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

UDK Basics Getting Started in 11 Steps Part 1/3

Category: UDK
June 22, 2010

UDPATE: This tutorial has been UPDATED with a new version - UDK: 22 Steps to Getting Started with UDK (in Less Than 30 Minutes)

UDK Basics

UDK Basics covers the most essential tools and functions you need to know to get started with UDK. You'll be able to quickly jump into UDK and begin feeling comfortable using the most commonly used functions. UDK beginner tutorials.

UDK Basics Getting Started in 11 Steps Part 1/3

UDK Basics Getting Started in 11 Steps Part 2/3

UDK Basics Getting Started in 11 Steps Part 3/3

Note: UDK March 2010 was used in this tutorial. Some functions have changed, but the general ideas of the tutorial still apply. Principles are the same.

Click here to watch new updated version of this tutorial.

In UDK Basics Part 1/3 you'll learn:

  • UDK Download and Installation
  • Folder Structures, Launching the Editor and Creating Editor Shortcuts
  • Auto-Save Function
  • How to Use the Content Browser


Download latest version of UDK here.

Once you download the UDK Installer, go ahead and install the UDK. The default
directory for installing UDK is C:\UDK\UDK-VersionRelease

Version Release will be the month and year of the UDK built that you downloaded.


UDK Basics

1. Binaries: game/binary executables
2. Development: source code for UDK
3. Engine: engine files
4. UTGame: game files, for level design and environment creation the important folder here is content folder. The packaged environments assets such as models, textures, materials, sounds and such are stored here.

For Environment Creation and Level Design most important folder is UTGame --> Content --> Environments. It contains all files you need to create your map.

UDK Basics

  • .UPK extension is the UDK packages name. This is how the models, textures are stored in UDK. Think of .UPK extension as folders. Inside those folders are all the models, animations, textures, materials and similar assets are stored. You can browse the .UPK files through the UDK Editor.
  • .UDK is the map file extension.


To Launch the UnrealEditor go to Start Menu -->Unreal Development Kit --> UDK Version --> Editor

UDK Basics

Another way to launch the editor is to create a shortcut. Go to the installation folder C:\UDK\YourUDKVersion \Binaries\

Locate UDKLift.exe

Right Click and Select Send to Desktop.

UDK Basics

Once on you have shortcut created on your desktop Right Click the shortcut and select properties. Then in the target box under the shortcut tab add "editor" at the end of the text.

It should look something like this.

UDK Basics

Now double-click on the desktop icon and launch the UDK Editor.


When you first launch the editor you will have Auto-Save automatically enabled. This will save your map at a chosen timed interval. You can set how often it will automatically save by LMB clicking on the arrow on bottom right, Autosave Interval and choosing the time you want.

You will find the Auto-Save feature on the bottom right of the editor. If you enable auto-save, there are a few options such as Interval and Type.

UDK Basics

Save manually by going up to File --> Save As


Content Browser is where you will find of the game's assets. Placing static meshes (models), textures, sounds, game entities such as player starts, weapons etc can all be done through the Content Browser. You will be using Content Browser very often.

To open Content Browser click on the top menu bar.

UDK Basics

Packages is where you will find specific items contained within the UDK. Things like static meshes are contained within a package. You can search for a package or just find the package you want o use and select it.

UDK Basics

Top of the Content Browser contains a search box as well as Filter box. This is very useful. You can sort out the content in the browser by animation sets, material instances, static meshes, sounds etc. This helps a lot when looking for items.

Box below lists full names of the items within a selected package. You can sort by clicking on the name; type, tags or path and it will re-arrange the content's preview.

UDK Basics

Content Browser is one of the most commonly used tools in UDK. Get comfortable using the Content Browser. Spend some time navigating around it.

UDK Basics Getting Started in 11 Steps Part 1/3

UDK Basics Getting Started in 11 Steps Part 2/3

UDK Basics Getting Started in 11 Steps Part 3/3

Note: UDK March 2010 was used in this tutorial. Some functions have changed, but the general ideas of the tutorial still apply. Principles are the same.


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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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