5 Comments

Making trees

It’s been a bit of a chore finding suitable models for the vegetation in my game. I need something with:

  • low poly count (less than 1000 polygons ideally)
  • of the right file format (Blender unfortunately has no .fbx or .x import)
  • easy to edit to add vertex colors for vegetation bending
  • the “right kind” of leaf planes
The last issue is especially challenging. Often models have lots of quads for leaf planes arranged in random orientations. In addition to lacking sufficient vertices to implement vegetation bending, they also just don’t look very good.
The ones that work best for an overhead view are those where the leaves are implemented with planes that lie roughly parallel to the ground and have edges that are slightly curved downward (so the leaf “bends”). The tropical plant models I have are great for that.

I of course need more temperate plants. I quickly tried swapping out the leave texture of the fan palm model with a picture of a devil’s club leaf I had. I spent all of 5 minutes in photoshop preparing the leaf texture. I put it in the game and a few minutes later I had a new plant with very little effort! I did the same for salal.

So I think one strategy I have will be to find plant models that are good and generic enough that I can mix and match textures to come up with many very different-looking varieties.

The same model with three different leaf textures

The same model with three different leaf textures

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5 comments on “Making trees

  1. Great stuff in your blog! I will try your vegetation approach in my Light pre-pass renderer. See ya!

    • Thanks for the comment! I’ve looked at your blog a bit too, some nice stuff. I may try a light pre-pass renderer at some point (I’m using deferred rendering now).

      • Hey, thanks for subbing to my blog. Light pre-pass rendering comes almost second nature once you understand how to do deferred rendering.

        Right now I really want to figure out how to creating large landscapes easily, and your stuff is pretty helpful.

  2. If you download Blender version 2.4x (http://download.blender.org/release/Blender2.45/), it has an included .x importer. You can then save it as a blender file and open it in the newer versions of Blender.

    • Thanks Garrett, I will try that! I also found a free fbx converter on the autodesk website. I was able to convert .fbx to .obj and load that in Blender. So now it sounds like I have solutions for both .x and .fbx.

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