Modular set pieces and Light maps

After we redid our planning i decided to finish off the most needed assets and move onto the level creation in addition to UV mapping / Baking / Texturing until i have finished it for all of the models that i have ready.

First thing i started of with was to create a proper lightmap for my modular corridor pieces, which turned out to be a much larger hassle then i had anticipated. After two and a half days of testing, tweaking and searching around on the internet i have a decent result, not as good as i would like it though.

First off like Joachim noted in his post the FBX exporter in addition to importing into UDK has some odd issues, smoothing groups not updating and being displayed wrong is one of them.

This led to many hours of frustration as my model didn’t seem to update, but it fixed itself when i imported the same mesh with a different name without explicit normals / tangents / smoothing groups.

With that being solved i had much, much larger issues with ugly shadow bleeding in the edges of my tiles. Even though i followed all the tutorials i could find on how to fix these kind of problems, mainly consisting of making sure all of the edges of the UVmap falls dead on the tiles in the 0-1 uvspace, it didn’t quite do it for my models.BadLight

In the end it pretty much came down to trying to give everything more space. Due to the fact that the pieces are much taller then they are wide in addition to having a lot of small bevels to allow smooth edge groups there is many very small tiles in the map. Spacing them out solved the issue most of the time, there is still bleeding but there’s less of it now.

This solution isn’t optimal either though, having an uneven resolution on the lightmap might create some rather ugly pixilation in the cast shadows on it.

Another way to solve it is to simply raise the resolution (1k+) but that isn’t justifiable for a single object.

There is also a third way (and many more probably) where you create all the modular pieces with indents at the ends to hide these kinds of problems, or hide them with the use of trim pieces. Long flat surfaces such as my walls or the floor can instead be made with the BSP tools inside of UDK.

The method I’m going with is to use a pretty high res (128px) lightmap (I would have preffered a 64px map but it didn’t quite work out with it as there was to much bleeding) and try to hide the artifacts through texturing.