Complete Beginner Looking For Advice

Hi all, I am currently a 2nd year programming student(Just finished my first year so I will be starting my second year in September) and have mainly learned C and C++ in my classes. I subscribed to UE4 as I was very intrigued by their Unreal Tournament announcement earlier this month, especially after hearing that UE4 is going completely C++. Of course my end goal in doing this programming program is to eventually go into game/graphics programming. Since it’s my summer off, I thought what better way then to actually apply some of my skills to a personal project so I actually have a firmer understanding of C++ past what my professors tell me.

My questions are this:

  • What would be the best way to start off making a small personal game in UE4 as a project for the summer? What should I be aiming for, especially for someone that is still learning C++?
  • Should I focus on making a simple 2D game rather than a 3D one to get started? Seeing the Flappy Chicken showcase intrigued me because before I thought the UE engine was pretty much pigeonholed into being for FPS games
  • What should my expectations be going into UE4 and a game engine for the first time?(UE4 will be my first foray into making a game)
  • What can I expect to gain from making things in UE4, in terms of making games and in terms of further fleshing out my knowledge of C++?
  • Would you recommend I start off 100% using C++ for scripting or using the visual blueprints?
  • Since I’m not a designer, how would I be able to add objects and designs to my game?
  • For someone at my level is retaining the UE4 subscription worth it or is it better to cancel and resub when I learn enough about UE4 and C++?
  • Lastly is there anything to be gained in terms of knowledge/insight through me looking at the source code for UE4? I opened it in VS2013, but noticed that most of the files were C# files and not cpp’s.

Thanks in advance for taking the time to answer. I hope to stick around here for the long term.

What is your end goal? Do you want to make a game for personal enjoyment, or are you looking to get some good portfolio work under your belt in order to land a job after school? If you are hoping to become a games programmer then I think focusing on creating and releasing a game over the summer would be a good goal (just keep the scope very limited, the flappy bird project is a good example of that).

A lot of your questions sort of depend on what your goal is. There’s no one way to do it - blueprints can get you a long ways and seem to be a fine way of developing a game (quick too!). On the other hand, if you really want to learn C++ for work someday then you should start developing those skills.

Best general advice I can give is: watch all the tutorials on youtube from Epic Games, they are excellent. Second, limit the scope of your first game. it’s FAR better to finish something tiny than to slog through something huge and lose steam half way through. Your going to learn so much on the first project, you’ll approach your second one very differently, so it makes sense to keep em short and sweet for now!

I can’t speak directly to the C++ side, as I am just digging in to that myself.

End goal would be to get some portfolio work under my belt for sure. Games programmer and maybe further down the line an engine programmer are my long-term end goals.

I’ll definitely be focusing on making a very small game for my first. Since I’m just starting out and also want to apply what I’m being taught in C++ I’m thinking of basing the first game on blueprints, just so I can get the hang of what goes into game design without having to focus too much on syntax. Once I complete the first small game successfully I’d make a second game either very similar to the first or slightly different but just as small and narrow in scope, but instead of using blueprints, do it entirely in C++, I’d assume at that point I’d be at least somewhat familiar with UE4 having already gotten my hands wet with the first game, which would allow me to better focus my efforts on writing code for the game, but not getting too bogged down with unfamiliarity of UE4. Would this be a good idea?

If you are already delving into C++, and your goal is to get into the coding side of games, I’d suggest watching the excellent Intro Crash Course for Programers videos by epic. Epic has set it up to be pretty easy to integrate your own code into Unreal and those videos should give you a sense of how to go about it. Blueprints are totally awesome, but seeing you want to go into programming, if you can jump in to that side of it, why not give it a go :smiley: