It’s workbook time again! Today, I got up in good time for some preparational work with my level, such as determining what program to use, studying scale in said program, etc. So, let’s get to today’s work more in detail!

I started the day with determining which tool to use for my project. As I mentioned yesterday, I was weighing the pros and cons of Unity versus UDK. The greatest advantage to using UDK was the fact that constructing simple levels is a lot faster, thanks to the CSG-tools. In the end, I felt that a smooth workflow in general was the most beneficial to my work, since one of my main goals is to effectively employ the guidance methods in my own work. So UDK ’twas and with that decided, I could get to work!

I had some slight problems on the way though. My computer decided to be whiny for a while, slowing down to a near complete halt, leaving me to do more swearing than working for an hour or so. Nothing a good restart can’t fix, I thought. I was right in a way, but then Photoshop started acting up instead. After trying to solve the issue by temporarily resetting my preference files, I decided to reboot my computer again. This time, everything was back to normal again! So there were no major issues, it was just annoying to have my work stalled because of software acting up, which I assume was the cause of the slowdown issue prior to the first reboot.

Anyhow, so I got to firing up UDK and the thought struck me that I should take into account the scaling of my environment. This is an important aspect of designing environments, in my opinion. If the scale is way too large or small, it’ll affect the overall impression of the scene negatively.

I searched around to see if there were any definitive answers to how the scaling in UDK is laid out, but it turned out there wasn’t really just one universal answer. The official documentation mentions a few examples. 1 uu (Unreal Unit) equals to 2 centimetres in the Unreal Tournament series, for instance, which makes sense as the player’s height is said to be at 96 uu in UT, making the player approximately 192 cm tall. Those UT-characters are pretty large, after all!

The scaling issue was more a question of what feels right, so I went on and experimented a bit with scale to at least determine a good point of reference. Since I’m using UDK’s default player controller, I couldn’t apply the same scaling principle as Epic had used in the UT games. I tried it first by making a block which was 110 uu in height. Relative to the player camera’s height, it looked like said block was at about waist height instead of the expected ‘large doorway height’ I had in mind. It was safe to assume that the default UDK player was fairly taller than 96 uu.

So, instead I tested the principle of 1 uu = 1 cm, which turned out to be fairly accurate in relation to the UDK default player’s height. I made a small room with a doorway that was around 200 uu in height and it turned out to be just a bit taller than the player. If we assume that the player is about 170-180 cm tall, the doorway looked like it was around two metres in-game. I compared it by standing by my apartment door, staring up at the same angle to the top of the doorway as I did in the test game-window. Luckily the window blinds were shut, so no one outside the building saw me staring at my doorframe.

(Click to enlarge.)

Although the height of the doorway felt right relative to the assumed player height, the width appeared a bit smaller in game. Pictured above, the width of the doorway is at 90 uu, which in centimetres is already a bit wide compared to regular single doors. Boosting that value up to just 110 made it appear less cramped. As I said before, it’s not just a matter of converting measurements, it’s also important to take into account the impression of the scaling, how it feels.

That’ll wrap up today’s post. Tomorrow’s post may be a bit delayed, but it should be up on at least sunday, at the latest. Until next time!

Marcus out.