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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Voxel Art

For voxel worlds to become viable, content creation tools must migrate from polygons to voxels as well. In an earlier post I had mentioned 3D-Coat, a modeling software similar to Z-brush and Mudbox, but that works on voxels.

I decided to give it a try. It took me around four hours to create this model:

It would have taken days to create the same model using traditional mesh modeling. I found this workflow beats working with polygons for organic subjects.

What if it was a robot or a car? 3D Coat has some tools for basic primitives, but I did not try those.

I remember the Flash editor managed to blend vector graphics with bitmaps. While it is all 2D, it has a nice hybrid system where vector primitives are rasterized into a group of pixels so its identity as an object is not lost. This allows to perform additional transformations to the object. A similar approach would work very well for voxels.

4 comments:

  1. could you please give a link to the flash editor?

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  2. Probably a misunderstanding, I meant the Adobe/Macromedia Flash editor which you use to create any Flash animation. Anyway here is a link: http://tryit.adobe.com/us/cs5/flash/

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  3. Wow it's like you are reading my mind. I too am considering ways to convert intricately made art assets from programs like maya/3d max/milkshape in polygon form to voxels for my game. It is essential to me that everything can be represented in voxels.

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  4. I'm sure that you've considered this, but I was thinking about how amazing it would be to have voxel sculpting as part of the game play in one of these procedurally generated worlds.
    Not to make the over used comparison back to Minecraft, but one of the very successful aspects of that game is the tool crafting component. How ever, I think that this idea of crafting has room for improvement. The other day I was fantasizing about mining for gold or iron in one of your worlds. I love the idea of being deep underground and finding a procedurally generated vien of gold in the rock. This vien would be a generated as a specific number of voxels, and mining the full vien would make that same amount of gold voxels available to the player. Later these voxels could be used in a virtual forge to craft a gold object through voxel sculpting. Of course, the player would only be able to make the object with the voxels that they had mined before. They could only make the object as large as the number of voxels of gold that they had mined and stockpiled.
    MInecraft lets players build homes and other structures through a super simplified voxel sculpting process of stacking voxel blocks on top of other voxel blocks. This allows players to make in game environments that have greater personal meaning to them. This I would argue makes playing Minecraft a much more rich and interesting experience than say, a FPS where a player is just destroying enemies and objects (I know that this is a generalization). Extending this level of customization to tools and objects would be an interesting and engaging proposition!

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