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What do you guys buy on asset marketplaces? What would you make yourself?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by D-Gamez, Oct 2, 2020.

  1. D-Gamez

    D-Gamez

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    Hey guys,


    Quick intro, I'm a indie environmental artist who is currently working with a small but very talented team on a Sci-Fi survival VR game called DesolationVR. We are hoping to release the pre-alpha on the 31st January and start testing it then. I have recently decided to expand my portfolio and wish to do a bit of freelance to help boost my presence in the community as well as learn as much as I can.


    My question to you guys is, what do you think is currently trending in the asset creation scene, what would you guys want to see in marketplaces such as ArtStation, Unreal, Unity, CG Trader or TurboSquid?

    Also what do you guys usually acquire, whether it's free or paid. Do you go for a full environment, asset pack, props, kit bash etc?

    If your working on a project what would you make yourself and what would source on a marketplace?

    Any advice would be helpful, cheers.

    Also quick extra, I have usually only developed with and for Unreal, any advice on how you would set up assets ready to be shipped for Unity. Is there any specific things like collision that would need to be done a certain way?


    I'm in my initial research and analysis stage and figured who best to ask than the community. I have set my business plan for the next 3 months, set up my financials and know the community is the best place to go for research.
     
  2. MDADigital

    MDADigital

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    Do realistic housing and buildings assets with interiors. There is very little of this on the store. Everything is either scfi or fantasy
     
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  3. D-Gamez

    D-Gamez

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    This was mentioned on multiple other forums I've posted so thank you! Seems like there's a trend/need for them
     
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  4. MDADigital

    MDADigital

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  5. Aviryx

    Aviryx

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    Almost nothing. Everything is something I model myself (I can not do characters or animation but a group of people at the studio I work at are on Discord and we help each other with hobby/solo projects).

    However, I am not against buying stuff from the Unity Asset Store (or other places) but a lot of the times it comes down to poor quality. If I buy something (in most cases) I should literally be able to just drop it into my game with minimal modifications (otherwise why am I buying it?)

    Environment assets are always in need. Especially "packs" or "sets" that are modular. Also, high-quality but low poly solid colour assets can be really popular with smaller indies. Checkout synty studios for an example:

    https://assetstore.unity.com/publishers/5217

    Things like high-quality buildings (I don't see a lot of city packs with skyscrapers etc) or maybe house interior packs?

    However, I would not chase trends. I would try to play to your strengths as an artist. Perhaps you are really good at creating characters, or maybe you're better at creating environment art (trees, rocks, bushes) or maybe you're really good at general props and hard surface modelling (houses, cups, boxes, floors, etc).

    Personally I go for asset packs/sets because either:

    1) I want to use them as a place holder in pre-production/testing env or level design
    2) I intend to re-uv map/re-texture them and I didn't want to model everything myself

    But I think single items can also be decent in terms of profit. However, you should consider that items such as cups, a chair, or a table, are unlikely to be that profitable in terms of sales/month.


    I could spend about 3 hours writing everything wrong with the assets I've encountered (from Unity and elsewhere) but I will keep it Unity-specific.

    - Reset the model scale before you export it (1, 1, 1). Tired of importing a model and it's 10 bazillion meters high (also the physics system will thank you)

    - Don't add any collision (boxes/meshes) to the model(s). Chances are I want to do it differently/we have a different idea on what to use (*cough* people using a mesh collider on a square object)

    - If you sell me a wooden crate asset and it has 6 separate materials I will probably have a nervous breakdown so please keep material use reasonable.

    - If you supply a material (or set of materials) AND an alterative texture atlas (that has all those materials packed into a single texture) I will pay considerably more money because I have the choice to use individual materials or a texture atlas.

    - Even though it's 2020 apparently Blender and Unity can't get their S*** together so you might have to deal with a certain issue in blender (they both use different axis for direction). This issue can have a serious impact on characters built in blender and imported into Unity. (not sure if this is the same for Maya/3ds Max)

    - So, assuming you are using blender, open it up and delete everything in the scene.

    - create a cube.
    - export this as an FBX and import it into Unity.
    - You will notice it's x rotation is -90. This is because Unity uses z for "Forward" and Blender uses Z for "Up".

    - Create a new cube
    - set the x rotation to "-90"
    - select the cube, press CTRL + A and reset the rotation. (X rotation will now be 0)
    - Now, set the x rotation to "90"

    Now when you import the cube into Unity the rotation will be correct (0, 0, 0) instead of (-90, 0, 0)

    Models should be Rotation (0, 0, 0) and Scale (1, 1, 1) when I drop it into a scene. Whether it's a small rock or a 2-story house.

    - Don't make a (small) mistake and still sell the asset. There is a 99% chance i will notice that extra weird face that is causing a clipping issue and isn't easy to fix... and I will dislike you for causing me to fix your work.

    - Again, blender specific, but when exporting the settings should be for "fbx scale" and not "local scale". You also need to change the settings in the export panel (telling blender to use y as up and positive z as forward)
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2020
  6. D-Gamez

    D-Gamez

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    @MDADigital Cheers for the link, definitely a great example to work of and I was thinking of an urban setting and now that you say it warzone styled building with an interior could be a good direction, will have to do some market research for that type of asset/environment
     
  7. MDADigital

    MDADigital

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    All good points, but this one. Man, there are some good looking assets, but way too many materials.
     
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  8. MDADigital

    MDADigital

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    Just keep in mind this is what I seek, I do not know how popular it is. But there is not much usable modern day war zone material out there of good quality.
     
  9. MDADigital

    MDADigital

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    Also make it snap to 1 meter or similar. Hate modular assets without sane snapping grid
     
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  10. MDADigital

    MDADigital

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    oh, and if you want to be LOVED by us VR devs, include UV2. Manual created UV2 always shine over unity autogenerated.
     
  11. D-Gamez

    D-Gamez

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    @Aviryx Appreciate your candidness, these are the type of answers I enjoy reading. You are the kind of audience I would like to tailor to so thanks for the pro tips. Also the mention about having a crate with 6 separate materials made me laugh, along with a couple other points but very true point that I agree with as well.

    Spot on with the Unity tip, I am using blender so I'll make sure to look out for that and use your fix. Before release to the markets I was going to test see how they look and test in both Unity and Unreal so the user would get the optimal product.
     
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  12. D-Gamez

    D-Gamez

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    With the risk of embarrassing myself, what's a UV2? I've worked with plenty of UV's (least favourite part) but haven't come across UV2
     
  13. MDADigital

    MDADigital

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    Also make sure to have good PBR (metalness/smothness) maps. Weak pbr maps are no fun when that sweet specular lighting is hitting them
     
  14. MDADigital

    MDADigital

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    UV2 is just like UV1 (the texture UV). But it cant overlap because its used by the lightmapper. Indirect and direct light information basically. Just like with UV1 its important to select good seams
     
  15. D-Gamez

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    So am I right in saying it's essentially the second channel of UV's. For example Unreal usually reads the 2nd channel for the lightmap which like you mentioned can't have any overlaps cause it can cause bleeding in lighting.
     
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  16. MDADigital

    MDADigital

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    Example on auto vs manual UV2, (I had a intern that went over our worst offenders and fixed them)



    687fc0218a18e0173e84c91526817bf2-png (2).jpg
     
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  17. Aviryx

    Aviryx

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    Yeah you need a certain space between the islands. This is also important for mip mapping - not just lighting.

    I forgot to mention something super important too and don't know if you know about it.

    Texel Density.

    If you are making something realistic (a wooden table) then you need to have a set texel density.

    - This could impact asset sales
    - This needs to be decided before making an asset

    Basically texel density refers to how many pixels are in a certain space on the screen. For example:

    Texel Density of 512/meter

    This means that you have a ratio of 512 pixels per meter. How does this work? Imagine you have a plane that represents a concrete floor. The floor is a 1x1m square. The texture for that square needs to be 512 x 512 pixels.

    Another example, 512/meter and a 2 x 1 meter door. The door texture would be 1024 x 512.

    This is one of the techniques used to achieve high-quality assets. However, an asset with a tex density of 512 will look weird next to an asset with texel density of 1024/meter so you have to be careful about your choice.

    This only really applies to objects the player is expected to get relatively close too. For example, a large building in the background (and always 1000 units away from the player) does not always need to use the same texel density.
     
  18. MDADigital

    MDADigital

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    Good points, though a 2048/meter dressing asset looks pretty good in a 1024/meter room
     
  19. Aviryx

    Aviryx

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    55.png
     
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  20. MDADigital

    MDADigital

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    The left IS the unity auto unwrap, the right is manual (though I dont know how manual it is, its made in Maya)
     
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  21. D-Gamez

    D-Gamez

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    So I have been aware of Texel density and have created my model specific textures with consideration to this but honestly don't understand how to properly apply the theory you mentioned in your post @Aviryx to all my assets. How would you apply it to the model like the toilet in the images. Since it's not a simple shape, how do you know the surface area to apply the pixels per meter rule, if you get what I'm getting at.
     
  22. Aviryx

    Aviryx

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    Generally speaking it's not much different than any other object (complex or not.... unless it's like large buildings or space stations. They require modular sets in order to have texel density parity)

    1) In blender, if you press N, you will open up a panel that tells you the dimensions of the model in meters. So, if the toilet is 1.2 meters and 0.4 meters wide your texture would be (height) 614 pixels x (width) 204 pixels.

    2) Now you have your texture size there are two choices, create the texture and map it to the UV, or create the UV and map the texture to that.

    Texture > UV
    So you can create a new image in photoshop or paint.net and set the size (1024 x 512) Now you just need to add your toilet textures/images (614 pixels x 204 pixels) so there will be a fair chunk of space left but you need to use textures that are power of 2

    . Now comes the more difficult part. You're going to have to fit the various textures (toilet seat, lid, etc) into that texture. This may or may not be easy depending on what you are doing.

    UV > Texture
    Well now you know the pixel requirements (614 x 204) you could create a blank UV map in blender (1024 x 512) and manually unwrap the toilet UVs.

    You would then export this UV map/shell and import it into photoshop and place your toilet textures that way. Then, re-export the texture, re-import into Unity and voila.

    Somewhat Lazy But Works With Some Stuff (Use At Own Risk)
    First you need to make the texture. All that matters is that it's roughly the correct size so 614 x 204 texture needs to be "inside" a texture of size 1024 x 512. (textures must be power of 2) So you create a 1024 x 512 texture but don't use all the space. Only about 70% of it.

    Add a material to the toilet, choose the toilet texture, and then manually unwrap/move faces until it looks ok.

    As long as you have the correct size texture for the asset, in most cases, you can import the texture into blender and manually unwrap the object to make sure it looks correct.

    Disclaimer: Not an artist but sometimes help out art team at the studio where I work and I model a lot of stuff myself for hobby projects.

    Might be a better way to do it but afaik that is the "standard" methodology.
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2020
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  23. Aviryx

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    That is very true. I guess I should have clarified that it's down to art direction or judgement a lot of the times and there is no "one rule" for everything.
     
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  24. MDADigital

    MDADigital

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    Take our main lobby as an example. Its a huge mix of texel density. But they are roughly within reason.

    upload_2020-10-2_21-44-56.png

    Though if I lower the container from 4k to 2k textures you can see righaway the problem
    upload_2020-10-2_21-45-57.png

    The crates look a bit out of place, its not terrible but noticble
     
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  25. Aviryx

    Aviryx

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    The only thing I noticed is (imo) the lack of specularity you would expect from the inside of a metal container. There seems to be some directly behind the light source... but feels a little "flat" closer to the camera.
     
  26. MDADigital

    MDADigital

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    Its only a normal map, could have benefitted from atleast a heightmap or actual geo. Which probably also would give some more specular highlights
     
  27. D-Gamez

    D-Gamez

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    @Aviryx But surely those are the just the max dimensions in the world space and also would have a third axis, how would you account for that in your calculations/conversions to the pixel/per meter. If you unwrap it onto a 2 dimensional surface, the surface area would be much larger. For example this is an asset pack I did for one of shop for the game me and my team are developing (don't worry about the low poly, accounted for with normal and height maps, made for VR).

    The highlighted object in the middle has a height of 2.71m (z) and a width of 3.62m (y) but also a depth of 1.11m (x). So if you based it off the z and y axis I would get a ration of 1,387x1,853px, therefore I would set up a 2048x2048 texture. Does the depth not "matter" since it's smaller than the width and height therefore gets accounted for that way, or there something else I'm missing?

    Also out of curiosity why do textures have to have a power of 2? I've always seen it substance painter/designer/alchemist so it'd be 512x512, 1024x1024, 2048x2048 and so on, is it due to the UV maps always been read as a square?
    Meshes.png
     
  28. D-Gamez

    D-Gamez

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    On closer inspection I could see what you mean, and especially on the bottom where the crates sit, they start to look a little out of place as you said
     
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  29. Billy4184

    Billy4184

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    I am using the asset store a lot for my game, and I'm also a seller (though what I buy and sell tend to be quite different!).

    If I see cool sound effects and visual effects packs on sale, I will buy as long as it looks well done and would come in useful. Unity is having more and more sales these days, so something to keep in mind.

    For art, I'm pretty wary of buying anything that is not comprehensive for at least one scene. I hate to find that I need something that's not there, and nothing else really fits the style (I go for sci-fi, so style consistency is a big issue). Only a very few sellers on the store have a big enough portfolio in a consistent style.

    For sci-fi, I think UI is an under-served niche. There's one great one and a few OK ones on there. A bigger variety of UI sprite packs with an example scene would be great.

    In summary, if you're going the asset pack route, try to figure out what is needed by a small, complete game in the genre and try to provide all of it in one pack. Making disparate art fit together is an exercise in frustration. Synty is the best example I can think of of art packs done right, and they seem to sell like crazy.
     
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  30. Aviryx

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    To be honest I am not sure. I work as a programmer but occasionally help out the art team and that's just information I picked up during work.

    I think that the depth doesn't matter (in most cases). There are some edge-cases though. For example, take something that appears to be 2 meters in length but, when unwrapped to a flat plane, is actually 3 meters in length. Presumably you would need to account for the additional meter within the texture.

    I don't think this is a "how to texture everything" technique so I should have clarified it. I think it works best for "small" objects (so anything that isn't a bridge, a large building, etc).

    The only thing I can suggest is just experiment and see what it looks like but I've never run into any issues so far.


    I believe it comes down to performance/optimisation.



    So when you do not use power of 2 you force the render engine to scale up or down to the nearest 'whole' or 'valid' unit of measurement.

    When textures are not powers of 2 then you have to use special extensions made by the hardware/driver manufacturers if you want them to work consistently (AFAIK).


    https://software.intel.com/content/...-of-two-textures-have-better-performance.html
    • Because interpolation of float numbers can be done very quickly with power-of-two textures, these textures will render faster than ones that are not a power of two. The amount of this difference varies depending upon the GPU, and with modern GPUs this difference may be small, but you can see for yourself using the accompanying application.
    • Non-power-of-two textures waste RAM because they are padded up to the next power-of-two dimension, even though they do not use the entire space.
    • This padding may leave edging artifacts in the resulting image.
    So using non power of 2 textures is kind of like eating $60 worth of food but being charged $80 anyway. You might as well eat $80 worth of food if you're being charged $80.
     
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  31. snacktime

    snacktime

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    Making assets that track trends in current games probably isn't really a great strategy. You could create a Fortnite style set of assets but then good luck finding other asset packs that mix in well. The larger market is amateurs they are trying to create a game from assets and they will accept some amount of variance in art style as they mix and match. But only to a point.

    Low poly and realistic make up the bulk of assets for a good reason IMO. There is far less variance in how they look visually compared to say modern stylized looks which you see a lot in popular games.

    Professionals looking for prototype/early stage assets are mostly looking for technical composition, but that's a small part of the market.
     
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  32. Marc-Saubion

    Marc-Saubion

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    I think you're overthinking this. It's just about having consistent texel density so you don't have one object with super crisp texture while the next is blurry in comparaison. It doesn't need to be precise, just to look good.
     
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  33. D-Gamez

    D-Gamez

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    @Marc-Saubion Yes and no. Of course I'm not going follow it to the T but I think it's important to understand the theory and be able to apply it in certain situations. This is going to be my income so I wanted to make sure I made a solid project plan and financial plan before starting. But yes I agree we are all creating and the main criteria is does it look good
     
  34. MDADigital

    MDADigital

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    Dont forget that its also important (maybe more important) to have roughly the same intramodel texel. Since you can scale UV mapping however you like its perfectly valid to end up with UV spaces with different texel scale within the same model. Again its ok within reason
     
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  35. I_Am_DreReid

    I_Am_DreReid

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    I do like making everything myself lol. However i have bought various addons and frameworks to cut development time. I'd be willing to buy some full pack art assets tho to save time.
     
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