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Developer Journal : Unreal & Blender

Developer Journal

As I’ve mentioned creating 3D Models in some other blog posts, I’ll be going over my process in using Blender to create models and importing them over to Unreal.

For my project, I chose to use Blender as it is a free and open source program. This is mostly intended to benefit independent artists and small teams.

“We build a free and open source complete 3D creation pipeline for artists and small teams, by publicly managed projects on blender.org.”

blender.org, 2021

Because of this, I consider learning and using Blender is good opportunity to show that we can go the extra mile for our Indie Dev project and detail it more.

For my game, I want a low-poly and pixelated style. To avoid any inconsistences for when I get to texture the model, I use a grid snap function to make sure the model’s shape stays accurate to each square on the grid (See Figure 1).

Figure 1

Next up after the model is done would be setting up a UV map for unwrapping and texturing the model, a UV map is a flat representation of the model and is primarily used to wrap textures.

“A UV map is the flat representation of the surface of a 3D model used to easily wrap textures. The process of creating a UV map is called UV unwrapping.”

Thomas Denham, 2021

As you can see, the UV in Figure 2 is unwrapped into 2D shapes on the left representing each face of the model. These 2D shapes can be drawn on to form the textures for the model as shown on the right.

Figure 2

Once a model is done, I export it as an FBX and set the smoothing to “Face” – this is a type of smoothing Unreal supports when importing models and prevents errors from occurring (See Figure 3).

Figure 3

Finally, the model and texture both get imported into Unreal as an asset. To get the model to display the texture I simply open up the asset and set it a new material with the texture on it (Figure 4).

Figure 4

To make the assets stand out much better during gameplay, I edit the materials to have an Emissive Colour attached and then wire it through a multiplier. They also have their Roughness set to 0 as to give them a very glossy look to further capture the attention of the player (Figure 5).

Figure 5

In-game, this makes the objects stand out much better in the dark by using a subtle glow. The reason as to why I’ve done this for my game is to help with the readability of important objects the player will be interacting with (See Figure 6).

Figure 6

I’ve also made plenty of models for my project for detail, this goes for most of the items and environmental objects you can see.

Figure 7 shows a key I modelled to go with the doors, this is a collectable picked up by the player.

Figure 7

Figure 8 shows the sliding blocks, these are given bevelled edges to help distinguish them from the walls.

Figure 8

Figure 9 shows a cell wall, this is essentially just for detail and serves no purpose within the game.

Figure 9

Figure 10 shows a character model I created for the player, however I have not managed to import and animate this into the game due to time constraints.

Figure 10

Overall, I feel as if Blender and Unreal are great tools to work with.

I think it is important to learn different skills with different programs to better improve the versatility of my skills, as in Indie Development working individually or in a small team may require some extra legwork for things such as details – but that is not problem if you have learn how to do perform those skills independently.

I think in the future to improve upon these skills I could try and learn to animate within Blender and to import those into Unreal.

Bibliography

Blender Foundation. (2021) About — blender.org. [online] blender.org. Available at: https://www.blender.org/about/#:~:text=Blender%20is%20the%20free%20and,video%20editing%20and%20game%20creation. [Accessed 18 May 2021].

Denham, T. (2021) What is UV Mapping & Unwrapping?. [online] Concept Art Empire. Available at: https://conceptartempire.com/uv-mapping-unwrapping/#:~:text=A%20UV%20map%20is%20the,used%20in%20the%203D%20space. [Accessed 18 May 2021].

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