The city in the game is meant to be full of Particle based traffic and the city hall exterior scene is the first scene where this is on full display. The same traffic will also be used to liven up the travel screens.
The traffic is moving pretty fast, so the meshes I require for the flying cars do not need to be complicated. My plan was to generate images of these cars with midjourney and use the old and trustworthy fSpy & Blender trick to model them.
Mu usual Midjourney V4 workflow did not cit it for this work. V4 was never really good with cars. Especially flying ones.
So for this job I decided to go with V5. I had to alter my usual prompt a little bit to get the generations closer to the game’s style. But as usual I kept the prompt very simple.
I was pretty pleased with these results. I had no idea if these images would work in the scene, but I set out to try.
I ended up choosing these cars for the scene:
I also created shadowed versions of these as well, as I would be using my custom shader for lighting.
Flying car 3D modeling
With fSpy, I was able to get a ballpark perspective of each of these images. The 3D models for these cars, like for all the locations are dead simple. Minimum effort. I want the location creation for this game to be as fast as possible. So that means not to get caught up in details! These cars will be small, always in fast movement and full of detail from the AI generated image. They should be fine!
In engine with the materials applied these vehicles look like this:
They are very rough! But get the job done and take only a few minutes each to model. I was really surprised to see that many of these Midjourney generated cars had actual, working 3D symmetry!
These remind me of the games of the 90s! So simple geometry! So quick to produce.
I was careful to choose Midjourney generations that were in almost the correct angle to where the cars would be seen in the scene. This allows me to cheat and simply project the image on the mesh. It would work fine if the cars never turn or are seen off-angle.
Particle based traffic
in order to get a steady stream of traffic in the scene, I created a few particle systems that would be used to render the meshes. I also added a sub-emitter for some exhaust fumes for each car.
The buildings cast shadows on the particle meshes that use my custom shadow mask material to add hand painted shading on unlit surfaces.
I placed these particle systems all over the scene to add the impression of maximum traffic.
3 meshes seem to add enough variety. But I plan to make more of these so that there is even more variety. As you can see in the video, the plan was to make the city extremely busy. The scene is still missing the animated neon lights, but those will come in later.
I am pretty pleased with how much life this particle based traffic Flow brings to the scene and with absolutely minimal effort. The whole thing took me a couple of hours to set up from absolutely nothing. I am sure I will be using this method for many more scenes!
There is one task I have not yet touched at all which is the travel establishing shots. Scenes that appear when you travel by the maglev train. Those scenes are very wide views of the futuristic cityscape and they will be absolutely full of traffic. Big flying lorries, small cars, trains, spaceships! Anything you can imagine! Also moving clouds, smog, etc. They will be massive.