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How real do you go?

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This isn't an engine specific question, more of a design process question. When I design a level whether its future/modern/past I look for references, ideas. Things I can work with to get a more realistic ingame experience.


I was just wondering how realistic people go, I've spent my morning reviewing various sewer schematics for one of my levels. Despite my game being set 75years into the future I figure we tend to "ugprade" our systems as opposed to demolish & replace - more so when it comes to sub-terrain.


So my query is how "realistic" do you aim to go, is it just on the face of things - ie building has windows, doors & a roof; or do you look more in depth - the building has windows, doors, gutters and the drain would be over here, given the fire is here in the house the chimney would go here etc.


Strange question I know, and obviously won't apply if your game is based in a fantasy world but it's just something I'm pondering as I look to plot out my sewer/lab system.

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As long as a player has the feeling of being in a specific building it doesn't matter how detailed it is. A simple design which distinguishes a sewer from a basement is more than enough. bottomline: more detail in small models is not always necessary to establish the idea of the current level architexture.


When playing half life 2, try using the god model where you fly through walls. The starting area of the game is so small compared to what the player experiences. Many details are also placed inside a texture instead of added as a low poly model. This especially counts for objects where the player is never going to be.

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The examples i provided were somewhat off. I don't necessarily mean adding the details, I was more referring to the flow and transition between styles itself.


For example a farm, a farmer would more than likely put grazing animals on his hilly land and crops on his flat land. Since its easier to plow the flat land.


The reason I'm asking is because the levels I had "pre-imagined" had gaps in the flow, how do I get my player from level 1 - the coastal sewer system, to level 2 which was bridge based. I could quite easily just blunder the locations but I quite like architecture & design so I tend to think more about the realistic side of the flow. Would building A really have been built in this location. Would a developer who built a residential set of houses placed them here, due to the trainline there.


Sounds v.odd even as I type this but it has some semblance of logic. At which point do you cut realism for gameplay and vice-versa.

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how do I get my player from level 1 - the coastal sewer system, to level 2 which was bridge based.


Transition sections.

Sewer near the end, you have a ladder that comes outdoor in some closed section.

This section can be buildings or outdoor Cliffs with somle blocking stuff, and you would have only one way forward to follow like some little road.

Following that road perhaps closed by houses or big containers, it would lead to near somewhere where the bridge is in front.


I would say, you can search pictures for sewer entrance , exits, where they are located in towns ou elsewhere outside towns.

SAme for bridge you can search for pictures and see where they are place.


Another way could be to have no transition :

You reach the ned of the sewer, it is some exit and your camera cinematic shows that you exit somehere in some less populated area or valley and then the camera shows the bridge.

A dialog appear saying you have to cross it.

Then you load the bridge level , and the camera shows your character arriving in it.


James Bond or Perfect Dark on N64 didn't have transitions between levels only missions, and players didn't care it was so amazing games.


It's a game not reality, if you want , you can be free and stick less with realism.

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Its not so much how to transition, I have found methods & reference to cover my own personal issues i'm just trying to see where I fall on the scale of "too much" or "too little" in the lines of realism in comparison to other developers here.


Do other developers here look into such depth as scematics/layouts for sewer systems despite the average joe probably not knowing how they would look.


I have this issue that when I release the product, I don't want people sitting there complaining going "This type of tree wouldn't be here" etc and as strange as that sounds back when I did a level for Call of Duty I was working v.closely from reference of a specific location, when I finished I went through an added some minor things like extra foilage and got a few people whining about them not being around in Italy. Something so minor that would just add a little extra cover for the player (which suited its purpose) got a players back up. Since then i've been a heavy research/detail kind of person when it comes to designing environments to the point of checking the types & layout of pipes lol


So I was just wondering how much other people would sacrifice in factual layout for improved gameplay. Or would they go as realistic as possible with the formatting on solid structures/landscape then improve gameplay by the addition of models which would be more transient in nature (cars, trucks with cargo etc)

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I add as little detail as possible and allow the player imagination to fill in the rest. All my favorite games had low detail in the graphics. I know of some JRPGs on the Playstation one and Playstation two used the exact same tree model to populate every forest in teh game. They weren't even rotated or scaled differently. And I was so into the game that I didn't even notice until years later.


So if I was modeling a sewer I would have 3-4 landmarks that I wanted to represent the location alongside an atmosphere in the lighting and color scheme. Other than that, I don't think it's necessary to have pipes with engravings of mock manufactorers on them. THough attention to detail is pretty cool and all.

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I think this depends on what the main gameplay of your game is. Is having very real and accurate structures a main driving factor of the gameplay or not? I personally think looking at scematics is a little over the top for, say, a normal FPS game. You are an indi dev, which means it's probably just going to be you, maybe 1-2 others, so focus on the things that really matter to your game.

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I have this issue that when I release the product, I don't want people sitting there complaining going "This type of tree wouldn't be here" etc

There will be always lto of people saying things are bad even when it's good laugh.png

Make your game, and if needed change things later.


For my part here is the not realism i prefer :



You are free to do as you want. It's your game, but if you want ot please all players special COD crazy gamers, i don't know.

It's like Arma games series you could take real location and remake them changing stuff here and here.

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What is real? The definition and knowledge about reality differs from person to person.

You could make game from a perspective of a blind and deaf human, just a black screen, and it would be real smile.png

However, he would probably see things, since the brain adapts to lack of information. He could probably "see" wind, heat, rain, snow, flowers, sound vibrations, in addition that he can feel them.


But even for a "normal" person (and again, what is "normal"?), some theoretical physicist may see the world completely different than a priest, or an artist. It is said that some people can "see" music, and a priest can probably "see" the work of god and signs of him everywhere. A theoretical physicist might see how the world is made of little superstrings, whose vibrations appears to us like matter, even feel like matter.


And recently some scientists tested if the world is a computer simulation, and the results were positive. Everything what exists, is like in the matrix, there is no sign that anything is "real".


And you can always have a "real" environment, where some billion year old civilizations visit the earth, and let your fantasy play, and it's still "real". Or where CERN invents a stable black hole which allows time and space travel, that's closer to reality than sci-fi.

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I must admit despite my v.odd query initially that last post was just awesome lol


Not to discredit the others as they were all helpful :) I look forward to sharing some previews of the project in the coming weeks :)

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I'm aiming on realism but yet also not! I want to find an balance in it.

by thinking at the story my team and me have written... the trick is to let it appear like it is possible in a far feature.

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