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World of Level Design

Tutorials to Becoming the Best Level Designer and Game Environment Artist (since 2008)

Corridor Project created with UE4

Complete Guide to Exporting/Importing Environment Static Mesh Geometry from Maya into UE5

3D models in UE5 are called Static Meshes. Nearly all environments use Static Meshes to create levels in UE5; this doesn't include things like landscapes, lighting, atmosphere and particles.

There are two ways to create 3d models for UE5 or UE4:

  • External 3D modeling application such as Maya, Blender, 3DSMax, Modo
  • Modeling Mode right inside UE5

In this in-depth study guide I'll show you 4 different options for exporting your Static Meshes from Maya and import them into UE5...

UE5: 3 Methods for Blocking Out Environments and Level Designs (Includes Best One Using Dynamic Meshes)

Blockouts in UE4 used to be a simple process with BSP Brushes. But with UE5, BSP Brushes are being depreciated (although they are still available to use).

So what should you now use to create blockouts in UE5?

In UE5 you can blockout 3 different ways: BSP Brushes, Modeling Mode, Modular Meshes...

Designing Single Player Combat Areas - Level Design for 3rd Person Shooters Games as Seen in "Alan Wake"

"I am creating a level for a single player, third-person shooter game. I need to design combat/battle areas where the player encounters enemies and fights his way through. How should I approach this? What type of combat design should I incorporate? How should I design the playable space to make combat fun, one doesn't suck or gets boring?"

In single player level design you don't have to worry about timing, balance or choke points as you would in multiplayer level design.

However, you have whole other set of rules to follow...

3 Level Design Horror Principles to Induce Fear into Your Environments and Game as Seen in "Alan Wake"

Jump scare is one of the most commonly used techniques in movies and games designed to scare you. A jump scare where there is an abrupt change of an image often combined with sound.

But you can only use this a few times before it begins to lose its effectiveness. Plus it is often seen as a cheap trick to scare the player.

What you need to do instead is create a tense atmosphere to keep the player engaged, curious yet scared as they explore your game world?

Alan Wake does this well with 3 simple yet effective principles...

How to Effortlessly Guide the Player with Level Design As Seen in "Alan Wake"

Alan Wake takes place in the Pacific Northwest and features outdoor environments with mountains, forests, mining caves and abandoned towns. On top of that, most of the locations you visit are at night.

The challenge comes from designing environments in such a way that effortlessly guide the player to their next destination without them getting lost and frustrated.

In Alan Wake I rarely felt lost. Maybe a few times during combat but I was always able to orient myself back on path.

How does the game guide the player through nighttime forest environments?

Master Class in Level Design Storytelling - 6 Secrets I Learned from Playing "Alan Wake"

Alan Wake 2 is coming in October. So I wanted to replay the original Alan Wake from 13 years ago.

I wanted to learn how Remedy created the single-player, story driven experience and how this influenced its level design.

I walked away with 12-pages of notes.

In this massive post and video breakdown we’ll go deep into storytelling secrets and how Alan Wake crafted its level design to tell a story...

Maya: Quick Tip Tutorials Part 2 (Tips #11-20)

The following quick tips series is created for beginners and experts using Maya. These are quick useful tips to help improve and show techniques you may have not known or forgotten about.

All videos are very short, between 1-5 minutes.

The following Part 2 includes 10 quick tips...

Substance Painter: Making a Simple Trim Texture for Props (Maya/UE5)

Trim sheets are one of the best ways to texture multiple props and environment assets.

In this tutorial I will show you how to create a simple trim texture for props that contains wood and metal using Maya, Substance Painter and UE5.

You can use this method to create any other trim sheet that contains 2 different surface types.

Miami Corner Store - Part 3/3: UVing Everything (Free Maya/UE4 Course)

"Miami Corner Store" was going to be a full step-by-step tutorial course to creating a building environment set in Miami using Maya and UE4. Unfortunately it never got finished. Out of 7 modules, I completed 3. I've decided to release the completed videos to you for free.

Let's get to Part 3/3: Maya UVing.

Part 3 of Miami Corner Store is focused on UVing everything to get it ready for texturing. You'll see the UVing process from unwrapping every single modeled geometry to final UV layout...

Miami Corner Store - Part 2/3: Modeling Everything (Maya/UE4)

"Miami Corner Store" was going to be a full step-by-step tutorial course to creating a building environment set in Miami using Maya and UE4. Unfortunately it never got finished. Out of 7 modules, I completed 3. I've decided to release the completed videos to you for free.

Let's get to Part 2/3: Maya Modeling.

Part 2 of Miami Corner Store is focused on modeling the building and all its details using MayaLT/Maya. You will see the entire modeling process...

Miami Corner Store - Part 1/3: Preproduction and Blockout (Maya/UE4)

"Miami Corner Store" was going to be a full step-by-step tutorial course to creating a building environment set in Miami using Maya and UE4. Unfortunately it never got finished. Out of 7 modules, I completed 3. I’ve decided to release the completed videos to you for free.

Let's get to Part 1/3: Blockout...

Maya: How to Create Spiral Geometry Along the Curve (Works for Wires, Chains and More)

Creating simple wires or cables that follow a curve is simple. You either use Extrude Along the Curve or Sweep Mesh.

But how do you create more complex geometry to follow a curve such as spiral wires or chains?

The answer is to use some of the Maya's animation tools...

Maya: 3-Step Process to UV Unwrap Complex Cylindrical, Curved, Organic Geometry Quickly

3 step method I use to Unwrap organic, cylindrical shapes quickly. Perfect for wires, ropes, cables, organic curved shapes and more...

Maya: Difference Between UV Sew VS Move and Sew VS Stitch Together

There are 3 primary UV sewing methods you will use in Maya. Sew, Move/Sew and Stitch Together. I use them all but there are differences between each...

Maya: How to Properly Use Automatic Unwrap to Quickly UV Your Assets

If you've been UVing in Maya then you already know about Automatic Unwrap. It's a way to UV your assets quickly by running one command.

But most beginners make the mistake of using Automatic Unwrap and calling it done...

Let's Model #5: Office Furniture Props - Wooden Bookshelf, Cabinet, Desk

Let's Model three office furniture props - wooden bookshelf, wooden cabinet and a wooden desk.

Substance Painter: Complete Guide to Download, Import and Use New Materials to Texture With (3 Ways)

Substance Painter comes with a decent amount of starter content materials to use. But there are many material types it doesn't have. You will find yourself wanting to have more.

Here is how to download, import or install and start using new materials in Substance Painter...

Substance Painter: Quick Exercise to Help You Prototype, Experiment and Decide on Materials

Experiment more. Try textures that don't fit into theme of your environment. New ideas reveal themselves you wouldn't think of otherwise.

There are times when you're working on an environment and modeling assets but you haven't figured out how you want to texture them.

Take some time and experiment with this exercise...

Maya: The Complete Guide to Using Sweep Mesh - Techniques and Tricks

Sweep Mesh tool will create a polygonal mesh from a curve in few clicks.

In previous tutorial I showed you how to Extrude Along a Curve but Sweep Mesh tool will do this a lot quicker with a lot more procedural options.

Let's cover Sweep Mesh tool in detail...

Maya: Complete Guide to Extrude Along a Curve Techniques and Tips

Extrude Along a Curve is a modeling technique used to create cables, ropes, wires, tentacles, branches and more.

You draw a curve then you extrude a set of faces to follow that curve to create your polygonal shape.

In this tutorial you will learn how to use Extrude Along a Curve technique and additional tricks and secrets that I haven't seen shared...

UE5: Complete Guide to Player Scale, Environment Dimensions and Creating to Proportions

Number one mistake beginner's make is creating environments that are either too small or too big.

The entire scale of the world and its proportions are off and you can easily tell when you see it.

When you begin working on a new environment, you need to know the player and world geometry dimensions to avoid problems with scale.

In this post you will learn all the dimensions you need for creating to correct scale...

UE5: Crash Course Quick-Start Guide to Begin Using Unreal Engine 5 - TODAY

The biggest frustration with UE5 is the "magnitude" of the engine.

It has so many tools, functions, parameters, editors and plugins. By the time you open the editor and ready to create, you are already overwhelmed by its complexity.

Before you try to create an environment or a game, you need to focus on the essentials of the engine. These include editor's interface, viewport navigation, using different viewport modes, project management, using the Content Browser, working with objects in the editor and creating very simple levels using Starter Content and much more. This is step 1.

This tutorial guide will give you the necessary steps to start using UE5 - TODAY...

Now Out - "UE5: Fundamentals Vol.1" Tutorial Course

Begin your journey with UE5,

Being completely new to UE5, you need to learn the fundamentals - the essentials of the engine.

Do not waste time trying to "mess around with UE5 and figure out how to use it" on your own.

I will teach you Unreal Engine 5 as a complete beginner with zero knowledge of the engine and without any prior experience...

UE5: 11 Principles to Learning and Using UE5 as a Complete Beginner

At first glance, UE5 interface looks simple. But the more you learn, the more you discover a massively complex piece of software.

In this post I will outline how to begin learning UE5 so you have a good foundation to build on. This way you can begin using it rather than being overwhelmed by it.

Here are 11 core principles you need to know about for learning UE5 from scratch...

Maya/UE5: How to Export/Import UE5 Mannequin to Maya for Scale Reference

I'm going to show you how to get UE5 scale Mannequins exported from Unreal Engine and imported into your 3D modeling software.

In my case I will use Maya.  But it will work in other software such as Blender, 3DSMax and others.

UE5: How to Add Additional Game Templates Into Existing Projects to Prototype in Third or First Person

In this tutorial I'm going to show you how to add an additional Game Templates into an existing project.  I do this to all of my projects because I want to have the ability to prototype and playtest in either Third Person or First Person game mode.

Let's Model #4: Metal Folding Chair Prop

Let's model a metal folding chair prop. Perfect for set dressing a cafeteria or a break room environment.

Let's Model #3: Modular Sci-Fi Doorway and Door (Maya Modeling for UE5)

Let's model a modular sci-fi doorway with a door that can be opened or closed.

Let's Model #2: Low-Poly Modular Sci-Fi Wall with Rounded Windows (Maya Modeling)

Let's model Half-Life 2 inspired wooden supply crate. One of the most iconic props to have been created for a game.

Let's Model #1: Wooden Supply Crate - HL2 Inspired (Maya Modeling for UE5)

Let's model Half-Life 2 inspired wooden supply crate. One of the most iconic props to have been created for a game.

In-Depth Overview: How to Batch Export Using Maya Game Exporter for UE5/UE4

Exporting large number of Static Meshes is tedious and time-consuming, especially when you are working with a lot of modular meshes. Too much time is spent on exporting such as moving objects to World Origin, renaming, moving them back, then repeating the steps for the rest of the models.

But there is a much easier way,

Maya Game Exporter can automate the export process for you. If you haven't used Maya Game Exporter, after this tutorial you will especially for a large set of modular meshes...

UE5: How to Create Your First Project and Launch the Editor

After you've downloaded and installed the latest version of Unreal Engine 5, you need to create a project in order to launch the UE5 editor and begin creating.

Here is how...

UE5: How to Download and Install UE5 in 5 Minutes

I will tell you how to download and install the latest version of UE5, including any older versions of UE in just 5 minutes.

Here is how...

4 Primary 3D Modeling Methods Every Beginner Needs to Know About

There are 4 primary modeling methods you need to know about. Polygonal, Subdivision, Sculpting and NURB/Curve modeling. Well, sculpting is not technically modeling but it does produce a mesh and is a very important part of 3d asset creation. I will explain more.

Each is used for a specific end result but there are many overlaps. In fact all 4 of these could be used within a single asset creation. But usually you isolate each of these into its unique modeling methods to get the job done.

Let's break these down one-by-one and get into it more...

Modeling Better Windows for Environment Design in Maya (5-Part Series)

How do you model better windows for environments in Maya?

In this 5-part series I will show you how.

We will model a total of 23 different types of windows. From fixed to hung, sliding, bay, circular and arch. All will be created within a modular wall. You will also learn how to detach the windows so they are separate piece of geometry.

Lots of techniques, tips and tools are covered in this 5-part series. Let's begin...

Overcome Feeling Overwhelmed, Stuck and Wanting to Quit 3D Art

Becoming a 3d artist puts you on the road of constantly feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, wanting to quit and thinking you will never become a great 3d artist.

You will constantly ask yourself "Is this really for me? Will I ever actually learn this? Will I ever be good enough to create the work I see others create?"

The path for 3d artist is paved with experiencing the highest highs and the lowest lows. More projects will be incomplete than the ones you do complete.

So, how do you get over the feeling of overwhelm and frustration when learning and becoming a 3d artist?

Secrets to Getting Started with Maya as Complete Beginner 3D Artist

Every 3d artist needs to learn modeling software but once you begin you will hit road block after roadblock.

If you are completely new to Maya and have no clue where to start, this post will tell you.

Here are the secrets to learning Maya every beginner needs to know...

Focus On These 11 Modeling Tools to Get Started with Maya for Beginners

You only need to know 11 modeling tools to get started modeling in Maya. With these you'll be able to model most of environments and props.

Focus on mastering these 11 first.

Now Out - "Maya Foundation: Home-Study Course" Tutorials

The massive "Maya Foundation: Home Study Course" is now available for download.

It is the Complete Beginner's Guide to Learning Maya Modeling and UVing:

  • No prior 3d experience/modeling knowledge required
  • Learn Maya modeling and UVing as a complete beginner
  • Save thousands of dollars from attending college classes
  • Save months of wasted time watching irrelevant YouTube tutorials
  • 65+ videos
  • 18+ hours

Deep diving into Maya...

How to Get Maya to Learn It and Use It - 4 Ways (For Indie Devs, Freelancers, Hobbyists and Students)

There are 4 ways to get Maya to learn it, to use it and to create with...

18 Crucial Mistakes Beginners Make Using Maya - How to Fix Them and Avoid Them

As a beginner you will make a lot of mistakes and not know how to fix them. One of the most frustrating things about learning Maya is accidently pressing a shortcut key then not knowing how to disable it.

In this post I will show you most common mistakes a beginner makes, how to avoid them and how to fix them.


Subscribe to receive NEW/UPDATED and FREE "UE5 Beginner's Quick Start Guide" PDF (90 pages).

Subscribe and Get Free UE5 PDF Guide

Visit this page for more info about the guide...

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About World of Level Design

My name is AlexG. I am self-taught level designer, game environment artist and the creator of World of Level Design.com. I've learned everything I know from personal experimentation and decades of being around various online communities of fellow environment artist and level designers. On World of Level Design you will find tutorials to make you become the best level designer and game environment artist.

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