If you're new to UnrealEd you're on the right page. We'll cover mere basics how to start working with UnrealEd and then we throw you into more advanced topics based on your selection (you're the one clicking the links ;-)).
What is the purpose of UnrealEd?
UnrealEd allows you to edit level. While you can edit a lot of stuff in other 3D modeling software (3DS Max, Maya, Blender) you have to put your level together in UnrealEd. UnrealEd is not ultimate solution and if you want to have custom models in your level, you'll have to model them in those 3rd party applications. The purpose of UnrealEd is to shape basics of your level (BSP Geometry and/or terrain), to allow you to place all your static meshes, to set up lighting, sound effects, bot pathing and other aspects that your level does consist of.
Unreal Editor definitely doesn't shine in areas where specialized 3D modeling applications do - but on the other side it does shine in areas that are specific for level creation. It's game assets editor after all.
How to start UnrealEd
Ok, this one is easy. You actually run the same binary like the game - but with an additional option editor.
For instance if you want to create desktop icon for editor and you already have icon for game, you should do the following (Windows XP):
- Drag your game icon with right mouse button and when you drop it on the desktop choose Copy Here from the menu.
- Click right mouse button on your new icon and select Properties. Properties window will appear with Shortcut tab selected.
- Go to Target inputbox and add space and word editor at the end of the line. E.g. if you had "D:\Games\Unreal Tournament 3\Binaries\UT3.exe" in your Target inputbox you would have "D:\games\Unreal Tournament 3\Binaries\UT3.exe" editor there now.
- Optionally you can switch to General tab and change shortcut description on the desktop right here - otherwise you can do it later.
Now double click the icon and be patient - it might take a while till you see UnrealEd splash-screen.
Basic navigation in UnrealEd
Please, consult UnrealEd UI Overview page to get familiar with most important parts of UnrealEd user interface.
How to control cameras and navigate in level
While you should be familiar with basic Windows applications, viewports are something specific to 3D modelling tools. It's important to get used to them. First thing is to realize the difference between orthographic and perspective viewport. You can choose between them in viewport toolbar via these four buttons:
- perspective viewport - you can navigate in 3d in this one;
- top view (orthographic);
- front view (orthographic);
- side view (orthographic).
They show you sections of your level in three different directions - top, front and side view. They are very handy to view how things are aligned and it's also easier to move and edit brushes on them as well as precisely place meshes or other actors. You can interact with them as follows:
- Drag or RMB-drag - panning the view in the respective plane;
- RMB+LMB-drag up/down or WheelDown/WheelUp - zooming out and in;
- MMB-drag - measuring distances;
- Ctrl+drag - moving the selected actor(s);
- Ctrl+RMB-drag - rotating the selected actor(s);
- Ctrl+Alt+LMB - marquee selection;
You can also use widget to move, rotate and scale. Widget appears for selected actor (although it might be placed out of it - especially for vertex edited brushes) and you can change its function with Space key. If it doesn't show up, check Show/Use the widget button in the main toolbar.
Here you see your level from a 3D camera. It's handy to check how things might look like in-game, to get a perspective about the space you're just modeling, etc. Navigation here is obviously just a bit more complex - because you have more degrees of freedom than in an orthographic viewport:
- Drag - looking to sides and moving forward and backwards - you're staying on the same height (value of z-axis);
- RMB-drag - turning the view to sides and up/down without any movement;
- RMB+LMB-drag moving the camera on the vertical plane that is perpendicular to the view direction (but the plane is vertical, not sloped according to camera); up/down movement moves the camera up or down respectively.
- WheelDown/WheelUp - zooming out and in;
- Ctrl+drag - moving the selected actor(s) on x/y axes;
- Ctrl+LMB+RMB-drag - moving the selected actor(s) on z axis;
- LMB - select an actor;
- RMB - context menu;
- Alt key while moving - makes a copy of selected actor(s);
- Ctrl+LMB - add to selection (or remove if the actor was selected);
- Widget-drag - moves an object - you can either drag by arrow (in one axis) or you can drag by the square between two arrows (in a plane, which in orthographic viewport is moving in both possible axes) - finally you can combine this with Alt key to duplicate this object;
More about UnrealEd
Editor Basics Topic 1 – Basic Navigation by Waylon - very good start for beginners