The gaming sector is brimming with games that have a global audience of 3.24 billion users. Today’s catalog is extremely huge, with new releases, remakes, and hundreds of famous must-have games. And if you want to be famous in the game business, you must stand out with a one-of-a-kind game environment design.

It is critical to pay close attention to detail. And the basis that promotes player involvement is your game’s 3D world.

This article goes into the essence of game environment modeling and its complexities to assist you in discovering the key phases of environmental design and learning how to obtain faultless outcomes with your project.

But first, let’s examine what’s going on.

The essence of developing a seamless virtual world is designing and building a playable environment that acts as the background for the tale. This multi-stage process includes general game design, level design, level brief, and concept art conceptualization, as well as the outline of future animations, character, object, and backdrop models, renders, and rigs.

But it all starts with the core design document, which lays out the fundamentals. This is followed by an art guide document, which converts broad concepts into more concrete tasks for designers and artists. Designers typically begin to shape environments by creating storyboards loaded with early concept arts, graphic schemes, and future animation ideas.

It’s critical to examine the scope of the game you’re making. Will it be a side-scrolling platformer with a few level elements or a large open-world RPG with no linear storyline and unrestricted exploration? There will be constraints to consider, both good and negative, and it is preferable to do so early.

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With all of the job reference documents in hand, a level designer may be brought in to begin level planning and conceptualizing more specific aspects (e.g., different screens and scenes, story twists, content fillers, and so on). Only then does an environment artist come in to begin full-fledged environment modeling.

The environment artist’s role is to bring all of the sketches, concepts, and storyboards to life. They divide the intended game environment’s flow into thorough chunks and scenes, forming a large, structured world with appropriate transitions and levels of immersion.

The majority of gaming environments in recent games are three-dimensional. Even if you start with a basic indie side-scroller, odds are you will soon need to use 3D environments or assets.

This is due to the fact that many developers approach environmental design from two separate perspectives. You can keep the workflow balanced and tackle activities of varying complexity by isolating world foregrounds from more highly defined local contexts.

To put it simply, you may blend low-poly and high-poly modeling methodologies to create models with varying degrees of detail and visualization needs.

Low-poly game assets

Low-poly game landscapes employ fewer polygons and have less complexity, making them perfect for basic backdrops and secondary items. A low-poly model takes less time and effort to create. Developers may swiftly put their ideas into action by utilizing an engine like Unity, which has a wealth of low-poly and low-code «building blocks» in its component store.

High-poly game assets

High-poly gaming settings, on the other hand, require greater detail and authenticity to provide a realistic and visually acceptable appearance. This sort of modeling is appropriate for front settings and assets that demand more depth and realism — characters, moving objects, and anything else that has to stand out.

Aim for an eye-candy of a visual «wrapper» for your game while supporting it with low-poly assets in places where performance is more important than pure looks.

Assume you’ve completed the basic concept phase and are ready to begin a game development project. The following steps are the most frequent approach to take original game environments from concept to realization.

These basic ideas will assist you in organizing the workflow or, at the very least, understanding the overall process.

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So make sure to start with:

Location concept

Before beginning any project, it is important to collect references and notions for the vision of the site you want to mimic, such as images of rock from various perspectives, in order to make a realistic model.

The concept artist compiles a set of ideas and references to establish the overall vision, ambiance, mood, and significant items in the area. The concept artist sets the tone for the whole art creation process by meticulously curating this visual foundation, creating a unified and fascinating experience for the players.

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Level blockout

The following step is to create a blockout based on concepts, references, and level design documentation. After gathering references and developing a clear picture of the final model, blockout can be employed.

This method lets you to create crude blockout versions of levels initially, then add additional information to them step by step. Level blockout facilitates layout creation while relieving professionals of the frequent hassles of early fine editing.

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3D drafting and design

Maya or Blender, for example, are crucial tools for building a 3D model of the object required in the final result. To begin, an environment artist will create a mesh in the shape of the object.

Secondary and filler items can be created automatically, but distinctive and high-quality models will require some manual C++ development. For animating the final sculpture, Maya with Unity or Unreal Engine is the ideal solution.

UV & texture map design

UV and texture mapping is critical to the modeling process since it gives the environment life. Texturing’s core idea is to create a material design that compliments the subject matter. UV mapping facilitates texturing by allowing the model to be changed in its entirety.

As a consequence, the 2D visuals may be superimposed into the 3D model, creating a smooth and completed output. This stage may be accomplished quickly using either Unreal Engine Texturing or the Unity UV editor.

Lighting and VFX as a final touch

Lighting is extremely important in creating a more realistic and immersive atmosphere. Shadows and light may be utilized to draw attention to certain aspects of a photograph, making the subject look more authentic.

Rain, wind, and fog may completely alter the environment of a game, defining the tone, delighting the eye with contrast, and generating dynamic sensations.

There’s a lot of Unreal Engine and Unity documentation available to help you with lighting and post-effects of all sorts.

To develop a visually appealing and sophisticated gaming world while maintaining a seamless, time- and cost-efficient workflow, two supporting pillars are required:

A well-planned, stage-by-stage project roadmap; Best practices and competitive edge.

You should be alright with the first point if you refer to the phases described above. Regarding the second pillar, here are some suggestions based on our actual project experience.

Get your tools right

This applies to both the primary engine and any auxiliary tools you may require; take your time considering possibilities, experimenting, and switching tool sets. Keep in mind that Unity can allow you greater creative flexibility at the price of the premium quality and complexity of assets that Unreal Engine can provide.

Other professional advice:

  • The Media & Entertainment Collection by Autodesk offers a range of top-of-the-line 3D modeling and sculpting tools that are optimized to help you work faster and more efficiently while maintaining a good range of creativity.
  • A lot of the overall success of the project depends on its rendering approach – Arnold offers an artist-friendly UI and intuitive controls to quickly see high-quality previews and iterate changes so that you can bring your creations to life in no time.
  • And don’t forget the classics that just keep on getting better – 3ds Max is still the best tool for shaping any 3D objects, while Maya helps to pack it all up into scenes and MudbThis applies to both the primary engine and any auxiliary tools you may require; take your time considering possibilities, experimenting, and switching tool sets. Keep in mind that Unity can allow you greater creative flexibility at the price of the premium quality and complexity of assets that Unreal Engine can provide.

    Other professional advice:

    ox – to sculpt, structure, and refine model textures.

Focus on optimization

This is one of the hottest subjects in game development right now. Game worlds may be complicated and time-consuming. Optimize your assets and level design to guarantee seamless performance. This is what enthusiastic gamers are most looking forward to in future new games.

Use LOD (Level of Detail) methods to minimize polygon count in distant objects, occlusion culling to prevent rendering unneeded objects, and baking lighting and shadows wherever feasible to keep up with demand.

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Pay attention to scale and proportion

In your gaming worlds, maintain a feeling of scale and proportion. This contributes to a more realistic and immersive experience for players. Consider the interactions between various items and features in the game world and ensure that they are visually consistent and reflect the overall aesthetic of the game.

Play with lighting

Experiment with various lighting approaches including dynamic lighting, ambient occlusion, and global illumination. To create aesthetically appealing and realistic sceneries, pay attention to the color pallet and how light interacts with different materials. Keep in mind that soft, pastel tones both attract and relax a player, but sharper color schemes with obvious traces of red work well in action-packed scenarios.

Designing large-scale gaming landscapes is a possible but time-consuming endeavor. Instead of beginning from scratch, consider collaborating with a game development firm that has successfully completed hundreds of games.

My Infinity Games employs creative individuals with years of expertise in bespoke project development, including custom environmental modeling and asset production. The artwork in this piece is from our most recent project, Discovery, a sci-fi shooter developed on Unreal Engine.

We have everything needed to bring your concept to life and ensure it goes off like a rocket into space with only an idea. We provide Unreal game development services, as well as graphic production, to ensure that gamers appreciate all areas of your future game’s high-quality aesthetics.

Are you ready to make your game environment design a reality?Contact us immediately to discuss your requirements and acquire an outstanding product in a timely manner.