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Complete Beginner: Where to Start?

Hello everyone, I am a complete beginner familiarizing myself with Blender, C++, and UE4 in the most basic of ways.

My Goals:
My long term goal is to make a PVP “zombie” infection game mode in a modern setting. You know, the ones where out of 50 or so players, a random player is chosen as the “it” man or “zombie” and tirelessly tries to infect just one more human to add him to his team, eventually turning the tide in favor of the zombies where a lone human has to desperately fend off the remaining 30, 40, 50+ zombie players. In my honest opinion, no other game mode in any FPS has ever given me that rush of being the last human alive, mowing down a bunch of zombie players, and no other game mode has ever given me the satisfaction of being the first zombie and watching my efforts grow the zombie team to outnumber the humans. I could play games like that forever. I want to take this game mode and really run with it and put my own style on it. I’ve found every zombie mod I’ve ever played to be lacking in some way and I want to pursue this myself. ANYWAYS, getting back on track…

Question:
Where do I start? As a solo endeavor this will take years to get to the level that I am imagining. I understand that and have no problem with it.

Do I start making game assets, meshes, and characters first? Or maps first? Or would it be better to learn C++ and blueprints first and how a game would work? In other words where is a good place to start?

To help you grasp what I have in mind, some basic features I want to eventually have in the final build, years from now, are:

  • Multiple classes with different characteristics (such as faster run speeds, faster reloads, better bullet penetration, etc…)
  • Different wearable items/ clothes for players to choose from and equip
  • Bullet drop and damage drop-off
  • Several weapons per class (SMG, rifle, handgun, etc…)
  • Ragdoll physics, partial dismemberment, blood splatter (basically, some sort of gore)
  • Rank-up system that increases replay value and rewards longer playtime.
  • Maps that are semi-immersive (footsteps in water sound different than concrete, gun sounds echo more in close-quarters, etc…)

Whoa, that’s a long list with advanced features. Pretty over-zealous for a first project, I know. But I would appreciate criticism and more importantly some advice as to what to look out for, what to start out with, and where to look to get started on this mountain of a project.

Note: I have a Bachelor’s in Art and have been doing self-taught studies in C++, Blender, and Unreal for a short time, if that makes any difference.

REALLY, REALLY appreciate the help guys.

Hey welcome to the forums! I think that’s a bit difficult to answer because there’s really no right order to go about it in my opinion. Most people start differently, and have different interests, but my general suggestion would be:

1. Familiarize yourself with the UE4 editor and how to navigate the viewport

That way you know where to go and do certain things. A good place to start is the Intro to UE4 editor video tutorials at:
https://docs.unrealengine.com/latest/INT/Videos/PLZlv_N0_O1gasd4IcOe9Cx9wHoBB7rxFl/w4XlBKeE46E/index.html

Once you are familiar with the UE4 editor, then it will be easier to learn how to actually make a game without getting lost. At this stage, I think it’s good to:

2. Learn how to make simple levels and implement simple gameplay mechanics for your game.

Good tutorials for those are, Intro to UE4 Level Creation which you can find at:
https://docs.unrealengine.com/latest/INT/Videos/PLZlv_N0_O1gak1_FoAJVrEGiLIploeF3F/cl_eoVfNDKU/index.html

and the twin stick shooter video tutorial:
https://docs.unrealengine.com/latest/INT/Videos/PLZlv_N0_O1gb5sdygbSiEU7hb0eomNLdq/1pmPb_TWG-8/index.html

Creating assets won’t be as crucial yet, since you only really need placeholder assets while prototyping a game. Not to mention, there are also some really cool free assets you can download and use from the marketplace. After this point, that’s where you start learning as you go.

3. Learn additional things you need for your game or are interested in.

Blender for making your own assets, and C++ or blueprints for scripting and game logic. Becoming proficient in 3d-modeling and scripting will take a lot of time and no matter how long you’ve been doing it you’ll still have new things to learn. It’s really an continuous process from that point onwards. :stuck_out_tongue:

Be careful on blender.

Solid advise otherwise, but we need to ‘always’ give caveats with blender, as if your mesh gets big enough and your is ‘average’ like many of the rest of us on average, blender will be next to impossible in edit mode.

Its not because blender isn’t ‘worthy’ , its because the ‘viewport’ code is VERY old, GL1 I believe, and it won’t change or get ‘faster’ until around Blender 2.8x.

Until then, just be aware, and design your meshes accordingly, to the reality of your hardware.

Even high end rigs are affected, as on blenderatists forums I"ve seen people with i7’s and a gtx 580 have problems, so just be aware is all.

Yes I use blender for some things but EDIT mode on any large ISh mesh ( experiment, you’ll see) done a certain way, and its all over, not happening.

There are ‘some’ workarounds for ‘some’ things, but they are few and may not apply.

GL

Sorry Neighborlee - but this is really incorrect and bashing Blender is not a good way to give advice to a new guy learning the software.

Blender 3D is an absolutely fantastic and excellent 3D model creation tool for Games, Animation, even Film. The 3D Asset creation and export pipeline between Blender and UE4 is excellent.

I have been using Blender for nearly 10 years now and I make all my 3D game assets for UE4 using Blender. I have absolutely no problem making large meshes or meshes with millions of polygons in them.

Maybe what you are talking about Neighborlee is when you enter Edit Mode in Blender with a mesh that has 100,000+ Polys and the view port slows down because it is rendering all the vertices. Yes, that is a limitation of Blender, that maybe some other softwares (Max or Maya) don’t suffer from as badly, but at the end of the day any 3D software (Zbrush excluded), will slow down the more polys you have in a scene. Any ways the simple solution if working with Meshes with 100,000+ or 1,000,000+ Polys is simply to split the mesh into smaller parts and only work on the the parts, thus not over loading the view port with verts. This is an easy work around.

And anyways, this is a topic for High Poly modelling, and is an obscure problem that SLUGS may not even encounter unless he intends on doing really High Poly modelling.

So yeah SLUGS go with Blender, it’s awesome! One of the very best 3D Softwares out there and it’s 100% fine for making 3D assets for UE4. :slight_smile:

Hi SLUGS! :slight_smile: My answer to you regarding “Where Do I Start?” is this. It really depends what you enjoy doing most. If you enjoy programming in C++ or working with Blueprints, then focus on doing that. But if you prefer 3D Art (Modelling, texturing etc ) Then focus on that.

You definitely can do both. I know a couple of great programmers who have some basic 3D modelling skills and I also know a few 3D artists who have some C++ and Blueprint skills. Personally I am a 3D Artist who has some Blueprints skills ( I don’t know any C++ though ). So whichever way you go, having all round skills is always helpful in game dev.

What I would suggest though is specialising in one technical skill, such as Coding, or 3D Modelling, or Level Design. And then once you get good at one of those areas, I would advise seeking out other aspiring game devs who are specialists in the skills you may lack. For example if you get great at Coding, then seek out 3D game artists to help you make assets or vice versa.

At the end of the day, making high quality 3D games like the one you described is much easier with a team! And also working with other game devs is awesome fun and very productive as you learn from each other and compliment each others skills! :slight_smile:

So yeah, to summarise, I suggest you specialise in the area of game dev you enjoy the most, feel you are best at. And i highly recommend Blender 3D! :smiley:

Also Dacster13’s suggestions and advice are excellent!

Best of luck with your game dev career! :slight_smile:

" Simply to split the mesh into smaller parts and only work on the the parts, thus not over loading the view port with verts. This is an easy work around " < That doesn’t work, I know, = I’ve tried as my mesh is simply too big as I noted already. The viewport LAGS horribly even after removal of 2 pieces, and btw I can’t work that way as the mesh is just too complex, and making an edit in one place would definitely affect other areas. Its not as black and white as you imply.

" Sorry Neighborlee - but this is really incorrect and bashing Blender is not a good way to give advice to a new guy learning the software.

Blender 3D is an absolutely fantastic and excellent 3D model creation tool for Games, Animation, even Film. The 3D Asset creation and export pipeline between Blender and UE4 is excellent.
"

Why must you, blender zealots, ( and its fine I get your ‘zeal’ for blender I share it in other ways myself! ) , and honestly I"m alarmed and disgusted you’ve forced me to respond to your ugly comments :

You really should tone down your anger, not very christian &/or neighborly .

I never said, I didn’t admire blender, did I ?

I said this IF you had read my entire post! :

" Its not because blender isn’t ‘worthy’ , its because the ‘viewport’ code is VERY old, GL1 I believe, and it won’t change or get ‘faster’ until around Blender 2.8x.
"

I find it VERY disturbing when people assume the worst, because they are zealots for a given application, and ignore facts spoken on a forum.

You owe me and everyone who has a fair opinion, an apology. YOu should be beyond that kind of rhetoric .

Free speech is imporant isn’it, without having to be accosted by people who refuse to read things other write, when it ‘does’ shed positive light on a program they and others use.

Ok, now lets get back on topic. Please do not turn this into Tool A vs Tool B discussion.

It is absolutely fine to discuss the pros and cons IF that is what the discussion is about. However the OP did not ask for a comparison between the tools. He has already stated that he has prior experience in Blender.

With that in mind, please continue the discussion.

have a nice day

Currently I am making VR zombie wave shooter (I know yet another vr wave shooter, and zombies), I also worked on scifi shooter game that is similar toy your idea (coding part). So I can relate and this is how i would develop your game (your game is much bigger in scope than mine, also multiplayer):

First. Do not try to make your game just yet. Create singleplayer shooter, not even zombies, shoot default blue dummies. For that create weapon blueprint, try to make it as much complete as you can. That means different ammo, different projectile (hitscan, physics based, shotgun like etc.). Also make some system for shooting (first shoot, autoshoot, last shoot), make some safety checks in case player disconnects. Make child blueprints that inherit from that base weapon and are your final models. Then make sound effects, muzzle emmiters, and details like ejecting shells. You will use that weapon blueprint later in multiplayer game. Alos creating this system will force you to learn blueprints, particle editor, some sound system, animation, kind of a bit of everything in unreal.

Now you can choose your developing style, either you try to finish parts of game to polished state, then move to next aspect. Or you do everything a bit, then iterate with next pass and improve everything. That is matter of preferences.

When you have weapon system you can migrate all that to multiplayer project (your final, future game). And then do some multiplayer code, do not waste much time in this yet, multiplayer is whole new level of madness on top of usual unreal stuff, so do not jump on multiplayer before you know blueprints (or C++ very well).

At this point it would be time to decide if you want to continue with blueprints or C++. Imo mix of C++ and blueprints is best, you cau use C++ where it is strong (big complicated code), and blueprints when they shine (animation, some small code pieces etc.)

Next modules to develop:

  • zombie model and animation blueprint, then physical animation for them
  • damage system from weapons and bullets, inprove physical animation of zombies so they are pushed by bullets.

At this point i would migrate everything to multiplayer. Time to do replication, split server and client code etc. This is as much work as everything up to this point, but now you should be ready.
multiplayer stuff:

  • basic replication, so you see other players move on your client.
  • accurate aiming replication to server and back to other clients.
  • zombie AI, replicating them, some pack behavior. >Boids< is good read on it.
  • make first 2 levels that look finished
  • some basic GUI umg stuff
  • multiplayer lobby, server travel, loading levels
  • lobby chat,

The rest. At this point you have about 10% of game done.

And post your progress.

Hey Slugs!

Before I ventured into the business of game development I collected quite a bit of experience with c++ from classes and from literature. This helped tremendously as I transitioned into game development, but it didn’t really sell the whole picture either. So I took up reading on game development and game design from the local library and steamed through a few books from successful game developers, both coders and managers – just to try and get a grasp of what I needed to look out for and try to minimize annoying time sinks that other people have identified and solved. So it probably took a good year before I started off working on my first serious project, although I had written and “arted” a few very minor projects that I made alongside some of the literature I read. I can give you a list of the books I read and the forums I hung around to help me out if you’d like.

You’ll run into walls and bottlenecks more often than you’d think, and having somewhere to turn to for help is a major relief. Gather some wisdom before you start off – otherwise you’ll just end up going back and redoing things over and over again as you learn more along the way.

And final note; start small. Create something and finish it, then move on. You’ll learn so many things from small projects that you can take with you as you increase your scope.

Wow thank you all for the amazing feedback and friendly responses. Really makes me feel welcomed and encouraged here! At this point in time, this info is priceless to me, so thank you.

Yes, please do. That would be a great start.

If you’re into books and are able to wade through them quickly then great.
It may help you think about how to design games better, but its a longer path.
Instead I would encourage you to quickly build a prototype as proof of concept.
One shorter route is to deconstruct demos / mini-games / community samples.

Also using an older engine or version with known bugs can be far less frustrating.
So be prepared to run into roadblocks due to out of date / vague docs / tutorials.

Also try to download the 4 main game engines and wade through their demos.
Even if you stick with UE4, it will broaden your horizons about what’s possible.

Don’t model anything for now, but devote time to watching Blender / Maya LT / Modo tutorials.
You’ll quickly learn whether modeling is for you or not. For some its the essence of game dev.
For others its too low level, like building a house but also needing to create bricks / wood / tiles.

BTW: Kudos for outlining the game. Many just drop vague hints, but being specific actually helps!

I"ll make this brief as there are enough responses.

If example as noted above is helpful then , my experience which isn’t always for everyone ( depending on what you have ready to implement for various reasons) , was to just dig into level creation, as was also noted above, and I concur 100%.

I did this and as the world took form, so did the storyline.

It was clear enough from the beginning for me, but creating, fueled, by creativity.

Depending on your cashflow, I sincerely sticking with what is proven, solid , has great docs and a proven track record.

THis may not apply to everyone, but my experience and it is not, as desired it not be, isn’t this vs that, its what I would buy right now, if I had the funds ( working on that).

I judge a product on its ‘totality’ of usability, userbase and features.

I see nothing out there as efficient and ‘fast’ as in using it ( no lag , smooth movement in viewport, always no matter what mode I’m in ) as Maya , but if money is really no blocking point you might find max the more efficient route, try both ( obviously there are demo’s for both).

In a ‘perfect world’ , these apps would be available and no entry point that is a stumbling block would ever apply and all apps would compete on a even basis and you would go with whichever one fulfilled your purpose :wink:

Ue4 is basically at that point so its one less thing you need to worry about, and I"ve tried them all I can firmly recommend it based on the complete feature set and I mean landscape tools among others , are superior to all , and I’m picky as are our needs.

If you have the time as noted , definitely try them all and decide but if time is a issue I don’t think you’d ever for one second regret going the ue4 route.

My opinion on Maya ( LT if amazing if ‘full’ maya is beyond your finances, god knows it is mine) is its handled every massive mesh I"ve thrown at it with literal ease and that’s huge for me( maybe not for you) and now, it will export all your creations into ue4 with no restriction , as before there was and the monthly pricetag is within reach of most.

It might sound like I’m a spokesman for Autodesk, but I don’t need to be as their product in this case does the necessary talking.

To reiterate, this isn’t app that vs this, its a decision I’ve come to based on experience with all of them so take this info in that light only.

I can be reached at anytime if you need for further conversation. We all got there on the backs of someone so why not-

GL

I can happily model upto 7 million polygon meshes in blender and im only running a gtx 760 am i missing something ?

I’m not sure its worth going down that road , but we’ll try.

I guess, if we’re allowed,we could say, post your rig, what kind of mesh you have , on the blender thread if there is one, and I"ll respond with my rig. I"d rather be editing, than not.

There is no ‘blender’ forum so we’re stuck doing it this way.

Many have this problem, and if it weren’t for that problem, a well known problem that app has, I"d be using a lot more.

Actually I ‘needed’ to use said app last night, but I can’t as using edit mode there, is beyond frustrating; not happening, unfortunately , and its the ‘only’ app I have , that atm I can ‘afford’, where I can do such things. That should tell you something. Hence my recommendation of Maya LT ( or Maya if he can afford it ) , all based on personal experience nothing more.

Given you brought it up, I feel I should offer something illustrating what I and others go through in Edit mode:

Page 2 last post by ace dragon, one of the dev’s I think or a longtime user/coder not sure:

" Work on rewriting the OpenGL code is already underway in the 2.8 branch (and a recent Sunday Meeting has the developer hinting at the code being ready for tests sometime soon).

All we can do is wait as of now, but please note that the developers are indeed aware of Blender’s OpenGL being archaic as shown by the project. "

So as you see, its not personal against app X, its true and its why I can’t recommend app X ( all cases would have to apply), hence Maya /LT which I"ve used and wish almost everyday I had ) ie: zero lag on millions of triangles ) :wink:

Peace out