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UE3 Home > Unreal Editor and Tools > Creating A New Map

Creating A New Map


New maps can be created from scratch or from map templates. Selecting the New command from the File Menu or clicking New Map in the Welcome Screen shows the New Map Screen which lists the available options.


Map Templates

Unreal Editor has the ability to use templates when creating new maps. This makes it possible to start a new map with certain aspects already set up based on the template used. For instance, templates for various times of day or weather conditions can be set up making it extremely quick and easy to start a new daytime map, nighttime map, overcast map, sunny map, and so on.



Startup Template

Unreal Editor can be configured to begin editing any existing map when the editor opens. This is known as the SimpleMap and it is set in the configuration file UDKGame\Config\DefaultEditorUDK.ini. By default, this is set to one of the basic lighting templates supplied with the UDK but it can be edited under the section [UnrealEd.SimpleMap] in the config file. The SimpleMap is loaded into an untitled level in the same way as any template so the user can't accidentally overwrite the original.

New Map Screen

In previous versions, the New command would always create a new empty map. Now the New command opens the New Map Screen.


The new map screen shows the available templates and an option to begin with a blank map. Simply click your selection and your new map will be started. When starting a new map you will be prompted to save any unsaved work. Regardless of whether you begin with an empty map or a template, your map will begin untitled so you can’t accidentally save over the template maps.

At present, the UDK includes simple lighting templates so that you can create a lit map easily without having to setup complex lighting parameters.

Adding template maps

Template maps can be added to Unreal Editor. A template map is just a normal map file in a special folder and with a different file extension. To add a new template, do the following:

  1. Save your template map to the UDKGame template map folder UDKGame\Content\Maps\Templates. Save it with the file extension umap, e.g. MyTemplateMap.umap.
  2. Run Unreal Editor and select the always-loaded package UDKMapTemplateIndex in the content browser. The package contains a TemplateMapMetadata for each user-added template map.
  3. To add your template to the index, create a new TemplateMapMetadata object by clicking New in the content browser or by right-clicking the asset panel background and selecting ‘New TemplateMapMetadata’.
    Name your metadata object to match your template map file. So if your template map is called MyTemplateMap.umap, name your metadata object MyTemplateMap, then click OK.
  4. To add an illustrative thumbnail, prepare a suitable image file and import the image into the current package as a Texture by right-clicking the asset panel background and selecting ‘Import...’. Give it any appropriate name. Default import settings should be fine.
  5. To use the thumbnail, edit your TemplateMapMetadata by double-clicking or by right-clicking and selecting Properties... Set the texture as the Thumbnail property.
  6. Save changes to UDKMapTemplateIndex
  7. The display name of templates on the New Map Screen is localized meaning the default international text for your template needs to be defined in UDKGame\Localization\INT\EditorMapTemplates.int. See Localization Reference. You’ll need something like this:
       MyTemplateMap=My Template
  8. Close Unreal Editor and restart it. Your template should appear on the New Map Screen.