Questions about creating a "low res" game.

I’ve searched around a bit and haven’t found any definite or concise answers on some things I am wondering about Unreal Engine.

I am looking into creating something similar to Wolfenstein 3D complete with the low-res appearance (64x64 textures)

I’ve done some experimenting in the editor with this concept and now I have some questions.

Also: I do not do 3D modeling. I am using the pre-supplied cube/triangle/etc. for meshes.

Here are my questions:

  1. Is it best to take the cube mesh and size it down to the actual 64x64 size, and essentially build VERY tiny maps with the camera set to be small/low/zoomed up to compensate for this?

  2. Or, is it better to use Sprites and essentially drop paper thin walls and build it that way? (the “build it in tiny proportions” question still applies). I noticed when I tried this that the texture edges did weird things (fuzzy coloring?) as I moved and rotated, and the lighting was all gone. I assume this is because there is no lightmap on a sprite, but the cube mesh had them.

  3. I have to take my 64x64 pixel texture and apply a TexCoord node to my material blueprint for the cube mesh, with U and V tiled at a rate of 3 in order for each face of the cube to have the texture rendered to it properly. Why is this? I get that it has something to do with the UV mappings for the texture that goes around the mesh, but I don’t quite understand the relation. If anyone has a quick/clear explanation, that would be great. I looked at the UV things for both channels (why are there 2 channels?), and… it’s just squares and triangles, so I was like “welp. that’s stuff”.

  4. With regards to resolutions, the editor is 1920x1080. I wanted to do a low-res game, say at 640x360 or something. Like the DOS 640x480 era days, but at 16:9.

Do I just build the levels and such in 1920x1080 and have it downscale to lowlow resolutions in code (or with blueprints), and hope it looks OK because the textures are all at that sort of size when drawn initially?

Or, do I build at 1920x1080, launch at insert whatever player chooses here, and have the camera do all of the work to make it look super low-res ?



I have a new question:

  1. Does anyone know if the performance difference between using the default cube size vs. shrinking them down significantly is something to even bother with? It feels like it might be a microoptimization compared to the Unreal Engine’s general minimum requirements.

Thanks again!

Bumping for edit.

I know you don’t do 3d modelling but you should still get a dedicated 3d modelling software and learn the ins and outs of UVs so you can get a clear understanding of how these things work together.

Depending on the scale of your model (and depending on tiling) you will find that especially low-resolution UVs are something you have to dedicate a lot of attention to. Sporatic texel density between objects (as in, texture resolution) can quickly make a scene ugly because a wall might have a lower resolution than any objects seen near the wall, etc. Lower resolutions also means your UV islands need to be more geometric, with attention to where your pixels are rolling over edges and seams.

You could, of course, build everything out of planes, but that’s going to fight you for everything you want to build and you’ll be mostly restricted to 90 degree angles before stuff gets ugly.

As I said, what I am trying to make is akin to Wolfenstein 3D. So, everything will be made from consistently sized textures, and will be made of squares/90 degree angles. My main concern was if it was worth it to build the scenes in a shrunken down state (think diorama of a city) and bring the camera down accordingly, or is leaving it at the default cube-mesh size OK?

Fight me how? I did notice that you lose lighting, and you also see strange effects on the edges as you move around the scene when you do this.

My other big question was if it’s worth trying to force the game resolution down to “640x480” during building time, letting people’s displays and such scale up as needed, or if that was going to be a lesson in frustration to try and fake things that much to achieve the aesthetics of 1992.

I am starting to think that just using low-res textures with no resampling will achieve the same thing.