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Beginner Questions - Where Do I Start? (Blender + UE4 + Substance Painter 2)

Hello everyone.

This is my first post here and I am a complete beginner with C++, Unreal Engine, Blender 3D, and Substance Painter 2. Really hoping you guys with more experience could help me be successful.

I am trying to make sense of everything, namely how all three of these should work together to make an FPS solo project. There is a rather high learning curve for all of these programs and I do not want to waste time learning all of them if I do not have to. Here are some questions that have come across my mind that I would like answered to give me a better idea of where I need to start…

  1. What are the strengths and uses for each program? Is there a reason to use Blender for some things over UE4? Is it better to use Blender for content creation like meshes and various assets and characters, and use Unreal solely for map design? Or vice versa?
  2. So for example, would I be able to get away with making my game ENTIRELY in Unreal and skip importing things? If so would it still be better to use Blender and Substance Painter 2 to make things easier?
  3. I heard it’s hard to export Blender assets to Unreal because they lose textures, etc. so should I just focus on making everything in Unreal?
  4. Should I use my time first getting good at making 3D objects/ meshes or would it be better to learn how Unreal game logic/ code/ blueprints work?

I am lost and overwhelmed; not sure where to begin. I guess my question is which program is best for making the various parts of the game? If I can scrap Blender and focus on UE4 and SP2 only, that would be ideal. Please enlighten me, I am an open book eager to learn and start creating content.

Typically, the way things go is this:

In UE4, you block out your level using the modeling tools in available there. Very simple, just block shapes to get things laid out. For an FPS it’s easy to start testing those levels, there’s a FPS template to start with so you can immediately begin designing levels and testing how they play, even if you plan on changing how the FPS gameplay works, you can still test it with the template.
After that, you start modeling detailed assets for the level in Blender. Things like doors, walls, pillars, and other props. What you build would be based off how you designed your level and what style you want it to look like. There’s many different ways for texturing those models, you said you have Substance which is really great and it’s a good skill to learn. If you want to use Substance, you would export a mesh to Substance and then use that to texture it and then export the mesh and the textures to UE4. Within UE4 you would have the meshes and textures in a folder and you would have to set up your materials there as well. And then, you would place them on the level you created and replace the blocks with the new detailed meshes.

Just to give a quick description on what each software is:

Blender–3D modeling and animation, you make your detailed meshes here and your characters/props
Substance–for texturing only, it has some really cool tools for texturing meshes to make them look weathered and realistic
UE4–you bring everything in here, it isn’t capable of modeling like Blender is, it has a very limited ability to make geometry so that’s why you make your geometry in Blender and export it to UE4.
In UE4 you actually set the game up, you lay out the level, set up the gameplay and build your game program file.

Thank you, this was very helpful. The last thing I would have wanted was to get good at Blender and make a bunch of characters there, only to realize it was a waste of time or incompatible. If you have any more ideas, tips, or suggestions, please elaborate.

I recommend downloading UE4 and messing with the FPS template and the free FPS game project and just get a bit more familiar with UE4. With Blender, you’ll need to look at doing a bunch of beginner tutorials and get a handle on that. I wouldn’t touch Substance until you’re more experienced with Blender because Substance is an advanced texturing program and it’s going to be very difficult for you to get a handle on all the different programs if you try to do them at once.