Dear god help me..."Have a fish" vs "Learn to fish"

Hi everyone, I’ve been working with Unreal for the past several months…and I just want to see if anyone else has this issue…

Does anyone else find learning the Blueprint experience to be incredibly UN-intuitive. Like it’s terribly frustrating? And this is coming from someone who has experience programming in C and C++, has worked with Game Maker Studio and Blender, and has experience as a visual artist.

I think it has to do with the fact that nothing is very well explained. It’s almost like everything related to teaching Unreal is “Here is your fish.” And not, “Here is how to fish.”

I’ve gone through several of the Epic Learning videos and even worked through a couple of paid tutorial series for Unreal Engine Blueprints and it still seems like NO ONE is explaining anything from a top-down general idea. Like no one explains…“Hey before we even start doing anything, let’s just talk about the different functions that are available and what they do and when to think about using them.” Instead it’s “We’re going to create this. Search for this function. Great. Now pull up this variable. Good. Yay it works!”

I’ve read through most of the online documentation and it’s just very generic cases. And when I go to code something there’s a whole string of variables I have to plug in that I didn’t even know were there to begin with. No one ever explained these set of variables that existed! So I’ll watch a Youtube video and someone does it like this or that. But…how did they even figure out how that works!!!

It’s just getting more frustrating. I finally decided yesterday that it might be the most efficient (albiet painful) route to just memorize all of the individual variables and functions (100+) per class, such as for the Player Controller class and Actor class, but when reading through the Blueprints API, the only information I get is something like this: for “BeginSpectatingState()” it is described as “Event when spectating begins.” Nothing else. Just that.

I really really want to have comfortable control over what I’m doing, but it’s really hard to create anything when there’s a serious gap of understanding, AND there’s a swamp of information I have to swim through to figure out how to creatively troubleshoot these issues.

Help! I’m having a hard time even just getting my character to move while continuously holding down the mouse button, and to have it rotate appropriately as well. Yes it would be nice to know how to do that specifically, but then I’ll have the next problem where I’ll need someone to tell me how to do THAT specifically then it’s right back to “Here’s your fish.”

OH! And if that wasn’t hard enough, some information needs to be adjusted in the “Details” panel. WTF? Like certain things only start to work ONCE I’ve selected it in the Details Panel. But I only know the things that activate in the details panel as a fluke when I was panic searching through google and some other chump also had the same SPECIFIC problem until someone mentioned that one little button they had to check in order to make everything work properly.

And the table of contents in the Unreal Documentation is terribly disorganized. Like…I click on something because it seems to be the answer then it just gives me a short brief and then doesn’t link me to ANY of the other information I’m looking for.

Am I just dumb or is this something that many of you have been frustrated by as well. How did you resolve this?

You’d think for a company that thrives off of its customers’ success, EPIC would have a waaaay better instruction system for the layman. It’s like this was built for the most generic android out there. DOES NOT COMPUTE.

Can anyone point me to a resource that has a really really good bird’s eye perspective on how to think about, sort, contextualize, and handle the functions, variables, events, and code of blueprints or do I literally have to memorize (out of context) every single individual variable and function and figure out exactly when to use them?

At least Game Maker Studio had a significant discussion and example of each and every function they created for programmers, with several clear overhead discussions of how things are sorted and arranged.

I hope with UE5 Epic has a muuuuch better approach to teaching. Devs…are you listening? These are my complaints.


I approved this topic, despite being quite a bit of ranting, because you did actually ask a question :

When presented with the fish, I said thanks, then jumped in the river.
Can’t say I recommend it, but you asked :slight_smile:

Thanks. Yes, I’m just trying to resolve this. How did people learn anything/everything. Is there a bird’s eye perspective to any of this stuff rather than frankensteining everything together? Not a bash on Unreal. I like this system. I’ve just found a hole in the education surrounding this product. Does anyone have a solution?

Hi man,
I completely understand your feelings.
i agree with all you said.

I dont think that studying all the function will give you better things, there is really too much stuff in unreal to know it all.
In 3 years i never touched the particles emitter for example, but thats ok for me.

Unreal is a work in progress too, and things change quite fast and a lot of bugs keep us awake throught the night

So my personal approach is
have a big dream. break it down in smaller pieces and learn to do them
Plus … there are more ways to do every task, and there is not always the perfect node to do what you need.
For example there is a node to get the rotation from a point to another , called FindLookatRotation
But you can also use some vectors to make the calculation yourself, and pretty often i use this way.

All this pieces are tools, you can use them in a lot of ways
this lead to the FishProblem,
people make tutorial like, How use a hammer to hammer a nail.
The documentation sas: A hammer can be used to hammer
Discover that you can use the hammer to paint (even if badly) is… a way to use it .

We cant have 100 tutorial on every use possible of every class.
But i am perfectly with you that the documentation could say something more useful than that .

For me the important parts are:

How make a standalone or a android apk. (and differences between them)
How manage actors, talk between them, get references…
Savegames, and structures
Multiplayer on same machine.
Multiplayer on server ( here i am lost )

Udemy has nice C++ and unreal tutorial. If you are good in C++ maybe that route will be faster for you.

I learned BPs during 4.2-4.3, there were no tutorials or sensible docs. Took me about 2-3 months of just hammering that stuff. Just start doing very simple projects, i started from rectreating game mechanics from few old 8bit era games, like pacman, asteroids, montezumas revenge.

It’s more like “there’s the fishing rod and tackle, and here’s a scribbled note that describes some fishing spots; bon apetit!”

Coming to blueprint from general game development, I know that “there has to be a thing to do X” and then I right-click the context menu, type in some word, and look through the available functions until I find one. When that doesn’t work, I google. When that doesn’t work, I ask on the forums or the AnswerHub.
Luckily, I generally remember, once I’ve found the thing.

Also, once I get into a new area, I find that it’s useful to just browse through the components and functions within that area, to see what’s available, Then, if I later need it, I’ll hopefully remember seeing something about that in that general area, and finding it later will be easier.

Opening and picking apart a few of the samples – both FirstPerson, and bigger things like Car Game or Action RPG, will help a lot in showing what typical bits exist, and then you can browse on from there.

But, Unreal Engine is very much a “way of life” or maybe a full “country with separate language and culture.” It’s like trying to learn French while simultaneously moving to Paris and learning to drive for the first time. Priming that pump takes a lot of effort.

I think you and I are in the exact same boat. I also have previous experience with C++ and Blender and am having an extremely hard time getting to where I feel like I have an understanding of UE4. I decided to try and learn UE4 recently and have been watching tutorials left and right trying to get a grasp on things. Unfortunately the vast majority of the tutorials I have found are just showing how to do one specific thing with no explanation, instead of actually teaching so that I can learn and make my own projects. I did find one youtube channel that actually teaches instead of just doing things. It’s called “Make Games With Katie”. There aren’t that many videos currently but she does upload somewhat regularly. And it may or may not be a little basic depending on what level you’re at, but she explains each thing she does and gives analogies and examples of other things you could do with that particular tool. It’s the only channel I’ve found where I actually felt like I was being taught. Here is a link to the channel if you’re interested: . Hopefully that helps a little

Thanks everyone for you responses. The answers are not showing a pretty picture. I looked into Godot and watched a bunch of videos on it and it looks like it’s getting good reception with the ease of use of Game Maker Studio. I’ll try Godot out for awhile and see if I can do the things I want to do sooner and more easily. So far Godot looks pretty straight forward with a fraction of the bloat. Cheers.

People just don’t know how to learn. It appears that when they come to unreal they just forget how to do it. You don’t learn how to fish, paint, programming and so on by reading books and blindly following tutorials.

Nice trolling.

You are not alone. UE4 Documentation is… well.
If you look up the documentation for most functionality you will get a single vague sentence that says something like this:

Thing’s Name
This thing does a thing to a thing.

Also here’s a screenshot of the thing for some reason. Bye.

Please direct your attention to MDN…s/Array/splice
This is how documentation should be written.

Yeah, that’s niiiiice.

See also here an example page from GameMaker Studio 2:…/friction.html

Or how simply organized it is

And just by exploring the docs page of Godot how well organized it all is

It’s just funny to me that Epic hasn’t organized their docs well, or taken the time to properly explain and organize their API References. Seeing that an indie developer generating over a million dollars in revenue isn’t the rarest thing and at least a few of them will accomplish this per year, using that revenue earned from indie sales to hire or redirect resources to improving the documentation and explanation of everything inside Unreal would more than pay for itself and beyond for years to come. As a business move, this disorganized approach to education doesn’t make sense. Epic is basically losing me and most likely many more as customers because of this poor educational system, yet at the same time they promote their system for the any-man, especially by changing their royalty charge, making it virtually free until over $1 million in revenue.

I suggest:

  1. Expanding the explanation of each and every API Reference link (function and variable)
  2. Simplifying and reorganizing the Doc’s Table of Contents
  3. Explaining everything from a much better bird’s eye perspective. Sort and contextualize everything

I have never really had a moment where anything I wanted to do was unresolvable except for when it was impossible. And that is mostly with material shaders and vertex displacement.

As someone who makes the odd end tutorial (or a full series) once in a while, I can tell you that you can’t “show the community how to fish”. You get a bunch of asshats showing up with “where’s my fish?” If you do.

Personally, if I have time and I spot inaccuracies (or some times just flat out bs) on the docs, I write a post with what they should say within the docs forum post.

I think if we all took time to do that - perhaps instead of ranting? - the docs would be fixed up in a month or so.

As a developer I can tell you this. Writing the docs is the most painful part that no developer wants to actually do. The reason the docs are the way they are is precisely this.
Maybe Epic could stand to hire 1 or 2 technical writers, but then these 2 would have to actually learn the engine and try things, which is not something a technical writer would enjoy or be capable of depending.
would you be willing to pay someone ~$100 an hour to write docs? I think not…