I just finished a new "set" for Broken Minds! That's the scene information above. As you can see, it's pretty detailed — lots of objects and polygons.
Originally the game was only going to have two locations, but recently, as I've been expanding the game, the need for a third location has arisen. Since I've shown the first two locations so much, I'm going to keep this one a complete surprise so that seeing it will be fresh and interesting, (though there are plenty of things in the first two locations to see and do).
Here are some useful tips when modeling, (or designing) an interior:
1. Have a "tone" and a "big idea" that can influence every element of the design. For instance, in Noa's apartment, I focused on making the tone "cramped and dark", and the big idea was that her house was a bit of a mess, with lots stuff on the floor and her futon unmade. The tone of the Yamagata Private Detective Agency location was "cold but personal", and the big idea was that they had just moved into the building, so the furniture is sparse and there are boxes waiting to be unpacked.
2. Use a scale. In my earlier environment design work, I would often create objects that weren't the right height or the right size — they looked like the characters wouldn't be able to use them. My doorways and windows were especially bad. Characters weren't able to walk through the doorways without hitting their heads, and the windows were either placed too high or too low to see out of. Using a scale, that is, an image of one of your characters, placed in the environment, can help. It will also help with the size of the textures. You don't want it to look like a dollhouse!
3. Use a floor plan. I think the thing that has probably helped me most is this — basically, it's a top-view drawing that you can use as reference, or in my case, literally translate it into the full environment. In order to create Noa's apartment, for instance, I looked up "Japanese apartments 90s floor plan" and was eventually able to find something that looked legitimate and suited my needs perfectly. When I couldn't find a floor plan online for the latest location, I actually created it myself using online software. The site's called SmartDraw, and despite being a little clunky, it ended up working great. When I base a 3D environment on a floor plan, most of the time the reason is simply space: When you work from a floor plan, you know you aren't going to wind up with oversized or narrow rooms that your characters will have a hard time in. That's why it's important.
4. Observe. When you're in a real life location, look around and try to notice the objects in a room. In real life, there can sometimes be the sense that people have too many objects for the space they're inhabiting. This can be a problem in 3D because you get the urge to lay off the props and detail and just be done with it all, but step back, wait until the next day, and try to find more details and props you can add. Trust me, it'll be worth it because you'll end up with something ultimately better. For me, the setting of your story is very important — almost more important than the characters. So make sure it's as good as you can make it.
In other news, I've scrapped the mystery-solving gameplay I'd come up with to replace the dry deduction section, and went back to the drawing board for a complete overhaul. Now I'm much more satisfied with the content of the gameplay, and solving the mystery should be more fun.
Until next time!