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Detailing Buildings in Hammer Source Part 1 - Roof

Category: Source: L4D2, Source: L4D1
February 18, 2010

Following tutorial was written and contributed by Alex Shaw 'Smog'

This is a tutorial aimed at enhancing the aesthetics of your building's in-game.

When creating buildings out of geometry blocks in Hammer, it's all too easy to create a simple block , stick a triangle on the top and call it a building. By spending a bit more time and adding some extra bits of geometry you can make the building look so much better.

Below is a collage of various buildings which show just what i mean.

As you can see, buildings tend not to have flat facades. Bits and pieces poke out, and the roof hangs out over the top.

Below is a simple building i built in Hammer. I'm going to show you how i create buildings with more detail, and more realistic, using simple world brushes.

Part One: Creating the roof

Start by building a simple geometry block in Hammer. It's a good idea to use NODRAW textures as this will help when optimising your level further down the line.

Using the 'Clipping Tool', cut the block into a triangle. With the 'Clipping Tool' selected, click on one corner and drag the cutting line to the top-centre of the rectangle.

Press ENTER to cut along the line.

Do the same to the other side to make the block into a triangular shape. Make sure that you don't cut the wrong part. Press the 'Clipping Tool' or SHIFT+X until the area you want to keep is outlined in white.

Create another geometry block underneath the triangle-shaped block that will form the roof of the building. To keep to scale, it's a good idea to keep it 128 units tall.

Press ENTER to create the geometry block.

If the building is to have multiple floors then either duplicate the block (SHIFT+Drag Mouse) and move it down. Duplicate as many times you need.

Alternatively, you can Click+Drag the block down as far as you need to go. Remember that 128 units high represents one floor.

Now you can see the basic shape of the building.

In order to make the roof look better and more realistic in-game, I duplicate the triangle-shaped block and move one copy to the side (SHIFT+Drag). The duplicate block will be used as an 8 or 16 unit wide end-piece.

Move the triangle-shaped block so it is offset with the building's width.

Stretch the width of the triangle-shaped blocks so it matches the other side. I have the grid-size set to '8' units, so stretch it by 16 units.

Now do the same for the length of the triangle-shaped block. Offset the block's length to the rest of the building's length.

Again stretch the length of the triangle-shaped block by 16 units.

Increase the height of the triangle-shaped block by 8 units so it is now 136 units high instead of 128 units.

Now move the smaller triangle-shaped block so it is in its original position.

Stretch the length of the block so it sticks noticeably out the side of the larger triangle-shaped block.

Right-Click on the smaller triangle-shaped block (do not click in 3D view). Click 'Carve'.

Re-size the length of the smaller triangle so it is 8 or 16 units wide and move it to one end of the building.

Duplicate the smaller triangle-shaped blcok by SHIFT+Dragging it and moving it to the other side of the building.

Now you can see that the roof sticks out from the building and looks more like that of real buildings.

I've added a brick texture to the building so you can more easily see the roof offset from the building.

To add a bit more detail to the roof of the building, create a simple rectangular block underneath the roof overhang on each side of the building. Once you have made one, duplicate it and move it to the other side.

It makes the roof look that bit better and more complete.

With a bit of texturing you can see the look of the building with a more detailed roof. It looks much better than the simple building at the beginning of this tutorial.

Following tutorial was written and contributed by Alex Shaw 'Smog'

Updated & Revised - Preproduction Blueprint: How to Plan Your Game Environments and Level Designs

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