1.3 – Working with WED’s Views

If you are fairly new to 3D in general then the four views in WED may seem a bit confusing to you. If this is the case, then you will want to play with WED for a bit before trying to work on anything serious. After a while you will find the four views are essential to your workflow.

The views are where all the action takes place when you are creating your real-time 3D worlds. It is within these views that we breathe reality into our dreams and make them come to life so that others can experience them too. This being the case, we had better learn all we can about them.

By default WED has its four views set up like this:

Each of the four views is labeled and this is very helpful. To the upper-left is a view labeled Top. This window provides a top-down view into your world. It is essential for when you need to edit or look at something from the top, such as the roof of a building, for example. WED has a Top view but no bottom view. As a result, you will have to use this window to edit anything on the bottom or underside of your world as well.

The bottom-left view is labeled Back and this is a window into your RT3D world from the back. Obviously you use this view to edit your 3D geometry from the back. Since WED does not have a Front view you will also be editing your front side from here as well.

The window to the bottom-right is labeled Side. This is a view of your 3D world from the side and you would use it to edit from either side.

These three views do not display your world as you would see it in the game. Everything seen within these windows will be orthogonal and in wire frame mode. Orthogonal means that everything is viewed perfectly straight on with no perspective or depth shown at all. This means that if two walls are the exact same size but hundreds of feet apart then they would appear exactly the same in size within these views. Since they are shown as wires this can get a bit confusing when your level gets complex, but you will see that editing in wire frame mode is important.

The last view, located to the upper-right, is labeled as 3D View. This view shows your world in 3D perspective mode and you can choose from one of three ways to view your level geometry; Wire Frame, Solid or Textured.

Wire frame mode will display your world just as in the other three views, but in 3D perspective. I rarely use this mode, but it can be useful from time to time. I think it is mainly useful if you have a very complex level since wire frame mode will display very quickly.

Solid mode will display your level as if it was made up of solids, but everything will be one color. This is good if you want to block out all those confusing wires everywhere in a complex level, but having everything the same color can be a drag and it makes it hard to see some smaller details. Like wire frame mode, solid mode is good when you need to speed up this view as it is faster than textured mode.

Textured mode is most likely the mode you will work the most in. It enables you to see you level with all the textures applied and lighting. Textured mode is slower when moving the camera about, but it gives a much closer representation of what your level will look like when you build and run it.

While things look a lot nicer in the 3D View it is a lot more difficult to do any editing there. You can select and move things around, but there is no real way to restrain your movements. As a result, editing in the 3D View is unpredictable. Plan on doing all of your editing in one of the other three views.

As I mentioned before, having four views may be a little confusing at first, but it is essential. With a little practice you will find yourself moving an object in either the Side or Back view wile looking at the Top view for placement. You will find that you will need all three of the orthogonal views in most cases when editing your level geometry. There are times, however, when you will only need one view for editing. Each WED view functions like a typical Windows’ window and has a minimize, maximize and close button on the title bar. Clicking the maximize button on any view will cause it to fill the entire WED view space thus allowing you to edit using only that view. Clicking the same button again will restore the window to its original size and place.

Play around with the creating, editing and positioning things within the views and pretty soon you will feel very comfortable with them.

Return to Part 1.2 - Setting Up Short Cuts
Go to Part 1.4 - WED's Grid System