How To Build a Simple Cube Map

"Empty cube" maps are too plain to be seriously played but we can show basic steps of level creation on it.

From the scratch to the first gameplay test

Let's start with a new subtractive level1:
  1. Press Create a new map button
  2. Choose Subtractive
  3. Press OK
Now it's time to create our single room - a box:
  1. Press Cube button from a toolbox
  2. Fill out the size of the cube (1024x1024x512) - use Down arrow key to move to the next line - don't use Tab
  3. Press Build button
  4. You might lost your red builder brush from the viewport, so you have to zoom out: click to the viewport and then use mouse wheel (down)
We create the room itself in this step. It will be best seen in perspective viewport. Check cyan notes in picture and try to move camera where you want. Consult viewports page for more information about viewports and their navigation.
  1. Check Unlit mode for perspective viewport
  2. When you see your red brush, press Ctrl+S and it will create subtractive brush and you'll see your room with basic texture
You can see the room now because of Unlit mode, but we're still missing some light in it.
  1. Press L and Left-mouse in the middle of the floor of the room — light will appear
  2. Pull your light up a little by dragging the blue arrow — don't overdo it otherwise light will be out of the room
  3. Switch to Lit mode — you'll see dynamic lights preview of your level
What you see now is just a preview of the level and the level must be built before it can be tested.
  1. Choose Build from the main menu
  2. Choose Build All — and wait; don't worry if it looks like stuck maybe even for tens of seconds
  3. After the map is built, Map Check window appears — ignore any warnings for now and press Close
Level is built and we can jump-in!
  1. Right click on a floor where you want to start — contextual menu will appear
  2. Choose last menu item: Play From Here

You can jump around and when you think that you've tested what you wanted just press Esc.

That's it for the first part!

Towards working DM level

You might notice that during the testing game you had no HUD and you couldn't shoot. Also if you remap your keys in your UT3 these were back to default. This all can be fixed by the first step of this second part of this How To. Press Alt+F so the File menu from the main menu is selected and then press A for Save As… Standard Windows Save As dialog appears. Choose name starting with DM — for example DM-Cube (extension .ut3 will be added automaticaly). You should put the map file into the folder Unpublished\CookedPC\CustomMaps under your UT3 directory (probably …\My Documents\My Games\Unreal Tournament 3\UTGame).2

Repeat "Play From Here" trick to see that now you are armed with Enforcer and your keybinds are working as you expect. Now let's finish our level adding some weapons and player starts.

Weapons are spawned at the weapon pickup factory - which is an actor. First we have to select appropriate actor in the Actor browser.
  1. Open up Generic Browser
  2. Select Actor classes tab
  3. Unfold NavigationPoint node
  4. Unfold PickupFactory
  5. Unfold UTPickupFactory
  6. And finally select UTWeaponPickupFactory
Previous step ensures that our requested actor will appear in the contextual menu. Now we can place it to the scene:
  1. Right-click on the floor where you want to place your weapon
  2. Select Add UTWeaponPickupFactory Here
  3. Select weapon base actor because we want to align it better with the ground
  4. Either in Front or in Side viewport check how the weapon base is aligned — adjust alignment precisely with blue arrow
Now it's time to choose the weapon that will spawn above this weapon base:
  1. Select weapon base actor and double-click on it (alternatively you can click on it with right button and choose UTWeaponPickupFactory Properties (1 Selected) from contextual menu) — Properties window will appear
  2. Unfold UTWeaponPickupFactory attribute group
  3. Roll out the list for the attribute WeaponPickupClass
  4. And select the weapon of your choice
Now we will add some player starts:
  1. Right-click on the floor
  2. Select Add Actor from context menu
  3. Choose Add PlayerStart from the submenu
Now rotate PlayerStart actor to face into the wall:
  1. Select the actor in top view (this view is best to adjust orientation of player starts)
  2. Hold *Ctrl* and *RMB* and move your mouse to sides to adjust the rotation of the actor
Before we build the level again it's time to add some textures to our walls, floor and ceiling. First we'll find some appropriate textures. Open up Generic Browser again:
  1. Be sure to have Generic tab selected
  2. Check the box for Material resource type
  3. Find HU_Floor2 package in the list bellow and right-click on it
  4. Select Fully Load from the context menu
  5. Pane with material previews will update
Now we're ready to assing textures to walls:
  1. Right-click on the wall
  2. Go over Select Surfaces menu
  3. Choose Adjacent Walls from the submenu
  4. With all four walls selected click on the M_HU_Floor_BSP_Tile01 material — all walls will now have this texture
Let's continue the same way for the floor and the ceiling:
  1. Select floor face
  2. Select material M_HU_Floor_BSP_ConcreteB
  3. Select ceiling face
  4. Select M_HU_Floor_SM_WalkwaySetA

There are other ways how to assign textures to selection — check UnrealEd Reference for more. To finish our level we have to do few more steps:

  1. From main menu select Tools->Add Pickup Lights. Without them it wouldn't just be the same :-) and also editor would complain about it after the full rebuild.
  2. Perform complete build of the level (Build All). Ignore the warning about player start count.
  3. And now it's time to "cook" the level! Press the last icon in the main toolbar Publish the loaded map ('cooks' the map for faster loading). It will take some time. Cooked map will be exported into the Published\CookedPC\CustomMaps subdirectory of your UT directory. Now you can leave the editor and play the map from UT3!


Congratulations! You've just finished very simple level where you can beat Akasha's ass with flak (or other weapon you chose before). Of course the level is missing a lot of things. Music track settings, intro screenshot and others. It's also very bare. But it's playable and you can all make it in 5 minutes with some practice. And that was the purpose of this How To.

Download uncooked mapfile of DM-Cube:


Creating basic additive level by GasDuck - using UEd for GoW, but it's perfectly usable.

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