Timothy Charters
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Modular Buildings

Modular Building

The buildings in my Canal City environment and City Infilftration level are built modularly. Modular pieces are modeled in Maya, and then are assembled into complete structures in UDK. This allows me to use a "kit" of meshes to create many buildings in a variety of shapes, sizes, and styles.

First, the modular pieces are created in Maya. These include simple wall pieces as well as accessories such as windows, doors, and cornices.

Second, I bring these pieces into UDK as static meshes and assemble them into a building.


Third, I add textures to the building. To add variation and detail to the base textures, I use decals, which are textures that are "projected" onto surfaces. The decal materials are set up so that they are multiplied over the base texture, preserving the original detail. For most buildings, I place a single large decal over each facade, and then use smaller decals to add grime and other details.


A drawback of modular construction is that a draw call is required for every piece, which can have a signficant impact on performance. I mitigate this by using UDK's Massive LOD feature, which allows many meshes to be replaced by a single mesh at a far enough distance. I create a "low-detail" building by baking the textures and normals of a modular building onto a simple mesh. The "low detail" building is then used as a Massive LOD for the modular building.