Building an underground temple in UE4

Oct 26, 2022 at 06:00 am by nemirc

Building an underground temple in UE4
Building an underground temple in UE4

A few days ago, I was working on this underground cave/temple scene for a project, and now I am briefly going to tell you how I made it. The entire scene is made with various pre-made assets I got from either the Unreal Marketplace or Quixel Bridge. On top of that, I modified some of the elements in Maya, to get some specific pieces that I needed (for example, a broken wall).

Since this is for a game, the first thing I did was to build the basic layout using BSP and cubes, so I could test the entire gameplay elements.

Then, when all of that was in place, I began to place the 3D models to build the actual scene. In the scene I was using walls, floors and rocks. Since some of the floor areas are broken, I used rocks to fill those areas, fill areas underneath the floor or even replace the floor completely.

One of the rock models I chose has two very flat sides (but not completely flat). This was very useful for those areas where I want the floor to be replaced by rocks. One thing I did in these areas was to overlap the rocks, avoiding any “lamina faces effect” of course (faces overlapping on top of each other), because big gaps between the rocks gave the impression that the character’s leg could fall between those gaps.

For this specific part of the scene, I made a modified version of the wall, adding a hole along some bricks.

Below you can see the modified 3D model of the wall.

The next step was to create the lighting. Making underground lighting can be tricky, because there isn’t really any source light. If you watch movies that take place in underground caves, or underground anything, they are usually carrying artificial light sources, not to mention there are also artificial lights behind the camera. In this case, I decided to cheat a little and create an “opening” above the cave where light could come through. On top of that, I added some extra point lights to highlight some areas and make things easier to see.

Adding the volumetric light is pretty easy. The first thing you need to do is add an Exponential Height Fog object to your scene, and then modify the Fog Density and also activate Volumetric Fog.

By default, all the lights will emit volumetric lighting as soon as this is added. To turn off volumetric lighting on any light, select the light and then set the Volumetric Scattering value to 0. I did that for all my lights, except the spot coming from the hole at the top of the cave. To see the volumetric light, all you have to do is press the G key to enter “game mode” in the viewport.

When the entire scene was setup, all I had to do is tweak lights and the overall brightness of the scene to get the result I wanted.


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