I am learning UE5 using a course on Udemy, and also trying to build a simple (as I thought) project of myself.

The game is billiards with top-down perspective. I want to make a billiards table that has:

  1. Different patterns on different levels. E.g. some levels have a checkered board, some levels have a honeycomb pattern.

  2. I want to be able to animate individual cells in the grid. E.g. toggle luminosity, cycle colors. I am also considering playing with geometry in some cases.

My current issue is that there's too much terminology that seems to apply in my case. Decals, textures, materials, static mesh, instanced mesh. I am not sure what I should be looking at.

My current implementation is an actor with UInstancedStaticMeshComponent that can have different meshes (hex, cube). I am plucking individual instances into separate UStaticMeshComponents when I want to have one-off material.

What would be an approach that would make it easier to build unique levels?

  • \$\begingroup\$ What specific problems are you having with your current approach? What are the ways in which it's not easy, that answers should focus on making easier? \$\endgroup\$
    – DMGregory
    Jun 7, 2023 at 21:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ I would like to know if this is a valid approach. I am trying to understand if there are gaps in my knowledge that I need to fill. \$\endgroup\$
    – Eugene
    Jun 8, 2023 at 4:59
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ If it works, it's valid. To make it "better" in some way, we need you to first identify in what specific way it's currently unsatisfactory for your needs. \$\endgroup\$
    – DMGregory
    Jun 8, 2023 at 12:24

1 Answer 1


By the looks of it, you are reading about shaders and graphics processing, which is a complicated field that you don't necessarily need for your effects. It might help to think of your backdrop and cell effects as game objects, like the balls- instead of trying to modify anything, you just position and display the right ones. Your "highlighted cell" effect could just be a square beneath the ball. Your pool table doesn't even need to be an object- it could just be one of many flat backdrop images, and your code enables the correct one. You may find that you can achieve visually identical effects with far simpler code.

It's generally a good idea to start with the easiest task possible and add features/animations once it's up and running. I'd recommend working with generic featureless shapes, spending time on basic game logic like the menu, taking turns, keeping score, and physics.

Once you have a built a functioning logic system, you will be much more prepared for the advanced stuff like graphics effects.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you. You are right, I need to start from basics. \$\endgroup\$
    – Eugene
    Jun 12, 2023 at 23:45

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