UnrealEd habits

after switching over to UnrealEd, exactly a year ago, i am happy to say i still love working with it. it gives the user amazing power.

obviously, everyone has a different style, but i’d like to compare notes. this is the way i have been building with UnrealEd lately, specifically when i sit down to create a new area:

* first phase–rough creation

a) create all raw geometry–staying mainly on the 16 scale grid. mostly entering values for the brushes in expressions, like i make a cube that is 16*4, 16*4, 16*4. i vertex manipulate or use the 2d shape editor whenever i need to. i never use lightwave objects unless i need natural terrain.

then at the end of step ‘a’ i select ALL brushes and ‘transform permanently.’ from what i have seen and learned, i consider this last step *really* useful.

b) plaster down 4 or 5 simple textures–temporary floor, wall, trimming, ceiling.

c) drop a single light, adjust its values, then clone it wherever needed for ambience.

i’m thinking about modifying step ‘c’ by tagging all those lights specifically as ‘amb’ or something. that way, later, i can select all the general ambient lights for the level but NOT the small radius lights dedicated to special case situations (like a small red light under a bar sign or whatever). then, with the levels ‘general’ lights selected, i can easily experiment with different color schemes for the level.

* second phase–texturing

prior to step ‘d’ i select all textures in the level (the temporary textures i plastered down) and i align them all completely. (this makes step ‘d’ a lot easier. this habit is to textures what ‘transform permanent’ is to brushes in my opinion.)

d) work with an artist to get a custom set of textures for the level.

* third phase–lighting

e) alter all the lights i dropped in step ‘c’ so the lighting looks good with the textures.

working this way, i have seen a speed increase, i work cleaner and i seem to have more freedom because of the logical sequence. i hardly *ever* have the crashes i had when i first started and i rarely have dissappearing geometry (despite the weirdness and complexity of our game’s real-world spaces).

if you use UnrealEd and have something to say, i’d love to hear it.

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