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10 Steps to make your own photorealistic video game

Hello to all readers from around the world! Today we are looking towards how we can make our own video games from scratch and getting started to develop best- in- graphics video games, that look like you’re in real life while playing it.

Also, this guide is for those who have a beginner’s experience in game development.

1. Choose which Engine you’ll use?

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When starting to think about game what might first come to our mind? is what will be the base functionality that we want for our game? And if we want to make that game by making our own gaming engine or making it on Commercial engines like, Unreal Engine, Cry Engine, Unity, Amazon Game Engine etc.

After thinking what your basic game functionality would be, (this should be your concern as we are going to focus on how to make your graphics realistic in this article) Idea for functionality should be yours. 🙂

If you want article on any other related topic you can message me on my knowasiak profile. Or drop a comment below!

A. Getting the best engine for graphics rendering in the world.

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slant.co UE4 City Build

Unreal Engine is generally viewed as the best game motor by and large for the most part because of the graphics-quality it can offer and the wide scope of customization alternatives accessible. You can fabricate outwardly shocking, momentous games in Unreal Engine!

For mostly all people and developers out there all prefer to use the top quality Unreal engine to make their game. However notice that running Unreal engine can make a huge burden for you if you have a normal home or office PC. You should always use the best workstation pc whichever you have in terms of graphics, ram and processor cores and clocks.

For getting the right PC for yourself, read this article where i have described how to get your own pc which really fulfills your needs at the right budget.

For now what i recommend for running Unreal Engine in your system if you’re making photorealistic heavy games:

I. 6-12 core 3ghz+ or upwards processor. The bigger the better because while compiling more cores can save hundred of hours for you, really.

II. 32-64GB RAM or more if possible. Unreal Engine will rarely take more than 32GB. So 32 is a sweet spot.

III. 8-16GB VRAM or more Graphics Card with a good clock frequency and a good amount of tensor cores and others just remember to take cards made in the last 2-3 years from 2020. likewise- 5600xt, gtx1660, gtx1070 or gtx1080 or else if you have budget then go for RTX series.

IV. 1TB HDD Storage at least, if possible go for SSD’s, they will surely make a difference in long term.

B. Installing the Engine in your system

You can install the engine in two ways:

  1. Download directly from Unreal Engine website.- https://www.unrealengine.com/en-US/download
  2. Download Zip or Clone the repository from GITHUB. (remember to sign in to github or else you’ll see a 404 error as this is a hidden repository- https://github.com/EpicGames/UnrealEngine

2. Find the perfect template for your choice.

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Now after installing & starting the engine, you should look into the templates for video games there. as we are making a game here, so we won’t talk about other templates namely architecture/AR/VR, etc. for now, we will focus on Video game templates namely- 1. FirstPerson 2. ThirdPerson 3. Side Scroller etc.

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Remembering details as we have to make photorealistic setup, so most people will chose Third Person or First Person template. Because this is the one, where you’ll get to experience the environment around you by directly getting into map in the form of a person.

3. Choose your environment around yourself in game.

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Creative blog showing an environment made in UE4

when creating a game you can go for almost any environment let it be Farms, Technology, Desert, Night City or anything. The main thing comes when you start to collect assets.

Also don’t forget to think sometime and do some documentation or paperwork before making any further step ahead. As perfect planning will give you the perfect blend to real world, also take references for every aspect by looking images of different locations on google.

So where you’ll find the assets? and how to choose the correct asset type for your project? – I will suggest you to go to QUIXEL MEGASCANS or TEXTURE HAVEN.

A. Why Quixel or Texture Haven?

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QUIXEL mega scans as known by all developers is best known for their high quality real looking scanned assets and textures / materials. Also you’ve a benefit of using unreal engine as quixel assets can be used freely in unreal engine without any payment or subscription.

So you’ll get copyright free and commercial project ready assets, highest quality on the planet for free to use.

Texture haven is another store for getting your 3d assets free and for getting texture scans ranging from 8k to 16k free to use. You can use them anywhere in commercial projects without any tension of licensing.

4. Make 3D Models or Use the readymade ones.

Now after taking textures or any materials you should also find a way for yourself to create your own 3D assets or models or else pickup the readymade ones made by thousands of people online, if you’re short on time.

A. Making process

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You can use any software if you know to use any. But I recommend going with blender or any other freeware. Blender is every 3D modeler’s first choice as it’s best in class with all premium features built-in for free use. There’s no copyright issue in using blender

Link to download blender- https://www.blender.org/download/

Link to Maya- https://www.autodesk.in/products/maya/free-trial

Now some of you may also use any other software depending upon your use and what you have to make your model for. You may also use Autodesk maya or any other software as you like it.

B. Downloading readymade assets

There are many sites online namely 3DFAB, Skethfab, Free3D, 3D Model Haven, Quixel Mega scans, etc.

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getting readymade assets online can be a pretty hard task, because Sometimes the assets may look different in Unreal compared to the site. Or you may not get the perfect blend between model poly count and model usefulness. Meaning when you create a 3D model you create it by looking and understanding all the specific points.

  1. where it has to be used?
  2. how much should be the detail in mesh?
  3. is it really worth to show the design in mesh or you should be using the texture to cover that detail?

So these are some points that you should remember while choosing the meshes (models) for your game. Because even a single model can impact greatly on your game performance, as each and every vertical end takes some calculation. so you have to find the sweet spot between your models poly count (vertices end points) and their visibility in game screen.

5. Setting up your textures on models carefully!

Textures on the websites I mentioned in the e steps can really give you goosebumps when you’ll look at their quality because they are so realistic.

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When making photorealistic projects there’s even more than meshes texture and materials, including LOD Counts, View distance setups, Shadow quality fade blueprints, and much more. Because everybody needs performance without compromising quality.

So for photorealistic i will prefer to go with 4k to 8k textures taken from quixel or texture haven.

Also, try to make the use of the n to the fullest when sorting out textures for different models for example when making a bird that flies in I will limit my texture to be around 1024*1024 or even less max because we’re not gonna see it directly in front of our screens, it will be way far than that so even if that sometimes comes in front of eyes even an HD res texture will also work great.

For things like cars, trees, landscape materials, and all that big stuff I prefer to use 4k, and for trees and stones or any other foliage mesh that is to be scattered, I ill prefer to use 4k-8k texture for them as these meshes will stand in front of us. and they will be viewed by our in-game camera directly. So the better they look the best impression on the player!

Choosing the perfect texture size for your content is really a very important process or else that may give you a headache when the game lags or doesn’t look good. So be wise when choosing the sizes and places.

Setup your character 3D model and settings in BP or C++

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Now for the character itself which will always be in front of your screen I recommend using at least 4k texture resolution. Now for making the character , the high quality one, there are various options out there but for easiness and quick work with high quality, i recommend using the options i have given below.

Working with ue4 characters is quite a lengthy task.

For the settings part you should go to your project settings and select maximum rendering quality from the dropdown in platform and rendering submenu.

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also if you have a low profile graphic card, don’t worry go with the Low mode on the settings panel as shown above

A. Z Brush Character Creator 3 & Artstation

Zbrush is at its best when you’re modeling complex objects, especially soft surface models (people, creatures, etc). Though it is definitely good for hard surface stuff too, you might be better suited for Blender or even Tinkercad. Both are 100% free. You’re only limited by your imagination.

This is an easy procedure to follow where you can find many tutorials online talking about the workflow of character from CC3 to UE4 but this is a lengthy one. ‘:) However the time taken, will surely return you a gorgeuos and a beautiful real-looking character.

B. MakeHuman or Daz 3D-

Not really that it doesn’t looks realistic but however it’s just very easy and fast to do then CC3 Explained in the above process. It will surely look like a cartoon or a mid range character not so good for realistic environments.

C. Mixamo & Fuse-

Now i think this is the most basic, easy to use and free option with no copyrights at all, if you are looking for a free laternate to 3D Characters with a little quality then this is for you.

6. Implement what your character has to do in-game?

After getting all things done and setting up now it’s the time to start your blueprints and scripting and make your game functional. you may also leave if you just need an fps or tps showcase application.

No more discussions about functionality, too many tutorials out there. just we gonna focus on looks and feel.

7. Cinematics in UE4 – making a short intro movie

Now cutscenes are really the lifeline of real looking games, because cutscenes provide that crisp to your hard work by giving it a look through different dimensions!

Cutscenes can be inserted anywhere to showcase your work or game in between of gameplay or during missions.

Properly made cutscenes can be great way to make player fan of your game easily! 😀

You may also try to tweak the resolution scales and some settings to best fit your taste in Post Process Volumes, Fog, atmosphere etc.

8. Exporting game from UE4

Now the platform is upon you, i am using windows so for me i will choose the 64-bit WIndows Configuration as development.

9. Testing and correcting errors or glitches.

You can begin a Simulate In Editor or Play In Editor session from either the Level Editor or the Blueprint Editor, using the appropriate Toolbar buttons or dropdown menus.

From the Level Editor, you can click the Play button.

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[INCLUDE:Shared\PlayWorld#RepeatLastPlay]

Click the Play dropdown button to display the Play Options dropdown menu.

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You can change your Play In Editor mode , set basic networked Play In Editor options, or open the full Play In Editor settings window . Clicking on Simulate begins Simulate In Editor mode, which changes the testing section of the Toolbar. While simulating, you can pause or stop gameplay, as well as swap to a Play In Editor session with the Possess button.

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Play In Editor

Clicking on the Play button in the toolbar (Alt + P) or selecting Play From Here in the Viewport context menu begins a Play In Editor session. Play In Editor allows you to play the current level directly from the editor, so that you can test gameplay functionality, including player controls and level events triggered by players’ actions.

10. Conclusion

After you have completed you game and all the above steps go to project settings and choose the Export configuration as Shipping.

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Set the default map and check the cook map settings again.

Check the UI setup if you have any that it’s functioning well.

Check the Logo’s and brandings.

Set the target platform settings appropriately.

Enjoy your game share with us in the comments and tell the community that you made something new! This tutorial may not be so detailed about functionality but we have focused towards making you aware of common mistakes and where to find the right thing for you so you can save your time and energy. 🙂

Publish your game to different platforms and get high paying jobs in game development in big brands like Ubisoft and Rockstar games, but remember their level is way above than this, you have to really show your work out and stand unique apart in market !

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