Thursday, September 23, 2010

Prefab House Kit v1.0

For the past few weeks I have been working on a "Prefab House Kit" for Blue Mars. It is a set of parts which can be used like fancy prims to build your own custom houses, without having to dive into a 3D program. Once you have a layout done, you can convert the parts into a "prefab", which then acts as a single object.

The City and Block Editors have a "snap to grid" setting which can be anywhere from 1/8 to 64 meters. I designed these parts to fit with 0.5 and 1.0 meter snap settings to make it easier to line things up.  The doors open and close with a click thanks to a flowgraph supplied by Simpsoid.

For this first version, I made enough parts to build one fairly ordinary brick house. I plan to add lots more parts and add alternate textures/materials to the kit, and people using the kit can replace the textures or adjust the colors and other material settings beyond what I supply.

Some statistics on the pictured house:

14x17m main dimensions (248 sq m / 2670 sq ft)
3.2m ceiling height + 30cm floor thickness = 3.5m/floor height

44 different parts (3d models) with 50 material files. Some parts have alternate textures or tiling settings which are defined by which .mtl file is assigned to the model. The models + material files use up 35kb of my 1 GB total data allowance. Blue Mars uses total size of the city files instead of prim count as a limit on what you can build. Textures are in addition to this, but my textures can be used on different objects, so it's not clear cut what data use to charge to the house kit. The ten new textures I added for this house build take 1158 kb ie a lot more than the models. So roughly to total cost of the kit is 1.2 MB.

419 pieces as built, which use up 50kb of data in the object list which tracks what is rezzed within the city. Therefore each additional house with a different floor plan but the same total parts count would add another 50kb. The City Editor can track a maximum of 64K total objects, so if you make a lot of houses, then its best to convert them to prefabs, which only count as one object to track. The "parts list" for a prefab is saved as a separate xml file.

The reasons I am taking this kit approach rather than doing complete house models is that inevitably people will want to customize them. This lets them do it easily. It also saves total data to the extent parts are re-used in multiple builds vs having complete house models.

More photos are here: Blue Mars Houses And Buildings Album


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