Wwise Unreal 2019 – Chapter 01B: UE4 – Create A New Map

Created By: Game Audio Resource Ltd     Date: 09/11/2019      Version: 1.00

Wwise Unreal: Chapter 01 B – UE4:
Create A New Map

In this guide, we highlight how to create a basic environment scape so that the player character has a small land texture to move around on. We use the default free models available to can create a simply 2 storey house structure & outline various basic processes you will need to build an environment for audio implementation.
Please Note
The aim of this guide is to build a quick map environment that we can associate audio content too. There are many more advance processes that are used to build a map environment that we do not cover in this guide.


  • STEP 01: Creating A new Level (Map)
  • STEP 02: Positioning Tools
  • STEP 03: Creating The Floor
  • STEP 04: Building A House
  • STEP 05: Adding Material Textures
  • STEP 06: Adding Foliage
  • STEP 07: Adding Props / Models
  • STEP 08: Create A Structure From Boxes
  • STEP 09: Internal Light Source
  • STEP 10: Player Character Starting Position
  • STEP 11: Particle FX – Create A Log Fire
  • STEP 12: Building The Light Map
  • STEP 13: Light Reflections

Download the Free Written Guide:



Before You Begin
It is a good idea to plot out a grid of how you want your map to be laid out.
Using software like MS Excel you can use the cells as reference to Unreal landscape tiles.
Below is our original quick mock up we created for the map we will build in this guide.

STEP 01:
Create A New Level (Map)

First we create a new default level we use for all updates this guide series highlights for implementation.

  1. In the UE4 Toolbar select: File > New Level
  2. In the Popup Window, select the Default Option
    TIP: Using the Default option sets up basic lighting, player character, spawn points, clouds, etc.. saving time setting up a lot of basic processes.
  1. Once the New Level loads, Save the map via the Toolbar > Save Current. (above the World view window)
    In the Save Level As window, right click the panel on the right of the window. Then select New Folder
    Name it: Maps
    Then double click the folder to enter the folder path to save the new map
  2. At the bottom of the screen, in Name text box, name the new Level to be saved.
    e.g. Map_Wwise_Demo
  3. Click the Save UI Button to create the new Level in the Content Browser > Content > Maps Folder


STEP 02:
Positioning Tools

Before we place any object into our new map, we quickly overview 3 useful tools you will be using to move, rotate & scale objects in the World map.

The 3 tools used are located in the top right of the world view window.

  • XYZ Handle: This allows you to move a selected world map object in 3D space, Up/Down, Left/Right & Forwards/Backwards
  • Rotate Handle: This allows an object to be turned a full 360degrees in the world map.
  • Scale Handle: This allows an objects scale size to be increased or decreased in the World map. (or you can use the details tab > Scale values of a selected model)

STEP 03:
Creating The Floor

In this step we add a basic base landscape area with different material texture to craft the floored area the player character can move on.

  1. First, we remove the default floor tile.
    Select the grey floor tile, then click the Keyboard delete button to remove the landscape tile.
  2. In the Modes tab we will now place a basic landscape floor tile for our new map
    Select the Landscape tab option
    Under material assign the texture material as M_Ground_Grass
    Reference back to the Original Floor grid layout at the start of this guide,
    We shall to create an area of tiles 13×12
    Under Section Size, change the value to 7×7 Quads
    Under Sections Per Component, change the value to 1×1 Sections
    Under Number of Components, change the 2 box values to 13, then 12
    Then click on the Create UI Button
  3. Next we will select a few landscape tiles and change them to a different texture material,
    Under the Landscape tab, select the Manage option
    Under Landscape Editor , make sure the options are set to Selection Tool
    Now select the centre 4 landscape tiles for the location of the map where the house will be placed. Use the original map grid screenshot to work out which tiles they will be on.
    In the Details panel we are going to override which texture material is used.
    Navigate the Content Browser hierarchy to Content > StarterContent > Materials
    Then drag the M_Rock_Sandstone material onto the Details panel > Landscape Component > Override Material option list.
    Deselect the 4 selected landscape tiles. You should now see the new material assigned to only the 4 middle tiles.
  4. Use the tile grid Map to fill in all of the floor Materials needed to create the ground layout.
    Where we have mentioned or highlighted bridges & brown boxes use the material M_Water_Lake on those tiles, as we will create structures on those tiles later in this guide.
  5. Once you have populated all the floor Materials to the landscape tiles, we are now finished with the basic floor. Save the map updates via the Save Current option in the toolbar


STEP 04:
Building a House

We will use default walls and floor models already created in the default UE4 project to create a small house.
TIP: There are various way to create structures. You can use Class Blocks in the Modes tab. Shaping different box shapes as you require. However, this can take some time to do but will allow you to do more detailed structure design.

  1. Open the map we have created (or you are working on)
  2. Navigate to the Content Browser > Content > Starter Content > Architecture Folder.
  3. In the modes tab change to the place option
  4. Drag in to the map the model: Wall_400x400.
    Place on one edge of the house floor foundation.
  5. Then drag in windows and a door frame (of the same size 400×400) to construct the ground floor walls of your house. Ensure all wall boxes are placed tightly together, no over lapping boxes or any gaps being each wall piece.
  6. Next, we build our first floor, drag in the Floor_400x400 model.
  7. Move the floor box into the height position you wish to have for your first floor.
    Then continue to drag in extra floor boxes to cover the first-floor area.
  8. Add 3 floor box over the ground floor entrance at first floor height to form a balcony.
  9. We can now add stairs from the ground floor to access the first-floor area.
    In the Modes tab > Geometry list option, use either of the 3 stair model type options. To create the staircase.
  • TIP: It is advisable not stretch the size of the stair case to avoid any issues for the player character to climb the staircase. The stairs will be a 3-part box model
    g. x2 stair box models and x1 cube for the base of the 2nd part of the stair case.
    Once the staircase is finished fill in the any open floor space needed with the floor box adjusted to the size needed.
  1. Remove a first-floor box tile so the staircase can access the first-floor.
  2. Next, we add the walls for a second floor. Ensure you add a door wall to access the balcony. A quick way you do this is select all ground floor walls CTRL + (Left Mouse click) Then CTRL + C to copy the walls.
    In the World Outliner tab, Paste the walls in to the list. Then simply drag all copied walls upwards to the required height.
  3. Then we add a simply flat roof. As we did with the first floor, Again Copy and paste all the first-floor floor box tiles into the World Outliner tab, then drag them up to the required height
    Replace any missing floor tiles needed.
  4. To complete the base house structure, we will add 2 pillars to support the balcony.
    Drag in the Pillar_50x500 model. Then position it under one corner of the balcony.
    Then drag in another Pillar to support the other corner of the balcony.
    The basic house model is now completed.
  5. In the WorldOutliner list we now have quite a few wall box entries. We will add them to a new folder.
    Right click the Parent List Item, (Named whatever you have name your project) then Select Create Folder.
    Name it: Structure_Boxes
  6. Right click the Structure_Boxes folder, then select: Create Sub Folder.
    Name it: House
  7. Drag all wall Boxes into this new folder.

Add A Wall Around the Island

  1. Now we will add a wall around the edge of our grass island area.
    Drag into the map the Wall400x200 box. Position it around the grass area. Use the tile map created shown at the start of this guide, to guide where to place further walls.
  2. Back in the WorldOutliner list, navigate to the Structure_Boxes folder. Right click, then select: Crete Sub Folder.
    Name it: Wall_Small.
  3. Drag all small walls you have added around the edge of your map to the new folder.
  4. Save the map updates by clicking on the central toolbar > Save Current option.


STEP 05:
Adding Material Textures

In this step we add basic default material textures to the white box wall and floors we have added to our map.
– TIP: If you use Class Boxes, this process is exactly the same.
However, if you scale the boxes quite large the textures may become stretched.

  1. Navigate to the Content Browser tab > Content > StarterContent > Materials folder.
    This folder displays all material textures we can use.
  2. Simply drag a Material texture on to each wall (or box) you have added to the map.
  3. Assign which ever Materials you would like to use to all white boxes that make up the house structure.
  4. Once you have added Materials textures to all wall boxes, Save the map updates.


STEP 06:
Adding Foliage

There is 1 foliage plant prop we can add to the map.
We will add a simple small bush/shrub to our map using a multi place process

  1. Navigate to the Content Browser > Content > StarterContent > Props Folder.
    Locate the model SM_Bush.
  2. In the Modes Panel > Foliage tab, Drag the SM_Bush into +Drop Foliage here box
    Then select model box.
  3. What this process does is using the circle box, when you left click the map floor, a random number of bushes will be played within the circle highlighted box.
  • TIP: In the settings You can adjust how many bushes are placed, the density and height or size of the bushes added. Mess around with the settings till you find settings that feels right for your map. Then start populating your map with various sizes of bushes.
  • TIP: You can also drag a single bush into the map from the Content Browser > Content > StarterContent > Props Folder. If you do the model bush becomes difficult to edit. So, it is better to use the above step 3 process.
  1. Using the grid map, populate, one small area of the grass map with lots of shrubs of various heights.
  2. Save your map updates.


STEP 07:
Adding Props / Models

As we have our map layout finished, we can start to place models or props into the map.
We will add a simple large rock to the map.

  1. Navigate to the Content Browser > StarterContent folder > Props folder.
  2. Change the Modes tab > place option.
  3. Drag the SM_Rock prop into the map.
    Then position it were ever you wish to place the rock.
    Use the handle tools to rotate and move the rock into position.
  4. In the World Outliner list under Structure Boxes, right click then select: Create Sub Folder.
    Name the new folder: Props.
  5. Drag the rock model/prop into the new folder.
  6. Save your map updates.

You can now place as many props as you would like into the map. Obviously the more you place the more memory is used, try to be efficient with where and how you place the props.
TIP: There is a door frame and a door model, that can be used. However, to have a working opening & closing door we would need to add Blueprint data.
For now if you wish to add a door, position the door in an open position.


STEP 08:
Create A Structure From Boxes

In this step we highlight how to build a simple fishing deck that extends out over the water.
This process can then be used to create various other structure models, where ever your creative ideas take’s you.

  1. In the Modes panel, drag in the Cube box
    Using the details tab, change the scale size to fit the length and width you wish the fishing deck to be
    Place the platform hoovering over the water, with one small section over the Grass floor area.
  2. Under the Modes panel, drag in a Cylinder box.
    These Cylinders will be the supports for the fishing deck.
    adjust the Cyinder size with the details tab > Scale values.
    Place as many Cylinders as you would like around the edge of the Floor Fishing deck.
    You can copy and past the first Cylinder you add in the WorldOutline List to keep consistent placing and sizing.
  3. Next, we add stairs to allow access to the Fishing Platform.
    In the Modes panel, drag in 2 Cube boxes.
    Position both boxes as wooden boards or stairs to the fishing ramp.
    With each box selected in the World Outliner, use the Details tab to adjust the scale size of the 2 boxes.
  4. Now we can add textures onto our white box fishing deck.
    Navigate to the Content Browser > Content > StarterContent > Materials Folder.
    Then Drag a material onto each White box that forms the fishing deck.
  5. In the World Outliner, right click the Structure_Boxes Folder, then select: Create Sub Folder
    Name it: Fishing Deck
  6. Then drag all parts of the fishing deck into the new folder
  7. Save your map updates.

As mentioned, this process can now be used to create other model structures to decorate your landscape.
Try creating a bridge between the Player starting island and the main island with the house.
Copy & pasting the fishing deck model, then moving it into the new position, is a quick way to implement the new bridge.


STEP 09:
Internal Light Source

As the inside of the structure can be quite dark. We will place a single ceiling light prop model and a Light source to illuminate the inside of the structure

  1. First, we will place a model (Prop) of a light socket inside the house structure.
    Navigate to the Content Browser tab > Content > Starter Content > Props folder.
    Drag in the SM_Lamp_Ceiling model (Prop) into the map.
  2. Use the XYZ handle to position the model on the inside ceiling of the first floor
  3. Now we have our light socket we can associate illumination to the same location.
    In the Modes panel > Lights option, drag the Point Light into the map.
  4. Position the light source on the lamp model.
  5. In the World Outliner tab, right click the Structure_Boxes Folder, then select: Create Sub Folder
    Name it: Lights
    Then drag the PointLight and the SM_Lamp_Ceiling Prop into this new folder
  6. Save your map updates

Using these steps, you can now add further light model props to illuminate the inside of the house space. Try using the walls sconces, but use modes > Spot Light allowing you focus the light direction upwards.
Within the details you can change various properties e.g. Light > Intensity value will increase or decrease the light point brightness.


STEP 10:
Player Character Starting Position

Now we have built our basic map, we need to ensure the player character starts in a valid position.

  1. In the World Outliner tab, locate the Item in the list Player Start.
    TIP: This entry places the player character where ever it is placed in the map, when the map is loaded.
  2. Move the Player Start marker to where ever you want the player character to be positioned when the map is loaded.
    TIP: Be care not to player the marker under the base floor layer. If you do when you load up the map, the player character will start falling.
  3. Save your map updates
  4. Play Test the map to ensure the player start position is in a valid point.
    TIP: If the player character falls through the ground when the map loads, you need to raise the Player Start Marker high above the Floor ground surface


STEP 11:
Particle FX – Create A Log Fire

The starter content also provides us with basic particle FX we can use.
We will use the simple idea of using Class boxes to create small logs using the Cylinder box.
Then place 2 different particle FX onto the pile of logs to create a fire and smoke effect.

  1. Navigate to the Modes tab > Basic > Cylinder.
    Then drag the Cylinder into the map.
    Rotation and position the Cylinder to the area you wish to have a small fire.
    Use the scale handle tool or the Details Panel > Scale values to adjust the size of the Cylinder.
  2. In the World Editor tab, copy and paste this item a few times. Then select and position each Cylinder into a fire pit formation
  3. Drag a wooden Material texture from the Content Browser tab > Content > StarterContent > Materials folder onto each log. E.g. M_Wood_Walnut
    TIP: You could even place a flat cylinder box under the logs to change the floor texture to an earth texture. Giving a more visual impression of a fire pit.
  4. Now we have a basic fire pit model we can add the 2 particle FX
    Navigate to the Content Browser tab > Content > StarterContent > Particles folder
  5. Drag in the P_Fire FX into the map.
    Then position it in the centre of your log formation
  6. If you would like more smoke from the fire, drag in the P_Smoke effect to the same location as the P_Fire effect.
  7. In the World Outliner, right click the Structure_Boxes folder, then select: Create Sub Folder.
    Name it: Log Fire
  8. Then Move all related boxes and Particle FX into this new folder
  9. Save the map updates.

Your firepit is now setup and ready for SFX association in later chapters of this guide

STEP 12:
Building The Light Map

To remove any lighting issues or texture tears (like the floor tiles edge lines) we need to rebuild the global lighting for the map.

  1. In the World View toolbar select > Build > Build Lighting Only.
    The lighting process then starts to bake the maps lighting.
    The Process will take a while to do as the lighting is baked into the level.
  2. Once the build process is finished you will see a popup message in the bottom right of your screen, stating lighting completed
    you should see all floor texture tears have now disappeared and shadows are correctly displayed.


STEP 13:
Light Reflections

You may notice around the edge of the map there appears to be a shadow over parts of the water floor texture tiles, forming a circle spotlight around our island. We simply need to address this with a few value changes.

  1. In the World Outliner tab, look for the list entry: SphereReflectionCapture
    Ensure the emitter is placed directly into the centre of the map.
  2. In the Details tab, Reflection Capture > Influence Radius > change the value to 10’000
    You should now see the sphere be larger than the map and all floor texture tiles visible without any shadows.
    If you still see any shadows around the edge of the map, simply increase the Influence Radius values to a great value.
  3. Save your map updates.

Hopefully this guide gives you enough information to set up a basic map for the player character to move around in & perform basic actions.
Feel free to experiment and expand the map with all the details listed above.
How much detail you put into your map is completely up to you.
Once you are happy with your maps design, we
move onto the Wwise integration into the Unreal Project.
















STEP 02:
Using Class models to create a White box
In this step we use classes basic model box to white box an outline of map area
We highlight the basic steps which you can also improve on.
We will build a wall around the edge of the map, then create a small house in the middle of map.

  1. In the Modes tab select the Place option
  2. In the search bar type Cube

We will now place the cube into the map to form our first house wall

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