Could I (Realistically) Teach Middleschoolers Gam Dev With Blueprints?

Hey there, so I recently got a job at a Tutoring Center to host a 1-2 month long “game dev” course using UE4 Blueprints, with the program aimed at middle to early high school kids who were inspired by games like Fortnite and Minecraft to make games. There is no prerequisite for experience to enter, just that you have a laptop capable of running UE4 in a somewhat reliable state (remember we are just working with rudimentary stuff and teaching fundamentals). We have a syllabus made by a person who had to turn down the position due to personal stuff, as well as about a month or so to plan everything and gain interest for the class. The hope is that the kids have an (extremely) basic game of their own to walk away with at the end.

My question is, can I pull this off without the whole thing becoming a disaster? I have previous experience in Unity and Gamemaker, however I have dabbled in blueprints and have been working on mostly the design and music/art side of games for years now, but I have little to no prior knowledge of C++, just some basic C#, Swift, HTML and general coding know-how. I know Blueprints are dead-simple compared to traditional game-dev, but is it simple enough to teach to a bunch of kids, who may not be STEM directed, and have no prior experience, in a month long course?

Am I out of my mind, or could this actually work?

I can’t even teach college students blueprints, the same college students attending college to learn how to game dev.

Jokes aside, any aspect you plan to teach should take the absolute minimum steps to illustrate/achieve. Otherwise there’s a lot of added confusion on how to get certain things working. Example, the ue4 training videos for multiplayer matchmaking is almost the first place people go to learn how to set up server/client network capabilities for ue4. But the tut series covers a lot of back-end matchmaking stuff while peppering in the necissary steps for networking. So too many people miss a step, confuse an asset for a variable, or give up before the tut is over. The easiest way to teach networking is to have two computers with fps template next to eachother and just plug in the steam subsystem code into the engine.ini, turn on steam subsystem addon in the editor, then add a start session with listen map, add a search sessions, filter by session name, join session, start periodic tests with play standalone (while steam is running and logged in), start adding server/multicast events.

Try to get back into blueprints asap and start working through the syllabus and scripting together your own complicated devices. You are inevitably going to get a student who’s project simply will not cooperate, and you need to be able to respond at lightspeed. Whether they grabbed the wrong node, wire, variable, missed a tickbox, or the map editor got flipped into paint mode so they can’t grab any objects. Any small thing will choke out their attention to your class. One student gets stuck, everybody else will start screwing around with their graph while you’re distracted. It’s amazing.

Wow, that makes a lot of sense, I can see that happening. It’s only going to be about 6 kids, so I should have enough time to address hiccups. We won’t even be going deep enough to get into server architecture and matchmaking, but I understand the point of your example. Thank your for your advice!