Do you build your sub assemblies in Unreal or in your 3d package of choice?

How do you decide if/when to ‘build’ your sub assemblies of objects in the engine or in in your modeling software of choice? I tend to find aligning and working with objects goes much faster in my 3D package and I’m tempted to just completely assemble stuff there and then import it. At the same time, if I’m making a cabin and I have a log model that I use 12 times for roof beams, it seems like it would be more efficient to use instances of it at runtime vs copying it a bunch of time in max or maya, etc. How do you decide which method is best?

Usually I make everything fit to finish and then decided if it’s worth the effort to optimize the sum of it’s parts. The ideal is it’s easier to make to much less that it is to make not enough more and optimization is best served through the creative process.

Your log cabin for example what would need to be taken in to consideration is the environment. If it’s a single cabin in a forest of trees then it’s not worth the effort to sub it all out.

The other side of the coin is if you make the perfect log model then it would be worth instancing to add it to your asset collection.

Usually though I build my entire environment space in 3ds Max using primitives, cylinders, and spheres to first create the source chain then once I have that set up I can then decided to sub stuff out as the environment fills out. If I had to fill a space with 10 cabins the then would be worth the effort.