Game Development Student trying to learn more about BP/programming

I tried to make the title rather obvious, but here’s the dilemma:

I am in the Game Development program of a pretty good Art School in the US (Top 10 in Undergrad/Grad for Video Games). The problem, however, is that the program is MORE Art oriented (Ha, who would have thought that going to an Art School, huh?! :frowning: )

I’ve gone through quite a bit of my Core Classes already, I am in my second quarter as a Junior.

I finished up a Game Tech class in May, which covered the basics of UE4 Blueprints. On my own time, I have subbed to Digital Tutors and have done their UE4 classes (which are great, but still not enough). I’ve scoured through the Unreal forums, Youtube videos, and some text about Blueprints.

I guess I should have started with, (I had no programming experience, until last Fall, and it was Processing 2.0), and while I am familiar with the basics of programming. I really want to learn the meat and potatoes and extend my knowledge greatly (and if it’s easier to do so through Blueprints, then so be it), but no matter what, when I try to start something brand new, without a tutorial, I seem to be at a loss at how to proceed writing gameplay mechanics.

I know it’s not something that can be learned overnight, but pretty much, I would like to know if there are any helpful advice/tutorials that I may have missed, so that Blueprints is easier on me.

OR, should I just take the rest of the summer and concentrate on learning C# (which seems to be the programming language of choice for indies) or C++ (for the UE4 implementation) as much as I can?

Basically, I would love to create my own game in the very near future, and while I would love to develop something in Unreal, even an all blueprint game.

So bottom line:

What I have:
Basics of programming (Processing 2.0)
Basics, maybe close to Intermediate level of understanding of Blueprints in UE4

What I need:

To be able to produce a game by myself, being able to write all the underlying gameplay mechanics that I need.

Thank you very much everyone for your time.


What aspects of blueprints do you want to know about?

Do you go to the Art Institute? I would suggest dropping out. No, seriously. I spent almost two years at AI, and I regret every second of it.

Without trying to derail the whole subject of the post, I’m a firm believer that you can’t learn game development by sitting in a classroom. You learn game development by making games. If that happens to be in a classroom, then so be it, but at the end of the day you’ve gotta be building games to get the experience, and studying doesn’t count.

It sounds like you’re already well on your way, using resources like Digital Tutors and YouTube. I can honestly say that I’ve learned more about game development from YouTube than I learned spending $30k for my time at the Art Institute. Had I not dropped out, I’d be even more frustrated because that fact would still be true, but I’d be over $100k in debt.

At the end of the day, if you truly want to be a game developer, the tools you learn about don’t really matter. It doesn’t matter if you work with C#, or C++, Blueprints, Unity, Unreal, GameMaker, whatever. It really makes no difference. The only difference is whether or not you can make the games you want with the tools you have. If you’ve devoted the time to understanding how to use your tools, then you have the power to make whatever you like.

Best advice I can give you is to get a game idea, decide on what tools you want to use, and start trying to make it. I know that’s like the dumbest advice ever, but hey… simple is effective, right? You’ll learn much more effectively and efficiently if you’re actively trying to solve problems that are meaningful to you. It’s a far different experience than doing yet another school project, making the same thing as the other 20 kids in your class.

I thought I was a pretty good dev when I first went to the Art Institute. I already knew a lot about programming, so I enrolled specifically for the social aspect of meeting other artists. After I dropped out, I focused all of that extra time on game dev. Now, I was able to reclaim countless hours of my time that were once sucked up by school. Travelling to and from class, doing homework, talking with teachers and students, studying for tests, etc… all of that got replaced by watching YouTube, learning about my tools, and making games I wanted to make. It made a massive difference in my ability to make games.

Pretty much everything I need to create any type of gameplay mechanic I would want:) I mean, things like arrays/functions/structs, when/how to implement them, when to call them, cast them. Etc. I find that while the Unreal docs are great in explaining some aspects, they lack in “real world” applications for noobs.

Alright so let’s say this: For reference, I am going to use the ATBTT on the marketplace because I bought it, and also the turn based game that Unreal provided on the marketplace. Both are awesome at what they do, the blueprints for the most part is pretty well commented. However, both are super advanced, so while I could bug the developer of the Paid Marketplace (which I have:), it’s completely alien to me both. Even with the Unreal Twitch Stream for theirs…it wasn’t all that helpful trying to understand it and if I wanted to implement it and then redesign it.

A lot of what you’re asking for (“arrays/functions/structs, when/how to implement them, when to call them, cast them. Etc.”) is simply general object-oriented programming stuff. It’s not specific to really any language, and more defines how programmers structure and retrieve data in a broad verse. That’s why the Unreal documentation doesn’t really explain this stuff… they’re expecting you to sort of know about it already.

One of the resources I used to learn a lot of this stuff was DotNetPerls, which is a pretty great (though poorly designed) website for general knowledge. It tries to take a layman’s approach to describing how these things work. It’s all focused on the .NET framework (C#, VB and the like), but the information generally applies to other OOP languages as well. Quick tip to using that website… use the search bar in the top right. The links are sometimes tough to find.

However, there’s still no better way to learn, in my opinion, than by doing it yourself. It may behoove you to try writing Tic Tac Toe for the command prompt, or something else extremely simple, just to get your feet wet with how to structure and compile a program. I’d also recommend reviewing stuff on DotNetPerls about Arrays, Structs, and Functions.