To Model or Not to Model?

What is the general consensus about building buildings?
I need a large building, with several rooms and floors.

The player will spend a lot of time in this building, exploring and overcoming challenges.
Therefore my question is thus, should the building be modeled in a 3D program and brought into Unreal, or should I build it
using BSP Blocks and model individual segments and put it together in Unreal?

What would be the best way to do this? The idea comes from the game “Until Dawn” and the player is stuck in a large cabin.
I want to try the same concept idea, stuck indoors and need to find a way out.

The BSP tools don’t offer enough control to be able to construct things all that well, it’s really best used for blocking out a level to figure out dimensions and flow and stuff like that and then replacing it later with your nice meshes that you’ve created in a separate 3D program like 3ds Max/Maya/Blender/etc.

If you don’t have 3D skills yet, there are lots of asset packs in Community Tools / Marketplace etc.
With a little creativity you can re-purpose modular meshes to create a building mock-up / prototype.
Then when you have something working, you can look at modeling it professionally in a 3D app etc.

That’s what I ment when I said


Are you saying modeling “wall meshes” and other meshes would be better than modeling an entire building as a single model?

I have experience with Maya and I will be outsourcing for help.

Yes, you’ll definitely want to split things up to separate meshes a bit. First split them by materials and then if you have a lot of surface area (like walls) then you can split that up further. Since you can only have a single lightmap on each mesh you need to make sure you can get enough detail in the lightmap which can be an issue if it has a lot of surface area.

Thank you!

Thank you this is also helpful for me as well… I come from a long background of designing amazing 3D houses so big buildings are something I want too. I was wondering between building modular bits and assembling in unreal, or designing the whole building ( minus decoration and other assets and things naturally), and a importing as a whole.

When modelling a building, it needs to be modular for collision doesnt it? Collision shapes need to be convex, so if you did make a building as a single mesh, how would you set up the collision for that?

For collision in general, while a single collision mesh has to be convex, you can use multiple meshes for collision for an object, so for example if you’ve got all of the walls for a floor as a static mesh, you would create the collision mesh out of multiple boxes. UE4 has an automatic generation feature but sometimes it requires you to do it by hand in your 3D program.