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Mastering Unreal Technology, Volume I: Introduction to Level Design with Unreal Engine 3

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Mastering Unreal Technology, Volume I: Introduction to Level Design with Unreal Engine 3

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About

Features

Readers will master essential tools and techniques including: BSP brushes, static meshes, the creation of surface materials and lighting, and the setup process for terrain - everything they need to create convincing environments. Building on the basics, the authors introduce several advanced aspects of level creation, including: Kismet visual scripting for automating in-game events and reactions; the Matinee animation system; procedures for optimizing gameplay levels; and the use of level streaming to create seamlessly blended worlds out of multiple levels.

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Description

  • Copyright 2010
  • Dimensions: 7-3/8" x 9-1/8"
  • Edition: 1st
  • Book
  • ISBN-10: 0-672-32991-3
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-672-32991-3

Mastering Unreal Technology, Volume I: Introduction to Level Design with Unreal Engine 3 is your start-to-finish guide to modding and level design with the world’s hottest new gaming engine: Unreal Engine 3. Here’s everything you need to know to jumpstart your skills and create stunning new content and games for consoles and PCs alike! Your authors aren’t just the world’s #1 Unreal game development trainers: They’ve even built the training modules that shipped with Unreal Tournament 3: Limited Collector’s Edition. Now, working with the full cooperation of Unreal Engine 3’s creators, Epic Games, they introduce every facet of game development—from simple level creation to materials, lighting, and terrain...even advanced level optimization and streaming!

Packed with tips, hands-on tutorials, and expert techniques, Mastering Unreal Technology, Volume I is all you need to create levels that look spectacular and work brilliantly...levels that gamers just can’t stop playing!

You’ll find expert tips on

  • Understanding the game development process from start to finish
  • Planning projects for greater efficiency, faster delivery, and better quality
  • Crafting worlds with stunning beauty and clarity
  • Bringing amazing realism to characters, objects, and props
  • Making the most of Unreal Engine 3’s massively upgraded lighting system
  • Scripting complex gameplay quickly and easily with Unreal Kismet
  • Building animated game assets with Unreal Matinee 
  • Testing game performance during live gameplay
  • Optimizing levels by improving the interaction between lights and surfaces
  • Using advanced level streaming to create vast, rich, highly playable levels
Winner of the Front Line Award for best game development book of 2009!

Sample Content

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Introduction to Unreal Technology

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Table of Contents

CHAPTER 1: Introduction to Unreal Technology . . .  1

History of Unreal . . .  2

                June 1998: Unreal . . .  2

                November 1999: Unreal Tournament . . . 3

                March—July 2001: The Unreal Developer Network . . .  5

                September 2002: Unreal Championship and Unreal Tournament 2003. . . 5

                February 2003: Unreal II . . . 7

                March 2004: Unreal Tournament 2004 . . . 9

                April 2005: Unreal Championship 2: The Liandri Conflict . . .  10

                November 2006: Gears of War. . . 11

                November 2007: Unreal Tournament 3 . . . 12

Overview of the Unreal Engine. . . 14

Unreal Engine Components . . . 14

                The Graphics Engine. . . 14

                The Sound Engine. . . 15

                The Physics Engine . . . 16

                The Input Manager . . . 16

                Network Infrastructure . . . 17

                The UnrealScript Interpreter. . . 18

Overview of Component Interaction . . . 18

Engine Components at Work . . . 20

Creating Your Own Worlds with the Unreal Engine . . . 21

                Game Assets . . . 21

                Animations and Skeletal Meshes . . . 25

                The Tools of the Trade . . . 26

CHAPTER 2: Overview of Game Development. . . 31

The Importance of Iteration . . . 32

Start with the Idea . . . 32

Story Treatment . . . 34

Considerations for Production Scheduling . . . 39

Communication . . . 41

                Have Regular Meetings . . . 41

                Make Yourself Heard. . . .  41

                Respect Your Teammates . . . 41

                Artists Versus Programmers: Round One, Fight! . . . 42

                Pick Your Battles . . . 42

                Stay Creative . . . 42

Testing and Feedback . . . 43

Ending Production . . . 44

CHAPTER 3: Up and Running: A Hands-On Level Creation Primer. . . 45

Starting Your First Level . . . 46

CHAPTER 4: A Universe of Brushes: World Geometry In-Depth . . . 117

Key Terms and Concepts: BSP and CSG . . . 117

Brush Types . . . 118

                The Red Builder Brush. . . 118

                Additive Brushes . . . 118

                Subtractive Brushes . . . 120

A Quick Word on Building. . . 120

Cleaning BSP Materials . . . 21

Working with Brushes . . . 124

                Additive and Subtractive Levels. . . 124

                The Almighty Drag Grid . . . 124

                Moving with Pivots . . . 125

                Brush Order . . . 125

                Building to the Proper Scale . . . 126

Primitives . . . 127

                Cube . . . 127

                Cone . . . 128

                Cylinder . . . 128

                Sheet . . . 130

                Tetrahedron (Sphere) . . . 130

                Curved Staircase . . . 130

                Linear Staircase . . . 132

                Spiral Staircase . . . 132

                Volumetric . . . 133

Boolean Operations . . . 134

                Intersect Tool. . . 134

                De-Intersect Tool . . . 135

Brush Solidity. . . 135

                Solid . . . 136

                Semi-Solid. . . 136

                Non-Solid . . . 136

Brush Manipulation . . . 137

Geometry Mode . . . 137

                Selection Modes . . . 138

                Toggle Modifier Window . . . 141

Working with Shadows. . . 164

CHAPTER 5: Static Meshes. . . 169

The Importance of Static Meshes. . . 169

Static Mesh Workflow Overview . . . 170

UV Texture Coordinates . . . 185

Considerations When Creating UV Layouts . . . 193

Creating Textures . . . 195

Importing Static Meshes. . . 197

Using the Static Mesh Editor . . . 200

Collisions . . . 202

                Creating Custom Collisions. . . 205

Placing Static Meshes. . . 213

Static Meshes and Shadows. . . 216

CHAPTER 6: Introduction to Materials. . . 221

What Is a Material? . . . 222

Materials vs. Textures. . . . . 223

Texture Coordinates (UVs). . . . 223

Material Instructions. . . 224

Thinking About Color in Unreal. . . 225

A Quick Word on Lighting. . . 226

Anatomy of a Material . . . 226

                Material Nodes . . . 227

                Material Channels . . . 232

                Material Expressions. . . 239

The Available Material Expressions. . . 244

                Material Expressions List. . . 244

                Parameter Expressions. . . 262

Material Creation. . . 264

Surface Properties . . . 274

                The Surface Properties Dialog. . . 275

CHAPTER 7: Introduction to Lighting . . . 357

Light Placement. . . . 358

A Word on Building Lights. . . 358

Lighting Concepts . . . 375

                Light Maps and Shadow Maps. . . 375

                Static and Dynamic Lighting . . . 376

                Per-Vertex Lighting and Lighting Subdivisions. . . 377

Types of Lights. . . 378

                Toggleable Lights. . . 378

                Moveable Lights . . . 378

                Point Lights. . . 379

                Spotlights . . . 380

                Directional Lights. . . . 382

                SkyLights. . . 382

                Pickup Lights. . . 384

Light Properties . . . 387

                General Properties. . . 387

                Exclusive SpotLight Properties. . . 389

                Exclusive DirectionalLight Properties. . . 389

                Exclusive SkyLight Properties . . . 389

Lighting Channels . . . 390

Lighting Volumes . . . 394

Shadows . . . . . 394

                Precomputed Shadows (Shadow Maps). . . . 395

                Shadow Buffer Shadows . . . 396

                Shadow Volume Shadows . . . 396

                Shadow Modulation . . . 398

Light Environments . . . 405

Light Functions . . . 410

Workflow Tips . . . 415

CHAPTER 8: Terrain. . . 417

What Is Terrain? . . . 417

Accessing Terrain . . . 419

Terrain Anatomy and Properties . . . 427

                Terrain Anatomy (Terminology) . . . 427

                Terrain Properties . . . 428

TerrainMaterials and Layers . . . 433

                TerrainMaterial Properties. . . 433

                Terrain Layers . . . 434

Terrain Editor Dialog. . . 449

                The Terrain Editing Dialog Interface Overview. . . 449

                Terrain Editing Tools. . . 459

Decorating Your Terrain: Foliage and DecoLayers. . . 483

                Foliage. . . 484

                DecoLayers. . . 488

Terrain Workflow Considerations . . . 494

CHAPTER 9: Introduction to Unreal Kismet . . . 497

Kismet: The Big Picture. . . 497

Accessing Kismet . . . 498

Anatomy of a Sequence Object . . . 506

Types of Sequence Objects . . . 508

                Events . . . 508

                Actions . . . 509

                Variables . . . 509

                Conditions . . . 510

                Matinee . . . 512

Kismet Sequence Flow . . . 512

Simple Kismet Sequences . . . 526

Commenting Kismet Sequences . . . 535

Intermediate Kismet Sequences . . . 536

CHAPTER 10: Unreal Matinee. . . 615

What Is Matinee? . . . 615

Matinee Terminology . . . 616

Accessing Matinee . . . 636

The Matinee Sequence Object . . . 636

                Inputs . . . 637

                Outputs. . . . 638

                Variable Links . . . 638

                Properties . . . 638

                Matinee Data Object. . . 640

InterpActors . . . 641

Mover Kismet Event . . . 641

The Matinee Editor . . . 643

                Toolbar . . . 644

                Curve Editor . . . 644

                Group/Track List . . . 644

                Timeline . . . 645

                Properties . . . 646

Types of Tracks. . . 647

                Anim Control . . . 647

                Color Property . . . 648

                Event . . . 648

                FaceFX . . . 648

                Float Material Param. . . 648

                Float Particle Param. . . 649

                Float Property . . . 649

                Morph Weight. . . 649

                Movement. . . 649

                SkelControl Scale . . . 650

                Sound . . . 650

                Effects Toggle . . . 651

                Vector Material Param. . . . 651

                Vector Property . . . 651

                Director Group-Specific Tracks . . . 651

Matinee Considerations . . . 652

CHAPTER 11: Level Optimization . . . 705

General Optimization. . . 705

Understanding Overhead . . . 706

In-Game Performance Diagnostics . . . 706

Occlusion . . . 717

CullDistance and CullDistanceVolumes . . . 718

Levels of Detail . . . 719

Optimizing Lights and Shadows . . . 719

                Light Maps . . . 719

                Light Environments. . . 720

                Light Functions . . . 720

                Casting Light onto Unlit Materials . . . 720

The Primitive Stats Browser. . . 721

Dynamic Shadows and the Dynamic Shadow Stats Browser . . . 722

Material Optimization . . . 725

                Multiple Materials per Object . . . 726

                Material Instructions. . . 726

                Unlit Translucency . . . 727

CHAPTER 12: Level Streaming. . . 731

Level Streaming Benefits. . . 732

Testing Level Streaming . . . 733

Streaming Methods . . . 733

Persistent Levels Versus Streaming Levels . . . 733

The Level Browser and Scene Manager . . . 734

Map Changing . . . 736

Level Streaming via Kismet. . . 757

Level Streaming via LevelStreamingVolumes. . . 758

Level Streaming via Distance. . . 767

Troubleshooting . . . 777

Level Streaming Considerations . . . 777

APPENDIX A: The Unreal Editor User’s Guide. . . 779

The Main Menubar . . . 779

The Toolbar . . .  781

                File Options . . . 781

                Undo and Redo . . . 782

                Far Clipping Plane Distance . . . 782

                Transform Tools . . . 782

                Search for Actor . . . 783

                Toggle Fullscreen . . . 783

                Cut, Copy, and Paste . . . 783

                Generic Browser . . . 783

                Kismet . . . 783

                Toggle Brush Polys . . . 783

                Toggle Prefab Lock . . . 783

                Use Curves Button . . . 783

                Enable/Disable Socket Snapping. . . 783

                Building . . . 784

                Play Level Area . . . 784

The Toolbox . . . 785

                Camera and Utilities Area . . . 785

                Brush Primitives Area . . . 786

                CSG Operations Area . . . 792

                Additional Brushes Area . . . 793

                Selections Area . . . 794

The Viewports . . . 795

                Navigation . . . 796

                Viewport Controls. . . 797

                Viewport Toolbar . . . 798

                Viewport Context Menu. . . 802

The Console Bar . . . 804

                Command Line . . . 805

                Selection Status . . . 805

                Transform Status . . . 805

                DrawScale Numeric Fields . . . 805

                Drag Grid . . . 805

                Rotation Grid . . . 805

                Scale Grid . . . 806

                AutoSave . . . 806

Browsers . . . 806

                Generic Browser. . . 806

                Actor Classes Browser. . . 811

                Groups Browser . . . 813

                Level Browser . . . 815

                Referenced Assets Browser . . . 816

                Primitive Stats Browser . . . 818

                Dynamic Shadow Stats Browser. . . 819

                Scene Manager . . . 820

                Log . . . 822

Editors . . . 823

                Static Mesh Editor. . . 823

                Material Editor. . . 824

                Kismet Visual Scripting Editor. . . 824

                Matinee Editor . . . 826

                PhAT (Physics Asset Tool) Physics Editor. . . 826

                Cascade Particle System Editor . . . 826

                User Interface Scene Editor . . . 828

                SoundCue Editor . . . 828

                Post Process Manager . . . 828

                AnimSet Editor . . . 830

                AnimTree Editor. . . 830

Search for Actors . . . 831

Property Windows . . . 832

                Actor Properties . . . 832

                Surface Properties . . . 833

APPENDIX B: The Curve Editor. . . 835

Animation Curves . . . 836

Controlling Interpolation Curves . . . 838

Auto . . . 839

User . . . 840

Break. . . . 840

Linear. . . 840

Constant . . . 842

Curve Editor Interface. . . 842

Curve Editor Toolbar. . . 842

Curve Editor Curve Key List. . . 844

Curve Editor Graph View . . . 846

Preset Curves . . . 847

Available Preset Curve Settings. . . 848

Index. . . 851

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