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

I was mainly referring to the comparison between documentation and the Looman course, they are intended to serve different purposes. The content examples is a lot closer to a form of “practical documentation” rather than a tutorial as well. The online courses are more closely related to Unreal Academy material rather than the not the docs.

In the case of scratch pads, there is the Niagara Editor UI Reference, and there’s also a rather comprehensive AnswerHub answer and in it also a timestamped link to an Epic livestream.

Thats my problem really summed up in a sentence :slight_smile:

Theres 3 different places to find info when it could just be in 1 place.

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I see my choice is currently the minority, so I don’t expect me sharing ‘‘Why’’ is going to help change the tide, but opinions are free (for now) so, here goes:

1 - Option B (Migrate but keep Q&A and Discussions separate)
2 - I’d prefer to see them separate because they represent two opposing intentions.

2a - People who resort to Q&A are the kind who want a quick answer to a specific problem. They don’t want ‘‘fluff’’. They don’t want to waste time reading through dozens of pointless arguments just to try and get a definitive solution.

2b - People who resort to forums are the kind who want to fire up a conversation. Raise an issue (or list of issues) and have many people chip in and debate them. It’s aimed at people who are willing to invest more time on a topic, not looking for a quick answer.

3 - Even with strong filtering options, yes, I think it would be too noisy, and that’s mostly because some people just don’t know how to frame their issue properly. For instance, some people may ask (what seems to be) a simple question, but hope to see it turn into a discussion, while others may propose a (seemingly) complex issue or example, but are really just hoping for a quick answer. I don’t see how ‘‘filtering options’’ can assist in divining the authors’ intentions.

4 - Q&A must be very clear that it is NOT the same as a forum discussion. It must be presented as something that’s not open-ended but rather is looking for a very specific answer. Indication of ‘‘source’’ (where the information was originally acquired) and ‘‘experience’’ (how long the person answering has been using the software) is far more useful than Voting (where people with higher status in the community would get free votes, even if their answer is worse than the answer of a newbie). This would also encourage people to check multiple answers from credible users, rather than just take the ‘‘most voted’’ answer for granted and ignoring many others that could add important new details.

5 - Depends. If everything is Merged (Option A), then the plugin would be mostly useless as no one would know if the ‘‘solved’’ topic has the best information, or if it’s best to keep looking for other related topics. On a Q&A format, however, the ‘‘solved’’ plugin would obviously lure people who have similar questions, and it would be a time saver, but if the answer doesn’t really apply to the specifics of each user, you may still end up with duplicate questions anyway.

Bottom-line is, I liked how AnswerHub and Forums was separate. The basic concept is sound and it should be improved, not abandoned. Merging them just sounds like people are tired and want to throw everything together to cut corners. Bad look. As others have said above, the software for the Q&A must improve and, if it does, this could become the most useful section for UE5 developers who don’t have time to lose.

Leave the forums to those who want to indulge in more social gatherings and spend bountiful amounts of time in heated discussions.

Thank you.

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Someone help me fix my user name, it’s not “Anonymousxxxx”

Okay so ah is to be merged into this ‘forum’… that is good enough. But meanwhile, why AH is not accessible is beyond my comprehension…

Yeah - and he mentions a timestamp in a youtube video - I was making fun of just that :smiley:

@JoSf I know that your math explanation was a hyperbole, but really, go check unigine docs, just so that you’ll see how good the documentation actually can be. Notice the cleanliness, the ease of use, the tree structure, the topics like “principles of operation”, check the physics section, which explains pretty much everything, check the “video tutorials” which contains their videos with some description, and, finally, note that they actually have ascection even on math :wink: Matrix Transformations - Documentation - Unigine Developer

If they would have Niagara, they would have like 20 pages about its core principles, typical usage, 30 bite sized examples and so on… (again, see their physics for reference).

To add to it, writing docs kinda forces you to think about the API, the end user, the full system interaction and so on, which in the UE feels (to me, the amateur, who cannot spend hundreds of hours to its source code) like a bunch of islands, rather than one solution.

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some really important points here.

Taking time to focus on the docs is going to be a big investment but I think it can pay back because it empowers all those developers who might not be working at a large studio but nonetheless have the potential to become major earners which kicks back to Epic in the long run.

Docs in combination with beginner oriented videos should be so thorough and user friendly it should be almost impossible for people to fail at learning how to make games with the engine.

I can say right now, from the game engines Ive used Unreal does have generally better docs and a strong learn section. Yet still, the primary challenge of game development for me is not figuring out logic or any sort of decision making, it’s just figuring out how I can use the tools to do what I have defined in plain english. Most of energy is spent searching, trying to figure out how the tools work.

Better, more unified and comprehensive docs will mitigate that big challenge.

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Well, Niagara documentation does mention scratch pads and gives them a short definition on what they are. And information obviously is there (since I was interested as they were mentioned) and it is laid out in a pretty convenient way as long as long as you use a search engine. Kind of to the point why I even mentioned the timestamp, because after clicking the link and seeing the guy explain it, I just about had no further questions.

I generally think of documentation as more of “what something is” rather than how-to guides, though for the more basic stuff, the UE documentation definitely has the how-to-guides as well. I think after nuking the wiki, Epic kind of tried to push the Unreal Academy as it’s replacement. I don’t think that’s ideal; first “video-only” content isn’t great for everything, but also the courses feel like they’re isolated from each other rather than part of a greater whole.

Unigine documentation has two obvious great things going for it, first it doesn’t load a new page every time you navigate it, and it uses a dark theme. It has way less content though. Epic does have some nice graphs showcasing stuff like engine initialization order, but the documentation pages tend to be rather scattered around.

Regarding answerhub, or whatever replaces it, I do think that better tutorials would help it significantly - first by reducing the quantity of questions, and secondly by increasing the quality of how those questions are asked.

I voted for migration into separate service because current forum implementation doesn’t fit to stackexchange-like Q&A format

  • there is too much front end magic: weird search, ctrl + f overrides which make it impossible to search in page, dynamic post loading. If all of this is finally cut out and turned into normal forum, then it would be great

  • hierarchical threading is enabled for Q&A and off for forums. If it was the other way around, it would be unusable.

  • voting and sorting by votes

However, what is most important, is migration. It should be lossless and every link should be working. The thing they did with the wiki has broken thousands of answers, which were based upon old wiki page. Doing the same thing with answers would destroy all the learning experience and make it multiple times harder and longer to do for all programmers. Imagine if stackoverflow was shut down when you were making your first steps at your career?

I would leave everything as is, because it works perfectly, everything is already indexed in search engines. This option is definitely the easiest for beginners

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The biggest problem of the whole UE and UE community is that Epic team (developers, marketing, legal and every other department) have absolutely zero participation in it.
As long as there is no way to ask them a question, everything is meaningless.
Users will find a way to communicate with each other regardless of obstacles.

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^ This ^

^ This ^

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:

^ This ^

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: HISM causes crash in build/standalone on reload level - UE4 AnswerHub

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