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Recent Tutorials/Posts

NEW/FREE PDF Tutorial Guide: The Essential Beginner's Guide to Getting Started With UDK

Category: News/Updates/Resources, Books/Ebooks/Products
November 25, 2014

I have created a brand new, free PDF tutorial guide for you.

It features 130+ pages and over 150 techniques, methods, insight, tips and advice on how to get started and use UDK. It contains a lot of information that is straight to the point and gives you direct steps to applying the techniques.

I created this guide for beginner's to get started with UDK and as a way to manage my own workflow between different game engines. I often found myself forgetting how to do something in UDK, after working in another game engine for a while. Each game engine has its own different workflows, techniques, interface and shortcuts. So I needed a way to remind myself of the steps of doing something without having to re-watch or re-learn the basics.

I recommend to use this guide as a reference manual for most commonly used techniques and tips in UDK. So if you want to do something in UDK, and need a quick and direct steps to doing it, use this guide.

What You Will Learn From This Guide:

  • 30 Quick Steps to Getting Started with UDK
  • 18 Tips on Mastering BSP Brush Geometry Construction
  • 21 Tips to Using and Improving Static Mesh Workflow for Environment Construction
  • 15 Ways of Texturing Your Environment
  • 16 Tips to Improve Your Lighting with Exterior and Interior Environments
  • 9 Ways on How to Use Fog in Your Environment
  • 8 Tips to Using Skies Within Your Environment
  • 10 Ways to Improve How Your Environment Looks with Post Processing
  • 34 Tips and Advice on Getting Started, Using and Creating Better Landscapes

If you have already subscribed to WoLD email updates with your email, you have already received this guide - check your email.

But if you are not a subscriber and want to receive this tutorial guide, click here and sign up for free WoLD email and newsletter updates and you will receive a download link to get your copy.

Also, this PDF guide is only a start. Keep an eye out for this Friday, November 28th, when I finally will be releasing two huge UDK guides: UDK The Foundation and UDK How to Guide to Landscape Creation.

Or sign-up for free email updates to get your copy early on Wednesday, November 26th.

Until then,

Download your free guide here and leave a comment. Let me know what you think about it...

Coming Soon Tutorial Guides - Next Week: What to Expect

Category: News/Updates/Resources
November 20, 2014

I am currently putting final finishing touches on a project that has been in the works since earlier this year.

This release has to do with UDK (Unreal Development Kit), so for next couple of weeks starting Monday, Nov. 24th will be UDK take-over week.

But this isn't about me or this website. It's about what you get out of it.

So, what does this mean for you?

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13 Ways to Improve Your LD/3D Skill Away From a Computer

Category: Level Design, Game Environment Design, Productivity/Time Management
September 10, 2014

Have you ever wanted to work on your level designs and environment art, but couldn't? You were nowhere near your computer. No level editor or 3d modeling apps in sight. For example you are on vacation, taking a trip, or you have another obligation which requires you to be doing something else and be somewhere else. But, you are eager and want to work.

These are 13 ways of becoming a better level designer and game environment artist away from the computer. Each of the methods can be done anywhere, anytime and any place. Use any of the following ways to continue to work, improve and expand your knowledge. I use these all the time.

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Resource: Level-Design.org Knowledge Base

Category: News/Updates/Resources
August 20, 2014

Mateusz "seir" Piaskiewicz over at Level-Design.org recently created and launched new Wiki-based website called Level Design Knowledge Base. He created the site to share his knowledge and thoughts on Level Design.

Mateusz is a Senior Level Artist and Designer at Techland. Some of the games he worked on include Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood, Call of Juarez: The Cartel, Dead Island and Dying Light.

Here is a snipped from Mateusz:

"Welcome to the LEVEL-DESIGN.org Knowledge Base. This website gathers information about all the aspects of level creation process. Please visit About LEVEL-DESIGN.org Knowledge Base page to know more. Happy reading and have fun creating levels!"

Here are a couple of recently published articles: Composition and Dominants.

Click over and check out LEVEL-DESIGN.org Knowledge Base.

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11 Things I Learned from Dream Worlds

Category: Game Environment Design, Level Design, Books/Ebooks/Products
August 06, 2014

Book cover "Dream Worlds: Production Design for Animation" by Hans Bacher

What can you learn from production design for animation? Most importantly, how do you apply these principles from production design for animation to game environment art?

As environment artist and level designer, you must absorb knowledge from many different art disciplines. It should include architecture, interior design, photography, film and animation.

The hardest part is to find connections and correlations from these disciplines and apply it to your own work. For example, you could read an instructional manual on composition and lighting for photography but if you can't translate it to game environments and how it improves your work, then you just got better at taking photos.

The key is to find a way to use practical knowledge in one discipline and transfer it to another.

When I was in college, studying computer animation I found a great book that offered insight into preproduction and world creation for animation.

The book is Dream Worlds: Production Design for Animation by Hans Bacher.

Although the book is mainly focused on feature animation from Disney, there is a lot of correlation to game environment artists. The author offers practical advice and insight you can use.

Here are 11 things I learned from Dream Worlds and how I applied it to game environment art and level design...

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UDK: Material Editor Guide to Practical Examples

Category: UDK
July 17, 2014

The following is a guide to most common practical material editor examples of improving and enhancing your material creation. You can do many things within the material editor that do not require you to re-adjust and re-import a texture. You can brighten or darken a texture, you can increase the depth of a normal map, you can control specular highlights or increase a contrast of a diffuse, you can add color to a diffuse or use diffuse as a specular map. All within the Material Editor itself. Find out how to improve your materials within the editor itself.

This post is an ongoing guide that will be updated with additional methods and techniques.

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UDK: How to Create Your First Material

Category: UDK
June 26, 2014

After covering the basics of the Material Editor, textures vs materials and importing your custom textures into UDK, you are now ready to create your first material. Following tutorial will guide you through to creating your first material by using the imported textures from this previous tutorial.

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UDK: How to Import Custom Textures

Category: UDK
June 20, 2014

In this tutorial you will learn know to import custom textures into UDK in order to use them to create a new material. We'll take a diffuse, a specular and a normal map texture and import them into UDK.

You'll learn proper texture size dimensions to use, how to save textures, how to import textures and create a new package in UDK.

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UDK: Material Editor Beginner Basics

Category: UDK
June 17, 2014

Material Editor is an important element of UDK environment creation. It is where you will create and edit materials that will be used to texture your environment.

This is an introduction to UDK Material Editor before we get into more detail on how to import your own textures and create your own materials.

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UDK: Difference Between Textures and Materials

Category: UDK
June 13, 2014

When I first started with UDK I had a lot of confusion understanding the difference between textures and materials.

There are few fundamental distinctions between textures and materials. For example, you cannot  apply a texture on a static mesh or BSP geometry. Textures have to be a part of a material. The material is what you would use to texture your environment and apply to Static Meshes.

Here are the differences between a texture and a material in UDK.

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WoLD Website Redesign

Category: News/Updates/Resources
June 12, 2014

I've had the redesign goal on the to do list for a while now. But other goals would tend to take its place. After months and months of avoiding wanting to update the design, I finally decided to get it done.

My goal wasn't to change the entire layout, but to improve it and to update the design. I wanted the site to be less boxy and more united in terms of color. I wanted to have more white space and more open. I wanted to include an option in design to offer bigger video sizes for each tutorial page.

What's in this new redesign for you?

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CS:GO From Top Down Layout to BSP Block-In Workflow

Category: Source: CS:GO SDK
February 10, 2014

In this tutorial I'm going to show you how to take your top down map layout sketch for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive map and begin blocking in BSP in Hammer level editor.

We will create a floor plan of the map in order to test gameplay timing of choke points, objectives and path routes. This process has to happen before creating the shell of the environment, add any detail, props, texture or light the map.

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Top 6 Tutorials on Productivity, Focus and Time Management

Category: Productivity/Time Management, Game Environment Design, Level Design
January 07, 2014

Time management, focus, discipline and being able to finish a project have been very important topics for me, since I've struggled with this so much. I am constantly trying new ways to improve my work output.

With 2014 under way, I wanted to highlight top articles on the site to get the year going. The following are a small hand-picked collection of tutorials that will guide you to have a better year in 2014.

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CS:GO 6 Principles of Choke Point Level Design

Category: Source: CS:GO SDK
December 17, 2013

Choke points are areas of the map where the attacking team meets resistance from the defending team before reaching the objective. Choke point areas are specifically designed to enhance gameplay. They are used to control flow, pacing and balance within the map.

I've narrowed down choke point design to 6 core principles.

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CS:GO How to Design Gameplay Map Layout (Complete In-Depth Guide)

Category: Source: CS:GO SDK, Level Design
December 10, 2013

The following is a study; a how-to guide for gameplay layout map design in Counter-Strike. I will be using Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, but this should apply to any Counter-Strike versions released.

I will go into depth of popular maps in CS:GO and dissect why these maps are structured the way they are. I will analyze what makes a good map and what creates good gameplay, flow and pacing.

I will tell you exactly how you can do the same for your maps.

This tutorial will also apply to any level designer that uses any form of attack/defend, assault or search/destroy type of multiplayer layout will greatly benefit from this guide. A lot of my insights come from variety of online multiplayer games that I've studied.

Principles of good multiplayer level design for first-person shooters don't change very much. The applications of the techniques do, but principles stay the same.

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Deliberate Practice for Level Designers and Game Environment Artist

Category: Level Design, Game Environment Design
December 03, 2013

The following post/tutorial has been sitting in my queue for about a year. It is something I've wanted to finish and share with you for a while, but other tutorials would get in the way. Until I took last few months off from posting and focused on practicing and improving my skillset. I realized how important what I am about to share with you is. So now I am back and completely refocused on WoLD. To get things moving again, the topic of today's blog post is practice.

Deliberate practice. Deliberate practice isn't daily work. It isn't what most call, practice. It is a specific kind of practice with its own steps, actions and principles to follow.

What I used to consider "practice" is merely working on a map or a game environment.

The process went something like this...

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Software for Game Environment Artist

Category: Game Environment Design
June 11, 2013

What software/applications do you need to create game environment art?

The following article is a list of software you would need to know and use to create game environments.

I narrowed the list down to essentials few to get you started in the right direction. After you've gone through this article you should have a strong foundation of what software you would need. From there you could choose to explore alternative applications. This is not a complete list of software and it is subjective, based on my experience and what I've seen environment artist use majority of the time.

I included 'What I Use' section, to see what software I use and recommend.

I've split software into pipeline categories. From visual development to modeling to rendering your work inside a game engine.

I've also listed free alternative applications that you could use.

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CS:GO SDK Creating Advanced Bomb Site Zones to Trigger Fire/Dust

Category: Source: CS:GO SDK
March 29, 2013

In this tutorial we'll take the standard bombsite zones we created in last tutorial and add visual and functional entities. We'll add environment fire and dust cloud to trigger when the bomb goes off. This will make the explosion a lot more interesting.

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CS:GO SDK Creating Standard Bomb Site Zones For Defuse Map

Category: Source: CS:GO SDK
March 28, 2013

In this tutorial we will set up a standard bomb site zones for a defuse map. We will also define the bomb site zones with visual cues using overlays.

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