I’ve yet to meet a SketchUp modeler who doesn’t—at least just a little bit—want to work in the video game design industry. I get a stupid grin on my face when I think about how much fun it it would be to make battle tanks and exploding oil drums and secret doors for hidden basements full of zombies. In the gaming world, boring things like gravity and cost take a backseat to novelty and sheer coolness.
But how to turn your SketchUp habit (and job cranking out toilet stall details) into days full of armor design and wandering through bad neighborhoods looking for interesting photo-textures to shoot?
Google SketchUp for Game Design is Robin de Jongh’s newest book; he also wrote SketchUp 7.1 for Architectural Visualization. It presumes that you’re a SketchUp beginner, but then quickly gets on to the good stuff:
- Finding good resources for photo-textures
- Using Meshlab to convert your models in useable 3D game assets
- Working with the Unity 3D game engine (which is widespread, free-or-low-cost middleware for designing game levels)
- Creating high-quality textures for games
- Adapting your models for use in video games
- Authoring custom levels
- Modeling low-poly game assets (including cars) and selling them online
Robin’s writing is accessible and easy to follow. He packs a lot of information into each page but manages to keep the tone friendly and even funny at times. While the book’s in black and white, color versions of the images are available from the publisher’s website.