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When to use static meshes

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    When to use static meshes

    Hi there!

    When planning a map with complex architecture is there any 'best practices' dealing with static meshes and using the editor brushes?

    I'm playing around here and decided to make something similar to this photograph:


    Besides the obvious static meshes (statues, chandeliers, etc) I'm a little unsure what would be the best way to make these curved walls, for example.

    #2
    For simple things like rectangular walls or simple floors I would use bsp solids.

    For more complex things like round surfaces it would be better to use a static mesh.

    If I was you I would make the arches and rounded parts out of static mesh's, then make those flat walls on the side with bsp solids and a good texture.

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      #3
      I would do the whole thing with static meshes. Once you model all that detailed geometry, why not just model the rest too. That way you can create better textures by baking out occlusion maps and such for use in your textures.

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        #4
        I can't think of a good reason to use BSP for any modeling. Mixing between BSP and static mesh only makes arranging models more tedious. Especially with not very sophisticated translate tools of UDK. Model entirely in your 3D app, with same scale and same origin. Export and everything imports in place.

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          #5
          Personally I find that making simple things like walls and floors out of bsp solids takes less time and is more easily changed than a static mesh. (but maybe thats just me.)

          It also takes less time to texture bsp solids than it does to sort out the uvw map for a model.

          and bsp solids can be converted into a static mesh later on.

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            #6
            I can say that most large gaming companies try to have as little BSP as possible in their final levels. BSP does have its place, but usually only for very basic shapes.

            Here's something that was written by Epic back in the day. They were still using an older engine, but the advice is still very useful. http://udn.epicgames.com/Three/rsrc/...evelDesign.pdf

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              #7
              That's really good to know! I always thought it was adviseable to use bsp when possible (maybe older engines) but it's a pain to make simple rooms out of those brushes, not to mention not simple rooms.

              Thanks for the input

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                #8
                Do all of it in static mesh and do it all in modular set pieces. I split the main dome into four main chunks. You would model only one fourth of the dome in your 3d app of choice. In unreal you would duplicate this three times, rotate to form the main structure. This would be a complex undertaking in BSP not to mention limit you from doing a number of useful things that you can do with static mesh. Plus good luck getting non buggy collision from a BSP with concave surfaces like that. Goodluck, I hope this image illustrates how easy, fun and useful modular set pieces are over BSP. Did this paintover real quick so some lines don't make sense. It is probably smart to think of each chunk as having geometrical thickness rather than shaped single sided planes as my image may assume. If you get really deep into the whole modular theory, you could technically have the opposite sided geometry of say one of the arch pieces be completely different but part of the same mesh, allowing you to use the same model for two entirely different environments.

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                  #9
                  That's much smarter than what I was doing. :P

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                    #10
                    My biggest problem with static meshes right now is big textures. UDK limits them to 1024.. I know I can change this value in udkengine.ini but the changes are lost because the file gets reset by the engine with the original values.

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                      #11
                      Change them in DefaultEngine.ini instead. But you really don't need texture resolution higher than 1024. Remember that texture UV space can overlap. It is lightmass UV that cannot.

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                        #12
                        I'm back with another related question :P

                        Is there a way to work more inside 3ds max? Assemble my entire scene there?

                        Edit: because for every piece of the scene I bring in, I have to import the model, import all the maps, create a material and then position it in the world. All that for a model that will be used only once, probably.

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                          #13
                          Originally posted by taz1004 View Post
                          Change them in DefaultEngine.ini instead. But you really don't need texture resolution higher than 1024. Remember that texture UV space can overlap. It is lightmass UV that cannot.
                          Of course you need higher resolution than 1024. Not alwyas but if you can put those it's worth it. Not to mention you can also make high-res texture atlases, to reuse it with many objects on scene.

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                            #14
                            Originally posted by diegofloor View Post
                            I'm back with another related question :P

                            Is there a way to work more inside 3ds max? Assemble my entire scene there?

                            Edit: because for every piece of the scene I bring in, I have to import the model, import all the maps, create a material and then position it in the world. All that for a model that will be used only once, probably.
                            There's nothing stopping you from doing all assets in 3ds Max.
                            If you feel more comfortable to assemble your scene in max, there's no reason not to.

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                              #15
                              hmm.. And how can I export/import that to UDK? as several models? one huge model? one at a time?

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