Asset Forge and Unreal Engine

Learn how to build assets quickly in Asset Forge and import them into Unreal Engine.

[3] - Custom Block Creation for Asset Forge with Maya

Details

Lets build out our first truck vehicle. We'll go to the vehicle tab. Grab a front end of our car followed by a truck pickup bed and finally our center seat section. Next grab our wheels and make sure you have the same wheels. Next do the same for the other side of the vehicle. Lastly we'll mirror the wheels with the `H key` to properly show the wheel details. Now that our first vehicle is complete we'll export in the OBJ format. Merging does not matter within asset forge however we will merge encase we bring this into a different 3D CAD tool. Click Save File. Go to your Asset Forge installation folder and go to the collections folder. Inside the collections folder create a new folder with the name of your custom collection. I will name it Prebuilt Cars. Refresh the folder in Asset Forge and name your new asset. Because the materials are exported with the OBJ format we can change the material colors of the car and those colors will stay with the OBJ asset when imported back into Asset Forge. Lets create a new material for a red car and apply that to our vehicle. Lets swap out the middle section and add a truck cab and paint that red as well. Export our new red truck into the same collections sub folder called "Prebuilt Cars". Now restart Asset Forge to get the new custom blocks loaded. Scroll through the asset explorer and find our Prebuilt Cars custom block folder. Test by bringing in both custom assets into the viewer. This examples shows building out a full asset but what about when we want to build our own individual custom building blocks? Asset forge also supports custom blocks in the obj format. This means that we can build custom meshes in Maya, Blender or any other tool that supports the OBJ export format to be used within Asset Forge. We can even use Asset Forge to build preset blocks and add them as custom blocks. Lets start with building two simple car assets within Asset Forge and then exporting to OBJ to reimport them into Asset Forge. Export to OBJ. Create a new folder in the Asset Forge installtion folder which is currently the download folder that holds the executable. We'll name our folder prebuilt cars. Lets call our model blue car and then export the obj. Now lets make a quick change via materials because material information will also get exported via the OBJ format we can use this for prebuilt object blocks with textures too. Now export our red car and we'll relaunch Asset Forge. After restarting Asset Forge scroll through the collection menu on the left and we'll find our prebuilt cars folder holding both of our car assets. Pretty cool right. This workflow is useful for both full prebuilt assets or individual blocks that you want to build out with Asset Forge. However, what if you want to build out fully custom building blocks like Asset Forge's preset folders. For this we will use Maya (Blender or SketchUp are also viable alternatives). It's important to note that Asset Forge's maximum block size is one cubic meter (1x1x1 meter) larger is possible but not recommended. Also UV maps are generated and overwritten by Asset Forge. All the meshes should be in the root hierarchy without using any groups. Finally, the pivot point should be the center and floor of your block. First I'll import a basic block primitive that I exported from Asset Forge to give us a sense of any difference in scale. This shows the block primitive from Asset Forge matches Maya's centimeter units which we can confirm by creating a default block in Maya. Within Maya we will build out a few quick train locomotive building blocks to bring into Asset Forge as our custom collection. First, lets build a quick main body section and add a quick bevel to it. Next we will build out two front cab sections both a single 1 cubic centimeter. For the first I'll create a sleak aero dynamic styled body cab. I'll do so extruding the mesh faces and by adding additional new edges to the mesh body. I'll also narrow down the front section to give it a smoother curved look. Once I'm happy with the design of the cab I'll scale the mesh body down to fit within the 1 cubic meter size guidelines mentioned earlier to match other Asset Forge default block sizes. For the second, I'll create a more blocky locomotive taking inspiration from the F40PH locomotive body style. The F40PH was initially built back in the mid 1970's hence the less aerodynamic styling. I'll add some additional edges to the mesh again to help express the hard edge lines that this locomotive had. Again, once we are happy with our model we'll scale this down to fit the standard scaling size of our other blocks which is 1 cubic centimeter. Now lets start exporting our locomotive building blocks out to the OBJ format. In Maya we will select our mesh that we want to export and go to `File > Export Selection` because we have multiple meshes within our maya scene. I'll create a new folder for our OBJ exports called locomotives and I'll name the first body locomotive_body. Next grab our second mesh body and do the same `File > Export Selection` naming this one aerodynamic_cab. One last time we'll grab the last mesh body and go to `File > Export Selection` and name this f40ph_cab. Once we've exported all of our OBJ locomotive blocks we will need to copy that collection folder over to Asset Forge's installation folder and go to it's sub folder called collections. Here we can add our custom locomotive collection folder. Now that we've copied our custom collection folder over we can launch Asset Forge. Once launched we can navigate to our custom locomotives collection in the asset pane and start dragging them into our scene. Quickly build out a locomotive cab with the main body an f40ph cab front and we can use the aerodynamic cab as our tail section. Also if you notice that the asset thumbnails are not showing correctly we can fix that by going to `Configuration > Clear Thumbnail Cache`. Relaunch Asset Forge one more time and the thumbnails will properly render showing you a preview of your custom block. Now we can build out custom blocks in maya and import them into Asset Forge for quick asset prototyping and building. In the next video we will explore importing our built out game assets from Asset Forge into Unreal Engine.