Join Craig Barr for an in-depth discussion in this video Blocking out the level, part of Unreal Essential Training (2016).
- Now that we have our base landscape, we want to start to populate this, or block out, our level with some simple forms and structures that represent our hero objects. Now, we don't have to crazy with this and put in every kind of little proxy object that's going to represent a final game asset, but we do need to put in some basics, and the basics are usually the hero's structures. So in this case, of our lighthouse scene, we're going to want a couple of basic things. We're going to obviously want the lighthouse, which is the central, kind of, hero structure, within in our scene, and we're going to want a couple of the surrounding objects in there.
So I think that maybe that wood or tool shed that we'll put in here, there is a car in the scene, so we'll put a base volume that represents that car. And, we'll put in, there's kind of an iconic old rowboat that hold's a lantern. Now why is this important? Well, this is important to start to formulate the overall scale and size of our level. So to do that, we want to use our geometry brushes, or our BSP, as they're referred to, binary space partitioning, objects. Before I select that, here we are in basic where there are things like cubes, spheres, cylinders, and cones, now you can certainly place objects like that in here, but BSP, or geometry brushes, offer a more dynamic creation for blocking out a level, for base shape construction, and that is, that we can use this kind of on-the-fly procedural dialing in of certain aspects of them, but also this kind of on-the-fly carving out, or filling in, much like a boolean operator would work in regular 3D modeling tools.
This simple little area, this kind of rocky point, represents our main hero area for our assets. So, our lighthouse is going to kind of sit in the middle here and kind of represent the central focal point of our scene. So let's start to work with bringing in these objects in here, so I'm going to zoom in a little bit. And I'm going to start with a simple cylinder, and I know that we want it kind of central in the middle here so let's just place that kind of right dead center of this area, and if I hit F, just to frame that in or focus in, what we can do is start to scale that overall size and structure up, get a good radius as to how big we want this lighthouse to be.
That should be fine, now, we have a couple ways that we can bring in the height of this. I can simply grab this handle here to start to scale it up, which will give me what I need to do, or, I can come within the details panel here of this cylinder brush, and simply grab the Z or the zed, overall setting here, and be able to dial that up to an overall height, now, this lighthouse needs to be quite tall so we should maybe dial it in to something around this area here, I think that's OK, we can always come back and adjust this later, and of course, with our final game asset, we can adjust around this, so that's fine, now we've brought that in, let's rename that structure to lighthouse proxy, for example, we can call it something like that just to make sure that it's labeled as a proxy object, or a simple object, for placement here.
Now one of the things I should point out, and this isn't a major deal, but just something you should keep in mind when you're working with geometry brushes, we use the option here in the detail panel to dial up the overall length of this, now the pivot for this object is dead center, so you can see it's actually extended this both ways, so down below the surface, again, not a big deal, but, if there was a chance that it could be, we could see this in camera, it's good practice to just take away the objects or the geometry that you really don't need.
So, it's just a good way of keeping your overall level maybe a little more efficient or a little cleaner. And one of the ways we can simply do that is take another box object, and just bring it in, I'm just kind of snapping it to the bottom of that object by dragging it near there, and let's just line it up, approximately, it doesn't have to be perfect dead center or anything, that's fine, but what I do want to do, is scale this up uniformly, to make something that represents a little bit of a bigger cube because we're going to use this as a subtractive way to kind of cut out or call out what we don't want to see.
Now, I don't want to go above the landscape here, obviously, because I do want that below ground. So I can just bring that down and if we go underneath here, while we have this object selected, underneath our details panel, we'll come to brush settings, brush type, and we'll change that to subtractive. Now, we've essentially booleaned or cut out that extra piece that we don't need. So, if I just hit escape actually, we can make sure we've deselected everything, and now we have an object that fits the scene a little bit better there. So that's fine, let's quickly fill in our other base kind of hero structures, now we want a little shed, down in this area here, so I'll just, scale up something that represents this kind of boxed structure, that might be a little bit too wide, we'll bring that in, we'll hit our W hot key and bring this structure up high here, that's a little bit too high, I think.
Something around that, kind of scaling, maybe bring that in a little bit. And maybe make it a little bit wider. Now you can see it's not sitting on the ground, so at any time if I want that to sit on the ground, I'll just hit my end key and it'll snap it right to the closest object which in this case is our landscape base. We can always come back and dial this in and adjust this if we need to, but let's just rough in these shapes for now. So I'm going to drag in another box, I'm going to hit the middle of my scale to get a uniform scale, and that's going to be much too big for what I need, so we'll just drag this in here, and just kind of formulate something that's representative of the volume of our object here.
You can see though that it's off-center now, now that I've rotated it, and that's because we're working in world space, and that's indicative of this little globe up here, if I click that right now, you'll see that my pivot has locked back to that. So you can see the difference when I click and unclick. Let's work in local space, or, pivot to the object, as it were, and this is going to allow me to do things like, when I rotate, I'm now rotating based on the pivot of that object, and not in world space, so that's fine. I've just undid that there, let's just take our W hot key and just make sure that we're placing this in here and essentially something big enough to represent that overall volume, maybe make it a little bit longer, that should be fine.
And lastly, we want a place in here, maybe a simple box again, that is representative of our vehicle, I want it offset in this kind of plane, so, we'll do that and we will kind of scale out the overall length of it, maybe something around that long, might be a little bit too long. And then we'll just bring out the overall kind of width, or shape of this. Should be a little bit taller, overall I think that vehicle might be a little bit too big for our scene, but we'll just bring it back here.
If I bring this up to the top here, that should be good, and, if we want something that's going to represent a little more accurately the overall shape on this, we could do a couple of things here. So if I right click on this object here, and I come down to edit, and I go to duplicate, or control W, this is going to duplicate the object as it stands, and that's useful for what I want to do here because I want to subtract or remove a piece of this box that's going to represent something like the front, kind of hood structure of this vehicle, now it doesn't have to be anything fancy, again, we're just creating something that's representative of a simple car in this case.
So, with that box selected, I'll go into my details panel, and I'll make it subtractive again, and now we've removed that. And then I'll hit control W, and duplicate that one again, and move that one to the rear of the vehicle box that we're using here, and remove that back end, so, just hit escape, so we're deselecting everything, and there's our simple little vehicle. So, let's rename this one here to be, car proxy, that's fine, this is our shed, so we can this one shed if we wanted to, double click on that, and, rename this one shed underscore proxy, as well, and then while we're at it, finally let's just, double click that and call this one RB for rowboat proxy, so we just have our simple little objects in place here, let's hit escape actually, and then use our S hot key and right mouse button just to zoom back.
And there we go, that's kind of representative of our overall scale, there are some objects that may be a little bit big, the lighthouse, for example, we might want that to be a little bit taller, we can certainly adjust that in here and fine tune it, but we now have our base blocked out level, to help us with our scale, to help us with our placement, our reference as to where these objects should be in relation to each other, and the fact that we could now use this to start formulating cameras if we wanted to, but we're going to take this now, and actually bring this out as a reference file to start working outside of Unreal with our final game assets.
- Customizing the Unreal UI
- Creating a new project
- Creating landscapes
- Blocking out levels
- Assembling a scene
- Working with materials and lights
- Adding post-processing effects
- Defining bodies of water
- Adding atmospherics, foliage, and wind
- Working with the Blueprint editor
- Creating cinematics
- Monitoring performance
- Packaging a game for distribution