Using 3D models and Unreal for FPS
If you are a gamer, then the odds are that you have a favorite FPS that you would love to expound upon. It may be that the storyline was not what you wanted, or that it ended too soon. You may just find that you want to add cool gadgets into the mix. Whatever the reason, building a first person shooter game has become a priority.
The challenge is that most blogs that you will find a state that this is a complex process and that you need a huge team to do it properly. And where this is true for those seeking to make a commercial product, it is not necessarily true if you just want to get something interesting and unique going on your PC. Here is a quick guide to building an FPS from scratch.
Step One: Download Unreal Editor and do the learning tutorials.
You can choose a number of free game engines to build your game. CryEngine is good, but for quick and intuitive use, Unreal Editor is recommended. Take a few moments after you download your software to do some tutorials on YouTube, as there are some learning and 3D knowledge required. Once you have learned about setting up your scenes and building content, the next thing to do is to storyboard out the fighting area.
Start with the exterior world template. From there import your models into Unreal. If you are importing 3D models of buildings, ensure that you have them set up for collision and such in Unreal (again there is a tutorial for that).
Step Two: Acquire 3D models for the game
As this is a first-person shooter game, you will need to have guns of various types. Where you could use 3DS Max, Maya, Mudbox, etc. to make the various weapons for the game, this is a bit redundant given that you can download and purchase the models needed from CGTrader and other such 3D model platforms. What makes this even better is that many of these platforms have models which mimic the top games on the market.
Want to have the guns from Destiny 2? Do a search and then download the gun model, tweak and change the materials, and there you go. The same can be said about your main characters, the supporting content, and buildings. If you have a preference, then all you need to do is purchase the file (.obj is preferred) and then tweak it in your 3D program.
Step Three: Convert it to the Unreal Format and Put it in your library
A simple 3d to unreal plug-in can be used for software which does not already have the needed export functionality. However, most of the top software programs have ASE export which Unreal Supports. It is important that you put your assets into your Unreal library so that they are easy to find. Remember that you will need to reassign the textures to your models in some cases, so have those imported to your image file as well.
As Unreal has to light, and as lighting tends to be a bit fickle from one program to the next, it is not advised that you export any lights from another 3D program. You can export the fixtures, but it is recommended that you set up the lighting within Unreal.
Step Four: Put it all together
The last step is the building and the merging of the unreal controllers, the pickups, and the objects together. Building and rebuilding the scene will be the most important part of getting your FPS the way you want it. Once you have the game created, then export it to your PC and you are set. Do not be surprised if you need to tweak elements here and there and if there are bugs in the game. This is part of the creative process. You will find that your content needs updating, remodeling, coding, etc. to make it perfect. This is why it is usually recommended that you have a team as this can get rather a time extensive. Yet, if you are building your game for your personal enjoyment and not for commercial uses, you can do it yourself.
An Obvious note
Obviously, this article is a tip of the iceberg type of tutorial. There is a bit more to make a game than just importing and exporting objects, and you are encouraged to take the time to plan the story, the set, and the lighting according to your game’s genre. And although this article has downplayed the importance of understanding the core concepts of 3D design quite a bit, those who wish to develop an FPS game should at least understand the concept of Polygons, of collisions, UVs, and Texture baking before embarking on building a game.