modelling a city

category: general [glöplog]

regarding the demoscene i'm very oldskool and never really touched a 3d modeller. consuming the 3d stuff of the last 10 years pc demos i wonder what tools are used today in order to create some realtime stuff "out of the box" (klicki-bunti)

What I want to do: i like to model a 3d city with very simple elements like streets, simple quadrats for buidlings (no details required) and some cylinders to symbolize some kind of IT landscape (applications, databases, firewalls and data flow between them).

at the end I would like to create some kind of helicopter 3d flight over the city. Question: Is there a simple (maybe free) tool for this?

added on the 2010-04-22 21:39:56 by twh twh
you might want to try http://sketchup.google.com/
added on the 2010-04-22 22:05:36 by keops keops
http://www.blender.org/ + http://arnaud.ile.nc/sce/index.php - it's some kind of city logic script for blender.
added on the 2010-04-22 23:34:47 by 52 52
www.wings3d.com nothing else.
added on the 2010-04-22 23:42:19 by Navis Navis
as keops said, i love sketchup personally.

you could try 3dsmax, which is the reference tool, but a lil bit hard to start with.

sketchup is a good tool to make some "basic" stuff, and lowpoly modelling. and VERY easy to use.

otherwise, i think blender indeed could do what you want :) (you may want to check out the compo someone did @ breakpoint 2010 about blender)
added on the 2010-04-22 23:42:50 by bull bull
- Wings3d is good for one building only, but not a whole city.
- Sketchup is weird, and basically a Google Earth utility. Not much of a 3d modeller and no animation capabilities.
- Blender is a PITA, but can do everything you asked for and more. With a python script this should be a matter of minutes.

If you don't want to code (not even processing/python+pygame etc.), the only really non-sucky way of doing this is to get a "pro" tool. All of them are easy enough to get used to, have animation capabilities build-in, have reasonable user interfaces, but they are not for free.
added on the 2010-04-23 09:10:46 by tomaes tomaes
in wings it is trivial to do a city. This is how we did it in Rupture:

Paint the streets in 2D (top down view) in 2D painting program, import as .ai, extrude all rectangles, finished. Took me less than 30 mins.

If you want to do everything in wings it is also possible to "duplicate and move" with one key press. Do a box, set camera to top down view (in parallel projection), "repeat-duplicate" to add several boxes to their place. Then extrude in random to make it look like a city. Shouldn't take more than 2 hours.

If we are talking about a million polys then wings won't do. But for less than 100k (should be enough) there is no comparison.
added on the 2010-04-23 10:09:32 by Navis Navis
you can use sim city 3000 to model your perfect city:

added on the 2010-04-23 10:19:09 by zatom zatom
the simplest 3d modeling tool is the one you don't have to learn. i therefore vote for

Code: for( numbuildings ) { position = (rand, 0, rand); shader = "color = texture*y;"; // '*y' = ambient occlusion drawcube( rand, rand, rand ); }

added on the 2010-04-23 10:45:29 by iq iq
Navis: Nice workaround. And yet, he still has no means to do cam paths in Wings. Not to mention the crash-prone application itself.
added on the 2010-04-23 11:05:27 by tomaes tomaes
What is a cam path?

Wings crashes once in a while, but I found out that it is because of:

* too many polys / too little patience. Wings hasn't crashed, it is just calculating.

* doing something dodgy with a plugin (for example early versions of voronoi).

With that in mind I can't remember the last time I saw wings crash, and I use it alot.

added on the 2010-04-23 11:24:13 by Navis Navis
Wings is good, but it's just a modeller really. Cam path = camera path, you need a scene editor with keyframing for this part really (unless you want it interactive?)
added on the 2010-04-23 11:28:54 by psonice psonice
I'd use code for the camera path. Or put down keyframes as objects (in Wings), then use code to produce a smooth spline over it. There are many options.

added on the 2010-04-23 11:32:04 by Navis Navis
maali: you'll need a bit more than greebles to handle that - take another look.
added on the 2010-04-23 11:33:48 by smash smash
i wasnt implying that it was greeble, only that it's even less work ;)
I used to use it fairly often and it crashed without any plugins very often. It was also easy to run into the "too many polys + lack of feedback" problem. The newer builds might be more stable, I don't know. Cam path = camera path. He wants to render flight sequences (see OP's post).
added on the 2010-04-23 11:34:57 by tomaes tomaes
(dang, this thread is moving fast. That or some wonky browser caching on my side ;))
added on the 2010-04-23 11:37:06 by tomaes tomaes
maali: besides the obvious point smash already said, how exactly does greebles + max equal the 'no details required' and 'preferably free' twh is looking for? :D

Maybe something like a game level editor would actually be best here? That should give you easy layout of a city, passable lighting, keyframe camera animation or interactive flyby, and I guess there should be something free available somewhere.
added on the 2010-04-23 11:49:35 by psonice psonice
1) depends on how you interpret 'preferably' ;)
2) gmax is free. greeble is free.

but ok, totally free solution, follow the same tutorial but then with the following toolset:
- blender
- greeble script for blender