Saturday, 11 October 2014

Blueprint modular house generation

I decided that I am lazy (aka a fan of saving time), so instead of taking modular pieces and manually building houses out of them inside the engine, I wanted to create a Blueprint construction script which would automatically build me random houses out of my modular pieces.

As I haven't really used Blueprints before, also not a programmer, I was a little worried, however in theory it seemed like it shouldn't be very hard to achieve, so I gave it a shot.

After about a day of trying to get my head around blueprints, I managed to get a basic one working. It was generating a random house out of smaller modular pieces (i.e. corner piece, wall, wall with a single window, wall with a double window, wall with a door etc). BAD IDEA. Good for a small environment, bad (performance-wise, and also overcomplicated) for a large city, as it turns out.

Scrapped the blueprint and decided to do a simpler one, this time to construct the house out of much larger pieces (i.e. ground floor, middle floor(s), roof).

After a bit of fiddling I managed to get it to work almost exactly as I wanted. Here's how it works at the moment:

  • Reads Ground floor, Middle floor and Roof mesh arrays
  • Picks a random ground floor mesh and creates it
  • Reads the Floor Number (defined by me) to know how many middle floor pieces to stack on top of each other
  • Finds the height of the actor and creates the defined amount of random middle floor pieces above the ground floor piece
  • Again finds the height of the actor, picks a random roof mesh and creates it at the top
  • Stores all of the pieces that were used to generate that house in another mesh array
  • Allows me to make any manual changes to the house by switching the meshes in that mesh array
Still have some things to add to the blueprint, but as of right now I am quite happy with how it turned out.

Hopefully I will be able to use this blueprint for majority of the houses, alongside few unique ones and of course hero buildings such as churches/cathedrals.

Rough blockout progress

Some progress on the blockout, very rough and repetitive still.

(This is supposed to be a storyboard for a fly-through cinematic)

Thursday, 9 October 2014


Here are some parts of the moodboards I've put together:


For ideas on rock formations, sense of scale, lighting etc.

Basic buildings:

Decided to go with Belgian medieval-gothic architecture.

Complex Gothic architecture:

Decided to go with Belgian medieval-gothic architecture.

Town life:

To give me ideas on how to fill the town with smaller assets and give it more life.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014


Week 1 - Research and gather reference, start planning things.
Week 2 - Figure out the environment design and start the blockout.
Week 3 - Finish the rough blockout, create simple lighting & mood.
Week 4 - Start planning & creating some modular sets for buildings, create a blueprint construction script to build houses out of the modular pieces.
Week 5 - Finish off creating modular pieces and replace the blockout buildings with the new modular ones, add roads/ paths.
Week 6 - Create any architecture/ large assets that aren't modular (High & low poly, LOD) and replace the blockout meshes in the scene with them.
Week 7 - Dress the town with some smaller assets (placeholder meshes), dress the cave with smaller rocks.
Week 8 - Start creating any tiling textures that are needed (Quixel Suite, or high poly & bake down to a plane + Photoshop), and start setting up the materials.
Week 9 - Revisit the small assets/ props. Create High/Low poly and LOD, textures, and replace the placeholders that are in the scene.
Week 10 - Revisit the cave; add some vegetation & interesting cave elements. Work on the lake (mostly the shader).
Week 11 - Finalize the lighting, atmosphere, post-processing. Create the final cinematic.
Week 12 - Final Presentation


Main issue: 

Scale of the environment – too large. 


  • Scale it down a little without ruining the design and reduce the amount of buildings.
  • Rely a lot on modular assets and utilize Blueprint construction scripts. 
  • Utilize UE4’s “3D imposter sprites” (i.e. for very distant objects/structures to reduce drawcalls)
  • Stay away from small detail and focus more on larger shapes, silhouettes. 
  • Focus on a specific area and keep the rest simple. 
  • Do not work on any interiors.

Other potential issues: 

External hard drive / computer failure (as it always tends to happen)



Advanced 3D project

For my A3D project I will be working on an environment set in Medieval-Gothic times. I have chosen to work closely with the following concept by Jesse Van Dijk:

Netherworld Archipelago - the Capital
Without spoiling too much of the background story, the title of the image applies to the city’s status among several other underground villages. It’s the capital of an ‘archipelago’ of huge underground caverns, which is why it’s referred to as the Netherworld, even though it is technically above sea level.
The city itself is inhabited by a plethora of different people. The two most notable among these, the religious caste and the elitarian ruler class, have secluded themselves from the rest of the people by constructing giant walls around their city quarters. The highest dwellings of the city - reserved only for the most priviliged - have been carved out of solid marble, a rock not native to the local environment.

It's a gorgeous concept and I think it would look great as a game environment. It will also be a chance to practice working on larger scale environments for 3rd person RPG or RTS type of games, as that is something I haven't had the chance to do yet.