Legacy:Static Mesh Modeling

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This section contains information about creating Static Meshes.


Static mesh modeling deals with modeling pieces of equipment and other items for mappers. 'Mesh modelers are responsible for not only modeling, but also mapping their designs and exporting them. 'Mesh modelers usually stay in close contact with the mapper to discuss what is needed and any changes that need to be made on already made meshes.


Getting Started

The process of creating a static mesh for use in UT2003 generally goes as follows:

  1. Create the mesh in a Modeling Application such as 3DS Max, Maya, [Softimage_XSI],Lightwave or Blender (open source)
  2. Apply and map materials (textures) to the mesh
  3. Export the mesh
  4. Create a simplified karma collision hull in UnrealEd

There are examples available for the following programs:

3DS Max

With 3D Studio Max:

External Links


With Maya:

Sofimage XSI

With Softimage_XSI:

External Links


It is possible to create static meshes within the Unreal Editor. However, this is not recommended. The reason is, faces in UnrealEd do not share vertices with each other, while static mesh polygons do. When you do a lot of CSG with brushes, the faces can become detached from one another by very small amounts. This prevents the vertices from being shared when you turn it into a static mesh. If you simply import the finished brush as a DXF from a modelling program, instead of building it from numerous pieces of CSG, you will not have that problem. However, you can still make static meshes from CSG:

  1. Create the shape you wish to be a static mesh using standard add/subtract CSG.
  2. Texture your shape as you want it to appear.
  3. Use the Intersect tool to grab the shape you've constructed and add one to your level.
  4. Place the pivot point of the new brush on the corner of the brush or in the middle (bottom left is good).
  5. on your newly created blue, do Brush Context Menu -> Convert to -> static mesh
  6. Enter the package name e.g. MyLevel, the group name, and the mesh name.

Once you've done all those things you'll have a static mesh all ready to be added at will to your level. If you need to obtain a mirror image of the static mesh, you can do so by specifying a negative value on the appropriate axis in the placed StaticMeshActor's Display -> DrawScale3D property. However, be aware that if you don't place the pivot point on the shape then when you add the mesh to you level the mesh will probably appear miles away from where you thought you added it.

Creating Collision Data for a Static Mesh

The Unreal Developer Network has some great articles on collision for static meshes:

This link used to be under 3DS Max, but it applies to collision hulls made using any method. This is an external link describing one process, there is also another method. I will detail both methods soon, but for now here's the external link:


EricBlade: It looks like all the external links that aren't UDN here are dead. (or mostly dead, as the comment above says) I'm looking for some info on how to properly get things from 3ds to Ued, and I'm finding it not working well. I have a couple of totally correct .3ds files, but somewhere between exporting them as ASE and importing them into UEd, I lose all the material data. :(

Sylph: This page isn't being very clear. Are there really so much differences between the modeling software that one can't tell some universal basics about the exporting and importing process? Like, when exporting the file from a modeling program, what format should the file be? And how does the importing work in detail in UnrealEd? I'm using Blender.

Gear:If I remember correctly, Unreal uses Max's ascii file format in order to prepare the static mesh package. 3ds Max saves into this, Maya needs an exporter, as do others that do not natively save in Max's ascii format. But I will look into this again, just to make sure.