Yes, it was all such a rush in the beginning: you downloaded UE4, and got stuck in. There was a learning curve, but you did the work, and made lots of quick gains. The community helped you with things you couldn’t work out for yourself. Oh, the giddiness of possibility.
Then you started to realise how hard it was. The more you learned, the more you understood how little you knew. You now needed textures, animations, everything else without the talent (or, to be honest, the inclination) to add yet another field of knowledge to your skillset.
The game you saw in your head met reality, and you could see behind the smoke and mirrors. Instead of living, breathing worlds, you only saw the BSPs, static meshes and mathematics.
I’m old enough to know this was always coming, but ****, this is hard. Having a family doesn’t leave me as much time to program as I would like, and I can’t commit to joining a team because, well, I don’t have the time. I have so many ideas for games I want to follow up, but I can only code one thing at a time.
Just a rant. I’ll get back in the game (ho ho). Keep going with your own stuff.
Can anyone tell the best way to learn/do animation?
EDIT: Really? I can’t say ****? ****. (It rhymes with lamb).
I’ve found game development to a bit like an exponential curve when it comes to effort. It gets harder as you move through the stages of the project because you have to put in increasingly more effort to see, in many ways, increasingly diminishing returns. This is especially true at polish when you can spend days working on something (whether it’s a bug or polish item) that can both be very cool and add a professional level of detail but ONLY if the player notices it.
But there’s also something of a bell curve when it comes to motivation. It’s very easy to motivate yourself at the beginning when all you see is possibility, and relatively easy at the end when you can see the finish line and you have a ton of work behind you. But that point in the middle where you require a lot of motivation and a lot of effort is super hard to get over for many people, just for the reasons you listed and that can drag on for quite a while depending on the size of the project.
As far as animation goes, in my opinion it’s one of two things - the other being sound/music - that’s hard to do as well as everything else. Because when sound and animation are bad, they tend to be noticeably bad. It’s hard to cover for it. And similarly when they’re good, they add a lot to the experience. So I would suggest those are things where - if you don’t have a real interest or the time to learn them - you look for outside resources (Mixamo animation library for example).
I definitely feel you OP. I am in a pretty similar situation. I feel like these days I spend significantly more time thinking about what I’d like to do in UE4, than I do in the actual editor. Perhaps its my own fault, but I definitely understand the… kind of sad feeling you get.
I think for me personally the biggest thing that would help is to work with people on a project. I find it gets really lonely. Assuming you want to make something good, you’re spending hundreds of hours, miminum in the editor. That’s a lot of time alone, and spending that much time alone working on stuff that, with the resources of only 1 person, can be slow tedius or boring, can really put a damper on your enthusiasm.
I’m just not sure about a good way to do the above. The forums and communities are nice, but it’s not enough at least for me. But for actual projects, well, everyone has their own idea and that tends to turn into a situation where the group either breaks and everyone works alone again, or there’s too many chieftains and not enough Indians as it were
Yep… It’s like an overwhelming paralysis, and you don’t even know were to start. Sometimes I stare at the blueprint screen trying to figure out how to do this, I know how to do it logically but witt BP syntax and not knowing EVERY function inside and out it’s hard to do it without guidance.
I’m also with you Pinworm, it gets very lonely and very frustrating. I wish I had a team, but I feel I need a polished prototype to attract help, but I need help polishing this thing! Or at least a real programmer so that I can make the assets and we can collab on the gameplay.
about anims, except ready to use stuff like “mixamo” or recent market place “free anim pack”, maybe you’d better have a look/search in the 3d program you use (maya/3ds/blender) to see how you can do them. (on youtube too for tutorials)
I was just thinking the same thing this morning. How many people that started with UE4 since March Haes stayed with it? My biggest problem right now is whether or not I like Blueprints should I switch to C++ as of now it’s blueprints. Blueprints seemed so easy at first but as I go further and further into blueprints I realize how powerful they are and how much I don’t know about them. I am in for the long haul I am learning both bp and c++. I am familiar with C++ and few other C based languages but for the project I am working on right now it seems that bp will work fine. UE 4 is a great engine and I guess it will take some time to really get use to using this engine in all it’s glory. The honeymoon is over time to put in work!!!
For me this is probably my main challenge. Given enough time and effort, I can power through most tasks, or find/buy missing resources, but time is something that’s terribly hard to find.
Can’t neglect the family, after all, they’re part of the reason I’m doing this. Some nights I sit down to knock something out and all I have is about 90 minutes. Sometimes an opportunity to work longer appears, then a little bit into it something happens and the family needs help. Let alone the house upkeep and all the other things that need be done to keep a functioning home and family. Not just a functioning one, but a happy one since it’s not all house work. Sometimes I need a little time myself to unwind, slay a few thousand demons in D3 or something.
So, there’s my rant and frustration, but hey, I feel your pain.
Now for animation…I’ve little artistic ability, which is why my project is partnered with somebody who does have it, but our goal so far has been not to reinvent the wheel as much as tweaking something existing. We too have many ideas, but our first project will be the one we feel has a better chance of seeing the light of day given our situation. Which will involve tweaks and modifications to already supplied UE4 motions and maybe taking some from 3rd party mocap. For scene animations, like say a movie sequence, we’re going to do more text based story than visual. Then, if this project goes well, there ought to be the time and resources to expand into bigger projects. Maybe get an animator added after that point.
From what we’ve seen so far, to master animation (to our needs and standards) would run our project out so far that it just would never happen. Now that said, there’s some stuff coming out that could significantly aid with animation. Saw a project called Facerig a while back that could be quite handy. So, my advice, find shortcuts to meet your goals for now while you gain knowledge. Better to keep moving on the big picture for motivation. Plus, I’d wager a decent selection of affordable items will hit the marketplace over the next few months.
Yeah… There’s really no way around the fact that to make games you have to, well, do the work (or hire folks to do it for you). Great tools like UE help of course, but it’s always about hard work in the end. If it wasn’t, everyone would do it.
I’m a programmer by trade. The better I get at the Unreal programming side, the more frustrated by my weakness in the other, more artistic, areas. I never thought it would be any different, or any less frustrating.
I am keeping calm and carrying on. Last night, I added bad voice-acting to my CV.
P.S. Did anyone else see the post by that Warhammer 40k bloke? What a strange individual.
Just sharing my thoughts, but if you’re programmer and looking to stay that way, why would you be sadden about things like animation, sounds, ie that “artistic” areas? Yeah, it’s possible to become jack of all trades (and sadly, master of none), but I really believe it’s much more important to become good at something you like doing… Image, if you’re a heck of a programmer, you could always place some placeholders and if your gameplay idea is that innovative and great, you might even be able to raise funds for your project and then hire some 3D/2D artists, etc…
I totally understand how you feel. I have 4 kids and that doesn’t leave as much time as I would like to work on my project. Most of my free time is at night, after my kids go to bed. But I can’t work on it every night because my wife would get mad.
I find the the main reason people quit their games or fall into this mid production depression is because their projects are too ambitious.
A simple way to avoid this feeling is to keep your projects as simple as possible and actually finish them. The simpler the project the better. I am talking about pong simple. Flappy Bird simple. Start with the most simple game you can come up with and finish it, then work your way up from there.
Big games take years to make, and a whole lot of dedication to finish it - to work through the low motivation phases.
You basically need to build up that skill. The skill to finish a game.
There is only one feeling that is better than daydreaming about a game you want to make - and that is actually finishing and playing this very game. And again, that is not going to happen if you dream about making GTA 5 or Call Of Duty.
Fantastic advice. I’d like to add what makes up part of my own motivation, if it may benefit others.
I love to read. Just about anything will do, my standards on quality are quite loose. If it entertains me, then I have no trouble with it. But sometimes there’s a book which simply should not exist, and recently I just finished one. There was little redeeming in it, and consisted of a mashup of all the popular sci-fi and action movies of the 80’s and 90’s. It even had the one liners, and somehow managed to not include what was good about any of those movies. In the words of my daughter “I can’t even…” Yet this book had well over several thousand mostly positive reviews from Amazon. bafflement increases exponentially Not only could I write a better book, I wouldn’t have to even try that hard.
But here’s the point, the person who wrote said book didn’t debate with himself or others over inconsequential details. They didn’t stress over getting a good plot or believable situations. Clearly didn’t put it in corner to chip away at over years to reach a state of perfection. They simply wrote it and published it, within whatever their current limitation was. There’s no explanation other than that they did the best of what they had. So while books like this make me consider switching entirely to non-fiction, it motivates me, because the only difference between me and them is that they actually did it. (Ignoring all the factors of luck and networking that play into this sort of thing getting published) Point is, get something done, push yourself but don’t make goals you know you can’t reach. Your worst completed work is still better than the work you never finished…and chances are better than quite a few money makers out there already.