Workflows for Level Blockouts?

I plan on becoming a level designer, and I want to learn and focus on Unreal Engine 4 and Unity. I also want to learn various workflows and standard practices that are used in the industry. But I don’t know which way(s) to approach blocking out/prototyping levels for level design.

I’ve heard people say to use 3d modeling apps like Maya or 3ds Max, and others say to use BSP in Unreal Engine 4. But I’ve also heard that BSP should be avoided. I also plan on making different types of levels/genres (in UE4/ Unity): Singleplayer, Multiplayer, FPS, Puzzle, Open World, etc. So I feel that there would be different workflows to consider for the different types of levels/genres.

Questions:

  1. Is there a standard or widely used workflow for prototyping/blocking out levels in the industry? Does the process completely vary from company to company?

  2. How do you decide which workflow/process of prototyping/ blocking out the level to use for the project/level that you are working on? (Are you told how to go about doing it?)

  3. What process/workflow would you use for prototyping/blocking out different types of levels/genres?

  4. For Unity: Is ProBuilder worth using/learning? I want to learn workflows and standard practices that are used in the industry. (So if this is never used, then I don’t want to use this tool)

Other threads of interest:

https://www.epicgames.com/unrealtournament/forums/showthread.php?18571-So-Epic-Lets-talk-about-BSP

Thank you.

Anyone know?

Well since this is posted in an Unreal 4 forum then it should be noted up front that Unreal 4 is still very much an in progress engine in development rather than a choice as to an engine that could be assumed is completed as far as functionality goes so with each new release there are new tool additions and improvements that can be used to improve work flow habits.

I mentioned this because it should be assumed since the release of Unreal 4.0 those who use the engine are also part of the development of the engine based on usable features added either by request or improvements added by community coders who have access to the engine source code.

To me about 4.8 it became clear that the direction UE4 was heading as more about usability features being added to each release as far as improvements to the engine that Unreal 4 will always be Unreal 4 no matter the iteration number.

Overall Unreal 4 is the first engine that I know of that is taking a more modular approach as a world builder with a real time sub component that is not just limited as to a need or requirement of building a video game.

I also mentioned this as my background is as a 3D artist in general and the Unreal 4 engine is the first engine that I’ve come across that does not place hard coded obstacles and favors production pipeline and work flows with much more complicated requirements as needed to make for example a full length animated feature film.

There is no standard but there is a common thread as to the need for a source chain, not to be confused with source control, where there is a pathway connection between assets being iterated and content being used in a level. Vary from company to company probably but the solution in most cases is to lock asset access via source control that does not work well with Internet based teams.

Well usually there is this thing called the development bible that describes the specifications and requirements (aka rules) of how code and content have to be structured to feed the pipeline and most of these types of work flows are designed to prevent a crew of 400 or so from messing things up as well prevent new hires from making expected mistakes on a live pipeline.

Well to start with as an Internet based project we run a separate Content SVN separate from the game actual so as to ensure that the game always compiles with out errors and then migrate the assets over as owner based projects. The actual workflow as far as prototyping goes is left up to the owner as to what would the be best approach that works for them and if they do manage to break something as part of the commit then no harm done as it’s limited to their sand box.

Important info as where stuff goes is a bit more important as far as building a level goes as it does become the one thing that changes the ideals of level design as to best practice.

As an example here is my workflow for a level conversion.

EP1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1K5wiJv7LlQ
EP2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HkuHkgJO-Qk
EP3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uqHfkW3DIRg
EP4: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zk7Mav5Q1Jg
EP5: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nyOZyXzQv0I

It should be noted that this was a year ago and with UE4.12 it can now import scene data directly from 3ds Max so once again a feature that I may need to update my current workflow.

Well if you want to learn something then I would have to say you would benefit more by looking for more general use applications that makes use of the FBX DCC work flow than limiting yourself to a single tool designed with a single direction use.

This is my opinion.

BSP is on the cutting edge of obsolesce by design as it use has always been determined based on demand and not as an option available via the ever expanding tools made available to craft of 3D in general.

Sorry for being wordy but UE4 is not about standards but where it should be a year from now based on need . :smiley:

Thank you for the reply. I appreciate it.

But if you don’t use BSP, what would you do to blockout your level from scratch? How would you iterate it?

There is a marketplace pack called Supergrid https://www.unrealengine.com/marketplace/supergrid-starter-pack . It makes prototyping very easy. Check it out. But that is UE4 specific as for Unity, I am not sure.

Epic sometimes use BSP to create blocking volumes that surround modular meshes.
But I prefer to use modular meshes solely, as they’re fast and flexible placeholders.
Afterwards use Merge-Actors to combine them in order to streamline the level etc.

But whatever path you take, try and leave room for learning your-own-style…
Many learn the form to industry standards, but then can’t leave it all behind.
The end result is lots of very samey looking levels / games which does limit you.

You cannot like bsp but Nothig is more faster for blockout that bsp.