Is it possible to use modern 3D modeling tools to create Doom 3 levels?

This question popped into my mind after I remembered that Doom 3 can import 3D models. Is there anything stopping you from using a 3D modeling tools such as Blender or Modo to create the entire level and then just import it into DoomEdit/Radiant where you then add stuff like entities, lights etc?

 

If it's possible that I imagine it would offer many advantages over using brush based editing since it's more limited compared to the more advanced 3D modeling tools.

 

EDIT: The lack of response is a downer. Nobody here has any experience toying with this?

Edited by hardcore_gamer

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I think it's possible. We use a lot of models in our levels. Things that you use a lot can just as well be a model.

 

What you want to do though is not make the entire level as one big model, but make modules and piece it together from those inside the editor. Just like you would do in Unreal Engine or CryEngine.

Edited by geX

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7 hours ago, geX said:

What you want to do though is not make the entire level as one big model, but make modules and piece it together from those inside the editor. Just like you would do in Unreal Engine or CryEngine.

When you say "make modules" do you mean like making individual rooms or small modules to make the rooms out of? Because if it's the later that kinda defeats the point.

 

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Most likely The later like UE, I've never mapped for Doom 3 before so I can't say but that's how it's done with UE.

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50 minutes ago, dmg_64 said:

Most likely The later like UE, I've never mapped for Doom 3 before so I can't say but that's how it's done with UE.

But is there anything stopping you from just modeling an entire room and then import it into unreal? 

 

Also, wasn't there some developer interview with one of the level designers at Id Software who said that they used Modo to create some of the levels for Rage and that they create entire levels with it? I don't remember his exact words but it was something along the lines of "we make our levels with Modo and our editor or sometimes even just Modo".

 

EDIT: I did not find the video but I did find this: https://www.awn.com/news/id-software-employs-modo-model-assets-rage-game

 

"

Most of the game's models that are integral for gameplay, like the props, weapons and vehicles, were built in modo. Designers found modo to be an ideal tool for level design, and allowed a unified game development pipeline between asset creators and level designers.

“Modeling in modo is faster than using a level editor application, and we really enjoy the precise control we get over our level work, which would be impossible to do with only brushes or modular models,” says Seneca Menard, lead technical artist at Dallas, Texas-based id Software. “Plus, most of the tools needed for game design and development are already in modo, and that's what we love about it.”

 

EDIT: I also found the video:

 

 

Edited by hardcore_gamer

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No nothing is stopping you, but I'm just not sure that's what you really want to do with a game engine like idtech4. You won't have the instant feedback on the visuals in modo like you do in the editor. And you won't be able to easy adapt to it. I think the pipeline is a bit too manual or long for that. But again, dragging brushes around is also manual, but it's feel way more hands on IMO.

 

I believe in one tool. But professionally I'm also used to work with Visual Studio where I never have to leave.

 

But the only way to find out is to just try things out. What tools you need and want to use also depends on what kind of game you need to make. Also maybe why they used modo instead of the lackluster idtech5 editor for Rage. It can't be a coincidence that most people use modules with an engine like Unreal.

Edited by geX

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Creating an entire level consisting of just 1 Mesh is not the most ideal thing to do, Lighting issues may occur somewhere in your mesh, and you want to keep track of each piece separately so you can then fix the UV and shading if anything goes wrong in engine.

EDIT : Plus re-importing 1 Huge mesh each time you want to apply slight modifications will take you lot of time :p

Edited by dmg_64
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1 hour ago, geX said:

It can't be a coincidence that most people use modules with an engine like Unreal.

Problem I have with modular design is that unless you model a million different pieces for every possible scenario your levels are going to look bland and samey. This is why so many unreal engine games look and feel the same. It's because so many of them are made using the exact same style of modular level design. Can you imagine somebody creating something as visually complex as Doom 3 using just pre-made modules?

 

54 minutes ago, dmg_64 said:

Creating an entire level consisting of just 1 Mesh is not the most ideal thing to do, Lighting issues may occur somewhere in your mesh, and you want to keep track of each piece separately so you can then fix the UV and shading if anything goes wrong in engine.

EDIT : Plus re-importing 1 Huge mesh each time you want to apply slight modifications will take you lot of time :p

But what about smaller setpieces like individual rooms, corridors, small areas etc?

 

Bonus question: Is it possible to make a level the old fashioned way via bsp brush editing and then export it into a 3d modeling package to add details that are annoying to create in the editor such as pipes, cables, smooth curvy hallways and corners etc?

Edited by hardcore_gamer

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1 hour ago, hardcore_gamer said:

But what about smaller setpieces like individual rooms, corridors, small areas etc?

 

Bonus question: Is it possible to make a level the old fashioned way via bsp brush editing and then export it into a 3d modeling package to add details that are annoying to create in the editor such as pipes, cables, smooth curvy hallways and corners etc?

It could work for these particular pieces but it's generally best to keep it clean and organized, But just to be safe do not join meshes data together, keep each mesh in it's (edit meant global) coordinates and export them all as 1 batch files so you can import each piece individually as 1 prefab, as for the second question as long as you keep the pieces separate then you're fine I guess, for UE at least, dunno how Id tech deals with lighting.

Edited by dmg_64

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1 hour ago, hardcore_gamer said:

Bonus question: Is it possible to make a level the old fashioned way via bsp brush editing and then export it into a 3d modeling package to add details that are annoying to create in the editor such as pipes, cables, smooth curvy hallways and corners etc?

 

All of the details you describe are rather simple to add with Doomedit. The patch mesh editor is perfectly capable of performing all these tasks. You wouldn't be saving any time with a modelling package, and it wouldn't look any nicer anyway. 

 

There *are* plenty of details that would be better to add with a modelling package, such as complex machinery, debris and rubble, things like metal that has been warped by an explosion, etc. In those cases, the texturing and UV wrapping capabilities of a modelling program would exceed those of Doomedit.

 

Getting back to the original question, it would be possible to create a level mostly consisting of models for the Doom 3 engine, though you would still have to seal off everything with caulk brushes, and implement visportals the same as you would any other level. I've done it. But you would only want to do so with a level that demands a modelling package to really be done properly, such as a massive cave. Large portions of the hell level and the cave levels in Doom 3 were done exactly like this, but if you pay attention, you can see that they only used models for the geometry that really required it. More simplistic things such as bricks, crates, pipes, elevator shafts, etc. were made entirely from brush and patchwork. It's nice to be able to do this with certain geometry and let the engine optimize it during BSP by removing all the hidden triangles and faces exposed to the void. With a model, you have to perform all those optimizations manually.

 

In the end, there's generally little purpose in using a modelling program for items that are more simple and can be created just as well in the editor---unless you're modelling geometry that is used many, many times in the level, in which case it can make sense to convert it to models in order to trim down your collision data.

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