Hello procrastinators, WoodReviewer here, and today I have a different type of blog post for you. First off, this is not a review of any place or model. Secondly, the main purpose of this blog is not how to make games with proper wood grain, but when to make add proper wood grain.
When? Yes, when. You see, in many games with bad wood grain that claim to be in the alpha/beta stages of development say “we’re in alpha/beta, the wood grain will be fixed eventually.” That is true; wood grain can be fixed when a game is ready to be released, but it shouldn’t be. If you don’t care for my opinion then you can close this page and fix wood grain however you want, but if you want some building tips on how to fix wood grain quickly without slowing down how long it takes to build maps, stick around for a while.
The first thing I want to establish is that there are three main types of uses for wood grain in building in regards to how it should be fixed. The first type is single pieces and/or unique CSG structures. These are bricks/assets that will only be used once. This includes random clutter, a counter top that is only used once, or small shelves only used once. They can be fixed whenever, but I high recommend you fix them as soon as you make/place them since there is no time difference between if you fix them now or fix them later. This random board in snow, similar to those in The Wind, is an example.
The next type of asset are those which contain a few bricks but are still fairly small. This includes chairs, tables, desks, and crates. Like this one, based on Quenty’s crate.
It was fairly quick to build, about three minutes, and the resulting wood grain looked like this.
It does not matter if the wood grain is fixed as it is being built or after it is being built. It takes 5-10 seconds to fix all the wood grain on the crate.
However, in regards to being put in-game, the wood grain should be fixed as soon as possible. Because yes, to fix one crate, one chair, one table may only take a few seconds, but to fix a room filled with chairs, a bunch of tables and chairs, or a pile of crates will take longer. So while fixing one crate may only 10 seconds, fixing 15 of them will take two and a half minutes. For assets like this, the wood grain should the fixed before the asset is placed multiple times in a map.
The last type of asset are those where the wood grain should be fixed immediately when it is place in-game. This is because the asset is reused many, many times in-game. For example, look at this bench made for grandstands in Meadow’s Ranch.
It takes 2 seconds to fix the wood grain on these supports right now. But lets say you don’t and then continue using it. Then this happens. Instead of taking two seconds, it now takes about 30 to fix all the supports.
Or you could start off with a good bench.
And then use that one to build the rest of the grandstand.
It takes exactly the same amount of time to build it if you start with good or bad wood grain, the only difference is the two seconds to fix the supports on the starting bench. However, this is still a fairly simple model that you can either fix as you’re building it or when you’re done. Still, if you reuse it multiple times, fix the original before you add in copies of it. If you don’t fix the starting bench first, the 2 seconds to fix it turns to 30, and if you don’t fix it before reusing it, like in the picture below, the 30 seconds tuns into 7 and a half minutes using the regular texture flip plugin.
Lets look at another example. Look at these flooring pieces, based on what Asimo3089 used in The Wind.
It takes two seconds to fix them.But lets say you don’t, and make a giant floor with bad wood grain.
That’s 512 pieces of flooring. To fix each with a texture flip plug-in, assuming you can fix one piece every second, would take about 8 and a half minutes. Now, there are other ways to fix it quicker, but they take 30 seconds or so. But lets just say you take the two seconds at the start and fix the flooring.
You can now make the same floor, in the same amount of time, by only taking two seconds to ensure the starting pieces are good. Why would you not use good wood grain from the start?
There is one last thing that you should always have correct when you start: unioned objects that are repeated in a game. Take this fence piece for example.
It is unioned. Remember, you can’t fix unions with texture flip plug-ins, so you need to separate them and then properly union it together so it has proper wood grain. That will take 10-15 seconds to do. Not that bad. But now imagine you have a fence made out of them.
That’s 96 pieces of the fence with bad wood grain. That would take, assuming 10 seconds to fix per piece, 16 minutes to fix. For reference, the entire fence took me three minutes to make. Compare that to if you make the fence piece right from the start.
And then make the fence. The quickest way to fix this would be to remake it, so why not just make it the correct way the first time?
Keep in mind, the difference in time to make the bad fence post and the good one was literally the order I selected the parts to make the union. The time to make the fence was exactly the game.
So this entire blog has basically been 900+ words saying that if you reusing wooden parts multiple times in a game you should fix the original piece so all the copies are also good. Do you need to do this to fix wood grain in a place? No. As long as it is fixed, it is fixed. This is genuinely trying to help devs out and remind them that it is often quicker to fix a mess before it happens then to clean it up when you are nearing the end. Take my advice if you want, or spend more time than you need to fix up your games later. Just fix it before I see it.