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    Level Design in UE4 is slow and tedious.

    EDIT: Please comment in the feedback thread: https://forums.unrealengine.com/show...evel-designers


    I want to say straight up, that UE4's ability to create levels is lacking, I feel that Epic's proposed pipeline for level-editing is slow and inappropriate for many kinds level design. I don't even think epic has noticed this problem themselves. There are level-creation tools out there that are fun to use, which make the Unreal Editors tools feel sluggish and like a chor. It is a shame really, because UE1's and UE2's level editing tools where really good for their day and lead to a whole assortment of new and interesting maps to be made.

    The Unreal Engine has many amazing tools, Cascade, Blueprint, Persona etc. But I feel that the level editing tools have been neglected since the days of UE2 when it where BSP was used to create the majority of the basic walls and floors of a level.

    Today Epic basicly provides its UE devs with one way to make a level as shown in the level-editing tutorial. This really bothers me as I know that this method is simply not fast or quick enough for individuals and small teams making games and developers often resort to cheap tricks in order to get their levels finished in a reasonable amount of time.

    Some of theses tricks include:
    1. Bending meshs and exporting them to create corners.
    2. Creating the entire level in bsp then exporting it as a static mesh and re-importing it.
    3. Simply making the level in another editor and importing it.


    You can make levels very very quickly in these older editors, they all use different methods, they all have unique and new ideas to help speed-up the level creation process. I really hope we can improve UE4's level-editing tools, the “lego method” the process that Epic suggests we use is incredibly slow and bsp brushes are awkward and generally produce very square results.


    Other level editors that are faster for basic levels:

    Sauerbraten: Cube 2
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2rS075Bp-E0

    Build (Duke 3D Editor)

    Unreal Engine 2

    Hammer

    TrenchBroom (new Quake editor)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-1pM55k4WM
    Last edited by DazPetty; 07-12-2014, 11:01 PM. Reason: moved thread
    Play my games @ itch.io! :: http://dazpetty.itch.io/

    WWW.DAZPETTY.COM
    3D Artist, Level-Designer, Blueprints'er.

    #2
    Best place for this would be in the Feedback session.

    The tools that UE4 provides (including the "level design" tools) are some of the best in the industry. 90% of all studios use other software, such as Maya, to do all of their designs. Many studios even use the "paper map" technique which involves actually drawing out the layout of the map on paper. You should consider doing all of your level designing outside of the editor before you do block-outs in BSP. BSPs are used to test the map out and allow for quick changes without requiring reimports.

    Comment


      #3
      After looking at the "shooter game" example, I noticed that they actually use static meshes for certain areas of the game, such as floors and walls that are significantly larger that I would have imagined, where I would have thought they would have had many smaller meshes they only had one. This has given me some pause for thought that there may be better ways of doing this in my own pipeline.
      Play my games @ itch.io! :: http://dazpetty.itch.io/

      WWW.DAZPETTY.COM
      3D Artist, Level-Designer, Blueprints'er.

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        #4
        That cube 2 thing looked pretty good.

        I'm not sure, but I'm wondering, could you make a map in cube 2 and export it to UE4 for post processing, lighting, better shaders and textures etc?

        Or will this not work?

        Comment


          #5
          hey Sky_collapsed, yes you can and it works perfectly, keeping material IDs and everything, but it would be a real chor to try to fly through an entire indoor level and setup all the collision, but it might be good for small, urban, outdoor areas.

          Also I should mention that I have moved this thread over into feed back. So if anyone wants to comment please go there.

          https://forums.unrealengine.com/show...evel-designers
          Play my games @ itch.io! :: http://dazpetty.itch.io/

          WWW.DAZPETTY.COM
          3D Artist, Level-Designer, Blueprints'er.

          Comment


            #6
            You say it's slow but what about it is slow? The biggest difference between the way levels are done now to how they used to be done is modeling from an exterior program vs. BSP within the editor
            That's a good thing though, you can do a much better modeling job in a 3D program than with BSP.

            Comment


              #7
              This hits the nail on the head for me in terms of my biggest problems with UE4.

              I used Hammer pretty extensively prior to Unreal, and I am so surprised at the difficulty in using brushes in Unreal for level design. I had massive levels made with brushes in Hammer with a very modest amount of lag and delay, but UE4's bsp system is so painful and frustrating. Over a certain amount of brushes in the scene, and doing a simple ctrl-Z can take minutes. Moving a brush, resizing a brush, deleting a brush... all of these very simple requests (from the user's PoV) can take several minutes. Compounded over the course of a full level with brushes and it's almost unusable. Converting to meshes is the only hope at that point, and you lose so much flexibility.

              I think brushes are an invaluable and undervalued tool. Not everyone is an artist and has time/desire to make super amazing models, but even making "programmer art" with brushes is an arduous task. There's a lot to be said for having the ability to modify the world on the fly without having to open up a 3rd party program, find the current model in question, fixing it, re-exporting, re-importing...

              That Cube 2 thing looks amazing and much more in-line with the level of sophistication that I otherwise would expect from software like UE4.

              Comment


                #8
                If you are unable to make a gray level prototype with BSP, then that would be a problem. But building a complete level that way and trying to get all your detail is not a good workflow, there's so many things that you would need to be able to do that you wouldn't be able to even if they improved the modeling tools. The 3D programs available already do a much better job, there's no sense in development on trying to replicate them when other things are far more important.

                Comment


                  #9
                  The issue is not with Editor (!) but with workflow.
                  You really shouldn't use BSP to make levels. This workflow has been abandoned about 7 years ago.

                  The only reason it still exist in Hammer, is because Hammer editor was hardly upgraded over past 7 years. And by upgraded I mean rewritten from scratch.
                  https://github.com/iniside/ActionRPGGame - Action RPG Starter kit. Work in Progress. You can use it in whatever way you wish.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    I think the point is that some folks prefer blocking out the level from rough shapes first. For this BSP would be great, except it's sort of slow and outdated. BSP tools were updated for UE4 and they are better, true, but I think everybody feels they are still more of a legacy feature. With that said, road map has "Geometry Editor 2.0" in the backlog, which I hope is a replacement tool for BSP.

                    The fact that level design changed in past few years from whole level made of bsp to being made mostly of static meshes doesn't mean some sort of simple modeling tools for blocking isn't useful. Actually, good and fast (but simple, no one is asking for maya/max in ue) blocking tools can really help in the prototyping phase and also later for prototyping some details (that would be later replaced by static meshes).
                    GiM - Games in Motion

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Why comments should be in Feedback for Developers Section and your feedback in General Discussion section? It's weird

                      The engine you mentioned are very old and at that date this level of "graphics" were good and it was common way of creating geometry for levels.
                      Now it just outdated and such level of details used for level prototyping.
                      It's designed just to test volume, perspective and other level stuff, but it's not designed to be a creator for real level geometry
                      SuperGrid: Marketplace Page | Feedback Thread | Demo | Website
                      Level design and prototyping for newbies

                      Comment


                        #12
                        BSP is outdated for AAA FPS games and teams with multiple artists and level designers. And even it it is just used for prototyping, then that prototyping is still SLOW.

                        I'm talking about individuals who with good skills who want to create their own fps shooter, previously I felt the bottle neck for this kind of problem was in learning and writing the code, however now I feel like the bottle neck is in the level editor, aligning and pushing those brushes together is quite tedious, even if you are in a big team and it's your job to do the prototype pass, you should still want to be able to do your job as quickly as possible. Personally I like city and urban maps and there are a lot of flat areas, like walls and floors in urban areas, that shouldn't need meshes.

                        Please don't behave defensive about the unreal engine, we should be talking about improving the engine instead of being defensive. Sometimes in urban levels its much quicker just to use bsp for walls and floors and just use models to add details like air conditioners and lights and props. Epic seems to have made an effort to target the engine towards smaller teams and indies, well if you want to create an fps with a smaller team or indie then you are going to have to compromise between time and the quality of the level.

                        This whole idea of having a marketplace is a total waste of time if the only people who are going to use this engine is going to be AAA studios who for some bizarre reason enjoy wasting time and energy on poor level editing tools for the prototyping phase.

                        Seriously, WE NEED BETTER TOOLS for level editing, just about every single level editor ever is faster than this, I really want UE to be the number one game engine, other engines of this generation have come up with other solutions, like automatically creating an array of static meshes, procedural creating walls, instead of having to go down to the grid and snap all the pieces together, I saw something like this in the snowdrop engine.

                        If you want to argue with me about whether unreal's level editing tools need to be improved, don't, please, you are wrong. Clearly, the tools could be better and we need to talk about how they should be improved.
                        Play my games @ itch.io! :: http://dazpetty.itch.io/

                        WWW.DAZPETTY.COM
                        3D Artist, Level-Designer, Blueprints'er.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          I just don't see problem. When I want to create levels, I just make meshes in Blender/Max/Modo and use them to create level.

                          I hardly ever touch BSP.
                          https://github.com/iniside/ActionRPGGame - Action RPG Starter kit. Work in Progress. You can use it in whatever way you wish.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by iniside View Post
                            You really shouldn't use BSP to make levels. This workflow has been abandoned about 7 years ago.
                            Speak for yourself - some of us are still pro with brushes

                            (And they are brushes not 'BSP' - BSP is a partitioning system )

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by iniside View Post
                              I just don't see problem. When I want to create levels, I just make meshes in Blender/Max/Modo and use them to create level.

                              I hardly ever touch BSP.
                              But that's your workflow. I mean, to each his own And by that I don't want to say that there should be tools for everyone's specific workflow, it's logical that there is certain intended workflow for every engine otherwise it would become a huge mess of tools. With that said, I think it's pretty common these days to use at least some form of blocking (via these in-engine geometry tools) and then replacing it with static meshes. Some will use it more, some less, but I think it's still a valid and useful tool.
                              Solids in Cryengine are pretty good compromise between good blocking tools and not going too far with modeling in engine when real modeling should be done in external apps. On the other hand, current UE bsp isn't that far from solids in CE.

                              Anyway, some further update to solids or some replacement tool would be nice.
                              GiM - Games in Motion

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