Mar 11, 2020

Building 3D Models for Decentraland

The essentials steps required to upload and craft your 3D assets to Decentraland

Doubts about the process to upload your own models to Decentraland? Don't worry, we are going to clarify the steps for you to do it in a clear way.

We've done it hundreds of times to build our projects in this huge virtual world, like Momus Park, South DCL, among others. So don't panic, we are here to help!

In this brief tutorial, we will delve into the essential steps required to craft and upload your custom 3D assets to the Decentraland platform. We'll guide you through the process, shedding light on fundamental actions that pave the way for seamlessly integrating your creations into this metaverse.

Furthermore, we will provide insights into leveraging Decentraland's builder tool to efficiently compose your creations and speed up the deployment process.

Let's get started!


Decentraland's limitations to be aware of

Our focus will not be on specific modeling workflows, as there's no rigid requirement to follow any particular one. However, certain limitations do come into play! Let's list them:

  • When constructing a scene for Decentraland, the foremost consideration is its size. The number of parcels you intend to utilize sets the boundaries for polygons, textures, and more. For instance, each added parcel grants an additional 10,000 triangles for use. To comprehend these limits without complex calculations, refer to this Excel sheet.
  • Another critical aspect involves crafting a base terrain for positioning Props. This can be achieved by generating a simple plane (consisting of only two triangles). Given that a parcel constitutes a 16x16 meter square, constructing a scene spanning 2x12 parcels would necessitate a plane of dimensions 32x192 meters.
  • Lastly, and of no lesser importance, if vertical dimensionality is in play, it's prudent to fashion an additional cube with the required height. This cube serves as a point of reference for height-related aspects.

Crafting the props

Clearly, the aforementioned tips apply primarily when you have a set number of parcels at your disposal within Decentraland.

If your sole aim is to create Props, we recommend designing assets as if you're dealing with just one parcel. This approach allows you to construct more intricate scenes later on.

3D Column in Maya

Key points to consider regarding Props:

  • Develop the assets at the center of your scene. While you can move them within the file, ensure they're placed at the center before exporting.
  • If you're working in Maya, clear the history and regularly employ Freeze Transforms.
  • Position the pivot at the lowest point of the Prop, where it would make contact with the surface.
  • Keep the Props as low-poly as possible.
  • Animations will only function if you utilize bones. Attempting to animate vertex positions by moving the Prop won't work, as neither GLTF nor GLB export frames. Animation relies on Unity's animator.

This efficient process streamlines your asset creation for Decentraland, regardless of whether you're dealing with parcels or designing Props. By adhering to these guidelines, you can enhance the quality of your virtual world creations.

Textures and materials in Decentraland

Depending on your parcel's size, there are limitations on the number of textures and materials you can employ. This limitation is one reason why flat colors are prevalent in Decentraland.

Nonetheless, you have access to tileable textures and trim textures.  We recommend you reserve non-reusable textures for special models, like unique sculptures.

Texture resolution ranges from a minimum of 1x1 pixel to a maximum of 512x512 pixels.

Regarding materials, Decentraland currently supports standard and PBR materials. So you can incorporate:

  • Transparencies
  • Roughness/Glossiness
  • Emissive
  • Base colour

For more detailed information on materials and the types of maps you can use refer to the following link.  By adhering to these guidelines, you can efficiently utilize textures and materials to create visually engaging and dynamic virtual assets within the Decentraland ecosystem.

Decentraland's Builder Tool

To assess the arrangement of your scene and visualize 3D assets within Decentraland, which is similar to Unity but with ambient lighting in addition to the Directional Light, you need to export models in GLTF or GLB format. However, GLB is the preferred option.

For exporting models, you can utilize Blender or the Babylon plugin in Maya. If using Maya's plugin, remember to hide any models you don't intend to export. Otherwise, everything will be exported together in the same file. And we don’t want that.

Creating an Asset Pack in Decentraland

If you wish to generate colliders within your 3D software, you can achieve this by duplicating the mesh and appending "_collider" to its name. Avoid assigning any material; leave the default one that Maya assigns.

If your scene lacks animations, you can directly export it to Decentraland from here.

Publishing Your Scene on Decentraland

By following these steps and recommendations, you can seamlessly transition from your 3D modeling software to Decentraland's builder, ensuring that your assets and scenes appear as intended within the virtual environment.

Unity plugin

For those aiming to craft more intricate scenes, a Unity plugin exists that enables direct export to Decentraland. This plugin stands out as it provides real-time scene limits, setting it apart from other options, allowing you to import animations, models, and textures, creating your scene in Unity.

Unity Decentraland DCL Plugin

These are the key points to consider:

  • Unity allows the creation of colliders. Take a primitive, add a DCL object component, disable the "visible" checkbox, and also deactivate the MeshRenderer checkbox. Still, it's recommended to construct a custom mesh (remember to include the name "_collider" in lowercase at the end) for more control.
  • Transparent materials function with the Fade setting and .PNG and .TIFF textures.
  • Organize animations. The animator and the Mesh Skin Renderer should be within the same object, and bones (root of the rig) must be a child of this object.
  • Note that the "base" or "origin" parcel is the furthest one in the southwest. In the Unity plugin, designate this parcel as the origin. This is crucial as the coordinate (0,0,0) will be within this parcel.
  • Also, keep in mind that although Decentraland employs Unity as its engine, so the editor has the X-axis inverted.

By making use of the Unity plugin, you can elevate your scene creation process, seamlessly translating your designs into the vibrant world of Decentraland.

3D Column in Unity


In the dynamic realm of Decentraland, crafting 3D models that seamlessly blend with the virtual landscape requires finesse and strategy.

Balancing parcel constraints, optimizing textures, and leveraging Decentraland's tools such as the builder and Unity plugin are key steps in this creative journey. By adhering to spatial limits, employing efficient texturing, and harnessing the power of innovative tools, you're primed to shape immersive experiences within Decentraland's boundless virtual universe.

Your creations have the potential to redefine the boundaries of this evolving metaverse, inviting exploration, interaction, and awe-inspiring journeys for all who venture within!

Laura Usón
Creative Art Director

Passionate about videogames, movies and creatures. Artist by day and superhero at night.

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