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Experienced vfx modeler here / basic workflow question

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    Experienced vfx modeler here / basic workflow question

    Hello,
    I am a fan of UT and I am considering banging out my own level. I am very experienced in 3d modelling for vfx (maya, houdini, etc), so I have no problem producing static meshes and high res assets. However, I am totally new to UE and games.

    As I build out the shell of the model, I expect to use BSP to rough out the paths so I can frequently playtest and adjust without importing/exporting. I see that the levels like Titan pass started that way too. I would expect to finalize the BSP, export the mesh to maya, then build the instanceable assets using the bsp mesh as a guide. So should the BSP continue to be used as a collision object? Is there a way to see how high res assets collision meshes are calculated? Should I be creating high res assets along with a low poly collision model to use, or will UE do a pretty good job of creating it?

    Also, does UE provide any simple or procedural methods to maintain symmetry in a map? Can one side be an instance that updates automatically, or do I just have to keep grouping, copying and rotating?

    After looking over Titan pass, frankly it is messy and disorganized (...sorry original author). The layers seem to not be used with consistency and groups appear to be non-existent. Am I missing something here, or is that just the way people choose to work in UE? Are there any other finished levels I should look at to learn best practices? Did the author just keep group selecting each side of the map and mirroring it by hand, or am I missing some awesome part of the software I have not discovered yet? Perhaps a script or something?

    Thanks
    MD

    #2
    Originally posted by mattd_luxwork View Post
    Hello,
    I am a fan of UT and I am considering banging out my own level. I am very experienced in 3d modelling for vfx (maya, houdini, etc), so I have no problem producing static meshes and high res assets. However, I am totally new to UE and games.

    As I build out the shell of the model, I expect to use BSP to rough out the paths so I can frequently playtest and adjust without importing/exporting. I see that the levels like Titan pass started that way too. I would expect to finalize the BSP, export the mesh to maya, then build the instanceable assets using the bsp mesh as a guide. So should the BSP continue to be used as a collision object? Is there a way to see how high res assets collision meshes are calculated? Should I be creating high res assets along with a low poly collision model to use, or will UE do a pretty good job of creating it?

    Also, does UE provide any simple or procedural methods to maintain symmetry in a map? Can one side be an instance that updates automatically, or do I just have to keep grouping, copying and rotating?

    After looking over Titan pass, frankly it is messy and disorganized (...sorry original author). The layers seem to not be used with consistency and groups appear to be non-existent. Am I missing something here, or is that just the way people choose to work in UE? Are there any other finished levels I should look at to learn best practices? Did the author just keep group selecting each side of the map and mirroring it by hand, or am I missing some awesome part of the software I have not discovered yet? Perhaps a script or something?

    Thanks
    MD
    As best as I can reply, and line by line:

    So should the BSP continue to be used as a collision object?

    Up to you. you can of course convert all BSP's into other volume types, like audio volumes and pertinently; blocking volumes.

    Is there a way to see how high res assets collision meshes are calculated?

    Yes, in the static mesh editor, you can have the collision displayed for you. You can also change the editor viewport to view collision, as this is (as you point out) very important.


    Should I be creating high res assets along with a low poly collision model to use, or will UE do a pretty good job of creating it?


    I would say, UET4 does a pretty good job of importing it, through the following principles: https://docs.unrealengine.com/latest...hes/#collision

    Also, does UE provide any simple or procedural methods to maintain symmetry in a map? Can one side be an instance that updates automatically, or do I just have to keep grouping, copying and rotating?


    Please be more specific re: asset/object type being used in construction and, what you process would be in generating (for example) a village, or town. My guess would be using the "Add component" option for large walls, and blue-printing things like light fittings and other repetitive minutae into Instanced Static Meshes. You will no doubt be interested in reducing draw calls and other optimisation, and this will help. Plenty of talk on this through the main UE4 rendering channels.

    After looking over Titan pass, frankly it is messy and disorganized (...sorry original author). The layers seem to not be used with consistency and groups appear to be non-existent. Am I missing something here, or is that just the way people choose to work in UE? Are there any other finished levels I should look at to learn best practices? Did the author just keep group selecting each side of the map and mirroring it by hand, or am I missing some awesome part of the software I have not discovered yet? Perhaps a script or something?

    Far be it from me to make excuses for Epic Staff, but I will say (after looking at these maps in detail in the editor) two things immediately spring to mind. Firstly, the optimisation is very even on that map for LMR and DC. As such I find it hard to agree with you. Secondly, that map was built on a prior release of the engine and perhaps (I'm guessing) they were more concerned with making a map which ran @ 120fps for the current release at the time.

    Titan Pass still runs at a very high FPS, and the visibility has held up since release and on different releases. Perhaps, if you were more specific in your criticism, and added some screenshots with arrows etc, we could reply more accurately?


    Not sure what you think you are missing. Again, please be more specific.
    Maps:

    DM-PSi ; DM-Genku ; DM-Untold Storage ; DM-Station (WIP) ; DM-HeatRay Physx (WIP)

    DM/TSD-Formidable (WIP)

    Comment


      #3
      Thank you so much for your reply. Granted, many of the questions betray the fact that I have not done enough due diligence in my RTFM responsibility. That fbx workflow link is very helpful and tells me quite a bit of how things connect.
      My criticism of the scene organization is due to not seeing things that should be logically organized in folders and no use of the layer system. I am trying to figure out how the artist performed the mirroring of bases, and as far as I can tell, it was done by hand. I would expect that you would maintain a group or layer that encompassed all of one half, so it would be really simple to propagate any changes from one half of the map to the other.
      I am going to look over the other shells and see if I can see a methodology. I am just wondering if I am missing a major shortcut step that would reduce manual work and the potential for asymmetry, but it is quite possible that it was just done by hand.
      MD

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by mattd_luxwork View Post
        Thank you so much for your reply. Granted, many of the questions betray the fact that I have not done enough due diligence in my RTFM responsibility. That fbx workflow link is very helpful and tells me quite a bit of how things connect.
        My criticism of the scene organization is due to not seeing things that should be logically organized in folders and no use of the layer system. I am trying to figure out how the artist performed the mirroring of bases, and as far as I can tell, it was done by hand. I would expect that you would maintain a group or layer that encompassed all of one half, so it would be really simple to propagate any changes from one half of the map to the other.
        I am going to look over the other shells and see if I can see a methodology. I am just wondering if I am missing a major shortcut step that would reduce manual work and the potential for asymmetry, but it is quite possible that it was just done by hand.
        MD
        Nothing wrong with asking questions, and no one is going to take a mocking stance.

        Regarding duplication of assets, you can of course use mirroring for landscapes/terrain and for everything else you can bulk select the assets you want to mirror/duplicate, and ask the engine to do so in an X, Y, Z direction. As far as I can recall, titan pass was built using the geometry tool and once tested was dispatched to the environment team for meshing and general building for final release.

        If you use ISM, there are more options: https://docs.unrealengine.com/latest...esh/index.html

        For a very large level and a small nod to your layering point, yes, there are a multitude of options for architecture and there is even a company out there IRL which builds its business on using the unreal engine 4: https://ue4arch.com/

        However, for Unreal Tournament, I believe using the geo tool, testing it, then meshing it using 'basic' tools would suffice. If and when UT4 moves in the direction of vehicles and we get large maps with control points, I believe there will be greater importance placed on blueprint architecture. For right now, you can blueprint anything you want and, Outpost23 has X, Y and Z scaler blueprints for certain static meshes, as a timesaver for the artists (taking the end points of trims being an easy one to spot in the map) but still, this map was originally built with the geo tool.

        What I'm trying to squeeze out like an uncomfortable kidney stone is: build the map in the geo tool first, let the community test it before you commit yourself to endless hours of meshing for a map no one will play

        If, however; you are making something for artistic purposes, then just go for it and ignore everything I just said!


        Maps:

        DM-PSi ; DM-Genku ; DM-Untold Storage ; DM-Station (WIP) ; DM-HeatRay Physx (WIP)

        DM/TSD-Formidable (WIP)

        Comment

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