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ProInstance Tools Plugin

ProInstance Tools is a lightweight set of tools to control mesh or actor placement using procedural generation with easy to understand and unified settings. It can help you avoid doing lots of repetitive tasks in level or environment design.

This page is reserved for discussions, suggestions and troubleshooting.
Also, due to the plugin’s nature it may be pretty hard for me to predict how one can use certain instance type and in what circumstances. If you feel stumbled, or found some bug, please share your opinion too - in most cases we can fix this in updates.

Available on Marketplace | Itch.io

Features:

  • Almost endless ways to place meshes/actors
  • Designed to be as easy to use as possible
  • Snapping and alignment to a surface below
  • Instant switching between types: Static Mesh, Instanced Static Mesh (ISM), Hierarchical Instanced Static Mesh (HISM) and any other Actor Class
  • Controlled randomization using seed number
  • Quick access to ProInstance types from new custom category in Place Mode
  • Self-explanatory unified settings
  • Lightweight
  • 5 ProInstance types
  • Custom icons
  • Can improve performance and reduce drawcalls
  • Can save a lot of time

ProInstance types:

  • Circle
  • Grid
  • Path
  • PathScatter
  • Scatter
2 Likes

Update 1.01 is up with following changes:

  • Fixed world rotation on all instances
  • Fixed offset location by Z axis in “Path” and “PathScatter”
  • Custom icons for all “ProInstances”
  • Fixed local rotation for “Circle”
  • Default cube material changes for “softer look”
  • Plugin icon changed

Happy instancing everyone! Update 1.10 is now available with following changes:

  • Added “Instance Global Settings” option (requested)
  • Added “Rotate to Actor” option (requested)
  • Added new functions: “Update”, “Set Random Seed”
  • Added LOD1 to default cube
  • Fixed “Cast Shadow” option if type is Static Mesh
  • Fixed error when static lighting wasn’t saved on instances properly
  • Altered Overview map design

New option “Instance Global Settings” will work on every instance at once in this particular actor if only not overridden by enabling “Instance Local Settings”, which is a replacement name for previous “Instance Settings”. All your settings from previous version will stay as they were.
Option “Rotate to Actor” is as straightforward as it sounds and also you can choose rotate axes - XYZ, XY or just Z.
A bug with saving static lighting on instances seems to be fixed, but the problem still occurs sometimes - editor still says that “lighting needs to be rebuilt”, but re-opening map again usually solves the problem. It requires further investigations to that.

Also I think you can expect “Bake” function to the next update - I want it to be quite advanced.
Special thanks to users Vassili Etienne and mindmedicine for pointing out some problems.

Hello!

Just to let you know, there seems to be a bug in 4.26 with HISM. Everything was working fine but now when I load the level at runtime I am getting this error:


Fatal error: [File D:/Build/++UE4/Sync/Engine/Source/Runtime/Windows/D3D11RHI/Private/D3D11Commands.cpp] [Line: 1431] Null SRV (resource 0 bind 0) on UB Layout FInstancedStaticMeshVertexFactoryUniformShaderParameters

UE4Editor_D3D11RHI
UE4Editor_RHI

Static and ISM works fine though.

Looks like I am not the only one with this bug, and I am not sure I can fix it on my own (there is a given solution apparently in the thread):
https://answers.unrealengine.com/questions/1002738/hism-causes-crash-in-buildstandalone-on-reload-lev.html

Also I was wondering, does your tool work with DestructibleActor ?

Oh, that’s good to know, thanks. Problem needs to be investigated indeed.
And yes, you can actually use absolutely any Actor to be spawned by ProInstance Tools - shoudn’t be a problem.

is there any docs to see all the usages ? I’ve bought 7 different tools like this and every single one has glaring ommisions in functionality - can you convert to individual meshes ? in the circle can u rotate the direction of the instances so u can get them to line up properly like a panel making a circular wall ? are u actively developing this now or is it as it is ? and ever thought of making a mirror function for building temples - there is always the exact opposite pillar config on the opposite side of the room but with one opposite position in x or y and its way easier to build if u can see both at the same time while you edit it

also I use this plugin that makes prefabs do you think it would be possible to make that work ? u said any actor just never saw anyone of these that would let me - some do allow blueprints does yours ?

You’re 100% right about the docs, it’s just my fault that I still didn’t write it due to being too busy with developing another plugin and it’s big. Docs will be there eventually, I can promise that, just need to finish third plugin which is called “Sky Creator”.
Yes, you can rotate instances in “Circle”, there are a setting called “Rotate To Actor” in Instance Settings / Rotation. You can rotate any instances towards any actor using that. Converting to static meshes is coming just in a next update too, it’s being in a to-do list. Never considered mirroring, but I’ll try to figure it out.
And yes, you can place blueprint actors, you need to set “Instance Type” to “Actor Class” and select your actor class inside an instance array. By default Actor Class stays on “None”.
Thanks for your considerations!

cool ya mirro as a hism or instance would be phenomenal thanks

hey so i got yoru plug but i am immedietly having issues with the circle one
i opened your map and found your circle example which works fine but when i drag a new one in from tjhe place actor window and add a static mesh nothing shows up - tried with your little block - checked every setting is the same - i just tried the grid and another one - the same thing nothing happens when i add the static mesh whats up ?

also can you add the feature where u override the material ? otherwise its super clogs up ones content browser if i gotta dupe the model everytime i want ot change the material -and makes it twice as hard jsut to try out new materials - most of the other 9 plugins i have have that option - i’m hoping yours is the one i use the most

May sound silly, but is your viewport showing Real-Time? Otherwise I don’t have a clue, it just should work. Did you figure this out?
Ok, I added custom materials to a “to-do” list aswell. I think you can expect it in a next update.

i’ll have to look again was only happening in one project - no it wasnt the real-time thing again ur examples worked but i couldnt get it to work from dropping a clean one - i’ll see when i find that project again not sure where it is - i work on 4 computers with multiple projects so. Another request i know i ask alot but to me these kind of tools should have been standard in unreal alreaydy lol - I would love to be able to render thru sequencer the parameters in yoru tool like the rotations and randoms even locations ect - also is there a reason developers dont have more of a preset system - like your example map wouldnt it speed up everyones work flow if each BP had a few presets that automatically set it up like the examples ? I usually go thru maps and make prefabs with a prefab plugin from marketplace that locks in the settings from the blueprint and makes it easy to find so i can just go to my prefab directory and I drop it in setup - but it would be even easier to just have a preset - is this difficult ? I jsut dont get why more tools dont have these - sure if you know exactly how to set it up its not that time consuming but its just way faster to work if you dont have to do it - I just dont get the mindset sometimes from game developes as oppose to the design world where easy of use is paramount in designing a tool - Do you know what Mograph is from Cinema4d ? You should check it out on youtube if you have never seen it - making a system that could do that would be amazing . These array tools on the marketplace are like ancient tech compared to Mograph as an array tool . thanks yours still seems to be one of the best I’ve seen

Thanks, I’m happy to hear that! Preset system is an interesting suggestion too. Though it needs some tests, before I can promise making that one, but I’ll look into it.

i dont think i was clear in the Sequencer part - but i would love to be able to Animate the rotation and other parameters - I’m doing cinematics so performance isnt a major issue for me

So you’re essentially talking about runtime control and updating… Okay, though, initially plugin was designed only for editor usage, but I’ll see what I can do. That’s quite an amount of requests :slight_smile:

Hey just giving you ideas that any Designer would love to have - or anyone in the virtual production field - i think they all add alot of value to your poduct and pushes it above and beyond any other of the array tools as just a layout tool and makes it a animation tool as well - theres nothing else on the marketplace that will do that now . I’d pay more for that feature

New small quality of life update v1.12 is up! From now on I’ll try to make small updates more often instead of rare big updates.

  • Added “Overwrite Materials” functionality per instance (thanks to Arcane)
  • Added Debug Line Trace settings

@Arcane, I was thinking about your suggestion to use transforms in sequencer and if I understand correctly what you’re looking for it actually might be a Niagara Particle System. It has a Particle Update state where you can transform particles/meshes as you wish, a grid spawner and a lot more. ProInstance Tools aren’t really designed for realtime updating, they don’t use Ticks, just a Construction Script in editor. There’s still might be some way, but it already feels hacky… Have you tried using Niagara before? It’s pretty easy once you dive in.

thanks alot for the overwrite materials thats awesome

This tool is pretty handy! I see there’s planned to have the ability to convert to static meshes? Is there any update on that? It would be really nice to be able to use the tool to instantiate things, then convert them to static meshes, which I can fine-tune manually.

@HappyPorcupine, thanks! Yes, converting to SM is still in to-do list and I’m sorry that it takes that long, it’s just I was way too busy making “Sky Creator” plugin. Had to kind of prioritize tasks by request amounts! No doubt it should be there though, so I’ll try to make it next time.