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Level Design in UE4 is slow and tedious.

Hey folks- “DotCam” referred me over here. Having access to fast, intuitive and truly useful/powerful geometry creation tools, in-editor, has always been extremely important to me- prototyping a game without that is just far too slow and/or frustrating, in my experience. Certainly modern games don’t make as much (if any) use of “BSP” geo for final art, but early development can always benefit from a quick, fluid prototyping workflow, which can only be had right in-engine.

Several years back, I moved into Unity development, found there was a complete lack of this workflow option (nothing at all!). This lead to me creating “ProBuilder”, which I intended to be a mash-up of my experience in 3DS Max, Unreal, and Hammer. We (tech dev and I) are constantly developing and expanding the tool, and it’s come quite a ways! If interested, you can check out a somewhat old (sorry) video here: ProBuilder v2.2 Overview - YouTube

Currently, I am looking at porting ProBuilder over to UE4, for the upcoming Marketplace, and am very interested in all thoughts/feedback/questions/etc. It’ll be a major undertaking, but receiving lots of positive responses so far, so we might just take it on!

I have started a thread and Poll here, appreciate any replies:

Thanks, I hope this is of interest! :slight_smile:

Sigh… don’t you wish every single wall / floor didn’t have to be a mesh? is this Unreal Engine or the Autodesk Importing Engine ?

So level designers are expected to be 3D modeling artists these days now? … wow, I guess I got out when mapping used to be a ‘fun process’.

I think the funniest part is all the BSP hatrid that comes from the 3D experts here, whats the point of this Engine if all it does is cater to AAA game development teams, is this the same argument as why use blueprint when C++ does everything you want? maybe I don’t want to get lost in Maya for the rest of my life, maybe people are annoyed because they don’t want 3D modeling programs shoved down their throats just because they want 4 walls and door with some basic textures.

Do a Google on how many static mesh problems with lighting people are having with this engine, with BSP in older engines it just works, there’s no light bleeding from the corners or problems when you align two meshes together because there isn’t a problem to fix in the first place.

So do I have to just understand that you want to eliminate BSP altogether and make the engine as complex to learn as possible?

If an older editor like Radiant or Cube was catering the same way as Unreal was I would be onto that in a heartbeat, all you have to do is look at Steams Workshop in Source Games to see how useful BSP can be when used for final iterations, are you telling me that is out of date? some of the maps look amazing and didn’t take 3 years to create in a 3D modeling program and were made by ‘newbs’ :confused:

3d modeling is a required skill for a level designer, other skills too, dunno if you were being sarcastic though…

Well, as a former Source Engine Hammer Editor User, I can definitely relate to the people who crave for proper brush-tools. So as someone who has missed the change from brush/bsp to meshes for level-making, can someone outline the general process and has some resources for how to use/learn blender in conjunction with UE4?

There are no tutorials, they just expect you to know how to do it, yet again 3D artist shoots it down, all that people are asking for is brush tools.

  1. Watch a beginner tutorial (just when you havent used blender before :)) e.g https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VmOFRkRjOSQ

  2. Rough steps:
    -create the mesh with the right scale 1cm=1uu
    -uv map it + create the textures Blender 2.7 UV Mapping 1 of 4 - YouTube
    -create a collision, a lightmap and lod’s -> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TTsAYpqHU-c https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17pcyPVplEc http://www.worldofleveldesign.com/categories/udk/udk-lightmaps-02-uv-techniques-and-how-to-create-second-uv-channel-in-maya.php
    -export the mesh (default settings) + the textures (you can save them from the UV editor)
    -import everything
    -do a right click onto the texture and create a material -> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lngF4VVNER4&list=PLZlv_N0_O1gbQjgY0nDwZNYe_N8IcYWS-&index=1
    -assign the material to the mesh (double click onto the mesh in the content browser - add the material to the slots)

More information:

When you are stuck with something, post it into the forum so that we can help you :wink:

There are plenty tutorials for 3d modeling.

When I was learning 3d modeling (2003) there weren’t any tutorials at all, all we had was the Help documentation reference.
Now you find everything you want to learn in an instant.

That’s all good, I obviously missed the period where mapping became modeling, what a great workflow, 20+ steps to add a wall and then texture it.

Thanks, guess I’ve got some stuff to do now. :smiley:

Level designers don’t actually do much modeling, that’s a job for environment artists.

The freedom and power I have with external tools over the creation exceeds “bsp modeling” very much.

While I get the drift, that it is nice at a point (my first ventures into “level design” where based upon BSP as well…) I don’t really see where it, today, is of use for anything else as a quick approximation of what you want further down the road. Placeholders.

And anyways, a lot of planning and designing is even done on paper or in text files. Personally, I don’t feel that the UE4 is “lacking” there.

No I don’t think you do get the drift at all, no one is saying take your style / modeling tools / freedom away. If want a 20+ step process to create simple walls be my guest, elitist programmers mentality wont be changed and I understand that, but if you want to push this as being a ‘development tool for new users and indie developers’ and improve the Engine as being user friendly then I see a valid point for change ( give people the choice to use brushes ), i’m beginning to see this is turning into a pointless argument, the problem is a ‘usability issue’ and ‘just use an external modeling program is not a solution’, that is the same as saying why use Windows when a Linux console does everything better? Why? Because it is easier to use and understand and you don’t need a computer science degree to design something that you have in your mind. It also saves pointless time being wasted when you maybe you don’t want a complex 3D modeled object for every floor, door or wall.

Until you understand that concept of ease of use and usability Hammer will basically destroy this engine in terms of the amount of marketplace levels and creation because people have ‘freedom’ to not be forced to have to learn and use external modeling programs to create basic levels at a decent frame rate.

Personally I like using simple static meshes to block out levels over BSPs - static meshes are more consistent with the rest of the engine and are easier to handle. It’s enough to give the artists a reference as well. I think many people overrate the “artist reference” part. Do your level designers just create the level BPSs and send them off to artists and expect a finished level after a while? Because here at our place the level designer sits down with the artists and a notebook, talks, explains, draws crude sketches, shows crude box layouts as well as the “placeholder level”. It’s an iterative process that yes, takes time, but what doesn’t?

Personally I find that some of the tools shown in the videos in the first post are interesting novelties, but not really something usable in a production environment. At the end of the day, you want static meshes all around - it’s the most optimized and most versatile workflow. Even if BSPs were to magically become super optimized etc. they’ll at best just cut out the 3D tool in which you’d create the static meshes (with ease) and at worst still be a hassle to handle due to UVs.

I’m pretty sure, half life, csgo, quake, and any source engine mods count as being ‘bsp being used in a production environment’, sorry if I don’t understand your logic.

That’s funny because last time I checked Geometry editor 2.0 had the 4th most up votes in the Trello road map and hes not just speaking for himself. A lot of people are irritated with the current tool set and level design doesn’t have to be a ‘real chore’ and no, I don’t think anyone would hire you to make basic walls lol… are you joking?

The brush workflow in UE4 does need improvement but I’d like to see them take it one step further by adding static mesh modeling tools that support ngons,quad,tri,etc like a true 3D modeling app but under the Geometry Editor 2.0 roof. brush are great for quickly building layout and even quick boolean operations, once you get that done you could convert it to a static mesh and add further detail. It’ll be a complete modeling/level design experience.

While waiting for this vision to come true. I’m just using the new Hammer 2 in Source Engine 2 to create my levels and then export all to Modo, then to UE4.

Everything you see here is created in Hammer 2(rendered in Modo, I’ll post some UE4 screenshot later):

37ed4e3c5ca17cf0ad9d6039babbe34ded3a8d42.jpeg

Thats pretty awesome, can you export that to Modo with UV textures directly from hammer? or do you have to do that in Modo?

There are other ways than BSP to make maps? :0
I guess as a programmer I did not get much information about level design.

The new Hammer can export FBX, so yeah - UV,mesh(s), texture, material, smoothing groups all come along for the ride. Only thing you need to do is rescale everything(which can be done with a macro/script) then freeze the transform - that’s the only reason I bring it into Modo,that and to check mesh for any issue. It’s a lot quicker to do level design in the new hammer than using Modo, since it’s geared toward it. The whole level is in a single FBX file(multiple layer/item - 800 + meshes)). You don’t see it in the render, but everything has it’s own material,UV(which was so easy and quick to do with the new Hammer!)I’ll post UE4 screenshot tomorrow.

1 unit in the new hammer, is not the same as 1 cm in Modo/UE4.

Do I need to download “Dota 2 Authoring Tools” for getting the new hammer?
And is there any guide to export / import from Hammer 2.0 to UE4? I’d like to try out making a map with that editor since you guys said that making maps with BSP is outdated (only method I know, from making simple Maps in CS 1.6).