3D Studio Max Unrobotic Unreal Engine toolset: 5. UE4 Object

The UE4 Object helper is used to visually represent and manage static meshes in the Max viewport. They are visually similar to the Export Node helpers, but always have the x-axis as their forward direction to match the Unreal Engine. They also cannot be used to Export data from max and are purely for asset positioning, tracking and representation.

UE4 Object properties

As with the Export Node and UE4 World helpers, clicking an object helper will display it's properties in the command panel. Here's a quick look through them:

  • Name / Path
    The name and path of this object. This name is used as the UE4 Actor name and the path is the UE4 location of the asset. This is usually automatically determined when changing the xRef mentioned below,
  • Two sided shadow / Hidden shadow
    Various settings that are applied to the static mesh actor in UE4,
  • xref Representation
    The Max file that's used to represent this static mesh in the viewport. ... can be used to browse using the file dialog. The optional setting Layer allows you to select a specific layer to reference in the supplied Max file. This is useful if you've combined multiple Export Nodes into a single scene. Remove will clear the xRef and Refresh will reload the latest version of the scene.


Adding UE4 Objects to the world

UE4 Objects can be added manually by simply clicking the UE4 Object button in the command panel and clicking the viewport. By default they are not assigned a Name, Path or xRef. A general process for manually adding a static mesh is:

  • Make sure you have an existing UE4 World helper in the scene and configured correctly,
  • Select the UE4 Object button in the command panel and click the viewport to add,
  • Select the newly placed UE4 Object and enter the modify command panel to view its properties,
  • Click ... in the xRef representation area to browse for the Max file that represents this object,
  • Select the Max file. The viewport will update to show the selected scene.
    The Asset Path will also update to find the best matching .uasset in the UE4 Content folder.

Note that the tools expect the xref'd Max scene to match the name of an Unreal Engine uasset located in the Contents folder to automate Path generation. For example, xRefing SM_Level01_Wall01.max will automatically update the Path to /Games/Meshes/Level01/SM_Level01_Wall01.SM_Level01_Wall01 if a file called SM_Level01_Wall01.uasset is found in Contents/Meshes/Level01/.

Also note that the tool assumes every static mesh asset to have a unique filename. If multiple assets in different folders contain the same name, the first one found will be referenced in the Path value.

If it doesn't seem to be working, make sure that you have added a UE4 World object to the scene and correctly set the Contents and Source folder paths in its properties. You can also manually change the Path value if it cannot be correctly determined or you need to have it show a specific value.

Pasting UE4 Objects from the Unreal Engine

If you have a UE4 World helper in the scene and use it to paste actors from an Unreal Engine clipboard, UE4 Objects will automatically be created. Similarly to how the UE4 uasset is determined by the scene name, the Asset Path and xRef filename are determined by the UE4 Asset name when pasting. Again, the tools assume that each asset Max file will have it's own unique filename.

Copying/cloning and deleting UE4 Objects

You can also copy and clone UE4 Object nodes in the scene. Cloning an existing object will automatically xref a new instance of the max scene visually representing it. When deleting a UE4 Object, the xref'd objects will automatically be de-referenced and removed from the scene.

4. UE4 World 6. Export Anims 

Who I am

I'm Blake and I like to tinker with things and make stuff. When I'm not programming or developing random systems, I'm playing with electronics, doodling bits of art, 3D modelling or sculpting and painting things or nerding out watching sci-fi or horror TV.

From 2001 I worked in the games industry, eventually specialising in tools to aid in the development of video games and their engines. In 2011 I left the industry and teamed up with a few other talented composers to utilise my knowledge to help build the company 'Spitfire Audio'.

I also periodically compose soundtracks for video-games and have worked on titles such as The Stanley Parable and Portal Knights. You've probably also heard my music in random TV commercials at some point.

What I'm using to make games

Nowadays I tend to utilise Unreal Engine 4. I use a mixture of (mostly) C++ (Visual Studio 2019) and Blueprints.

I work with Autodesk's 3D Studio Max to generate the art required, and Adobe Photoshop or Paintshop Pro 6 for texturing. I also dabble with Allegorithmic's Substance Designer/Painter, Quixel Mixer for more realistic texturing work.

Audio-wise, I still use Cool Edit Pro and FL Studio to generate sounds and music respectively.