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

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Overview

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!
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780672329913
  • Publisher: Sams
  • Publication date: 8/4/2009
  • Edition description: Book & DVD
  • Pages: 894
  • Sales rank: 777,692
  • Product dimensions: 7.30 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Jason “Buzz” Busby is president and chief executive officer of 3D Buzz, Inc. For more than five years, he has taught 3D animation, programming, and game design through his website 3dbuzz.com, which has over 275,000 members. He coauthored Mastering Unreal: The Art of Level Design and Mastering the Art of Production with 3ds Max 4 and has created and overseen the production of more than 1,000 hours of video training.

Zak Parrish, chief of operations at 3D Buzz, Inc., has developed hundreds of video tutorials over 3D animation and game design. He helped produce training videos that shipped with Unreal Tournament 2004: Special Edition as well as those that shipped with Unreal Tournament 3: Limited Collector’s Edition. Zak also coauthored Mastering Unreal.

Jeff Wilson, 3D Buzz’s technical consultant for the Unreal Engine, helps develop the company’s Unreal Technology training videos. He has been studying the Unreal Engine for five years while creating modifications for Unreal Tournament 2003 and 2004. Wilson moderates the 3D Buzz forums.

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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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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 25, 2011

    Probably was amazing until last UDK update

    THe first few chapters of this book deal with subtractive level design, which is fine, but as of October 2010 the unreal engine, UDK no longer supports subtractive level design, making the first few chapters (the one where your supposed to learn the basics) completely useless. The next edition of this book will probably be amazing, but anyone who buys this edition to use with the current run of UDK will be completely lost because this book is useless. I wish I could get my money back or a free edition of the next one.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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