Community do its best, but sometimes, there are some questions that only epic staff can know about.
E.g.: How to properly override components. It has been asked many times and the answer is not clear at all.
So my suggestion to Epic is to hire someone specially dedicated to support forum’s questions, from his/her knowledge or being like an intermediary between the engineer-tech-staff and the community so he/she can get the answer to all these questions that many many times are left without an answer, despite the best intentions from the community.
Even if there is a reasonable answer, I’m sure epic staff can add some extra information, or tip; or even suggest better ways to do things, etc.
In many comparisons between Unreal and Unity, one of the Unreal drawbacks is precisely the lack of support, or questions unanswered on the forums.
I agree that support has been quite sparse here, if we look at posts from 2014, almost all of them has some great insights by an Epic team member, now we can’t even get info about very generic things that doesn’t need any expertise, like the state of wiki, roadmap, etc.
However, I don’t think Epic lacks the concept you’re looking for, from time to time you can find very insightful technical responses from staff members, so it’s not that these people don’t exist, there are just not enough of them, or there are too many things they should be doing so that they don’t have time for the community (besides asking for patience or promising things, but that has been going on for years now).
1 or 2 guys won’t cover the entire engine. And if they couldn’t provide better insight than community members, there’s no point with them investing time and effort. Especially that support staff wouldn’t have enough experience in given field of development. IMHO engineers shouldn’t spend time on forums.
Epic staff replies often and quickly on UDN.
And I agree with their approach, it’s a lot better to focus on improving documentation, keep going on livestreams (which they do a lot), sample projects.
Although I’d love serious upgrade to AH, so it would be more efficient to use.
Well, engineers have to gain insights from somewhere too, right? I hope you’re not suggesting that for each and every problem “let’s look at the source”. Wiki is disabled, AnswerHub can’t really help in anything that’s more complicated than “how i can create float funtcion in blueprints”.
That’s quite irrelevant for like 99% of the developers (although I agree, they do).
That’s true, I also agree with the approach, but for engineering tasks, documentation is really really weak. What’s already there, it’s really a great resource, but a huge amount of very important concepts are not documented at all. All would be great if reappearing questions would be “answered” in the documentation.
Livestreams are too entry-level usually, they are good for beginners, but rarely a useful resource for engineers in my opinion.
Should Epic engineers field forum questions, so we can all party like its 2014 again??? ~No~ … But should Epic offer more training options beyond Livestreams or YouTube or Unreal-Academy virtual-courses? Definitely! Especially high-level up-to-date training courses in difficult areas such as: Multiplayer / AI / C++ / Characters+Anims etc etc… Preferably classroom based rather than virtual too, because good training often means two-way interaction with tutors. And more importantly, when you’re in a classroom / academy environment, things are more competitive so everyone pushes themselves harder (and also helps each other more). This is a good thing… Will Unreal Academy be a magic bullet some day? Maybe, maybe not. Epic seem to be a long way off from offering high-level quality or substantial game-changing-content, such as in the areas mentioned. Plus high-level training can’t come cheap…
For sure lucky UDN’ers already get better support… But what percentage of UE4 devs have access to UDN, and how much does it cost? Epic do offer classroom academy training from NC to Asia from time to time. But I’m talking about permanent training here… Without that, its very hard to progress in UE4 beyond intermediate level. YouTube tutorials / Wikis / Blogs / Sample-projects offer gems now and then, but the best are tricky to find, and most won’t get you to Advanced-Level - ever!
So what’s left? Trawling through C++ source… Cool! But that’s time consuming and not really on for those who want to devote max time to gameplay. Plus its tough, really tough. Those that say it isn’t are in denial, or are just blind to how talented they really are! Plus, if there were more higher-level resources, perhaps Epic engineers would be willing to talk to developers outside UDN more often, because more devs would be at their level… So, how about colleges or universities acting for Epic? Conventional college courses tend to go out of date faster than textbooks! So no, having a dedicated training wing at Epic is the only way imo. Plus imagine how the documentation would improve too. Part of the reason docs aren’t progressing is the lack of full-time education employees at Epic. Everyone is wearing multiple hats there… But with Epic’s post-fortnite war-chest that doesn’t make sense anymore. I’d rather pay for high-level courses versus UDN too, because ‘drip-fed learning’ isn’t always optimal or reliable…
@KalvotheSo how about it Tim… What’s Epic’s stance on high-level education? How about a real-world Unreal-Academy?
Things were better once… Here’s a brief history… From 2014-2016 Community and Epic interaction really was ‘Epic’! But about a year after, Alex Paschall left. Whether that was co-incidence or a sign, it was a crushing blow… Because soon after, everyone from Tim Sweeney down retrenched and just stopped posting or interacting on here. Glassdoor reviews hint that the culture at Epic changed around this time (became more corporate). If true, maybe that’s it. But hey, some people will chime in and say Epic is a profit-making corporation, so what can you expect! But here’s the thing…
When the engine was weak and Epic needed the community, Epic were happy to listen and help (a lot). 2. The lack of quality documentation plus sample / example projects especially at intermediate to advanced level is simply chilling. There’s now too many broad based overlapping YouTube tutorials, and not enough Advanced-Tutorials on anything… Some Livestreams are good, but they’re infrequent and despite promises, Epic rarely follow up with subsequent parts on the same subject matter, to make the whole experience worthwhile. So what happens is, you get FRAGMENTED learning, which is a real tease! Then there’s the thorny issue of the Wikis still being broken. But by far there’s just a shocking lack of high-level working projects to dissect, especially in the crucial areas mentioned above like Multiplayer / AI / Characters-Anims / C++ etc…
So what’s going to change here? Probably nothing and we are all on our own! … Your request certainly won’t change anything! But at the very least ask yourself this: are you willing to pay for the knowledge you want, because I am… However I don’t think Epic will create a dedicated training wing or open up UDN to anyone, unless they feel it will be both profitable and also decimate the competition (as there’s just no business case for it otherwise)… Just 2c… Good luck…
I don’t see that it requires Epic to get it done actually, any capable company can start tutoring or teaching. I believe there are many classes already in existence. Just as it’s not Adobe’s task to have official Photoshop classrooms around the world, I’m not sure if it’s Epic’s task to do so for UE4. They might collect these possibilities together on a nice interface, but that’s a different thing.
With that I agree, back then there were many more frequent and eloquent responses to interesting questions from Epic members. Some of those posts are still some of the best resources out there, as they only exist there, not in any documentation. Nowadays we really have to beg for any official response for any problem.
You’re right about insight, excellent point. Although…
I have a feeling they actually aware of long-standing issues (i.e. dynamic shadow artifacts or lacking features of the launcher), but they don’t reply because people would be annoyed by reading “you know, we want to do this, but it will happen next year because of X and Y”. Also, the answer could become obsolete very quickly…
Epic gets a lot of insights by talking to proved developers. And you don’t need to be AAA studio, just few person indie studio which got in touch with Epic via evangelists, UDN, conferences. Especially evangelists are open to talk small studios and even organize local events for everyone. This is kind of myth that if Epic programmers don’t talk a lot on forums, you can’t get in touch.
They could pay a bit to experienced developers from the community to moderate and help them with filtering out discussions worth looking at. It would especially valuable if those developers would be technical designers/artists. Still, I doubt the engine would benefit largely by engine engineers spending time on forums.
They messed Wiki, true that. But I’d disagree about AnswerHub, most of “questions” are answered by searching existing content, advanced questions too.
I guess ClavosTech better explained what I meant in the previous post. Knowledge is extremely fragmented. Forums, AH, Wiki. Official live streams with priceless knowledge that can’t be easily “searchable”. Sample projects popping up in launcher without any notification elsewhere. Sample projects are outdated and messy.
Community knowledge (i.e. exi’s multiplayer compendium) isn’t highlighted anywhere in official, easy to find places.
Recent Unreal Fest in Prague was a valuable conference with many great talks. They should post all the talks to Youtube, nothing uploaded yet…
In my personal opinion, we need a broad vision for improved communication and learning of engine evolving at a rapid pace. Epic puts a lot of effort into this. Let’s be fair, guys. Weekly livestreams are priceless, i.e. stream presenting new Time Synth plugin.
It’s just all chaotic… Trello roadmap it’s not a roadmap. Features or QoL changes on GitHub that are easy to integrate to the older engine should be promoted on Twitter, not hidden for the next few months…
Everything should be so nicely organized that we shouldn’t even have a thought “developers should provide support on forums”. We should have a lot better knowledge about the engine, design of systems and ongoing development. I would love that.
Actually, I’d be much more happier with “coming in 2020” than no response whatsoever. Being ignored feels much worse than a sad truth.
I agree, but I think the main problem stands for developers without a revenue, beginners, few friends working together, etc. You’ll have no UDN access and no money to go to conferences (well, they might not expensive for people living in the US, but for many of us from the “east”, it’s out of reach). Of course, it does not apply for everyone. But every team needs to start from somewhere, established studios don’t just spawn randomly, and currently some of us might feel quite powerless. We’d like to contribute, we’d like to build, we’d like to pay royalties… we just would like our voices to be heard. Not necessarily individually. But if a bug or feature or documentation is requested 10 million times, I think it should matter. Now it doesn’t. Or at least we don’t know about it, because it’s not communicated.
With that, I agree 100%. I believe the most important issue is communication currently. If that’d be solved, we’d be heard, they would give more detailed answers than “it might happen at some point, be patient”, it could be a very exciting environment. I’d love to keep visiting the forums more often. I’d love to contribute more on GitHub. I wouldn’t check Godot’s and Unity’s blog as frequently. But on all these issues, I really don’t see any promising change.
It feels like everything else is more important right now than what Unreal Engine was for Epic: a game development engine. Fortnite, Epic Store, archviz, etc. They are all great! It’s awesome that they exist. I just have the impression that nowadays everything gets more attention than the core concept behind everything.
Ouch! Just like working at every single IPO-seeking Silicon-Valley hell-hole. So when is the uber-Epic ‘IPO’ coming TimS?
Seriously everything is cyclical. Somebody at Epic has to be asking ‘How do we maintain dominance/relevance long-term’…
Investing in education / documentation is always a good bet… Its rare that doesn’t pay off for both customers & employees…
For example, how much of this future will happen without solid docs and training. Unreal-Academy still has a long way to go:
Generally speaking you have to pay for that level of support, as anything that takes away from an engineers time is Epic money really. I feel like Epic’s existing support for the “general public” is pretty damn good.
Engineers come by the forums from time-to-time to look at the most interesting topics but don’t do so often - but it’s usually on their own time. To be honest I don’t blame them, sometimes when things don’t go their way, forum users can get hostile.
This is also why UDN is behind a gateway. The engine team have better things to do than tell people how to add directional lights to scenes etc, which is exactly the kind of thing they would be swamped with. I would suggest checking out the Discord group to be honest, it’s the best way to query a big body of people on something relatively quickly.
There is a risk for every single business. And it’d be the businesses’ task to keep the material up-to-date. I don’t see the need of Epic involvement here.
Of course we can’t expect them to provide free support for issues like “WHY MY MATÉRIAL ARENT WORKING”, but I think here the point is the explanation of undocumented features, not the personal problems of Josh, 14 from Kurmundya.
The pace of engine change means 3rd-Party training will always lag. Epic’s own staff have doubled in 2 years and even they’re having trouble keeping new hires and contractors up-to-date (see Bruno’s link above). There’s also a symbiosis between documentation and training, so Epic are definitely best placed here.
Industry example… Whenever training left Microsoft and went to 3rd-Parties it tended to stink quickly (being more about pass-rates and profit than quality tuition etc). Plus Epic already run academies… Its just not on a permanent basis in multiple locations (right now anyway). Honestly I don’t know how to be any clearer.
I’ve no idea why you think Epic shouldn’t be involved or oversee the training process at least. You seem to have something against the idea which you haven’t said yet maybe??? Anyway, right now to me, your reasons against doing it are not that strong…But hey I’m open to changing view if there’s something more.
It’s great if they could publish materials, but it sounds unrealistic that Epic will start regular classroom courses around the world either by traveling all the time or opening offices in multiple countries. I can’t imagine it as the part of the business plan. Almost every technical courses on the world are driven by 3rd parties, not specifically by the author companies. 3ds Max, Wacom, Maya, Unity, etc, all these classroom courses are driven by 3rd parties, not by Autodesk or Unity or whatever. It might be different, maybe even viable where you live, but I haven’t seen a single example of it in my life.
I guess things are just simpler.
If there are 1000 guys working at Epic let’s hire someone else to be 1001 or 1002, and make those community manager with enough tech knowledge to cover the relevant issues at forums, ask the proper person to resolve something they don’t know, let the community know they are here listening to community, working in documentation, wikis, updates, etc…
This is already happening though. You hear it every-time ‘a Zak Parish of Epic’ talks about travel and work. Its also in job descriptions of new hires etc. So Epic are dispatching people, but its mostly on the Enterprise side. I understand what you’re saying that tech training is by and large covered in partner industries though. However Epic could first hand pick those partners and have a big say in how the training operates, ensuring quality is maintained. So Epic definitely have some role to play here.
Plus its clear from that link above that Unreal is ballooning in use across many diverse industries, that they’re going to get plagued with requests for better docs and training. I mentioned Microsoft before… Essentially Unreal is the new MS-Office if you think about it. Its starting to become all pervasive and used by everyone. So Epic are going to have to do something or give some partner a special box of materials and a blessing! Epic already have offices in lots of hubs too so its not that big an ask.
Well, I guess time will tell how it will turn out. It can happen that they privately instruct companies, especially if they plan to switch to Unreal and etc, I just don’t see widely available classes to be profitable. Maybe in some very dense hubs with hundreds of wannabe developers, but well, I believe statistically most of us don’t live in cities where it’s worth to maintain