Level Design tools not quite fast enough, for solo level designers.

Hi, so I made this thread in general discussion Level Design in UE4 is slow and tedious. - General Discussion - Unreal Engine Forums ] and it was suggested that I move it over here to feedback.

Basically my problem is this,other tools which I used to create levels, could create levels much faster and I have made levels in many editors, going back for almost 20 years. I am talking about creating levels similar to those we played in old-school games, I am not suggesting these bsp methods be used for large-scale modern games, I am a solo developer who wants to create an fps with levels and features similar to the older games.

I had a conversation with people in #unrealengine on irc about this and they said the main problem with bsp is that it all compiles into one single large static mesh and that is bad for a number of reasons, but generally being that it has to keep processing that static mesh as a whole, instead of only the local parts and calculate the collision for the entire thing in the same way. Obviously, all the benefits of breaking up a level into instance pieces are gone.

Two of the modern level editing programs that I find quite fast are:

Sauerbraten: Cube 2

TrenchBroom (new Quake editor)

I’ve also heard unity has some features that are good for quick bsp to, that just makes static meshes.

After my conversation on #unrealdevelopment and after analyzing the level examples in the ‘shooter game’ i noticed that significant areas of the level had very large static meshes, where I was expecting it to be made of many smaller pieces.

Rama on the chat also suggested his plug in for vertex snapping: A new, community-hosted Unreal Engine Wiki - Announcements and Releases - Unreal Engine Forums

I decided to post this in the feedback section anyway, because i think it would be nice to have some greater support for bsp, for when it is used, like zoning or something like that to break the bsp into smaller chunks, as far as I can see, it still doesn’t seem feasible for me to ensure everything is a static mesh, there would be small corners and floors and things, but I think its ok to have them as BSP as they where in UE3. I would like epic to put more more consideration for solo level designers and small teams.

Anyway, I’m not trying to spam here, I would’ve just moved the original thread if I knew how.

I don’t think this is true, but it’d be nice to know for sure. As far as I’m aware, brushes are still handled much like they were in the original Unreal Engine, and that they can be individually occluded. The brushes should be divvied up at some point in time when the BSP tree is generated?

BSP brushes are converted into a number of Model Components for rendering, which are similar to static meshes, a collection of triangles.

In other words, it isn’t a single large static mesh and I don’t suddenly have something to worry about! :slight_smile:

That is interesting, people have been very fanatical about me not using the BSP brushes, it would be nice for someone at epic to write an article about what’s what, because I’ve certainly seen many mixed answers, about whether their use is acceptable or not.

The quickest way for me to make a level would be to use BSP brushes for many of the walls and floors and then just use meshes to decorate the level, and if BSP brushes are still acceptable and not going to cause any terrible issues it would be really nice to see these tools improved.


I see what you mean.
However, the difference between the engines you stated and UE4 is that UE4 is made with today’s standards in mind; which in level creation case would be using an external 3D modelling program.
Now, its not like BSP brushes are never used at all. They’re just not used exclusively anymore.

However, like you getting a bit more ease with BSP brushes could help me out. I’d love to go back to creating game worlds using BSP brushes like I did when I used mod Half-Life, Quake, and Doom.
I’ve always preferred BSP brush scaling over Static Mesh placement…

Maybe we’re just old-school or maybe this could go somewhere.

I guess that remains to be seen.

~ Jason

I was linked here, after posting this thread that got closed. :stuck_out_tongue:

Basically, the issue is that editing BSP(or whatever BSP may change to) should be like using a paint brush, instead of manually placing each pixel of color at a time. There should be 2 methods of doing BSP/layouts: a large-scale mode(traditional BSP tools), and a ‘fast edit/detailing’ mode, where you can simply right-click/left-click(Minecraft-style) to add/subtract BSP detail. Ideally, the BSP would also optimize itself(to remove backfaces and similar) as you work, similar to the auto-triangulation system in Sculptris.

Bottom line: the more paintbrushes the better(and Wacom support, of course). :slight_smile:

Only problem is, what you are suggesting, already exists in your favorite content creation tool such as Mudbox, Z-Brush, 3ds Max, Maya and others, this is where you create your meshes, so asking the engine to add the features already present in these tools, would be redundant.
A BSP box will never be left as is in a game (No game of mine anyway), it will be converted into a static mesh, and then exported back into the creation tool set of your choice to be fixed up into something fancier.

Also the problem with cube2 is that it is still a cube, subdivided into smaller cubes. There is a real push these days to make more believable worlds, which in turn requires geometric shapes of all kinds. If you are making a shooter like doom, then straight walls, floor and ceiling could easily be created with BPS, only converted to static meshes, instead of replacing with custom meshes (I’m trying to say that more detail is worth adding, especially games that want to look realistic).
For example, you would use a landscape for your level instead of one huge BSP box, because the static mesh allows you to deform it in any way, trying to do that with a BSP is not really the right way to go about this.

The only BSP’s I ever have in my level, are there to be placeholders, once I have a model to import, I delete the BSP, and move on to the next BSP to be removed.

Static meshes are what you need for creating a level, and landscape will take care of the terrain for you (unless this is a game only in door, which isn’t as common these days) and is simple to use.

Just my 2 pennies!

Yes, I’m aware of the “how you’re supposed to do it” level design method, but why would I want to deal with external programs if I don’t have to? Or spend the time learning or the thousands of dollars on those programs, just to make simple BSP-based maps for raw, competitive gameplay? I get my inspiration to make levels from playing the game, and although lots of sparkly graphics are neat in games, most people in the games I play don’t like them, or have computers fast enough for them…or the time to make them. There are many people in the UT forum who are of a similar mind, and prefer simple BSP-based levels(in competitive games, as they hope the new UT will be). In my world, we are back to the roots making more actual levels with faster/better/easier tools, and less time making graphics. :slight_smile: Unreal is capable of doing both styles, but currently the tools are not there for my needs(AFAIK).

Actually, I’ve only seen Minecraft-style editing in Minecraft, voxel editors, and a few other game engines/editors…so I’m not sure if major 3D apps can do it(without scripting/custom tools).

Blender is free.

And comparing all this to Minecraft sounds wrong to me for some reason.

I think it is down to how you want to go about it, you could build a world in cube2 and then import that into UE4, same as with minecraft, if that works the best for you, there is no reason you couldn’t do it this way.

As I mentioned before though, there are certain programs that do one thing better than most other. This is true for all the game engines available, as well as the content creation tools. There is no reason you cannot combine these different approaches into your workflow, everyone has different preferences as to how they go about creating a game, does not mean anyone is right or wrong, you just have to use the tools you feel will suit your needs the best.

I’m sorry I was not trying to tell you “how you’re supposed to do it”, because in the end, there is no “Right” way of doing it. The best way is always the way you feel comfortable with as well as provides the look and feel you are going for.

Sorry I couldn’t help much, but “are we using the right tools?” is a topic of conversation a lot of us have, internally, and on the forums. I hope you understand I’m just throwing some ideas your way, and you will be a better designer the more you know, so sometimes going a different path is worth it in the end. :slight_smile:

Minecraft is new; fresh; a fast way to edit. Don’t be afraid of new & faster ways. :slight_smile:

Blender would be good, if it weren’t like, completely backwards from other 3D apps, like how ZBrush is so strange. :\

Well, what I meant by that “quote” is, the Unreal pipeline IS mainly/solely/primarily designed for heavy static mesh use, and not much else(thus, the BSP tools remain stagnant). By improving the BSP tools & methods, the pipeline’s flexibility will be increased(or shortened!), and we’ll have more options available both for mappers working with current graphics and those of us who want to remain mostly in the past. :slight_smile:

Minecraft is a game though. You could make a Minecraft like game but if you are talking about voxels then thats another story.

Btw, Maya feels stranger than Zbrush to me, and so does Blender and any other modeling app because i use 3ds Max. It’s all about getting used to. And Epic is helping Blender out to make it more UE4 friendly.

To be honest. I just opened up UE4 and tried to replicate what I saw in the first minute or so of the video (video A) you had posted, and everything he was doing, sliding a corner inwards, pulling it up down, transforming the shape, is exactly how the new tools in UE4 operate, I am not sure what was available in UDK (I used to use CryEngine back before this) but I think you should give the new BSP controls a try (to do so, create a box, whatever size, then in the mode panel go to “Geometry Editing Mode” and all of this is possible.

Give it a try! :slight_smile:

Oh and I agree with Jacky here, 3ds max is definitely the way to go if you have the cash to spare… :slight_smile:

Cool! Do you have a link to documents about the new BSP tools, per chance? I haven’t gotten to use the engine yet, or seen the new tools.

Have a look here for sure, goes over some details, if I find another one I will post some more links:

Minecraft is a game, with a live voxel editor, I believe… But yes, voxels are the future, and static meshes will be going out the door as well as BSP eventually.

It’s good that 3D apps are getting some more integration with games, but a bigger problem to me is that 3D apps need to be more universalized, by having the same file formats and tool terminology and hotkey presets and functions and such. I started with Unreal Ed(UE1), then Maya for 4-5 years, then modo, so I’m glad I got out of most of those sorts of technical problems fairly early on. =p

In one of the twitch stream the UE4 developers mention they do want to improve the brush tools.

One thing I’d love to see in UE4 is something like the push/pull tool from SketchUp: and some nice align tool would be useful: I dig the way this align tool is implemented exactly like more Adobe illustrator does it but in 3D.

That’s what I’m talkin’ about! :cool: Except, now I want to be able to bust out little hole/block details from the house, with a live BSP brush.

Here’s one I found, not sure how much of the capabilities it shows overall though: