What is block-out?

I’ve just started to learn Unreal Engine 4.26.2 and I’m learning how to design a game level. Searching on the Internet, I have found that a lot of references to block-out.

I suppose that is like creating a demo or a prototype about how my level is going to be without the need of using the final meshes, is that?

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Yup, pretty much:


Rapid prototyping / play testing / scale.

Just an observation… But it’d be interesting to see a poll sometime on how Indies like to work in 202x. As I was surprised reading that. Why? It seemed more like a UE3 article than UE4 (but its from 2019 - go figure). Anyway, it’d be interesting to learn if the more Kitbash type approach has killed off that way of working, or if anyone works with BSP anymore. :wink:

What does block-in mean? And Kitbash? I am sorry, I am not English and I can’t find the meaning of these words in the dictionary.

The challenge is not really related to game dev - its the translator you’re using. What’s your language anyway? Not sure how English speakers can really explain those terms any better. Why because the images in the article Everynone linked to should have offered enough hints. Kitbash means re-using / reworking pre-existing ready-built assets off the marketplace (free or paid), and re-purposing them into other uses. Modular-parts or walls of a farmmouse, can often be used to make sci-fi spacestations and so on. :wink:

I tried learning game dev through a foreign language once. It was a frustratingly slow PITA, and just way too hard to progress. So… Do you know of anyone or have anyone around you who can help with translation maybe? Its not too hard to learn a foreign language, well a lot of them anyway… But that doesn’t apply as much when the subject is so technical / esoteric as game dev is… Then it can be really hard to progress or improve. :wink:


Funny to think I was kitbashing before I knew it was even a thing. Why would the wee frugal me let spare plane model parts go to waste? Let’s make another plane that looks like something that should never be up in the sky…

@ViaCognita search the UE4 marketplace for ‘kitbash’ - it should give you a good visual idea of what it is. Lots of small and large elements you can put together to make something new. Like Lego blocks but nothing fits together. Your job is to make it fit & look good.


@AntiGravity Thanks for your answer. The problem is not the foreign language because I understood English very well. The problem are the words that have a specific meaning in a context (Unreal Engine and/or game development). When I try to search those words in a dictionary I don’t find any suitable meaning for the context.

I still do block out with BSP. Yet I’m from the UE 2.0 gen… mapping in UT99/2k3/2k4. I’ve got a solid grasp of the geometry tools, although lacking from what they use to be.

For most of my block out I use simple primitive meshes. Cube, Cylinder, Plane, Sphere. I scale them as needed. If I need a bit more complexity I’ll jump to BSP.

Ramps, rooves… anything triangular = Cone BSP. More complex (concave/convex) = pen tool

With BSP you don’t have to add collisions. This speeds up the process a bit, but you will take a perf hit with the per poly collision. You also don’t need to deal with UV mapping on simple stuff.

None of my block out/white boxing is ever super detailed. I do it for scaling, spacing, flow and grouping purposes. More of a 3D doodle so to speak.

I will do BSP door, window, archways, stairs, stair to upper floor entry etc. But they are very simple and done for character movement testing.


Some of us old schoolers call it white boxing/blocking.

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So, with UE4, which kind of block-in do I have to use? BSP Blockouts, Kitbash, primitive meshes…

You do not have to do anything. And kitbashing has nothing to do with block-out.

  • blockout = no details; this is how my city will look like, roughly:

  • kitbashing = details:

Take those parts, scale, rotate, mirror, clone, cut, scale again and make a cool highly detailed robot leg. Use the same parts to make a robot arm, head and torso. Combine all to make a robot.

Imagine the above is a bunch of rocks instead. You can combine them in new and exciting ways and make bigger and better, unique looking rock formations. Combine rock formations to make a cliff with a cave inside.

What you should consider doing is to find a way of designing levels you find most comfortable / enjoyable. Perhaps watch people designing levels:


^This^… Another half-arsed rushed answer from Everynone at the horse & hound or wherever the unofficial Epic support HQ is. :stuck_out_tongue: Seriously Everynone, you put Epic’s lack of support to shame every week on here. So, not much to add except maybe a warning…

Stay away from Epic Landscapes if possible… Or buy product off the Marketplace… Or try static-meshes… Or voxels… Or the best of all - emerging tech from MaximeDupart. :wink: Landscapes are probably the most time consuming part of this process, and yet you’re only at the very beginning and your work may also be more heavily scrutinized. Foliage is its own semi-nightmare too. Overall I suggest reading everything by MostHost_LA on this.

If you’re still not sure which approach to try BSP vs Kitbash, then choose your own adventure or style and try them all, as there’s no perfect right answer. Personally I can’t work with BSP / Blocked-out levels. As it feels like double the work, and yet it doesn’t help with level-design / gameplay creativity imo. But try them all and see what works for you!

Another important factor is the style of game you’re making. What’s your preferred genre? If you’re making a realistic present-day game or medieval war, you probably can’t avoid landscapes. But if working in Sci-Fi? You have lots more options. Its also important to have influences or things that inspire you as a reference guide to help keep you motivated. :wink:

OK. When I have designed the level, what do I have to do next?

Do I have to replace every BPS, Kitbash, primitive meshes, etc. with my the models that I have created in Maya?


But most kitbashing should be done in Maya, too - it has much more sophisticated tools to handle that type of work.

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Developing a game consume a lot of time and work: first you create a level and then, you recreate that level again.

You’ve figured out game dev. Its hard as sht and that’s before marketing. :wink:
Writing a novel seems easier, right? Nah, they are both hard as nails tbh.
Iterate, iterate and more endless iterating. As nothing good comes easy.
In your next life remember to spawn on a planet with lower expectations. :stuck_out_tongue: