Strange Days



Hello again, this is Part Two of the 3dification of the Strange Days top-down 2D town into a fully 3D world. The Part One link is detailed above.

Phase 2 has been a slightly longer process than Phase 1, as it included building all of the town building exteriors and room layouts, along with the rest of the town geometry, including the graveyard, trees, lampposts, and all other exterior details.

I’ve included screen-shots and examples below, but you can also check out the following Portfolio page link to see all the shots in one place:

3D Town Shots


Detailing the Town

The first step of Phase 2 was to build the remaining areas of the town still left to re-create in 3D, which included the cemetery, trees, camp site. Again, this was a case of building in Lightwave (my 3D package of choice), using the 2D tiles and sprites as reference.

The easiest way to do this was to build directly on top of the town 2D map, to ensure the size and scale of all the details were correct.


3D Construction
3D Construction (click to view full size)

It actually made the whole process really nice and straightforward, having that visual guide in place, recreating correct scale, design, positioning were much easier than just creating from scratch.

In terms of the texture maps, it was a case of taking the tiles/sprites and unwrapping them, a bit like peeling the skin off and laying it out flat. You can see a few examples below:


3D Texturing
3D Texturing (click to view full size)



Here are a couple of screens showing the building interiors – it was that view out of the window I wanted to achieve, which wouldn’t have been possible if I had seperated the interiors out.

Click to view full size


Below are a few of the interior texture maps:


Interior texture maps
Interior texture maps


Billboard Sprites

In Part One I mentioned I was creating some of the level architecture as billboard sprites, whereby a flat 2D sprite is drawn to always face the camera (Doom style), giving the illusion of 3D. Well, I did do this, and then I scrapped it, as the billboards just didn’t gel with the new 3D world, particularly when it came to lighting and shadows *.


Billboard Lamppost and Crossing Sign
Billboard Lamppost and Crossing Sign

As such, I built 3D geometry for all of the billboard sprites, including lampposts, signs, fire hydrants and trees.

In the gallery below you can see the new fully 3D town elements, which to my mind work much better, and allow for proper lighting and shadows.

* The reason the shadows looked so bad is that when the camera rotated around the billboard sprites, while the sprite continues to face the camera, the real-time shadows belie the true flat shape of the sprite. There are fudges around this, but I decided against those, as fully 3D seemed the best approach.



The final element of the Phase 2 rework was experimenting with post processing and lighting, although this will very much be an on-going thing. Do you ever feel completely satisfied with the visual touches? There are aways more tweaks you can make!

Phase 2 is done, so what next… Phase 3 will include the building interior lighting, furniture, shop fittings, cemetery crypts, and any other remaining 3D bits, before the reworking of the C# scripts to reflect the change from 2D to 3D.


Night scene
Night, night!

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