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Don't know where to start on my game.

I’ve been using UE4 for about a year now getting used to it and having fun creating random things, but now I want to actually create a project/game. The problem is I am completely lost when it comes to knowing what to do in order. I don’t know what to do from beginning to end. Should I code first, or make animations, or build a map first, etc. I need somewhat of an idea or agenda from start to finish.

Here’s my advice:

  1. Get a super-simple simple player programmed and working (just use something like a cube for its model)
  2. Create a little starting map to test it in, with very simple geometry
  3. Make your character model, then texture it, then animate it
  4. Make just a few props and enemies with complete models/animations/textures, and implement their code
  5. Now start making the core rules of the game, like making your character interact with enemies, etc.
  6. Make the Main Menu, UI, “You Won” and “Game Over” screens. Essentially get a super-duper bare-bones version of your game working. You need this to keep up morale.
  7. Now the hard part. Start making the levels. This will take the most time, and will make you want to give up. If its a good game concept and you think you can handle it, then don’t give up.
  8. Start polishing. (Get everything working smoothly, make the UI as user-friendly as possible)
  9. Finish polishing and start testing. Get some people you know to play your game (actually, do that for every step after step 6)
  10. When its ready, release it.

More advice: Make your first game simple. It’s always harder then it seems at first. Your first game won’t be your biggest hit. Make sure you know what your getting into and make sure you have the knowledge before starting a big project. Good luck!

Personally, I always like or find its better to put ^ this ^ #1
But there’s no perfect ‘one way’ answer or solution to this…

^ This ^ last, unless the character IS pretty much 100% of the game.
And things like vehicles / the environment are mostly kind of a filler.

^ This ^ is good advice if you can make it work. But overall the right’er advice is do whatever keeps you engaged and working on it / motivated. Game dev is a long slow process for most. A few nail it first time out and make megabucks, but that’s not the story for many. However, you need to get hooked somehow. For me making simple games just doesn’t do it!

But if you do start out first with simple gameplay and a cube (which is probably the most common approach by the way), just know that that still comes with risks. As trying to learn how to take your own ideas (often more narrative prose than concrete gameplay), and translate those into gameplay mechanics game engines offer is something of a mindf**k.

So there is a real risk that you give up. Whereas if you can find something on that list above that keeps you engaged or invested in the process, then that’s a clue that you’re onto something and you’ll keep making progress. The other thing to remember is that after testing gameplay may change radically. So don’t get too invested in UI / Menus / Logos / Branding until that’s been hammered out. Most serious teams do very early play-testing too.