I’ve been playing in UE4 for almost two years now. Off and on as life will allow.
I keep getting stuck on the modular design issue. I get it in theory, but in practice I feel unsure of how to proceed.
Let’s use this simple sketch to illustrate my thinking. If I want to create the first design, modular makes sense to me. I can divide it all up, reuse a lot of pieces and snap it all together in UE4. However, if I want to create something more along the lines of the second sketch, a modular approach starts to hinder me. There aren’t especially straight edges to line up, no pieces I can reuse - dividing things up adds a whole extra step to the process. And probably pushes me towards straighter lines and something a little more ‘boring’ like the first design.
I’m trying to create smaller, detail-oriented environments. I don’t need to replicate the same walls/buildings hundreds of times in my game spaces. The ‘pros’ of modular design don’t especially apply to my approach in all cases.
But there is still the question of handling lightmaps. Let’s say I were to model the base geometry for this house all in one go (excluding smaller details that’d I snap on after). I would need to use a very large lightmap - but I least I won’t have seaming issues on my modular edges. Compare that to making the base geometry out of 20 modular pieces and using much lower lightmap resolutions for each piece. Performance-wise, is it six of one, half dozen of the other? Or do 20 low-res lightmaps perform better than one ultra-high-res lightmap?
Two years in and still wrestling with this issue. Basically, what I’m asking: if you were to approach modeling the second design for UE4, what approach would you take? Would you bother with 2-foot modular wall pieces, or would you export it out all in one chunk? At what point does sticking to a strict modular workflow become unnecessary (again, with meshes that you probably won’t use more than once?)