A big part of working in the Video Games industry is being able to be an efficient team member. One of your main objectives should be to make the life of your peers as easy as possible.
In today’s blog we are going to talk about some of the considerations a technical artist should make when designing a template for a game inside of Unreal Engine.
When it comes to creating a template for a game, the main focus of a technical artist should be to to come up with a minimum viable product in regards to the mechanics that the game should have.
The idea, therefore, is not to focus so much on the looks of the game at this stage in production but to make sure the logic is working.
Using placeholder meshes is a good strategy to quickly populate your scene and start working on your Blueprints. As the production of the project goes ahead, the models will be replaced with the ones that the artists in the team will be working on anyways.
As you start working on the template, another good practice to implement is trying to be as organised as possible.
As you can see in the image below, the folder structure and the outliner of the level are being kept fairly well organised. This will help your team understand how to navigate the template and adapt to the setup.
Coming back to my previous point about using placeholder meshes, the same approach should be used in regards to anything in the project. In this project, for example, there are many UI elements that will contain text.
When designing the logic for these blueprints, you can use placeholder words. A website I like to use is www.lipsum.com which allows me to quickly generate text I can use in my templates.
When it comes to the actual logic inside of your blueprints, you should also get into the habit of keeping it as clean as possible.
A good idea is to add comments to every single gameplay mechanic you work on.
This will allow your blueprints to be easy to read for yourself and any other technical artist that might work on or join the project.
Finally, your Blueprint actors should be easy to use for anyone in the team. This means that you should make the parameters that need to be changed “editable” so that anyone could change them by themselves.
In the example below, for instance, I created a “LocationName” blueprint. I have made some parameters editable so that the user can define a name for the location, a title for the description of the location, and a text for the description.
This allows any member of my team to quickly duplicate this actor and create new locations for the game if needed.
Making parameters editable inside of Unreal Engine is quite simple. All you have to do is open the blueprint, select the variables you want to make editable and enable the “instance editable” checkbox.
I hope this article was informative and gave you some useful tips on how to create efficient templates for your team.