Prototyping your game

How do you go about doing this, for example say you were creating a level of a town which also had some landscape, mountains, rivers, trees, grass around the town then all your building, roads, and whatever else was needed.

Can you prototype the whole scene first so it is ready to be ‘finished off’ with proper models/textures, or are protoypes just to get an idea of layout/scale and you would have to completely redo everthing with high quailty content?

Looking at this another way, say you were creating a level as I just described, one person could plan and prototype the whole level using very rough models/blocks/terrain and then a team of artists could come in and add high quailty content over this prototype, is that how it works?

i just wrote a wall of text here then mistakengly pressed reply to thread instead of post, and it’s all vanished THANKS DEVELOPER OF FORUM SOFTWARE

Arrg, any chance of rewritting?

  1. Design the level or world in your head and / or on paper, in as much detail as you see fit. This helps you get an overview of what you’ll be creating, changes can still easily be integrated now. [You can also skip this and jump straight into UE4, but I wouldn’t recommend that approach for serious projects.]
  2. Block out your level in UE4, using brushes and heightmaps for the landscape. Tweak it until the scale & layout feel right and deliver a pleasant gameplay experience.
  3. Replace bits and pieces with high quality meshes as you go along. Always test whether this affects your gameplay in any way!
  4. When the sceen is finalized, tweak the ‘eye candy’ - lightning, particles, post fx etc.

Of course the workflow entirely depends on your / your team’s preferences, but that’s the way I’ve seen people do it. There was a really cool official UE4 tutorial, I think “Intro to Level Design” or something (not the series, but a single video), where they described this in detail.

One problem you could run into is that brushes may not be suitable to test your full gameplay mechanics. E.g. brushes don’t report overlap / hit events, which can prevent your character from grabbing onto a ledge if it’s a brush rather than a mesh. You can circumvent this by exporting your brushes and reimporting as mesh (which, I admit, is kinda fiddly) or just using some basic meshes rightaway (like boxes and stuff).

In short i think you should decide first what your game is like if it’s a gameplay focused like mario then you focus on level proto in terms of gameplay,
if something like Witcher, rpg, adventure, some fps(multiplayer tho go into first category) then you focus on art side, like from concepts goes everything,
layouts architecture colors etc.

In first case you can afford to build levels right into ue without even planning if you have your gameplay etc (game like portal is a good example), though
if you try to recreate realistic landscapes right in editor without lots of planning concepts etc youll most certainly will create some blocky not so pleasing
locations just because of nature of process and tools used.

Eather way i think its better to use cct to plan everything because of speed and flexibility it provides, you can iterate much faster, even model details on the
fly and see the big picture.

Again maybe it’s hard for me to describe what i mean - one way is to work directly in editor planning and playing around, other is work from art/concepts up,
adapting everything to art source. Can’t say one is better than other cuz apples and oranges but that’s what i think.
Personally i prefer to plan everything in 3dsmax just because i can model at lightspeed there and don’t have any limitations, and you can directly transition
into actual modelling of assets in the same space. Sry for my english.