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Thread: Building levels in LW / LWCAD for Unreal or Unity Engines

  1. #1

    Building levels in LW / LWCAD for Unreal or Unity Engines

    Unreal Engine has level building tools built in already. However, for Unity it seems the asset store is necessary for a full-featured level builder. For example, ProBuilder Advanced seems like a good bet.

    However, from watching videos—I've noticed ProBuilder functions almost like a hard surface modeler. It got me wondering—is it possible to build a whole level map in Lightwave and then import into Unity or Unreal Engine?

  2. #2
    Karma Chameleon BigHache's Avatar
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    You could for something simple. But for a more complex level design you're probably going to want to have separate meshes that you import into Unity.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jperk View Post
    Unreal Engine has level building tools built in already. However, for Unity it seems the asset store is necessary for a full-featured level builder. For example, ProBuilder Advanced seems like a good bet.

    However, from watching videos—I've noticed ProBuilder functions almost like a hard surface modeler. It got me wondering—is it possible to build a whole level map in Lightwave and then import into Unity or Unreal Engine?
    Absolutely! In fact, most archvis is done exactly like that. They only use Unreal or Unity for navigating the model. They're first constructed, fully rendered, and baked into the models.

    I'd say that for most games though, the map is built in a modular way so it can be easily rearranged in the game. It's just easier to iterate through changes live. All of the museum for this game was made in LW, but I broke it up into about 20 pieces so I could rearrange it as needed. I think I went through something like 50 different floor plans for the museum before landing on the final one.

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    The downside to this approach is that I couldn't bake decent AO or shadows. I had to do all of that with realtime lighting.

    So one of the best reasons you might want to do it all in LW is that you can bake the lighting properly. Baked lighting is *okay* in game engines, but it can't hold a candle to LW's renderer, and baked lighting will really help frame rates. Baking things like ambient occlusion and shadows is the best way to get really high quality output.

    -Chilton

  4. #4
    How to you break up the rooms in LW? I was thinking I'd use LW to build the basic level geometry, then add in the assets (objects, characters, etc) once in the game engine.

  5. #5
    Super Member CaptainMarlowe's Avatar
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    Yep, that's the idea. Also try to think modular and reusable, whenever it is possible. It will save hours of modelling. Unreal Engine has a great renderer; I'm digging in the sequence editor now to see how to create RT cinematics to showcase my models, especially my castles.

  6. #6
    Howdy
    In my game I do a rough layout in LW, I export it without any embedded information, so no textures, no mesh, no animations nothing. It's just a skeleton of the room.

    In unity I create a Prefab out of the FBX room. Then I tag the items of the Prefabbed FBX with names such as: door , monster, wall, potion, fire etc...

    Then in my room init script which is attached to an empty gameobject and it is always present in the game, the script handles the building up of the actual room
    when the player arrives to a new room. IN this game there is always one room present and when you step out a door the game redraws a new room.

    The runtime creation of a room is done by parsing the FBX-prefab. Using a foreach cycle I analyze every item in that room and the software instantiates the required prefab.
    Of course if your mesh is difficult to break into smaller modules then you have to make unique prefabs. I try to reutilize my prefabs as much as possible.

    Also keep in mind the administration of static and passive items. A wall is typically passive but a moving wall is not. You have to design these things before you start coding and building
    because later you can bump into unexpected issues. So have a plan at least roughly about the amount of items, enemies, pickable items, movable items etc.

    In unity I have written a script which

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