The Black Sheep Wiki
The Black Sheep Wiki
Ued3 | Unreal Editor Beginner Tutorial Part Three

The contents of this tutorial were written by Rachel Cordone at

Now we have learned how to create BSP architecture using the Active Brush, and more advanced use of BSP will be discussed in Part Four of this tutorial. But it is quite obvious that it would take forever to make levels with the amount of detail found in UT2k3/4 with BSP architecture alone. This next section will discuss the use of Static Meshes, the most important change from UT to UT2k3/4. Static meshes are rendered faster by the engine than BSP geometry, so they can have a much higher polygon count and add much more detail to your levels.

Static Meshes

Important Note About Static Meshes - Static Meshes are additive only. They cannot be used to subtract from the level, and they cannot be subtracted from. If any part of a Static Mesh is visible, the engine will render all of its polygons, even if they are not visible to the player.

Open up the Static Mesh browser and open the first file in the Static Mesh folder, AbaddonHardware. The file will load and a mesh will be displayed in the viewport. Navigation in the viewport is the same as in the normal 3D viewport. The Static Mesh browser works the same way as the Texture Browser, with meshes divided into different groups. Use the scrollbar above the viewport to look through the groups, or press All to see all the meshes in that file.

Adding Static Meshes to our level is easy. Click on the one you want in the list on the left side of the Static Mesh browser. Now, in one of the viewports, right-click and select ‘Add Static Mesh’. Be careful not to click on the player pawn we have added or any of the BSP brushes in the 2D viewports, it will not bring up the right menu. Now our static mesh can be seen in the viewports, a big mess of aqua lines in the 2D viewports, and colored green in the 3D viewport. Static Meshes can be moved the same way as anything else.

If we click somewhere else to deselect the mesh, it turns black in the 3D viewport. This is because we have not added any lights to our level. For now, click on the Textured view in the toolbar at the top of the 3D viewport, or click anywhere in the 3D viewport and hit Alt-6.

Scaling Static Meshes - There are several ways of scaling Static Meshes. The first way is by using the DrawScale3D boxes in the bottom toolbar. We don’t have to be worried about Static Meshes creating holes in our level, so you can use decimal values here without worrying about it. The second way is by using the Actor Scaling tool in the left toolbar, the same way we scaled the Active Brush. Note that if you use this method, you will have to Build Geometry to see the changes. The third method scales the Static Mesh in all three directions at once. Right-click it and hit StaticMeshActor Properties, or just double click it. Click open the Display tab and scroll down to the DrawScale box. Values entered here will change the scale. Note that the DrawScale3D box below it is the same as the one in the bottom toolbar.

Negative values can be entered for static meshes, a value of −1 would mirror the mesh. This is useful for asymmetric ones.

Changing Static Mesh Textures - First, a quick note about changing textures on static meshes. The original texture for the static mesh will still be loaded, so changing textures slightly increases the amount of work the engine has to do. For the most part it is negligible, but try not to do an excessive amount of it.

To change the textures that the Static Mesh uses, open up its properties and click open the Display tab again. Scroll down to Skins. Click on it and two buttons will appear on the right, Empty and Add. Click Add and a box labeled [0] will appear below it with None written in it. Select a texture in the Texture Browser and hit Use in the [0] line, and the texture’s name should appear in the box. Depending on how many textures were used to make the mesh, you might have to hit Add a few times and experiment with it to find the one you want to change. If the only one you want to change is the third one for example, you can leave the first two at None. If you change your mind you can either Clear that one line or hit Empty in the Skins line to delete them all.


Lighting is the easiest thing to learn, but the hardest to master. It takes a lot of practice to figure out how to make good lighting, and this is where a lot of your level making time in the editor should be spent. Now that we have reached this part of the tutorial, click on the Dynamic Lighting view in the 3D viewport toolbar.

To add a light to your level, right click in any of the viewports and hit ‘Add Light Here’. This adds a point-source light to your level, meaning the rays are emitted from it in every direction. Hit the Build All button in the top toolbar to properly apply the lighting to the level, then double click the light so we can take a look at some of its properties.

Light Brightness - This value can be set between 0 and as high as you want, but the common end point is 255, the highest value you were able to set lights in the original UT. Lights brighter than this will wash out the textures of your level, and you will rarely need to use lights close to 255 brightness.

Light Hue - This changes the light color, can be set from 0 to 255. The following chart should help when deciding a light color.

Light Saturation - Setting a light color will not do much if it is still set at full saturation. The more toward 0 it is set, the more color will be in the light. This chart is an example using purple as the light hue:

The lightbulb in the viewports will show you what hue and saturation it is set to, this is another change from UT1 to UT2k3/4, and is helpful for quickly finding sources of light in your level.

In general, you want to avoid the “disco lighting” syndrome. A lot of different colors in one room will not look good most of the time. There are exceptions of course, don’t be afraid to experiment with good use of color in your maps, your personality and style should be reflected in the levels that you make.

The only things I want to cover for the second set of lighting properties are bSpecialLit, Light Effect, and Light Type. bSpecialLit is used when you want to light something up separately. Select a surface in one of your rooms and open up the Surface Properties box. In the Flags tab, there is a check box for Special Lit. Click it and close the property box, then rebuild lighting. You will notice that the surface is completely black now. This is because it will only be affected by lights with bSpecialLit set to True. Add another light to the room, and set bSpecialLit to True. Make it a different color than the one that is already there so you can see the difference, then Build Lighting.

Static Meshes can also be set to Special Lit. Open up its properties and click open the Lighting tab, then set bSpecialLit to True.

A light can also be set to use an effect in the Light Effects scroll box, but LE_TorchWaver, LE_FireWaver and LE_WateryShimmer are obsolete (Use Projectors instead). You can also set them to flicker or pulse by selecting one of the effects in the Light Type scroll box. Experiment to see what each one does. Once again, you will want to avoid overusing these effects.

Now that we have completed the basic visual aspects of level design, it is time to look at the gameplay. In part four of this tutorial, we will learn how to create simple paths for the player bots to use, and take a look at a few things in the Actor Browser. We will also look at a few advanced uses of BSP. We’re almost done!

Continue to Part Four of this tutorial

Page last modified on November 11, 2005, at 10:59 PM