Creating Buildings Question

Hey everyone.

I know that there is no right answer to this as it will most likely be a matter of preference.

I’m trying to make a small city. I’m wondering what’s the best way to go about making buildings with interiors. Is it better to make them as a static mesh (I use blender atm), use the geometry brush in engine, or make architecture meshes and build the buildings out of those?

Some problems I’ve had with trying to make static meshes is the UV unwrap phase. I made a simple building in blender but when i tried to texture it in Substance painter the texture was all distorted and it didn’t have enough resolution and that was just a very simple and small building. How do people go about texturing large objects such as buildings? Is it a tiling issue because when i made an architectural mesh that was the same size as one that comes with the engine the texture applied to it is huge. What i was thinking that my work flow would be is create a static mesh building in blender, import to Substance painter and texture it, and then import that into UE4. If some one could help me with the texturing issue that arises that would be amazing.

I have followed the level creation tutorial from epic and made that small interior and that was fun and cool. However it doesn’t seem like the most efficient way to make a city. I could be wrong of course and that’s fine i’d just like to know. Ive tried to do some research on it like everything else i do before asking but its hard to find anything because it seems every post has the word building in it even if its not about building buildings :). If some one could point me in the right direction that would be great.

I know there are alot of questions in here that might be very simple but i have only been using UE4 and blender for a month now and i’m a total noob.


Go modular

You want to build modular, its more flexible and you’ll get better texture/texel density check these out:

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Static meshes are definitely the most recommended route to take. Even if you use the geometry brushes, converting them to static meshes is high recommended. You can get much more flexibility out of your static mesh than you can geometry brushes.

As ReddWine suggested Modular workflow is the best option.

Here a few links regarding Modular Design and workflow (Two of these are paid tutorials, I am not suggesting you buy these unless you want but they are good for reference from the vid and images): get the Modular Environment Design. It’s a power point from a talk he has done several times. There may not be context for some of the things, but it is great information to use for setting up the grid and building objects so that they snap like lego pieces.

In regards to setting up the UVs this comes down to personal preference to some degree, what target platform you are designing for, and just ultimately what gives you the best results. There are multiple ways to UV and object for textures that it can be hard to say “This is the way you need to do it.” I prefer using overlapping UVs and multiple materials for some of my stuff because I can get a higher resolution and my objects don’t need Unique UVs necessarily because they are modular pieces.

With Substance Painter what you’re seeing is that you need unique UVs that are only good for that one mesh. This is the way Substance Painter works. You’re painting your texture there for that particular mesh. For things like walsl, it may be better to use tiling materials that you can then just add decals to have cracks, graffiti, and dirt applied to.

It can be difficult to find things when you’re just starting out. This is just the way it is when you’re learning. Once you get more familiar and start asking the right questions or searching the right terms it becomes much easier to locate the information you’re looking for. :slight_smile:

The video you’re referencing is a good start for those who have not using modeling software before and want to make simple objects using the BSP/Geometry brushes. However, these are good for simple structures and even though the video doesn’t mention it these are great for mostly prototyping your level and making sure it is playable. I’d recommended taking a look at the Content Examples Project > Open Map > LevelDesign_Workflow.umap to see Epics process for development.

We start out with blocking out using BSP then move on the meshing the level with assets created in 3Ds Max/Maya.

I know this is a lot of information and if you have any questions or anything seems confusing feel free to ask! :slight_smile:


Well if your photo sourcing your textures always begin by obtaining the highest resolution available and the more the better. Think as sourcing as being quality paints on a palate that can be blended with other palates.

Once you have your source/paints setup/available the most common technique is to map surface areas, using UV space, to areas of the source of interest and by using sub materials you can have as many different materials mapped to the same object. Once your happy with the result, in this case me using 3ds Max, one can use render to texture to remap the game ready material to a single texture atlas.

The side benefit is through process is you can then extract sub components as a modular component.

After going modular is a great way to go but what good is it until you make some Lego blocks to play with.

Hey guys,

Thank you so much for the replies, this was exactly what I was looking for.

Hey Tayber!

What everyone said so far seems to be the best courses of action.

Just something to note: although I agree Static Meshes are more efficient, I think it really comes down to what you feel comfortable with.

Personally, I like using a mix of BSP and SM within my levels.
BSP is great if you need some quick edits.

Quick story: just yesterday I added a 300 x 300 wall into my level. The wall was (roughly) the exact size of the player. I usually like to make my walls about 1 1/2 the player’s size (it gives a nice feel considering most walls are not the exact size of the average person). Now I wasn’t about to chop my SM in half then re-export and texture it. I merely created a BSP brush of the same size as the wall (to match the texture up) and using a subtractive brush I cut the wall down, create one seamless wall that was 1 1/2 the player’s height. Now, although this my be deemed “in-efficient” it ultimately comes down to you. It reality that was one of the many BSP brushes in my level. I feel like BSP brushes are like anything else, you have to use them in moderation, but don’t feel like you can’t use them at all (unless you don’t want to).

If it were me, I’d be wary of them in the type of level you are making. When making a big city like that, you need efficiency.
See I just like to map in BSP because that’s what I know best (get started with DOOM Builder/ Source Engine which are both primarily BSP based).
Slowly, but surely I’m starting to get into Static Meshes little by little.
Just make sure you feel comfortable with your way of mapping… that’s the most important part.

~ Jason

Hey Jason

Thanks for the reply I really appreciate it. Thanks for the story, that’s exactly what I was thinking that I would do with the BSPs. Lol I don’t feel truly comfortable with any method at the moment and is why I wanted to find out the most efficient way and learn that. This is all new to me, the only thing that I’ve done some what close to this and no were near as complex is a map editor back in the day for a game called Joint Operations. It was a an online FPS with huge open levels and was built off a flight simulator engine. It was a ton of fun for me.

Once again want to thank every one for their replies.

No problem.

By the way, if you happen to want any additional information on modular design I found this article by Joel Burgess (of Bethesda Game Studios) a while ago,but nothing has changed much:

It doesn’t pertain to UE4 (it’s actually about TESV: Skyrim), but the ideas hold true.

Cheers and Good Luck!

~ Jason

Resurrection an old thread here.

I’m having the exact same technical challenge that the OP had. A SM made from a BSP in UE4 and exported to Blender then back works just fine. But an identical sized and shaped SM made in Blender and exported to UE4 with the exact same export settings will take a material in UE4 and stretch it until it’s huge.

I’ve searched all day for a solution but aside from everyone agreeing that SM is the way to go, and modular building is a great strategy, all I can find is tutorials on how to make a UV map that fits neatly inside a single image with no tiling at all like you would want for mapping an object like a vase or a person.

But all I want is a super simple single, flat, plane that I can put a material on in UE4 and have it tile with the same physical world dimensions as other flat objects in the same scene would do.

This seems to me to be one of those things that’s so ridiculously simple to accomplish that no one bothers to ever write about it because they can’t understand how someone wouldn’t know how to do it. Like a tutorial on how to flip a light switch. It would read “You just flip it, dude.” And that’s pretty much all I can find on this issue. But I still can’t find the switch they keep talking about…

The only difference I can find between the two objects is that the UE4 one has a mesh in the UV editor viewport that’s much larger than the blender one. And I can’t figure out how to make the blender mesh re-size in the UV window. Could be that my blender version 2.77 is buggy. Not sure. It’s driving me crazy.

Would anyone here be willing to detail the steps in Blender to achieve a result where the SM it exports handles tiling of materials in UE4 in exactly the same way as a BSP does? Or a BSP that’s been converted to a SM?

Hi. I have a question about modular buildings . I try to make a old house from the 13 th century. The Problem is there are no ppanar walls. How do i start such a modular building if there is no planar wall at all ?