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

Day 2: Unreal 3 11-Day Mapping Challenge

Category: Challenges, UE3/UDK
December 22, 2008



Lets continue.

Yesterday I came up with the idea and concept. Ideas are everywhere guys. Pick one that inspires you.

First I set up the terrain. The dimensions were 256x256.

Unreal 3 Terrain

Using the terrain brush tool I started from top-down view and getting the shape to the island based off of my top down sketch. This is why it is so important to have some preliminary work done ahead of time, and it only took me one day, but I know it is going to save me hours worth of work later.

I spend a lot of time getting the shape and the scale of the island just right. I’m still working on it. First try was too big, I kept making it smaller and smaller.

Unreal 3 Terrain

Unreal 3 Terrain

Unreal 3 Terrain

It took me about 5 tries to get the scale and the size of how I wanted. It definetly took the longest today.

One thing among many that I love about Unreal 3 engine is you are able to just jump in within one button push and test your map out. If its not working, hit escape, fix it and jump back in. Amazing. I just hate not having things like that when I am mapping in Hammer: Source. So convenient.

I also really quickly jumped into Maya and modeled a basic shape of the lighthouse and imported it. I just wanted to get that going.

Maya Base Mesh Started

Thing is you want to be working your whole map at the same time. Slowly bringing everything up to speed. At this stage, the block in stage you don’t want to focus on any one area for too long.

I imprted the mesh and build a bsp brush house. Making sure that the scale was correct. I constantly jumped into the game to see how it looked.

Unreal 3 Scale and size

At this stage if something wasn't right it is still easy to change it. You don't want to be refining terrain because gameplay isn't right during later stages.

Think general to specific. Large to small. There will be plenty of time later for detail passes, but not right now.

So right now that is where I am at. The shape of the terrain is where I like it. The size and scale is correct. The distance between the light house and the house is where I like it.

It was a good day.

Roughed in terrain and scale

I will probably spend the entire day tomorrow refining more of the terrain. I also need to start modeling the lighthouse and the house itself. That is planned for Day 4. Tomorrow is nothing but the terrain and more terrain.

Maybe I’ll add the water, we’ll see. I have never done water effects yet, so that might need to be started early.

Terrain tutorial was learned from Hourences’s website, here.

Go to Day 3


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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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