Beginner's Frustrating Experiences with the Engine

Hello all,

I subscribed to the Unreal Engine 4 a few months back with great hopes for my level designing future. I’ve gotten a basic understanding of several of UE4’s systems through the Unreal provided tutorials. However, outside of the skills learned within these videos, I’m really struggling with getting a grip on many of the engine’s aspects. I’m going to avoid going into specifics about what I need help with, as I can’t really describe all that I’m having trouble with. Suffice to say that I’m stumbling without direct guidance on the engine. I’ve tried looking into the documentation and the wiki, but I’ve found the explanations far too surface level and general to be of much help, and they rarely walk through the creation of content from beginning to end. Also, I’ve looked online to user generated tutorials on Youtube and other sites, but have had difficulty getting exactly what I’m looking for.

I understand that because this iteration of the engine is new, there is not quite as a robust set of instructions/documentation as UDK, but I really feel like I may be missing out on some hidden stash of documentation and tutorials. Many of the users on this site seem to be light years beyond me with the engine. I consider myself a fairly tech and game savvy person, so my ego won’t allow me to think that so many others can be so much better versed in the program purely based off their own self teachings, but I’m starting to think that that may be the case. I’m stumbling over and fumbling with so many of the engine’s features, creating a very frustrating experience.

Do any of you out there have any tips on how to properly attack problems, and acquire skills for using this program? Or is there a secret database of tutorials and information that I’ve somehow glossed over? I’m all ears to any suggestions that anyone has, and I greatly appreciate your time.

On the ‘Learn’ section use the search field. It is your friend. I keep that thing open all the time.
Searching the forum, docs, wiki and answerhub at same time is priceless.
For the very basic things, UE4’s youtube channel and twitchTv.

Well the first thing one has to learn is how to learn and with out this skill one can become overwhelmed by the shear amount of information that is out there. Google it :wink:

Learning UE4 is a statical problem no more complicated than learning what all the buttons on a new remote for a TV has, although has a lot more buttons, and getting a handle on it all is to first learn a few things that tend to be interconnected with one another so once you figure out one thing then the other thing you know, but did not understand, becomes a lot more clear.

The first thing is always first thing so pick one area that you think you need to understand and focus on it until you have it down pat and ignore anything that is shiny and attractive that will divert your attention away from the task in hand.

Last advice don’t look at the big picture as a single problem but rather break it all down into much easier to manage milestones and stick to it and you will find that you will figure it all out much quicker.

I would recommend you to just try to solve your problems by your own and when nothing is working, you can always ask in the forum and you will get an answer from other members :slight_smile:

Here is a good site for the documentation (here you can find answers about nearly everything):


Tutorials, videos and wiki are soo boring… as soon as you dirt you hands in the editor better, so my advice is open all maps that epic have, start with realistic render, reflection subway, blueprint office, and content examples. You dont try to understand the first time, only break it, and open the next. put two and two together slowly.

Hey my friend. I subscribed a month ago and i think the engine is great. Sure, theres many stuff i dont understand either, but that doesnt matter at the moment. To get along with the Engine you need something like Blender or 3ds . There you can do most of the Work in. I dont Model in the Engine, all Objects, static and Dynamic, come from Blender. Its also possible to do the Terrain in Blender (but i want to give the Terrain system a shot) .

Do yourself a favor and make roadmap for what you want to do.

My first Roadmap was about importing a cube into UE4. Before that i needed to model a cube. After the cube was a simple UV mapped House, then an animated Character (which doesnt work properly at the moment) and so on…

Stick to your plan and you`ll have success ! Small Steps, one by one :wink:

There are so many tutorials already that I will never have the time to watch them… and I like learning… actually like it more than doing it myself :slight_smile:

Hi Bnisbet,

I can certainly understand the frustration! I think it’s common with any large piece of software that you would come across. I would consider myself very proficient with 3Ds , but there is still a lot of things within it that I am continually learning to improve my workflow and process! I don’t think that will ever change. It’s a little unrealistic to think you’ll pick up and learn everything within any software that is as vast as UE4 or for me 3Ds .

If you’re wanting to focus on level design my advice would be to learn the things that are most related to that, such as using the Landscape tools, FBX importing, 3D modeling, the foliage tools, Lighting and it’s different types, and so on.

I personally find it’s best to not overwhelm myself with learning everything and to focus on “What do I need to know to do this one specific thing I want to do?” For example, if I wanted to setup god rays to shine through a window I would research and see what documentation is available for this. How is it being used in the engine? Is it using fog volume and lighting to cast the god ray or is it being faked by using a material and static mesh? These are the types of questions I would consider. Then I would look at the performance overhead of both and see what’s going to fit the style of game I want to create.

Luckily for you, there are many many video tutorials and documentation available that Epic has made and that the community have made as well! We also have a great staff here at Epic and a community that is willing to help individuals like yourself learn! :slight_smile:

Below are some links to information and tutorials that you have missed:

Epic’s YouTube Video Tutorials

Unreal News Weekly: Community updated list of tutorials provided by different users and their descriptions

Trello UE4 Roadmap: In the videos section you can see when specific tutorials and documentation will be tentatively provided by Epic.

Docs.UnrealEngine: This is a great resource simply because when you search it will search AnswerHub, The Wiki, The Forums, and API. You can search through these individually or all together!

AnswerHub: This is a great place to ask more specific questions if you’re having trouble. Even searching you may find answers to questions where you were running into a roadblock.

I wish you the best of luck and if you give it a chance you will see how rewarding and powerful this engine is at creating something spectacular. It will take effort and a lot of banging your head against a wall to figure some things out but knowing that you created something cool that others can play will make all that frustration just fade away! :slight_smile:

If you have questions or need specifics feel free to ask!

The video tutorials on the Unreal Engine youtube channel are a good place to start. Just by going through those examples you should already be able to accomplish quite a bit - building a level, creating blueprints, materials, etc.

From there the documentation, answerhub and forums can often give answers to specific questions. While the content examples that Epic provides can be dug through for solutions to more advanced questions or direct reference for solutions.

I think it’s important to have something you’re trying to accomplish. That way you’ll be able to find and resolve specific problems that relate to the work you’re doing. If you’re just trying to learn the engine in a vacuum it’s going to be incredibly difficult, at least I would think so.

Hi Bnisbet,

I wanted to come back and also ask, as a new user are there specific areas you’re finding hard to grasp or documentation that you’re not finding that may be useful? Information like this would be really helpful in exploring what we have that may fit you need and if we do have something available and you’re still having trouble, how can we improve it to be more user friendly?

Feedback like this is great to pass along for our documentation team and for creation of content where there may be gaps.

Put together a list and any feedback and I’ll pass this along or provide documentation if we have something you’ve not found yet.

Thank you!

This has to be one of the friendliest and most helpful communities that I’ve ever been a part of. Thank you all so much for your responses, and your patience with my post. I think I really need to compartmentalize my learning strategies if I plan on not being so overwhelmed. Thank you all so much!

Hello ,

As a caveat to my feedback, I have to admit that I’m relatively new to creation tools at large. I have a fair amount of experience with Blender, UDK, and Unity, but no expertise in any area. Because of this relative inexperience, a lot of the lingo and concepts that I find on the site may be over my head.

Also, I have to say that the video tutorials produced by Unreal are excellent. They’ve really aided in my understanding of certain systems.

A specific area that I’m having difficulty with is the Landscape Paint mode and Paint mode. I have a good understanding, from the official documentation, about the creating and editing of the physical aspects of the landscape, however I’m really struggling with the painting of landhttps://docs.unrealengine/latest/INT/Engine/Landscape/Editing/PaintMode/index.html does a good job of explaining what each of the brushes do, but I’m stuck at how to actually get to the point where I can lay a brush down on the landscapes. I acknowledge that I may absolutely be missing something, but I have a gap in my knowledge between the creation of landscapes, and actually painting them. Do all of the paints that you use have to be in premade layers?

Thanks very much for your reply and your concern.

Take a look at those tutorials:

(in the first minutes I show how you can create a basic landscape material)v=tsXVP0fykBM
To deform/paint onto a landscape you have to press Ctrl+Left Mouse Button

You can paint the landscape by Ctrl + clicking.

Here’s the documentation on Paint Mode:

You’ll also most likely need this one on Landscape Materials:

I hope that helps.

Hi BnisBet,

(as always!) has some simple to understand and great tutorials to get your started with the basics.

As for the being a generalist and not an expert don’t worry about that at all! Find the parts of the engine or development that you enjoy and focus on that. The areas I personally love and enjoying learning about are anything dealing with Environment art and props, 3D modeling assets, UVs and lightmapping, Lighting, Materials (still learning a lot here all the time!), Landscapes, and generally anything that would populate the environment. These are the things I’m continually focusing on outside of work and learning the ins and outs of. It wasn’t until UE4 that I started having more fun with Particles in Cascade and trying to create some cool effects! I really enjoy learning from others examples and learning by helping others here on the forum and AnswerHub. This has always been the way I learn the most. It’s through other peoples questions that I usually find something that I either hadn’t thought about doing or another way doing something.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions, you’ll notice there are some stand out people here on the forums and AnswerHub that are really helpful at assisting new users like yourself and when you’re comfortable enough in your specialties you’ll do the same. This community is rapidly growing with amazing people who have amazing ideas and are willing to help others! :slight_smile:

If you ever have any feedback on any documentation or suggestions feel free to post in the “Feedback for Epic” section of the forum. We do check this daily and take them serious.

Thank you!

I can say that as someone that has never done any work on any engines before figuring out how everything fits together has been a problem. For example, I watched the Youtube video’s on how to create the office room, and thought ok this is pretty cool. Then I start using that as a workflow and find out that really BSP’s aren’t used that much, worse if you put too many in, there seems to be a bug that slows down many people’s computer (including mine).

So then I find out that really most people create most assets in something like 3d , and import them. But that opens up a whole new can of worms. Some of my particular problems in that area
being able to map multiple materials to an object I create
getting the tiling and UV mapping setup properly so my textures look right

Now I’m learning that I probably need to make several versions (I think) of most assets to allow for level of detail control so things don’t get out of hand.

All this is to say that some video’s that really went over the basics of integration and how they all connect in how someone would actually work would be great. In the meantime, I’ve purchase Hourences video’s and I’m hoping that will shed some light.

So far I’m really enjoying the learning, but a realistic roadmap for beginners would be nice.

Thanks :slight_smile:

Well said, .

From my (noob) perspective there’s a bit of a gap in the ladder – a couple missing rungs – that make it difficult to get beyond simple levels into more complex level design.

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I agree with you bnisbet, it quite difficult. Of course game creation, or software creation of any kind doesn’t take place in months, but years. Although, working with 1 team member (myself only) and having little time to sit down on my project does put some restrictions on things. I do what I can. I don’t much experience with any piece of software, but like others say, it is important to focus on one thing at a time. I’ll say what I think helps is another buddy to talk to. Even just extra person involved in your project makes tackling tough issues much easier.

@ Hobson
I’m working with the content creation side of things for now and trying to teach myself materials and some mesh design tips. I think as far as tutorials or documentation, I’d like to see videos with some more detail on materials and how to create certain effects. How things work within those materials, why you choose that something to get a certain affect, and more detail on how each node in those materials function. It would also be nice to see a video (if one doesn’t exist) going over some of the other component variables related to post processing and how they work. (Assuming I’m asking right what I think I’m asking) And lastly…I’d love for more information on audio processing within code. I previously asked a question in a post related to audio that and nobody seemed to know how to tackle.

+1 for basic beginner realistic workflow videos, from A to Z

Hang in there my friend! It gets lots easier as you go. You will find that a majority of the questions you have now will be answered by your own experiences. And please dont get frustrated, just get in there and have fun. I have been working with the UDK for years, and it was kinda hard to make the transition for me. Im still no good at modelling, but im gonna keep going until I am. And these folks in this community are the best. I have never read any unkind words here, not once.