play it, it still was enjoyable by just watching it, but playing is another thing.

About Blender thank you for your reassurance, that felt needed. Since my idea is to make a first person game in which there isn't much action going, I think that most of what's on screen needs to look goodish, so I would like to take a bit more time into the graphics, before going into gameplay.

I am curious about why should you decide to not make the materials directly since I would assume that its material creation is much more complete than the one on Unity or Godot? Does the way lighting behaves in game engines differ so much from blender lighting? Is there any other reason why you would opt to not make the materials in Blender?


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DarkGran
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« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2023, 01:42:36 PM »

I am curious about why should you decide to not make the materials directly since I would assume that its material creation is much more complete than the one on Unity or Godot? Does the way lighting behaves in game engines differ so much from blender lighting? Is there any other reason why you would opt to not make the materials in Blender?

Honestly it's mostly a matter of workflow and personal taste.

Materials in Blender usually use visual nodes to be worth using (you can recolor in current Blender version without em, but you cant put on a texture it seems)... which I don't like for some reason (I actually used to be afraid of materials and textures alltogether). Especially when I'm looking to work fast and I'm not actually planning on making complex materials (or even using textures). But you have to try both interfaces/materials (blender's and engine's) for yourself to know what you like more I guess.

I'm also worried about importing anything anywhere at any point in the project. Including importing meshes. So I like importing *.obj, which is the simplest format (btw can't contain animations), and I actually disregard whatever *.mat file Blender exports with it. All engines can import these easily (actually each engine has a list of file types it supports).

Obviously now, the materials in game engines have to be complete for the import to work, so in the end, it does not matter how you set-up your materials, as long as you do it somewhere.
(edit: Also you can make materials in Blender and then adjust them inside engine. Wink)

As for the lighting, tbh I did not even consider setting up lights (and viewports i guess? takes some time either way) in Blender for speed reasons.
In my workflow, I set object's materials when I place the object inside a scene it's supposed to be in, surrounded by both lights and other objects, making the process both fast and practical (at least for me).
(edit: Light behaviour is decided by the renderer... I guess setting up Blender's renderer actually shouldn't take that long to be the same or at least similar (depending on engine's renderer of choice))

However if you're interested in learning everything Blender offers, you might want to set materials there (you'll also find more tutorials for interesting materials there, probably). Especially if there's a chance that you'll be focusing on models more than on a specific game engine in the future.

Sorry for late answer. Wink Coffee
« Last Edit: May 08, 2023, 03:55:17 AM by DarkGran » Logged
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