Date Stamps - Version Stamps & More (Docs, Wiki, Tutorials)

I’ve been thinking about this since I started with UE, and I, as well as others have mentioned this before at times and it has stayed on my mind for the whole time.
(Note: I’m aware of the recent improvements & the attempt to update old docs & bring in new ones, and good job on that effort so far.)

  1. All docs, tutorials, wiki, etc. should be Stamped with the Date & Version (&/or revisions) that are applicable, this usage should even be followed in the forums, especially by Epic then the community should follow thru when asking questions etc. as well.
    Even if you used an old tutorial etc. at least you would know it, and would expect some issues & could update Epic on anything that didn’t work or work as expected.

  2. Any images should not be resolution dependent and/or should be full sized &/or scrollable, sorry but I use a 22" monitor not a 51" theatre system or dual-monitor system to work on. so many times either I could barely see an image or not at all. Once had the image to run off my screen. (the forums are included in this scenario)

  3. Doc, wiki, tutorial images could then include Tooltips as well as Links to much needed references to the standard nodes being used, the project created nodes within the material should be covered within the subject matter itself, especially when they are created off certain pins or require certain objects to be set/created in other BPs.
    And anything else that future needs might present or make available, text documents or even technical papers could be added. (altho’ the latter always went over my head in the past)

  4. These links to references on the subject and the Nodes involved should be more than just showing input or output pins, they should have details on their use & usage and explained as fully as possible, even to link to what they are or should be associated with. (huge effort required I know but…)

  5. All or as much as possible should be searchable, even the date stamp - version should show in the search results field. When conducting a search, no-one has an idea what they are clicking on, even some search results still point to UDK & other older versions. (which ain’t bad but at least one would know when they clicked it)

>>> Everywhere one looks they should know what version & what date the item was created and what it applies to.
>>> This would also help when updating of the Docs, etc. is required.

As a Note: I don’t believe that UE should do all the work, they’ve done most of it already, and I am not looking for an ‘Easy Button’ or ‘Create Game’ icon to click. But I do ask to be able to use and understand all the documentation, tutorials, and wikis. I came to learn and a user should delve into the docs / wiki / tutorials on their own and work through them themselves to build knowledge of the engine and it’s uses. Nothing can be accomplished by copying projects and/or nodes & pasting. This would hinder the learning process and defeat the purpose, then no one would gain from it. The user would just become more & more dependent on others to do the work for them and never accomplish anything themselves, and Epic would never be able to keep up with it.

ps: This is my opinion and should not reflect on how much I appreciate what exists at the moment, I know there has been a great deal of effort & also a forth-going effort to deal with all this. I just hope this will help.
And I hope that others would voice their opinions and ideas on this subject as well, here or elsewhere.

I second this!

I’ll try to provide as much info as I can about all of your points. Seems like we are on the same page as far as things we would like to improve and change though.

  1. This is something we are working on. It may only be on certain pages at first, but should expand to the entirety of the documentation at some point. This has been mentioned in live streams, but we are moving all of the documentation to the wiki in the near future and this will provide timestamps for updates by default. The engine version info will be added manually as each page is updated or reviewed. I don’t think we can necessarily enforce this on all wiki pages that are community generated, though, and obviously can’t enforce it on any tutorials outside our ecosystem.

  2. I would love some clarification on this one. Almost all images should be easily displayed on any monitor. The few large images that exist in the documentation should have links that either open in a lightbox or in a new page. If this is not the case, please point them out because I want to fix those instances or come up with a better solution.

  3. Can you provide an example of what you mean with the tooltips or what you want to see in these cases? I’m having trouble visualizing it.

  4. We are aware of the lacking Blueprint API reference. As you mentioned, this is a large effort and will take time. It is on our radar though.

  5. The search is handled by Google so what is searched and how it is displayed isn’t as configurable as you might like. Where possible, we try to make the search as useful and relevant as possible. It’s an active area of investigation on our end.

thx, nice reply btw & prompt:

  1. yes, as mentioned the community would have to follow thru (as ‘good practice’). I’m not sure how wiki’s work or are setup as far as forcing a date/version stamp. Unless you could force this as default on all of the wiki, so it would have to fall back to users.

This I actually find disturbing, altho’ duplicating on wiki isn’t a bad idea >>> “we are moving all of the documentation to the wiki in the near future” >>

OMG Nooooo!.. I actually, for lack of a better word, ‘Love’ the documentation layout you have now, even with it’s short comings, it has a clean UI that you can click thru. Having it on wiki isn’t a bad idea but I wouldn’t, unless it was just duplicated it there for completion’s sake and especially if it made it accessible to anyone to edit.
I would seriously reconsider this, just because it needs some work (some areas more urgently than others)(but it’s a WIP in itself and always will & should be), but this is no reason to dump what I consider one of the most professional looking docs on the web. Do you throw away your car just because it doesn’t crank one morning due to a bad battery, no you go get another battery. If you have a flat tire do you go trade your car in, No.
Wiki’s are just too loosely put together to follow as well as your docs are. So in my opinion, keep what you have, work on wiki yes, but don’t ditch the system you have just because it lacks completion in some areas.

  1. yes some images are hard to see on me lil’ bitty screen here. :slight_smile:
    this mainly is referring to the forums, but some of the docs (& especially in the wiki) are barely readable. But I’ve also recently seen on the more recent entries on UE docs, the practice of giving a choice to open in a new window, so luv this idea, that works out great in several ways. (you can just leave it open which is good for referring back to etc.)

  2. been a long time since I’ve fooled with web or html stuff, so not sure tooltips are even feasible but the idea is: Just like a tooltip in the editor or elsewhere, it would be used for clarification, as in cases such where to pull off of nodes (which pins). Or where a little clarification is needed as to usage or purpose. (used to elaborate on the subject) As well as, in the case of a link, provide information where it would take you &/or why it would be used.
    (main purpose for this would be to fill in the user on whether they really needed to click thru to more information or not, pertaining to their area of expertise or skill level)(novices, as myself, might want more information on the node etc. in question where a more advanced user or even in my case knows the usage of the node etc. well)(these tooltips would be on an as-needed basis for specific situations, they could be useful explaining for example user created objects/events & explaining how & why)

  3. This is what they make interns, crazed novices, & college students for… to pester ya’ll until they can find the answer, then if it comes up on radar you just throw a few of them at it. lol :wink:

  4. again, not always sure of usage, but one word -> Keywords

again, thx for the reply & concern enough to ask… (hope I didn’t get too wordy etc.)
pls take into consideration: I’m no expert just a concerned user. It’s still early in my day. This is a deep subject of concern to me & others, especially new users and is of much debate and hard to answer in a few paragraphs. And that my main strong point is nothing but Common Sense on my part, if I still have any, so if I’m of any help at all, I’m glad I posted. :cool:

I must have missed that stream, but just wanted to say this sounds like a great idea! You would lock down the main sections written by Epic staff of course, but this would allow us to add discussion and comments really easily. Sounds promising, looking forward to this Jeff! :slight_smile:

  1. Don’t worry. It won’t change anything about the look and feel of the documentation. What it will do, though, is let you guys help out in some areas and provide a backend that enables us to do some more interesting things that are not possible with the simple HTML file system we have now. In short, moving to the wiki is a good thing.

  2. Like the timestamps/version number issue above, image size isn’t something we can regulate in community generated content such as on the forums and wiki. If there are issues with this in the documentation, please let me know.

  3. Tooltips are possible, but I’m still not sure exactly what the instances you’re asking for would look like. It sounds like you want a tooltip over a specific area of an image. That may be possible, but it’s definitely not trivial given the limitations of our current system. Having multiple tooltips for a single image that show up when hovering over separate areas is even harder. We generally would just use call outs in the image for something like that since tooltips aren’t a very discoverable way of displaying necessary information anyway.

  4. as soon as we get comments enabled (which is part of the transition to the wiki), it should be easy for members of the community to provide suggestions and information for things like this.

  5. like I said, it’s an active area of investigation. It’s not always as easy as you might think to do things like add keywords for Search when it’s powered by Google since they have a very sophisticated algorithm and don’t make use of keywords metadata content. We’re working on it though.

thx again for the response,

  1. I do like the idea of community input & examples, altho I hope it’s under controlled conditions to some degree, like a UE4 stamp of approval etc.
    It’s just wiki’s have a tendency to become the uncontrollable beast that as time passes everyone’s afraid of, wiki’s fall into disrepair and states of despair over time as well. And navigating thru them is horrendous in some cases.
    There could be an ‘outline for creating content’ that could include the use of Date/Version Stamps if it couldn’t be a forced field they had to fill out to publish content.

  2. Most of UE4’s docs don’t have many issues and those are dealt with by clicking and enlarging.
    but like this one that links to the wiki, altho it goes into great detail on setup below, doesn’t show connections well in the overall picture (not a strong example but it does happen, this is very blurred on my monitor)
    (half way down the page below event graph the image opens into another image that you can enlarge, still fuzzy details on my screen)

as a side note, what happened here:
(last time I looked it was organized, altho it needed it’s contents labeled)

here: (click on the 2 pics not the title links for Level & Class Blueprints)(these I found in the 15 mins I looked for example & a pic to show tooltips with later)(photos on page don’t show up)
(these aren’t really game breaking imo, altho’ the site index → ack…)

down at #16 I know from using docs what these are but they are blurry and I can’t make out the input on the nodes. (altho I know what they are already)
(I found a few more blurred images but they weren’t important and they’re not critical)(seems the wiki has more than the docs do, most are user-generated)

  1. Tooltips is just a side suggestion as the Date & Version Stamps were my main concern, the idea or usage was to elaborate on what the user is doing & why, tooltips would be easier for an advanced user to skip over was the idea and a new user to learn more. (also for like when I’ve been in the editor for hours and have tunnel vision & brain death is setting in) :stuck_out_tongue:
    but here ya go: (pics worth a thousand words, and it’s the best I could do in short time span)
    a user would mouse over when they needed more information or didn’t understand usage etc.

  2. sounds like a plan, things get messy when ya start tossing interns around anyways. :rolleyes:

  3. yeah, haven’t worked with web & search engines in a while and barely then, but I remember that now. but I do know you can have google search implanted on your site but not sure if it would allow anymore control or not. sorry for being vague but I am vague on the subject. just would be nice tho’

  4. There’s a 6, I don’t remember a 6, do you? :rolleyes:
    I’d like to see most pics, of nodes especially, link to more information, such as the references ya’ll are working on.
    (might be just dreaming on this one)

let me just re-iterate and state, where it can plainly be seen:

that I think the docs even with any short-comings are a professional work of the highest standards, under constant updates & undergoes constant revisioning, and is done & handled in a professional manner.
the ideas presented in the Post are nothing but suggestions, from myself & from other users & sources I’ve seen while using UE4, and out of concern for new users of the engine, and in no way, reflect on the huge efforts put forth by Epic and their staff. which I hold in deepest regards. :cool: