Last Updated: 11-07-2013

Introduction

The Note Actors in Unreal are an often overlooked feature, mainly because its not immediately obvious at first what their used for. Most often their used as dummy / reference actors in kismet but in the past I have found them invaluble at aiding art production when working on a level with a group of people. In this tutorial I will cover how to begin using the Note Actors as well as give an insite into some of the things I've used Note Actors for in the past.

What Are Note Actors

Note Actors in Unreal are basically sprite actors that you can place around a level and then you can add any text notes that you want too. These Note Actors don't show up when you enter game mode so they are an excellent way of keeping notes and comments on your level without having to have them in random external text documents which you may misplace.

How To Add Note Actors

Unfortunatly Note Actors aren't accessible through the right click > add actor menu so you have to first select it from the actor classes tab in the content browser window. Note is under the uncategorised section but you can also find it by simply typing note into the search box.
Once you have got note selected in the actor classes tab you can go back to the main viewport and Right Click > Add Note Here. This will place a note sprite on the closest surface where your mouse pointer was. If you've added a note but you can't see it, chances are your in game mode which you can toggle by pressing G. If you still can't see it, you may have an option unticked in the Show > Advanced Options Menu.

Notes - The Next Step

Once you've got a Note Actor added you can access the properties just like any other actor, either by pressing F4 or Right Click > Properties.

You'll notice that the Note Actors are alot more simple than most other actors in unreal as they've only got one adjustable property which is unique to that actor. You'll find this property under the note header.

This is a simple text box where you can write any comment in that you want. I believe that you can type in as much information as you want but its probably best to keep the information brief as you can't make the box any bigger.

Reviewing The Notes In Your Level

Once you've added some notes to your level you can access a complete list of them by going to Tools > Check Map For Errors
This will open the Map Check Window which will list all of the Note Actors in the level. Under the message column it will display whatever your wrote in the note properties.
Theres a few cool things that you can do from here. Firstly if you double click on one of the notes in the Map Check Window, the camera will automatically focus on that actor in the main unreal viewport. Secondly if you select all or just a selection of the notes in the Map Check Window and then click Copy To Clipboard you can then paste this information into any external editor that supports it such as Microsoft Excel or Microsoft Outlook.

Ideas For Using Note Actors

Below are a list of things that I've used the Note Actors for in the past, hopefully this will give you some inspiration to come with up your own use for the system.
  • Keep track of bugs within your level (You can even label them in order of severity)
  • If your running out of time on a level but you feel like theres still alot you want to do, you can use the Note Actors to keep track of your ideas. You never know, you might come back to your level.
  • Keep track of particle effects or sound effects that need adding to your level
  • If you split up your reference into individual folders why not add Note Actors around your level with hyperlinks to these folders

Troubleshooting

I've added some Note Actors but I can't see them
Your probably in game mode, you can toggle this mode by pressing G

I've added some notes and I'm definatly not in game mode but I still can't see them
In the top left hand corner of the viewport theres an arrow pointing down, click the arrow and scroll to Show > Advanced Flags and make sure that Sprites has got a tick next to it

When I click check map for errors I just get a big list of errors but no notes
The Check Map Window is used so that Unreal can warn you about any potential problems with your maps so unless you've got a perfect map your likely to have quite alot of errors. Notes tend to appear at the bottom of the list so you may just have to scroll down. If you want to know more about the Check Map Window then you can check out this link: http://udn.epicgames.com/Three/MapErrors.html


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