Creating a Sci-Fi Lab Room

Part 2: Adding Props

With our room layout completed, (Read here) — we now need to populate our scene with various decorative and interactive objects!

Using Filebase, we can simply access a wide range of different assets, and even kitbash them together to create something new. Luckily Filebase has a bunch of different sci fi props we can use to curate a selection for our scene.

Selection of assets

Once importing the desired assets, we can start introducing them into our scene view. As we populate our scene, it’s important to keep a clean hierarchy. Keeping objects in nested empty parents allows for easy separation when it comes to changing things later. Additionally, it can be beneficial to keep static and dynamic props apart from each other — static being our decorative elements, and dynamic being interactable objects.

Finished Hierarchy

To begin with prop placement, a great way is to start with the main focal point. In our scene, this is a number of test tubes on our raised platform, and a large control console in front.

Main focal props

These main props are going to set the scale for everything else. It’s important they fit within the space of the room, and with each other. Starting with the tubes as they are the largest elements, we can get them as large as possible, then build out the control panel in relation to this.

From here, we also need to set things relative to the player size. A good way to gauge this, is by running playtests to move around our scene accurately. Depending on the circumstances it can sometimes be easier to scale the player as opposed to the props. In this scene, we already have a smaller hallway and doors in place, so these already largely determine player size.

Framing elements and details

With our main focal elements in place, we can start adding detail and clutter to these. Currently, my computer monitors are floating, so I created framing elements and introduced wiring to create some realism, whilst simultaneously filling out some of the central space.

Lastly, we need to add to the rest of the room, so as to make it feel like a more functional space. Props such as storage, workstations, signage, and smaller items can help with this.

Assorted misc objects to add detail

Much like everything earlier, remembering to keep scale, and also allowing for player access — we don’t want too much clutter! Currently though, access is simple, as we can simply clip through all our new objects.

Similar to our room colliders, it depends on the scope of our project. For many of our props, we can simply add box colliders that will roughly adhere to it’s shape. But if we want the likes of blood splatter or bullet holes, we would need to add a mesh collider to allow for raycasting. Other needs for a mesh collider, would be our interactable objects, such as some of the computer monitors needing puzzle-like input to activate elements in our scene.

Prop colliders

For now, I’ve simply added box colliders to everything, as I can always adjust certain props later as I increase the scope and add functionality. Again, it’s important we play test, making sure to try access everywhere to ensure we have no missing colliders or weird bugs.

If all goes well, we have a good base for expanding on our scene or game!

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