An Open Window: Project Launch Day +9
Just like in the PLD +6 update, today there are more in-game screenshots and another peek into the development of AnOpWi. The following article will be fully dedicated to the art of texturing.
In layman's terms, textures are like wallpapers you put on bare walls. As you can see from the following screenshots, structures are important but in the end, textures set the theme of a map. And to make sure your theme is consistent, you'll have to carefully choose or create your textures.
When you're making textures from scratch, there are a few important steps you have to take. First off, there is the research phase. Gather photographs or other reference of what you want to create. When you have enough material you can start working on your texture. For this part I use Photoshop, which is probably the best known program for editing, but you'll need to know your way around this software to create something good. Following tutorials is the best and quickest way to learn how to create certain effects.
A regular Half-Life 2 texture can be 512x512 pixels. To make sure this square texture will look good on a long horizontal wall, the texture needs to be seamless so it can repeat itself over and over. The trick is to make sure the player does not notice this.
If you have too many outstanding details or colours in your texture, it won't look realistic in-game once the texture starts repeating itself. This principle also applies to combining textures. Ceiling, floor and wall textures must share the same theme and create a natural looking setting. Subtlety is the keyword.
While textures are flat, most modern games have a built-in technique to make them seem three dimensional. This is called Normal Mapping (or Bump Mapping). Basically, it's another texture pasted on top of the original texture. This overlay texture tells the engine where to add more light and where to cast more shadows.
To the right the normal map. Light colours will emit light, darker colours will cast shadows.
In Game Development, adding details to your map is called an art pass. Before the map looks good there are still a few art passes left to be done and texturing was only the first step. Next up are the models and I will surely dedicate an article to them once they are done. And so this rather techinical article comes to an end but I hope you enjoyed it nevertheless. As always, I'll finish with the Question of the Day. Questions and comments can be left below. Thanks for reading.
Question of the Day:
How important are the visuals of video games to you?