- Modern game engines present unique opportunities for interior designers and architects doing Design Visualization. Rather than say to a client, "Here's your design in a picture," you can say instead, "Come walk through your new office. "Come experience the space, open the doors, "see what it's like at your desk." It provides a way for a client to navigate through and really experience that design. I've opened up the Epic Games Launcher and I'm going to Launch the Unreal Engine, creating a project and then bringing content in.
I'll click on the Launch button. This opens up the Unreal Project browser and in here, we can see we've got two different tabs, Projects, which lists past projects we've worked on, for example, and New Project. I'll click on the New Project tab and I've got options here, either C++ or Blueprint.
The difference here is if you've got an integrated development environment along with Unreal, such as Microsoft Visual Studio. Those allow you to get deeper in the code in C++. For our purposes, though, we'll just use a Blueprint template, which allows us a good deal of interactivity using a node-based system called Blueprint inside Unreal. I'll make a FirstPerson Blueprint as this will give me a default FirstPerson controller to run around my design. I'm going to make sure I've got No Starter Content selected as I don't want to have rocks and doors and so forth that come with Unreal.
Instead I want, effectively, almost a blank project. I'm working to the Desktop or Console at maximum quality and I'm ready to browse to my Exercise Files folder and create this project. I browse to the folder and what I'm going to do is name this project U01_01. The reason for the U there is that Unreal doesn't like to have a number to start the name of a project so I'm going to put U for Unreal, M for Maya and D for 3ds Max, for example so that I can find the different projects I'm working in.
I'll hit Create Project and then Unreal will create that project and open up the Unreal Editor. As we can see, Unreal now shows it's opening, in the Editor, my project, U01_01. This is the Unreal Editor and I've got a FirstPerson Template available.
We can see our FirstPersonCharacter here in the view holding Alt and clicking the left mouse field to orbit around. There's also a default Arena with some white cubes and a label, FirstPerson Template. What I'll do to begin is start taking out some of those pieces. I'll select the Cubes, picking Cubes, scrolling down and holding Shift and picking LargeCube2 and pressing Delete. I'm using my World Outliner here where everything going on in the World is organized by name and by folder, if needed.
I'll also take out the Arena and, while I'm at it, I'll make sure that there's nothing else left in here that might interfere. It looks pretty good. What I've got going on is the Basic Lighting, a Daylight system, some Render FX, AtmosphericFog and GlobalPostProcess for a effects such as depth of field and a basic SphericReflectionCapture, which gives us the ability to capture reflections and put them on objects as if we were dynamically generating reflections. There's also my FirstPersonCharacter and a SkySphere.
Lastly, I'll take out that TemplateLabel and I'm ready to modify that character. The default character is made for, well, Unreal, where you are running around in an arena with other players. I'm going to modify this a bit by editing that blueprint. We can see in here in this World Outliner, we have the ability to edit this FirstPersonBlueprint right here by clicking on the link. I'll click EditFirstPerson. This opens up the Blueprint editor. The advantage to starting with a FirstPersonCharacter is it has some of the pieces we need already in here.
I'll press the right mouse button to pan over and we can see here we've got a Stick input, a Mouse input and Movement, for example, Jumping and down here is a Spawn projectile. I'm going to take out this whole section, selecting the Comment, or background, pressing Delete and then selecting all of these nodes here and deleting them. Now I need to take out some other parts. I'll press Compile in here to recompile that blueprint and close that FirstPersonCharacter.
The arms and weapon are still there and I'm going to go into the default folders for the FirstPersonBP and start taking out pieces. I'll going into Meshes and there's a CubeMesh, which I'll delete and also the FirstPerson Projectile and FirstPersonCube. When I press Delete, I get a Delete Assets window that says, "Would you like to Force Delete?" as these are linked into other things. I'm going to force it as I don't need those objects in here.
Now, I'll look in the Character section and there's my FirstPerson mesh as well as my FirstPerson animation. Double-clicking on any of these shows them in the Skeletal Mesh editor and there's the arms. I'll delete those, forcing a delete and finally, I'll delete that animation. Now my FirstPersonCharacter is ready. There's a capsule collider in here and that allows me to, well, collide with my world.
There's also a camera, and this way I can navigate around like a person and see from that view. It's got the movement options on it and it's ready to run around the design. At this point, we're ready to start bringing in our assets. I've created models in both 3ds Max and Maya to show how the workflow works with each package. I've also got textures I've made in Photoshop and I've taken them all out as FBX and TARGA files. By extension, you could bring in files from Revit, for example, or SketchUp, and run around a design that way.
The Unreal product is ready to move and nothing more at the moment. There's actually no floor in it, nothing really in here to hold the player. We're just simply a point in space, ready to run around.
- Customizing a player controller
- Importing meshes
- Cloning and placing objects
- Creating sheens, metals, and glass materials
- Placing and adjusting lights
- Adding interactivity with colliders, triggers, and events
- Generating and sculpting terrain
- Placing trees
- Adding details
- Publishing the design