Of churches and 60-70 feral toilets

After my last post about the retexturing work on the various buildings around Peace Island, the next things up were the Peace Island Congregational Church and the Ellison Farm “Toilet Garden”.

Peace Island Congregational Church

Eric told me that the church should look somewhat run down, because in the story of the game there was going to be a fundraiser to renovate it. If you ask me, the original texturing job made it look not just dilapidated, but downright abandoned. Another issue with the church was that it was assembled from parts from some Unity Asset Store asset, so I had to pick out the parts of the building that I would import into Blender. As we’ve seen in past posts, these assets can sometimes have some weird geometry and/or UV mappings. Fortunately, importing the four highlighted sections above and ignoring the supports worked out relatively well.

For reference, I looked at the Phillips Congregational Church and nearby Lighthouse Church, plus Congregational churches in Camden, Falmouth, and South Portland. I thought I’d use this fancy stained glass material I found on Substance Share, but nope, Congo churches are more Lake Wobegon Lutheran Church than Our Lady of Perpetual Responsibility.

The next problem with the church involved its UV mapping. There seems to be an unavoidable problem in 3D modeling where large structures have a very low texel density. The best answer I could get from Googling and combing through forum threads was “ah just use a tiling texture”. The white wooden siding material that I used for various houses worked very well. Later on in Substance Painter I masked in other layers of wood siding to break up the tiling look. Because I kept the original UV mapping structure and separated the largest parts of the building into their own materials, this model used 29(!!!) materials. This might not sound very performant (lots of materials = lots of draw calls = low frame rate), but as I understand it our sectorization process (which makes sure that only some parts of the island are loaded into memory at any given time) dramatically reduces the number of draw calls.

The next thing I had to do with the church was to add on some extra geometry. There were a few missing rain gutters on both sides of the building, and some windows had no glass. You might have seen this tweet from me about the new glass in the greenhouse:

This requires geometry for the glass pane, so I set up double-paned glass in each window in the church. I’m probably not done with this building. The extrusion at the back of the building (apse?) looks like crap imho, and parts of the steeple need work, but since we’re trying to get this beta ready it’s more “make it 80% ready then handle the remaining 20% later”. It looks like this after retexturing:

60 – 70 Feral Toilets

Shoutout to Vigilante and batty_cats on our Discord for the feral toilets joke. The first thing I had to do for this toilet garden was to make the toilets look old. I had to make the porcelain look chipped and dirty, like they’ve been out in the elements for a while. When I imported them into Blender, separating the toilet seat and splitting the materials into the ceramic portion and the metal handle meant I could get a really high texel density (around 26 px/cm). I made the mistake at first of trying to model the chipping in the geo itself using Blender’s sculpt mode and dyntopo. For the non-Blender users reading, these are features that allow you to sculpt objects almost like they’re made of clay. This was not a great idea when Substance Source has a material like Striped Raw Ceramic which has an adjustable setting for this exact type of thing, and treating the new sculpted toilets as “high-poly models” that I would bake onto the low-poly model didn’t really get me a look that I liked. Substance Source and experimenting with settings once again got me a great look

Eric also suggested that I might want to include some plastic toilets, the kind they use in RVs and camps. To model this, I deleted the tank from the original toilet model, added on a side lever as shown on the Home Depot page, and dropped a dirt grunge on it to make it look dirty. This is, again 80-90% done. There is a little texture stretching on the bowl, and I might want to add some more edges to the curvature of the bowl on both models so they’re a little less low-poly.

Finally, there’s the “Wanted 60-70 Toilets” sign, which we had to remake for legal reasons. Substance Source has a nice particle board material that worked just fine. For the writing, Eric wanted something with the same amount of personality as the original, and painting the text on by mouse wasn’t cutting it. I’ve had some success with custom painted fonts, so I did some Googling for graffiti fonts that looked more like something an angry guy with a spray can would write rather than the kind you can find under a bridge or in a subway tunnel. Rayando turned out to be the best choice here. I made a custom alpha out of it in GIMP and imported it into Substance Painter. Here’s the finished collection of toilets and signage in editor.

My next post will likely involve changing some settings on the moon and remodeling the golf carts to bring them more in line with what they actually look like on Peaks Island.

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