So Ive just started on making maps/levels and I was wondering is it smarter to make the models in blender and import them to UE4 to arrange into the map/level or make the models in blender then in a another blender file make the map with the models then import that to UE4?
I’ve found two good ways or workflows to create models in Blender and import them into UE4.
Either use geometry brushes within UE4 to “block out” your level, then, from each “geometry brush” you create a “static mesh” (there is an option in the editor to convert a brush to a static mesh). Then export them as fbx or obj, import into Blender, create the near final model/mesh in Blender based on the dimensions of your geometry brush, then export as fbx, import into UE4 and assign materials. Then you will likely find that it needs a few adjustments but this will be quicker because you just edit in Blender, export and overwrite the same fbx/obj file, then in UE4 right-click and select Reimport. Details on geometry brushes are here https://docs.unrealengine.com/en-us/…Actors/Brushes
Alternatively you can set your units of measurement in Blender to cm then you can model in Blender from reference quite accurately, if you enable the “Edge Info: Length” attribute in the “Mesh Display” section of the “N” panel, then export as fbx and import into UE4 (and assign materials).
But if you’re talking about landscapes then that is something else altogether. The terms “maps”, “levels” and “models” all mean 3 different things in UE4 terminology.
Sounds like I’m at around the same stage as OP and have many questions pertaining to “map creation.” In the first place, I’m not even sure the extent to which my plans are fitting with the norms of design for UE4 projects, and while the fact the engine provides the full C++ source code means that almost anything should be possible, I know enough to realize that swimming upstream may be possible, even while it isn’t efficient.
I’m aspiring to create something that is much less first-person focused than seems typical for UE4 games. Jagged Alliance Back in Action is a good example, however with expansive maps more along the lines of Fallout 1 and Fallout 2. If you are not familiar with FO1 or FO2: basically the game map was 90% “empty” space which the player had to traverse during a map mode in order to travel between locations which I would call “scenes.” For example, the player starts the game “inside” the “Vault 13 Scene” a level (or map) representing an underground community. Other scenes were places like villages “Shady Sands,” or “Junktown,” or another ruined “vault” Vault 15. Each of these scenes had buildings, NPCs, containers and the like, and many had entry points to access other scenes (e.g., the surface for Vault 15 had an entrance to access the underground levels for the vault). The whole map was divided up into tiles and a scene would occupy generally one tile on the world map. Once you travelled to the tile where a scene was located, you could “enter” the scene and begin to explore it in detail. But while you were “on the world map” you were nothing but a dot and a line showing a trajectory of travel. Random encounters could happen while in the “empty” portions of the map, and these would then resolve by spawning the player and the items/characters for the random encounter into one of a small number of random encounter maps. JABIA, uses a fairly similar system, although there is much less “empty space” on the map and mostly each “scene” map is contiguous with another scene map. In the case of JABIA, I think the whole map is about 8 scenes wide and perhaps 8 high and each scene is perhaps 500m square.
I’m not aware of any UE4 games which resemble the scales and perspectives and world composition of these two games, which I think most would call “squad-level tactical combat games” with “isometric projection” perspectives. While I don’t wish to limit player perspective to a single isometric perspective in the way classic Fallout games did (and even JABIA did to some extent), the beauty of an isometric viewpoint is that it is ideal for games which involve the fielding and control of multiple “units,” whether that means the military formations in a strategy game like HoI4 or the individual soliders in a squad-based game like Stellar Tactics or JABIA, etc. So . . . building the levels around an expectation that an isometric or pseudo-isometric perspective will be the “default” seems to be sensible. If it is easy and salutary, I’m perfectly happy to also offer a first person or 3rd person (over the shoulder) perspective, and/or plenty of camera mobility and zoomability. But the starting point for me seems to be ISOMETRIC.
Sorry If I’ve taken over your thread here with topics that are only tangentially related!