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zastels

UE4 and Blender - BSP style is a must

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I could be talking out of my ass here, but I think Zastels main gripe is that UE4 doesn't have an "internal" grid, like Hammer or older engines used to have, meaning, if you fall out of the grid you can snap back easily. This is also the reason why I prefer Maya much more than 3ds max. In Maya if you hold X and move a component in any direction it snaps to the nearest grid step, doesn't matter which direction, Maya always "knows" where the next grid step is, whereas in Max, you need to snap to the grid drawn on the viewport, meaning, instead of snapping the component to an internal grid, 3dsmax "looks" at the viewport and snaps the component to the nearest grid point your cursor is pointing. This means that you can't really snap vertically in the perspective viewport, because the grid plane in that one is 2d (only X and Y), you can't snap if the grid is too small and sometimes you can't snap at all because of the angle your viewport is. Again, I could be talking out of my ass because I didn't program these tools, but at least that's the impression I get when working with them.

Unreal 4 could benefit greatly from a feature we have on the Overwatch editor: A hotkey to snap a selection to the pivot of another object, this way you can at least put a piece back on the same grid as the rest (so you don't end up with pieces in different grids, sometimes this is OK, but sometimes these tiny gaps drive me crazy).

Zastel, you should post your feedback on the Epic forum, maybe they will listen if a lot of people bring it up. I'm pretty sure I posted the same thing there at some point.

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8 hours ago, Minos said:

I could be talking out of my ass here, but I think Zastels main gripe is that UE4 doesn't have an "internal" grid, like Hammer or older engines used to have, meaning, if you fall out of the grid you can snap back easily. This is also the reason why I prefer Maya much more than 3ds max. In Maya if you hold X and move a component in any direction it snaps to the nearest grid step, doesn't matter which direction, Maya always "knows" where the next grid step is, whereas in Max, you need to snap to the grid drawn on the viewport, meaning, instead of snapping the component to an internal grid, 3dsmax "looks" at the viewport and snaps the component to the nearest grid point your cursor is pointing. This means that you can't really snap vertically in the perspective viewport, because the grid plane in that one is 2d (only X and Y), you can't snap if the grid is too small and sometimes you can't snap at all because of the angle your viewport is. Again, I could be talking out of my ass because I didn't program these tools, but at least that's the impression I get when working with them.

Unreal 4 could benefit greatly from a feature we have on the Overwatch editor: A hotkey to snap a selection to the pivot of another object, this way you can at least put a piece back on the same grid as the rest (so you don't end up with pieces in different grids, sometimes this is OK, but sometimes these tiny gaps drive me crazy).

Zastel, you should post your feedback on the Epic forum, maybe they will listen if a lot of people bring it up. I'm pretty sure I posted the same thing there at some point.

I remember this really, really bothering me when I went to use UE4 and to a certain extent when I first started out with 3DSMax.

It's probably hard for people who haven't used Hammer a lot to relate, but you and I know that Hammer really does make the process of creating/placing geometry and props feel so precise that when you remove that grid, it tends to create a lot of frustration and anxiety about how things are fitting together. Anecdotally, a lot of UE stuff looks really sloppy upon close inspection, you can see it in old Bioshock games for example, that sense that things aren't really placed symmetrically or cleanly, they feel slapped together and stabbing into eachother. I would have to go back to UE4 for a bit to comment in more detail, but good Hammer work has a crispness to it that is exemplified by that precise workflow, IMO.

One thing that helped me overcome this is that 3DSMax essentially *does* have a grid, it's the coordinates on the bottom and I believe that helped me to stay grounded. Overtime I got used to aligning things more along the axis I'm working with, keeping my geo neatly along the axis functions a lot like the grid that I desperately missed. Maybe people are missing that aspect of using Max, it's something that maybe has to be sort of explained to users coming from a Hammer background.

In the long run being free from the grid is liberating, but it's something like a large grid is your "training wheels", the you move down to the 1 unit grid and feel very clever, ultimately going off the grid completely allows for so much additional freedom that you don't really want or need when you're just starting off, all it does is overwhelm and confuse. It probably doesn't help that the last time I tried to use UE4's "brush" BSP system, it was complete and utter dogshit, the worst ever system for creating simple cubes.

Anyway, feel free to leak that whole Overwatch editor anytime now...

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^agreed

 

The co-ordinate system in UE is using some kind of hierarchical floating-point mathematics. It just has to be. There is no way an object 400x100x200 placed onto the grid next to another should be listed as being an irrational number in the x,y,z space.

I'm totally guessing here, but they are using binary-space partitioning calculations for non-hierachical objects? I just can't figure out where/why these light leaks occur, or, why stuff 'moves'. I snap something to grid, go for a walk, come back and from nowhere, a gremlin has gone into the editor and moved an object a near-infinitesimal distance - murdering FLOPS, and probably contributing to memory leaks (not that I know). It just drives me mad!

How can they fix this? Re-write the co-ordinate system? All this is beyond me...on so many levels, but as mentioned, my OCD gland is wearing out.

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I don't really like UE4 brush system (it's slow and cumbersome), inability to apply per-face materials easily and the fact that brushes have pivot points. It could sound handy at a first glance but in reality it will mess up geometry big time.

Though you actually can achieve pretty clean geometry.

At first, check this setting in Editor Preferences - Move BSP Pivot Offset Automatically. It will make your geo a little bit cleaner.

image.png.388d1bc7a7740120411956bfade95ed9.png

Other tips:

  • Don't move brushes in Object Mode. At all. Especially don't rotate and scale. It will set your brush off the grid forever. Therefore always work in Brush Edit Mode (Ctrl-5) and with decent grid size (50 or more).
  • Use quad view. That makes brush manipulation that much easier.
    The way I work like that is this - in any orthogonal view select verts with left click drag and move by ctrl-left click drag. Move entire brush by deselecting all selected verts. That way your verts should be always on the grid.
  • Copy brushes quickly by alt-drag in Brush Edit Mode.

The result:

image.png.63f8bca783d28477c569f6d94d12a102.png

 

That workflow could be almost like quake editor/hammer at times... but still not quite. Epic should improve on their brush tools for sure.

I have an idea to make an addon for UE4 to make brush editing similar to Trenchbroom/Reflex editor writing custom edit mode. But I didn't research on this topic yet.

Edited by Ubuska

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You could also have a try at the new mesh editor, by enabling it in the console

MeshEditor.Enable

That'll open it up as a new tool next to the GEO tool, but...I cannot state this enough...it is beyond usable right now, and is extremely experimental. The reason I suggest it is in the hope you will feedback to Epic Games regarding the UI/UX, as this is something they are going to run through when they can. So yah, it's not gone through the UI/UX department at all, but will do very soon, according to the Trello page for UE4.

I just spent an hour going through the functions as it is, and omfg, it really is bad - but that is to be expected, and is a great opportunity for everyone and anyone to give info to Epic Games, because they really want a new static mesh editor in the engine. They also want (my feeling) to have a kick-ass level editing tool. They need help, and if interested, step up and put forward what you want and why. They love that kind of stuff.

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6 hours ago, Mitch Mitchell said:

they really want a new static mesh editor in the engine. They also want (my feeling) to have a kick-ass level editing tool. They need help, and if interested, step up and put forward what you want and why. They love that kind of stuff.

Don’t get me wrong, this is great and everyone with experience should pitch in.

Just with everyone pretty much referring to Hammer as the BSP editor of reference, it seems pretty easy to go on and replicate it, then improve on its limitations (which could be non-existing from the get go when using an engine like this).

One thing is that is quite difficult to explain in words what people want, it would be awesome to be able to put together something visual, possibly animated, to perfectly explain.

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On 9/4/2018 at 10:56 AM, zastels said:

Does anybody have any suggestions, a plugin or maybe a feature I could use I'm not aware of? 

 

 

Not perhaps what you were thinking of, but CryEngine does have the 'Designer Tool' which (although not mentioned much) is a very powerful level design tool for blocking out all the way to final polygons...and I think you should look into it.

 

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On 9/4/2018 at 1:15 PM, General Vivi said:

I think @Castle might have some suggestions or insight.

Oh god I can go on for hours about this topic.

All of Revulsion was built with barely any actual brushwork too. My main issue with brush work stems from the fact that modern level design requires a breath of detail that is hard to obtain with brushes. However meshes need to take up specific blocks of space which means that geometry built without those aspects in mind you end up having to almost rebuild the entire level to make it look pretty. One of the main things that happens in modern level design where the designer does a "blockout" is the blockout is handed to the environment artist who then is basically tasked with changing everything with the goal of changing as little as possible.

After awhile of experiencing this catastrophic mess of logic I have just grown to say that its better to force the level designer to work with the shapes that wont make the environment artists life a living hell.

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8 hours ago, Castle said:

Oh god I can go on for hours about this topic.

All of Revulsion was built with barely any actual brushwork too. My main issue with brush work stems from the fact that modern level design requires a breath of detail that is hard to obtain with brushes. However meshes need to take up specific blocks of space which means that geometry built without those aspects in mind you end up having to almost rebuild the entire level to make it look pretty. One of the main things that happens in modern level design where the designer does a "blockout" is the blockout is handed to the environment artist who then is basically tasked with changing everything with the goal of changing as little as possible.

After awhile of experiencing this catastrophic mess of logic I have just grown to say that its better to force the level designer to work with the shapes that wont make the environment artists life a living hell.

I think a good LD should be able to tell when it makes sense to use a tileset or brushes (while still adhering to an agreed grid system) for blockouts. It makes sense to use tilesets when you are going to build 50 corridors or rooms that are going to be very similar in style. But you will find yourself constrained when it comes to hero locations or locations that require an architectural style that the existing tileset(s) was not built for. 

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