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Best way to learn what nodes do

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    Best way to learn what nodes do

    I am trying to figure out a good way to learn the blueprint nodes so I can memorize them and what they do. I've been following a few blueprint tutorials on Udemy and I'm learning quite a lot but I need a way to quickly review blueprint nodes. I want to have a good description of what the node does and a few examples, and I havent found a good way to do this, mainly because there are SO many nodes. I tried writing down every node in a document and was going to give them descriptions while I learn but there are so many that even after 2 hours of typing im not even a quarter of the way done.

    I know about the Blueprint API that epic has, and it's useful but I still am looking for something better. My solution right now is creating a UE4 project with the showcase models and what i did is take a picture of a node, then import it as a texture and apply it to a plane and place it on a display and give it a description, and include some blueprint examples. However this will probably take even longer to do than typing it all out, so i'm kind of at a loss. I want to memorize stuff but I dont know the best way of doing that in a way where I can easily and quickly look at a picture of a node and a description and maybe an example or two. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!

    #2
    You can check Content Examples from launcher and Mathew Wadstein's youtube channel.

    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOV...TrNQ/playlists

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      #3
      Take apart sample projects. Its way more powerful than watching any tutorials...

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        #4
        There is also https://ue4resources.com/projects website for a lot of small sample projects you can learn from.

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          #5
          Thanks for the resources, i'll definitely check those out. My main issue though is documenting what i've learned so I can easily and quickly go back and refresh my knowledge if need be. usually my go to thing is a google doc but that doesn't seem to be as efficient. I was thinking of using a desktop Wiki like Zim but idk. Is there a list of the most commonly used nodes? Most useful ones? Maybe that would be a good starting point.

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            #6
            There are guides such as Romero's Blueprint Guide (eXi too may have a BP guide on the multiplayer side). But honestly users tend to outgrow these resources quickly. You're highlighting a massive flaw in the docs overall, which is they stem from years of NEGLECT by merely being auto-generated from C++ source. So they don't really explain anything. Instead you're better off breaking down samples and writing your own comments about what works or doesn't in your particular use case.

            If you were already intermediate to advanced in BP, perhaps a project like this would be interesting though. But there are just too many nodes in general, and lot of them depend on the type of game you're making and what the gameplay is. For example, if you're making a game with your own custom spaceships, the movement nodes you'll be using will likely vary considerably from the movement nodes of a dedicated Character-based FPS / TPS / RPG type game...

            In addition, one of the big problems with the BP node documentation, is that it rarely covers any of the assumptions that actually make the nodes work. Those hints are contained in the C++ source though, if only Epic would bond the two together! Plus there are ALWAYS other variables at work too. Going back to movement, consider mass / gravity / friction or physics simulation on / off etc. So it just isn't that simple.

            But there are some really quality sample projects around that you can get magical insights from. But you have to hunt around for them. Some are on YouTube / Community-Tools forums section as well as links like those above... A good way to learn the blueprint nodes to memorize them and what they do, is actually not to look at them individually but as related sequences. For instance, the code that moves a craft forward is a combination of input nodes plus vector math plus movement nodes. Keeping a collection of functional working code in snippets like this is far more valuable...
            Last edited by ClavosTech; 10-22-2019, 06:58 AM.

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              #7
              Yeah and thats the unfortunate thing, I envy people who are extremely efficient in it, although I know i'll get there too one day. Some of the documentation is well explained but a lot of it is just guess what the programmer is thinking kind of stuff.

              A good way to learn the blueprint nodes to memorize them and what they do, is actually not to look at them individually but as related sequences. For instance, the code that moves a craft forward is a combination of input nodes plus vector math plus movement nodes. Keeping a collection of functional working code in snippets like this is far more valuable...
              Yeah thats what I want to try to do. I'll have to find some projects and deconstruct them. I learned a ton from the tutorials on Udemy. The one i did today had me make 3 different games, a top down game where you rotate a static mesh to roll a ball through a maze and out a hole to win, one where you use a ball to roll though a cavern and pick up crystals, and a top down stick shooter. All of them go in depth with stuff and the teacher explained things pretty well, I can get a whole host of info from that tutorial alone. I'll take a look at the content example too. I'll just take pictures of nodes and explain what theyre doing and why they're doing it.

              I tried looking around to see if there were any good books on Blueprints but surprisingly there were none. There are books on blueprints but a lot of them were written years and years ago and probably wont have up to date node info. I do know C++. I know enough to have that programming mindset for blueprints, but my knowledge isnt great enough to be able to do anything worth while in the engine. I may be able to look at the code for the BP nodes and figure out some additional info.

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                #8
                IDK, I wonder if that kind of Udemy generalist learning also weakens devs.
                (You've made sample games but you still need books on BP? Alarm bells!)
                Maybe just pick one GAME GENRE, and stick with it for a couple of years....
                Last edited by ClavosTech; 10-22-2019, 07:51 AM.

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                  #9
                  Originally posted by ClavosTech View Post
                  A good way to learn the blueprint nodes to memorize them and what they do, is actually not to look at them individually but as related sequences. For instance, the code that moves a craft forward is a combination of input nodes plus vector math plus movement nodes. Keeping a collection of functional working code in snippets like this is far more valuable...
                  This is probably the best advice anyone using blueprints in unreal engine can get, in my opinion. There are a lot code snippets that are best-use based on which type of blueprint they are housed in, how the information is communicated, and for game-type. Examples: How to use Timers instead of Event Tick; How to setup flow control with booleans and loops; How to create a smooth dash/teleport ability; How to setup HUD to update; How to organize variables/code for multiplayer; Best-use for Referencing; Best-use for interfaces; When to use enums; When to use structs; How to use HLOD volumes properly; and etc. Some of this will vary by person to person as it comes down to how cost heavy it is, organizational taste, and necessity to reach peak efficiency.

                  GRAB THE FREE ASSETS EVERY MONTH! These beautiful humans have given us a gift of knowledge and tools to use in our own in endeavors. Embrace them and there is so much to learn. Many times I will create a dirty code mock up of a system I want to use based on the official UE4 documentation. Then see where all the bugs are, compare it to a highly rated similar marketplace system. See what they did to fix those bugs, see what clean code techniques they used to avoid other bugs. You can learn so much from this technique.

                  Read the unreal engine 4 documentation as much as you can. I started with that two years ago, studying 1-2 hours a day. Some of the information on the API is outdated, but a lot of the concepts of the different scripts and how everything is organized is not. So many times have I thought "I wish there was an easy to do this", then looked up the documentation and found the answer. They even have sections on when to use C++ and BPs for most efficient use.

                  Learn to read Unreal Engine C++. As a blueprint programmer you may need to expose variables and understand the underlying mechanics behind a blueprint to truly grasp and manipulate it. Learning C++ as a whole is a daunting task, but after taking a very basic udemy introductory course to C++ and unreal engine C ++, you will be able to read the code pretty easily. The similarities between C++ and BP are very noticeable. There are also many code snippets for C++ that are best-use as well and you merely need to set your variables to them to use them.

                  Create a library of links and great information sources. The community is wonderful in the game developer world, even though it may seem cold to the outsider since everyone is super busy as time is a game dev's most valuable resource. There are treasure troves of notes, documentations, sample projects, community systems, community games, and etc to learn from. The only downside to this is learning bad habits, the best thing to remember is good programming is clean and smooth. Always build towards that and test the code to see if it meets those standards, this should help filter a lot of bad habits. Also reference the UE4 documentation/UE4 C++ Engine code to make sure the C++ base code for the BP nodes won't conflict with anything if you have doubts.

                  Read the forums often. See how people get their problems solved, even if it doesn't apply to your project. There is a wealth of knowledge scattered in random posts.Once again watch out for bad habits, you will eventually see the same people solving problems with great success and can explain it easily. Follow these people, there is so much to learn from them. There are many names that if I see their post in a discussion I usual take their word as gospel unless they say they don't know.

                  Hope this helps someone, my two cents.

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