Playing nice with others, Maya to UDK workflow

I recently started a new side project and decided to showcase it in UDK.
Having only had minimum experience with UDK before, I decided to chronicle my learning experience in short mini tutorials focused on the issues I encountered and how I solved them.
I’m not claiming to be now, or ever, the end all be all authority on UDK. Anything found herein worked solely for me. If it works for you too, then that makes me happy but chances are there are a million different ways out there you could do things, many better than the ones demonstrated here.
Now, without further ado, how does scale work in UDK and how do I get my assets in-engine to be the right size.

Help!!!  my assets are HUGE… or tiny…
If you’re like me you have your modeling package set up in metric. You have your exported set up in metric and you’re happy. But once you brought that first asset into UDK you were either scratching your face on that characters toe or you where straining your eyes to even see your asset.
UDK does not use any conventional measuring system encountered in the real world. UDK uses Unreal Units. What are those?

A generic character in UDK is 96 units high. If we accept a six foot, 1.8m tall human as average height we can infer that 16 units equal one foot. If you come to this from the metric system and have been using Cryengine or Unity then that is the single biggest thing I want you to take from this. Feet are your friend.

Okay, we found ‘feet’, now what?!
First you will need to set your modeling package, in my case Maya, to think in feet.
You can do that by navigating to: Window>Settings/Preferences>PreferencesPost_001_Image_001_MayaSettings
then go to the Settings Tab and in Working Units set Linear to: Foot, then hit save.

After that I like to use Josh Buck’s UDK tools to manage my grid.
You can find them on his personal site here:
It’s a free tool and it comes with all sorts of tricks.
You can set your grid divisions and create references at the click of a button.
Here I have created a cube that is 6 feet tall.Post_001_Image_003_6fMaya

Can I has Game Engine?
Now it’s time to export our efforts to UDK.
You can use either ActorX or Autodesk FBX. I’m using FBX and after I figure out what the best settings are I will be posting those in a future entry to this series.
Once in UDK you will need to import your asset into a package. I will be going into Packages in more detail in a future post but for now, follow this link to the official unreal forum for an explanation of what they are and how they work:

Here you can see the cube we exported inside UDK.
You can set the subdivisions in your grid to any number that us a power of 2.
Here it is set to 16 units and as you can see our 6ft cube fits exactly into the Unreal Grid.

I hope you found this post helpful.