Tutorial Topics

Lense Flares/Coronas

Level End Teleporters

Invisible Block Brushes

Sky Tutorial



Lense Flares/Coronas

To include coronas around light sources, you must first of all activate the coronas display option for the software engline in the advanced options menu. Otherwise they won't be displayed in the editor. In UnrealEd, the advanced options are located in the menu at 'Preferences' (UnrealEd2: Advanced Options). Go to the display options for software rendering and set 'Coronas' to 'true'.

Select the light(s) to which you want to apply coronas, and select a corona texture from the textures menu (Package: GenFX). Now, go to the lights options and under 'Lighting' set 'Corona'='true'. Now activate the 'Display' tab and find the option called 'Skin'. Make sure you've selected your corona, and click on 'Use'. Now you've got to do a geometry rebuilt before the coronas will be displayed.

Tip: When you set lights, you will always have some space to the wall texture, so that it will be lighted better. If you apply coronas to this light, it will look strange, because the corona will float in the air, in some distance to the light source. To fix this, just duplicate the light, move it really close to your light source, set the brightness to zero, but leave the hue and saturation, so that the corona will have the light's color. You can change the size of the corona in the 'Display' menu with 'Draw Scale'.

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Level End Teleporters

Changing between the levels is done with special 'teleporters'. You find the level teleporter in the 'Classes' browser under 'Triggers'. The teleporter is a special sort of trigger. In the options menu under 'Teleporter', you can specify the 'URL'(=level) to which the teleporter will warp the player when it steps into it's trigger radius. There's a special format which the URL-entry has to have. Type in the levelname as following: levelname#entree?peer. Just replace 'levelname' with the name of the target map file.

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Invisible Block Brushes (for Masked Walls)

Have you ever built a masked wall like a fence or a floor grate and wondered why you can pass right through it? Well, this is because sheet brushes cannot block the player. To do this, you must build an extra blocking brush. This is usually done by creating a cube brush that has the measures of the masked wall and a small depth, like 4 units. Place this brush at the same location as your sheet brush for the masked wall and open the "Insert a special brush" dialog. From the menu there, simply choose "Invisible Collision Hull", and add your brush in. Now you will be blocked by this invisible wall, as well as weapon shots and enemies.

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How to build a sky (tutorial)

A sky is basically a huge box area, in which the mountains and clouds are positioned as sheet brushes. You can orientate yourself at the original sky designs in the game as well as build completely new sceneries. Once I built a sky where the mountains were on fire by placing fire-sheet-brushes behind them, which looked quite surrealistic. Experimentate a bit with your sky to find a design that you like. However, it adds much to the atmosphere of your map if you build a sky that fits the design of the level. For (a very stupid) example you wouldn't like to build a night sky if the whole outside areas of your map are brightly lighted.
The standard sky graphics that are used in the game are contained in the package SKYBOX, but there are other nice skies in SHANESKY and SHANEDAY.
To build a sky area like in the original game, follow these steps:

Step 1: The big basic sky box

Create a box brush that that has a length and width of 2048 and a height of 256. The floor should have a rock texture as included in one of the sky packages. For the walls and ceiling choose a texture that will be the background of your sky. This will be stars or clouds in most cases.

- The basic sky-box -

Step 2: The inner box (optional)

Now build another box in the centre of the first one with a length and width of 512 and a height of 128. Position it below the big brush, so that you create a 'pit'. The texture for the walls and the floor should be rock (also from the sky packages). This step is optional, but you may include if for the case that you want to change the "view height" of the skybox (see step 6 for more information about the SkyZone actor).

- The inner box -

Step 3: The mountain range

Now we must build the mountains. These consist of eight sheet brushes (X-wall or Y-wall), two per side of the 'pit', each with a height of 128 and a width of 256. In the sky packages you will find sets of four mountain textures. Just begin with the uppermost texture for your first mountain segment, then go to the next texture down with each segment. After segment four you start with the uppermost texture again. So the textures fit together horizontally. Ignoring this procedure will create ugly 'jumps' between the segments. You place the brush in clockwise order at the top edges of the pit. In the 'add a special brush' menu choose the following options: Masked, 2-sided. The Unreal leveldesigner use the special light option for the mountains. Special light is a normal light which is set to 'special light' in the 'lighting' menu option. It will only affect those walls that have the 'special light' tag assigned to them. You need not use this kind of light, I've done skies without it and they look...the same (well, you can do some special effects with it).

- The first brush for the mountain ridge -

- The first mountain segment in the 3D-view -

Step 4: A cloudy sky?

Now we will put some moving clouds into our sky. Build a sheet brush (floor/ceiling) with the measures 2304 x 2304, just like the big sky box. Position it between the mountains and the top of the sky box. In the 'special brush' menu activate the following options: Regular, 2-Sided, Transparent, U-pan or V-pan (look which one looks better with the clouds), and VERY IMPORTANT, Non-Solid. If you choose something other than non-solid, the clouds will not be shaded in the game and be displayed at full bright. You will find many clouds in the texture package GENFLUID. Now choose a nice cloud texture for it and add it in.

- The brush for the clouds -

Step 5: Light up the sky

Time to put some lighting into it. In the easiest case, you need only one light, which lights up the whole sector. But it looks better if you put some additional lights into it. Look at the original skies, especially those later in the game where it's dark. You'll notice that far away there are things like red dusk lights or blue lighted clouds. For these, put some lights outside of the middle sector, and set the 'light type' to 'cylinder'. This will make round lights. Play around with the light options until you get a cool color.

- Try around with the lighting! -

Step 6: The Sky-Zone-Info

You must insert a 'SkyZone' zone-descriptor into the middle sector. This descriptor will be the 'eye-height' from which the sky will be shown in the game. This sounds confusing, an eye-height for the sky? Just do an experiment: At first, put the descriptor at the same height as the top of the mountains and see how it looks in the game (for this you must have finished all the steps below). Then, move it to the bottom of the middle sector and start the map again. See the difference? Normally, the descriptor is placed at the bottom height of the mountains. You will find the descriptor under INFO/ZONEINFO/SKYZONEINFO. If you go to the properties, section ZONELIGHT, you'll see the two options called 'TexUPanSpeed' and 'TexVPanSpeed'. Here you can set the speed with which your clouds move over the sky.

- The sky-info -

Step 7: Where should the sky be displayed?

Now you must tell the engine which ceilings (or floors, or walls (which can be necessary sometimes)) it should replace with the sky. Just select your sky-ceilings, and in the options menu, activate 'Fake Backdrop'. The Unreal levelbuilders give these ceilings a sky-like texture, like the clouds you use in your sky, and set the ceiling to 'Unlit', which advisable because this way your won't spend extra time for light calculations on these walls that you wouldn't see at all in the game.

- Set the ceiling to 'Fake Backdrop' -

Step 8: Additional stuff to hang into the sky

If you want, you can add additional details to the sky, like a moon or a bright star (or several of these). You'll find the graphics for them in the sky packages. Moons and such things are built with sheet brushes. A moon texture is normally 128x128. The brush should be placed above the middle sector and rotated a bit so that the moon will 'look' at the SkyZone descriptor (huh? See the pic). Funnily, Epic's designer placed moons under the clouds, not above them! The moon will be added via the 'special brush' menu, with the following options: Regular, 2-Sided (can also be 1-Sided, since you see only one side), Transparent, Non-Solid. There are very nice moon graphics, some have a light corona around them.

- The brush for the moon has been rotated to 'face' the zone-info -

- The moon in the 3D-window -

Step 9: Done!

That's it already. Save the map, load up Unreal and enter your map.

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  Tutorial Downloads

You can download this tutorial page for offline viewing here (ZIP, 216 kb).

If you want to download the demo level that I created for the sky tutorial, click here (ZIP, 27 kb). Note: The level is also included with the tutorial page download package.

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