In a previous post, I provided an outline for exporting models from Google Earth into 3DSMax.  The next step is to export the models from 3DSMax into UDK.

After a few weeks of extremely manual work, mostly revolving around textures, here is my neighborhood in UDK.





  1. Models exported from 3DS into UDK (originating from Google Earth) will not have collision data out of the box.  However, there is a simple work around:  In 3DS max, create a copy of every model, and rename all the copies with "UCX_" in front of the original name. Export the whole scene from 3ds max as an FBX.  When importing into UDK, in the Import Options menu, under Static Mesh -> Advanced, check "One Convex Hull Per UCX."  The collision with that isn't the greatest, but it's good enough to be able to walk around in the city for the most part and it's certainly a lot faster than doing all the collision by hand in 3ds Max. If you don't check the One Convex Hull Per UCX box (normally you wouldn't if you'd built the model and collision mesh yourself), the collision goes completely bonkers in UDK because of all the planes and concave meshes.
  2. The textures associated to the models captured from 3D Ripper DX and imported into 3DS Max will be in the .dds format.  That's fine if you stay in 3DS Max.  However, if you wish to export the models with textures into UDK, the .dds extension is not recognized (thankfully, the texture coordinate data will still be there, just not the textures themselves).  To get around this, you need to batch convert the .dds files into .tga.  I used the IrFanView batch convert to accomplish this task.  However, you will also need to extend the extension capability of IrFanView by installing "All PlugIns."  This will allow the program to recognize the .dds extension, from there you can proceed with the batch conversions.  If you need assistance on the settings you should be using in IrFanView to create the tga files ready for UDK, reference this video (about 1:30min in).  Finally, with all of your tga textures ready to go, import them all into UDK.  Next, double click your static mesh in UDK to launch the Static Mesh Editor.  Under LODInfo > [0] > Elements is a listing of all the textures mapped to the model.  Simply expand out each element to reveal the texture mappings.  For each Material, locate and select the equivelant Material in the Content Browser, and click the green arrow next to the Material to "Use selected object in Content Browser."  This will overwrite the missing texture mapping with your imported tga texture.  Rinse and repeat until all Materials for the model have a tga association.

That was about as far as I decided to take this project in UDK.  Ultimately, the texture/mesh quality is just too low to be useful for anything other than extremely rough blocking out of a city.  To that end, it was a fun project.  🙂

Update: See my last post on this subject here to simplify a majority of the steps above.