No more default Static Meshes or Static Meshes created by others.
I was tired of re-using default assets. I was tired of searching for the "perfect" Static Meshes to use in my projects. I knew what I wanted, so why couldn't I just create it?
"No problem", I said. I'll just create what I need.
But I was in for a rude awakening. I wasn't ready for the amount of technical knowledge I had to learn. There was so much work involved!
Custom Static Mesh process involves multiple software and specific guidelines to follow for each step of the pipeline. You'll need to make sure your 3d modeling software is set up correctly for matching the scale and grid spacing to UE4. You'll need to model a low-poly and a high-poly mesh, UV for textures and for lightmaps, set hard/soft edges, bake Normal maps, bake Ambient Occlusion maps, create textures, materials, custom collisions, export/import using specific settings while problem-solving at every single step of the way.
The process itself is actually very straight forward once you've gone through it a couple of times. The problem is getting there. Learning what to do for each step of the pipeline is what takes so much time.
There will come a time where you no longer want to use default Static Meshes or Static Meshes created by someone else to construct your game environments. Instead, you'll want to begin create and use your own custom Static Meshes.
"UE4: Custom Static Mesh Formula" video tutorial series is going to show you how to master this process.
You probably already know this.
Static Mesh is a 3d model (game assets/game props) created in 3d modeling software (Maya LT/Maya, 3dsMax, Modo, Blender etc.), then exported and imported into Unreal Engine 4. These Static Meshes are either created by you or by someone else and it is what you'll use to construct game environments with.
Here are "The Corridor" Static Meshes used to construct the final environment. All were created in Maya LT following the "UE4 Custom Static Mesh Formula".
"Why do I need to create and use Static Meshes when I have BSP? Couldn't I just use BSP brushes or convert BSP to Static Mesh instead of creating my own custom Static Meshes?"
This question comes up a lot and the answer is no.
It is not whether you should use one or the other but at which step of the pipeline should you use BSP brushes and at which Static Meshes.
BSP Brushes are simple geometry primitives that can be created inside Unreal Engine 4. You will find BSP Brushes option under "Geometry" tab:
BSP brushes should be used early in the level design and game environment process to block-in the layout and prototype gameplay mechanics.
During this early development stage you don't need to create or use Static Meshes. You must keep focused on scale, spatial relationships, layout, flow, scripting gameplay mechanics and play-testing your level. Since a lot of your design and layout will change, you need to maintain flexibility and BSP brushes allow for quick iteration and change.
As you begin to lock down level's layout and gameplay, begin to replace BSP brushes with Static Meshes. BSP becomes a template for placing Static Meshes.
Static Meshes are optimized for UE4 and are cheaper to render than BSP brushes. Static Meshes are easier to use, to duplicate and create full game environments with. Also, you will never be able to get the detail required using BSP brushes than you can with Static Meshes.
BSP brushes were never meant to be used as final geometry. Most, if not all BSP brushes should be replaced with Static Meshes prior to shipping/releasing your level.
It doesn't mean you can't have any BSP in your finished levels. It is completely acceptable to have BSP brushes as part of your final environment. I often advise to stick to 70/30, 80/20, 90/10 or 100% ratios of Static Mesh to BSP. And if you are going to use some BSP brushes in the final map, then keep them down to a minimum and simple for geometry like as walls, floors, ceiling, columns etc.
So if you are serious about creating game environments then you need to use custom Static Meshes. You can either use Static Meshes created by others (such as from UE4 Marketplace) or you can spend the time to learn the skill for how to create your own.
Here is what you can expect learn from "UE4 Custom Static Mesh Formula".
Here is a list of all the videos included in this series. Click on the tab below to expand for more detailed info.
1st Module contains 24 videos (4 hours 18 minutes)
2nd Module contains 13 videos (1 hours 46 minutes)
Watch this video for in-depth breakdown of the formula and its process.
I know you will find UE4 Custom Static Mesh Formula very helpful with creating your own custom Static Meshes.
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Frequently asked questions. Click on each tab to see more.
Full version of Maya will work perfectly. There isn't much difference when it comes to modeling and UVing between Maya LT and Maya.
The only difference you will notice is during normal map baking. Maya LT uses Turtle Baker while Maya uses Transfer Maps. But everything else will be the same.
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