Epic looking for your feedback on the direction to take with Answerhub

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CTRL+F is a total hack. Why? Because discourse page-loading is a total hack! CTRL-F often randomly defaults back to the normal default browser FIND anyway. So the discourse keyboard override isn’t even 100% reliable - which is a total design failure. Its also a potential privacy nightmare, if discourse is storing user CTRL-F searches and someone accidentally pastes in passwords or PII - BANG! BTW: You can turn scripts off and get normal CTRL+F control, but then many essential features are lost especially a weblink to go-to-last-page, which all the previous forums had going back to UDK. :wink:

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Overall as regards the discourse move, Epic should really have run a pilot first before converting the entire forum. It was hubris / indifference not to imho. Even hold a poll or ask for feedback or something. Why? The amount of existing threads with broken images, or broken links to images is still huge!!! All previous forum likes are broken again too! Yet no one at Epic is talking about this. Instead they want to proceed with merging the whole AnswerHub here. Hello??? Look… Epic tech rules. Sweeney is a legend. Hourences too and blameless in all of this. But the wrong problem is being solved here tbh. :wink:

What’s wrong, as many above have hinted, is that Epic is fundamentally under-powered in the whole area of support. Its now laughable. Epic tragically fixed the forums twice in 2017 + 2021 to make up for ghosting the entire Community. And now things are worse than ever. So fixing the platform isn’t the problem Epic. Its YOU Epic management. No one at senior level has ever followed up or posted anything on here since 2017. Whoever is making all these decisions is totally invisible / unaccountable to the Community. :wink:

@Hourences @Amanda.Schade @VictorLerp

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yeap, democracy very relative thing)

the truth is that the Answerhub much more convenient than the forum. because of his rating system, less time to spend when trying to achieve the answer. You see the simple design, less actions, less unstructured info.

StackOverflow (not reddit) it’s like a big guy, which you need to look up to. Compare how much time do you need to spend extracting really useful info from this thread, and ranking tread from the same StackOvreflow?

I’m strong standing for integrating the forum into Answerhub. There are no need for kilometer-long discussions.

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I use search engine, but when I was dealing with physics it took other places (outside of ofic. unreal sources) to even learn what I need to do (substepping) and then it took blog posts and random (and golden) forum threads to make it work. The same goes for modules and save load system.

To address the rest, I miss some clean, managed way of discovering everything there is in the Unreal, from newbie to master and especially including its intended usage, so that I won’t end up scratching right ear with left hand. It shouldn’t be a “tutorial”, I agree with that, but there isn’t a “Unreal book”, so to speak. And the size of the engine isn’t an excuse, it is the exact opposite… It’s why we need it.

The engine, after all is said and done is just a tool. That tool exists to solve [that] problem in [that] way, using [that] general philosophy. Getting to know the tool is unnecessarily hard right now…

Again I didn’t knew that code modules exist and I don’t see any meaningful documentation on them. This: Modules | Unreal Engine Documentation or this: Modules | Unreal Engine Documentation doesn’t help me in any meaningful way.

This, however, did:

What should exist is a clear structured docs, where would be programming/organization/modules/how-to, which I would find just by going through the left tree structure.

tl;dr: this wonderful engine has hundreds of thousands lines of code. “read the source” isn’t the solution. Top down documentation is. I can read the source for some details. I cannot read the source for the philosophy, for the list of features, for the basic use cases and so on.

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why dont you add a section of posts in the documentation itself? that would make everyone happier, and would allow to have feedback over the documentation…

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It’s veering quite a bit into the offtopic territory… On the other hand though, the topic of discussion is related, since it’s about knowledge of using the engine.

I do understand where people are coming from, I wasn’t very experienced when I first started playing around with the engine. And there’s still a lot I don’t know. I had to scratch my head and grind a lot to get stuff done, and a lot of it was done - badly. But it all helped. I finally then went on and got into the introductory C++ course for Unreal that ran 200+ hours on video material alone. It helped a lot, but that’s also a lot of stuff, not all related to Unreal, and I had to do my own testing to really understand the concepts, so I don’t even know how to begin to extrapolate the video hours into hours spent studying.

And, though I did not go through the last project in that course, I’m fairly confident it did not go into using modules. It was rather heavy on stuff but IIRC it also did not cover how UPROPERTY() adds a variable into memory management, for example. And I’d disagree with a lot of the stuff done in that course with my current level of knowledge, but I also appreciate how much further I got after doing it.

I think it would be rather helpful to go through different levels of “mastery” to what there is to Unreal, figure out which topics each level of mastery needs to cover, categorize them between a type (generic programming knowledge, math, and the engine systems themselves) and then try to cover them through the best you can via the training materials. That way topics could also be labeled and people could either go through a related exercise to test their knowledge or go through the material to fill in the necessary gaps or whatever they’re interested in right now.

But there is also the trap where people end up only doing tutorials and nothing on their own, when a lot of time should be invested into doing things on your own, as that’s what the aim is to eventually do.

Epic does have more material on modules, which goes to show how scattered the information is. The documentation on modules in “gameplay modules” documentation section is better than the similar UBT one, though as learning material it’s inferior to the third-party wiki-style one. Unreal Academy also has a course on plugins, which are modules with few extra steps, and you could probably understand how to build a module (and a plugin) through that.

I taught myself modules with the Unreal Fest video on how they made a loading screen in the ARPG example project; that’s on youtube, and the project is freely available on the Epic marketplace. I learned soft references the best from another video from the same guy from Housemarque who made the previously-linked module video on Youtube. Yet I still haven’t used soft references, because I haven’t had the need for them.

Right now with just the official sources of information, we have the forums, the answerhub, youtube/twitch, the unreal academy, the documentation, and the example projects. While it is convoluted to check that many places - though if you use search engines that’s somewhat remedied - it’s also very understandable why that is.

The Youtube material often covers stuff like new tools which are still very much subject to change, like the procedural animations editor or well, what Niagara was. Unreal academy has more structured courses. Documentation is the official reference. Example projects show practical applications. Forums have discussions. Answerhub works as an answer repository for questions, though even most helpful topics are years old by this point.

But even with the best efforts made, you will still end up at a point where you are better off doing your own tests and reading the source code. That point should be further in into using the engine, yes, but I think it can never really be completely eliminated.

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Maybe you don’t get it. They DGAF about anything but these questions they asked. and probably care less than 0 on those too as someone has already decided what to do.
Still, it’s worth a try to at least cuss at them some…

It’s not Hourences fault either, I’m sure he’s fought that particular windmill and is just as disappointed in the currently decaying state of just about everything. After-all, he started in the trenches like us before becoming an epic employee. Heck, most of his tutorials are still better than the straight up trash they post on the learn section despite being for UDK… It’s just that if he were to voice he’s opinion he’d be jobless.

So since I’m not an epic employee, and the worse they can do is ban me…

  1. Neither. Give us back the wiki too.
    Who the hell decided it was a good idea to deprive the community of community created content? Fire that ■■■■■■■■. Same as the people responsible for the forum. And those responsible for the marketplace. And those responsible for the website. And those responsible for Q&A on the engine - oh right, those don’t even exist.

  2. It’s not like Q&A gets good answers anyway.
    It’s completely useless since the epic team doesn’t respond or even exist anymore.
    Having a space where REAL answers answered ONLY by the epic team would definitely be useful. But that’s never going to happen.

  3. The forum is goddarn mess since the update.
    If you actually combine stuff then the forum usage is going even further down the drain - ask for usage statistics if you care to know exact numbers. Look at created posts and responses before and after the update.
    From just reading along I can tell you that at least 50% of the daily posts is literally just gone. And no. it’s not related to the time of the year - though IT IS definitely related to all the problems that came with .26 and everyone jumping off the unreal train like flees on a dog getting a bath.

  4. Features? How about epic employees like you actually answering more than each time a pope dies?
    This would be much preferred instead of the usual: some idiot who has no right to even give an answer, gets it wrong, gets accepted as an answer, and subsequently everyone makes the same mistake for years despite the correct answer being the second entry right below.

YOU CANNOT KEEP ON RELYING ON THE GOOD SOUL OF A HANDFUL OF PEOPLE TO ANSWER YOUR CLIENT’S QUESTIONS.
There’s only so much @ClockworkOcean, @Shadowriver &company can do - and unlike epic employees they do not get paid…

  1. :duck: no. Discourse is trash, has been trash, and we ALL (check feedback forum thread to cringe some) told you not to implement it before whoever decided to do whatever the :duck: they wanted anyway went and pulled the trigger on it.
    The last thing epic needs is to turn more social stuff into sheer trash.
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Was wondering when you were going to join in dude? :rofl: Straight in with Shotguns - I like it! :+1: Can’t see the Forums / Community coming back from this. Too many self-inflicted wounds / too many other channels to choose from. Was worth a try asking anyway. But gut feeling is Epic is morphing into Oracle / Microsoft / BlizzardActivision or something similar.

Hear here!

  1. Having a space where REAL answers answered ONLY by the epic team would definitely be useful. But that’s never going to happen.

That place exists, it is UDN. There is so many valuable questions and answers. Basically, AnswerHub where Epic answers. It would be enough if Epic could just change their paid support policy. Some options which can be maybe somehow combined to match requirements of all sides:

Make UDN public (can be difficult because it can contain questions under NDA)
Allow UDN posters to make their question public - in that case it could be copied to some public Q&A site automatically. Similar system works for issues which were probably mostly manually exposed.
Make UDN question posting paid, reading free.

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Let’s download/copy AnswerHub somehow! So that we can use it to search for workarounds of old bugs in fundamental features that nobody wants to fix for years. Such as this one: https://answers.unrealengine.com/questions/1002738/hism-causes-crash-in-buildstandalone-on-reload-lev.html

I’m afraid that the old AnswerHub will be broken, because there was a precedent with Wiki, and our development time will be slowed down. We could anticipate that and prepare. But possibly it’s multiple terabytes of data already

My advice above all: Hire a better web team, the one you guys currently have doesn’t rise to the challenge.

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Good web developers are expensive, I, for example, require $200k salary and a ton of benefits and a custom contract that will protect me from anything an employer could theoretically do.
Epics couldn’t afford a community manager that can connect us to the dev team for many years, I doubt they could afford a team of good web developers.

First off, I’d be pretty surprised if it was a question of money for Epic. Secondly, you can easily find web developers outside the US who are experienced and a $40k salary is better than average, and even in the US you can hire for under $100k, so what you personally “require” is completely irrelevant if it’s not an average expectation.

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You won’t find anything decent at $40k.
It’s true that there are a lot of developers, but good ones are rare and good ones who can take on a project of such scope is even more rare.
I’ve tried em. It’s really impossible to find anyone truly capable for this price, regardless of location thanks to the Internet and the fact that a lot of companies are hiring remotely for the last two years.
You can be lucky and snap a developer or two at half the price if you look for years, but just two developers are not enough and such salary won’t hold them for long.
The very last thing you want to happen to your company is for some google to offer your developer something like $500k and he’s gone.
Also FYI: non-compete clauses are non-enforceable, it’s a fairy-tale managers use to hold on not-too-smart employees, it doesn’t work on those who can afford to pay couple hundred bucks to a lawyer.
It’s simple as that: demand for good developers is far greater than the supply, so the price skyrockets. Economy at its best.

Ok, I’ll bite. In Czechia, $70k will get you pretty good web developers and you’ll easily overpay many companies with that salary.
As to the skill level, well, I’m trying to move from the web development because it is easy and boring (but pays the bills). Backend can be at least somewhat entertaining, but it still doesn’t hold a candle to stuff like network replication, physics simulation, rendering pipelines or embedded systems, OS development and so on…
At the end of the day, it’s a glorified button positioning. You use UE because implementing that on your own is almost impossible. You use Angular because everyone uses it, but implementing your own would take you like a week (been there, done that, with SSR, in js and php :smiley: like ten years ago).

$500k for a webdev… dying here :smiley:

No, you use Angular because you are a bad web developer who doesn’t understand how the web works and also have adopted the cargo cult bias.
I saw web development situation in Czechia, it’s saddening to the point of being appalling.
Companies refuse to pay competitive salary and developers are running away.
The fact that you call this field “easy and boring” clearly indicates how low you are on the Dunning-Kruger graph.

Everything points to Epic outsourcing their web platforms and launcher ages ago. That’s why it takes forever to get anything done. Think 7 years for a 50 item wishlist. :blush: Overall the Launcher is Epic’s weakest link! :stuck_out_tongue: Keep hoping for a browser-only option that lets users download Marketplace packs (good for devs on all platforms). GoogleDrive / Mediafire / Gumroad / Itch / Mega offer downloads in a Browser without a Launcher. But Epic? No, never it seems… :rage:

Overall the security aspects probably weigh more heavily in Epic’s decisions than the upfront web-dev costs. Think of all the Forums / Fortnite account breaches and retirement of the Wiki. :wink: So its not just about dollars, there are factors like how long it would take to assemble a specialist team or have those skills in-house. Epic don’t make that much money from the web platform, so its standard practice to look around and just buy something off the shelf and hire a partner to implement and manage it. Or just 100% outsource the whole thing, and let someone else deal with all the headaches. Its a neat way to transfer legal liability as well or at least have someone else to blame. Perhaps that’s why there’s so many breaches right now. :grin:

Back to topic… Interesting how the final vote basically came to 60/40… Difficult to take good decisions when a vote is that evenly split. Epic have let so much interaction just drift to Discord anyway. You can hardly find a Marketplace creator anymore on here who’ll respond to a PM! Not good if there are disputes imho. But hey, Epic should just get on with it and buy Discord. 12 Billion is obviously a lot of vbucks. But it would be another platform they control yet don’t have to worry about day-today management of, or require the in-house skills for. :wink:

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Continuing the discussion from Epic looking for your feedback on the direction to take with Answerhub:

  1. nice to have a web dev party in here.

$40k outside the US is probably reasonable for a non senior level position.

In the us, just refer to Glass Door instead of what you think you need. $200k a year is not a web developer salary, it’s the head of IT salary.
Maybe you should poke that bear and get a decent job title to go along with the pile of cash :stuck_out_tongue:

  1. epic DGAF.
    We have all told them to hire a decent team or company a thousand times.
    They keep failing miserably at it, dropping the ball, installing ■■■■ forum software and loosing clients over it.
    They just do not care. See the answerhub key expiring for the last example of stupidity avaliable.

If someone wiped the whole web server tomorrow they wouldn’t even bother putting it back up for a week.

  1. the launcher is more to spy on people behaviors and deploy annoying pop-ups than anything else - and it also serves as a vanity plate.

Otherwise they would be too similar to GOG. And obviously they can’t be fine with that because they have to give you the impression that they are the absolute best.

Nevermind the fact that the last year has shown us that the only thing they are best at is ignoring user feedback…

Last bust not least.
If I were Discord owner I would never sell to epic.
They could pile up all the cash they want - and promise to leave the company alone entierly with written contracts too. I still wouldn’t sell to them.
I’d consider Steam. I’d consider GOG. Just about anyone else…

Also @SlayerGoury
Where are you getting that epic “didn’t have the money”? That’s definitely not what happened.

They have enough money to give it away (even to me, though I doubt I’ll get another mega grant after giving my honest feedback).

They have more money than they would need to actually make everything work.
They simply do not care.

And the reason our last community manager went bye bye is that he was probably smart enough to realize that any and all suggestions he passed along were disregarded.

Why would anyone work for a company that after you - a person paid to do this, mind you - say: this is what the community wants.
Are told " buzz off we do what we want the people don’t count"?

After that happens on 10 suggestions in a row if you have a brain you jump off that boat and go work into a different department or somewhere you are actually appreciated…

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Answerhub has several issues that can’t really be addressed IMO:

  • It’s UX is awful, and it makes terrible use of webpage layout. UDN has the same problem now, when discussions get too long, the posts get squashed to the point they are unreadable.

  • For the longest time, it’s had technical issues, trouble with login persistence etc. I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve typed up a response or question, only to find I’m not logged in, and all the effort is lost. It just feels unstable.

  • Too many questions asking the same thing, with completely different responses. Largely because of a terrible search system. It’s quicker and more efficient to google than use AHubs built-in search.


Stack-Overflow style Q and A is one of the best IMO. It still keeps things in a strict Q and A format, and since answers to questions may actually change over time, the most relevant ones naturally rise to the top and it self-maintains. It also has far better search tooling.

The problem with forums is they aren’t maintained unless someone puts in the effort to do it. I’ve been on the forums since the Rocket Beta phase, and lots of the questions that I either posted or answered way back then still get traffic - even though many of them are completely wrong. It becomes way too hard to find correct information on forums because info goes out of date too quickly, and the bad information persists. Because of the nature of forums, the best answers just get buried in other posts.

It’s a shame Discord/IM apps are so terrible at persistence of information, because the most helpful/responsive folks are generally hanging around in there.

EDIT:

Also, look at this forum page just for a prime example of how forum-style Q and A goes. We’re supposed to be finding solutions to answerhub, but the valid responses are being buried by people arguing about web developer salaries which is no way relevant at all to the topic at hand.

It’s much harder to get answers on forums even with plugins, I’m still strongly in favour of keeping the platforms separate - but with linked accounts. Forums are for discussions, not really good for Q and A.

EDIT #2:

Just read the response RE Stack Exchange. That’s a shame.

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My absolute favourite example of this:

The longer you scroll, the better it gets. Those 3 bullet points sum up my experience with the AH pretty well. Stopped using the search long time ago; Google + AH tag + "quote" produces far superior results.

trouble with login persistence

The absolute best experience when providing an answer is… when you’re logged out. You can’t get logged out if you’re not logged in and providing an answer logs you in. Unless you hit the dreaded internal error, ofc… But then you cannot comment unless you log in, it’s a vicious circle.

The current format of Q&A has to go. Any improvement is welcome at this point.

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