HOW CAN I ORGANISE AND CREATE AN ENVIRONMENT IN UNREAL ENGINE 4?
Jeff Smith, Florida
Creating an environment in Unreal Engine 4 is similar to building environments in any 3D software, but there are some key points to consider to help bring realism to your project. In the following points, I will share some of the key elements for the proper organisation and creation of an environment in Unreal Engine 4:
• Always start working parallel to one of the horizontal axes, this will make the building process faster and possible corrections easier.
• If possible, use a Scale value of 1 for the object – the closer to this value the better.
• Have the stage or map centre on the world location 0,0,0, this will make movement and location of assets through the environment easier.
• Use the Unreal mannequin as a reference
of human scale in the environment.
• If a change needs to be done to any material or material instance, do a copy of the material or instance, this is to make sure that the change won’t affect somebody’s work.
• Always use reference to properly fill the environment, in this way you can increase the level of detail in the scene and make it more realistic.
• Set the LODS of the props; the quick way in UE4 is to select your static mesh, then in the LOD settings change the LOD Group to one of the presets depending on your asset (small prop, large prop, deco, etc) and enable the Auto Compute LOD Distances box. This way, you’ll also optimise the performance of the project. • Make sure to use the proper suffix; a clear workspace leads to greater efficiency and productivity, as you will be able to find what you are looking for in a couple of seconds.
In addition to the previous points, a key element worth further consideration is the optimisation of the performance in your 3D scene. Different models have different purposes in a created environment. Model significance in a project should be balanced with used polygons amount; for instance, background objects that will not be viewed in close-up don’t need to have as many polygons as objects that viewers can interact with or view closely. Check the environment in-depth and try to reduce the polygons of the models that were not needed, in this way you will improve the performance of the entire project, and you will be able to render the scene faster or run your game smoother.