Feedback from a long-time Unity user

Everything about Unreal has been great. BluePrints are brilliant, the renderer is awesome, the lighting is brilliant, animation is very usable since it’s almost similar to Mecanim, etc etc.

But there’s one thing that will keep people from switching from Unity that can be summed up in three numbers: Null, null and null: every single FBX that’s imported has its pivot overwritten and reset to null, null, null.

Moving our game over from Unity to Unreal has been tough because of that reason. Every weapon the character holds has to be re-exported to 0,0,0, or he will hold it with an offset (yes, “use root motion!”, but that’s an ugly hack that doesn’t always work right). Every door that animates on a hinge needs to be placed exactly with the hinge on 0,0,0, because the pivot that’s already there is overwritten and ignored.

This also causes the issue of not being able to import full scenes. Many Unity users make a complete scene in Maya/C4D/etc, but upon importing in Unreal, it’s treated as one object. If it has multiple meshes, and you run a Maya script to export all of them as FBX, their position will be correct in the world, but their pivot at null, null, null. This part is very frustrating (yes, use vertex snapping to move them, but this is also an ugly hack that doesn’t always work for this purpose).

I get it, the indies aren’t really paying for the development of Unreal, the big studios are. And the big studios probably use Unreal’s method of doing things: feeding is very small bite-size pieces.
But, in the Indie space, Unity is holding 80% of the market - and I’m sure Epic would like a bigger slice of that.

A checkbox saying “keep original pivot” on the FBX importer would be very, very nice. (The big studios can just ignore it, and we indies can find it 'n be happy not having to redo every single level prop).
Perhaps I’m oversimplifying the solution here, but I thought I’d offer my uneducated advice after all.

There are a few other things that people will miss from Unity (transparent materials with reflection, humanoid retargeting, etc) but I’ll stick to this for now. Thanks for taking the time to read!


You can actually import things and offset the pivot manually in 4.7 if you want to.

Unity probably takes the root objects location into account when it imports things, but in UE4 you need some kind of root object (e.g. a bone called b_Root or something) to offset ‘from’ if that makes sense.

I’d like to see this feature as well.

+1. Now I’m using TS_Tools first release: UE4 Mass FBX Exporter and More! with 3dsmax as a workaround.

Yeah, I know you can temporarily move the pivot of an object, but I don’t know how to do it permanently for an object not in the scene. Do you? Can you share how?

As for the second answer, would the workaround be to make a whole scene in Maya/C4D/etc and place every object in a null object?

Sounds good. Unfortunately we’re not using 3DsMax much anymore… but this sounds like a good plugin to work around this for Max users.

That said though, my main point is that Unreal doesn’t import the existing pivot. The “Importing mass scenes” problem is mostly just a side-mention. It’s a much bigger problem for characters that need to hold things, etc. Lots of things will need to be re-animated and or re-exported or even rigged.