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Blender or Unreal as Primary Map-Maker?

Hello folks,

I’m still a beginner and have always been confused about initial map-making. Simple question here:

What program should I use to make entire maps? Blender or Unreal?

I understand Blender is used to make smaller detailed assets but should I be making an entire map in Blender and importing it into the engine? Or do most people structure the map’s layout in Unreal then import details created in Blender? Is there another thread that covers this topic? Are there video resources detailing Blender/Unreal map-making methods? I’ve never been able to find a straight answer or method. Any constructive input is helpful. Thanks!

The tools in UE4 are a bit limited and the geometry that it makes does not run as well in the engine as if you import a mesh. Having the geometry tools directly in UE4 though are convenient for quick level design. The typical workflow is to block out a level within UE4 to get things like dimensions figured out and then you replace it later with your nice meshes that you import from your 3D application (like Blender, 3ds Max, Maya, etc.)
You can create separate parts like pillars/walls/doors and other props and then use those to detail your map. If you standardize your mesh dimensions it can make it easier to use the meshes as building blocks.

Wow thank you for the easy, quick reply. A godsend for sure. Makes a lot more sense. I’ll stick with Blender for the majority of the workflow then. Much appreciated.

I realize there are multiple ways to make a map but is it advised or encouraged to make modular assets in Blender and create the map itself with the “building block” assets in Unreal? This way I can foresee myself being able to run the game and test the map out as I go in Unreal. Does anyone else do it in this manner?

Epic likes to work this way, look at Infiltrator / Elemental etc.
Most generic assets and marketplace packs work this way too.
You can always use Merge-Actors later on in UE4 for efficiency…

However some devs opt to work the other way, whether its for efficiency / completeness etc.
As this is a more fixed workflow, assurances may be needed that the 3D specs won’t change.

I would recommend using your own 3D application. Make sure your scales are correct, then I don’t see any reason to model in Unreal. You can use BSP for simple blockouts, since you can also put materials on it very easily to get a rough idea, but if you are skilled in your 3D application, I see no benefits for using BSP. You should check out https://80.lv/, where people post their workflows, how to approach different scenes.
Cheers <3

Try Houdini, it is very affordable. You can easily create modular pieces, script them then make multiple variants without repeating all that work.

IMO houdini is best 3d modelling app for small indie teams where you do not have artist dedicated to make 200 variants of some wall. You can create indie level of art with minimal work needed (compared to manually creating all that stuff).

Best way of making enviroment (maps) in unreal is creating some modular assets, then using them like lego bricks to create your world. So first block out major geometry with CSG meshes in unreal, when your level plays well replace that csg with static meshes created in real 3d app.

Blend has a few rigging issues when it comes to importing into Unreal Engine. It be a miracle if I can get an epic rig to export from blender into Unreal Engine and not have any misshapen animations as Blender likes to separate all the bones when it puts them in the t-pose
surely it must be some kind of bug in Blender because it changes all the orientation of the bones and rotates them, and causes issues, or is there a way to import the rig so its in its relaxed a-pose
and not the t-pose so it don’t upset the bones?

As for BSP, you can make crude looking caves with it and also simple shapes, but its too limited.I want to bend a segment to create a curved corridoor and unable to because there’s no bend option in the geometry editor that I can see of. The bend mesh function is a basic tool that should be included.

Great, thank you for the advice and the links everyone!

Hi SLUGS,

I’m a Blender Fanboy. However, I recommend working inside UnrealEditor exclusively until you need Blender. You should be able to produce entire scenes of various complexity with only primitives (like in Othro Design). Additionally, Primitives are all you need for Blocking out your levels. Working within UnrealEd will get you familiar with its Powerful Tool Suite and prepare you for the future of the Editor/Engine which is Content Creation. I don’t know if you noticed, but the Engine features are expanding to the point where the Engine can generate its own content not only at design time, but in real-time. In fact, that is exactly what I’m building with the UE4 a In-game Level Editor for collaborative world and entity building. I cannot wait for the day when I can do all of my work inside the UnrealEd, it will be the ultimate streamlined workflow and provide true WYSIWYG results.

Importing a map from blender sounds nice but when it comes to collision, it can be a nightmare.

I use Blender combined with this Level Buddy by Matt Lucas

Why when I open any map in Blender and then import to Unreal Editor/Editor 4 then map is separated and turned into each single different asset?