High school teacher needing advice

I am currently starting my first year teaching of video game production for high school. I have no industry experience but have been teaching myself maya and unreal for a while now. In speaking with industry professionals and college professors who teach gaming I was given the advice to start them in unreal by modding other games and creating objects for them. In particular modding levels in unreal tournament. I feel like this is a great idea and from there we would move towards level design and the students would have a chance to play each other’s levels and test them from time to time on the unreal tournament server.i love this idea and think it would be a great way to get them exposed to game development. My concern is the violence. I know that it’s not a hugely violent game and the violence is pretty cartoony but I worry that’s could be in hot water with parents and administration if I use that game as our primary teaching tool. I can’t really think of a good alternative. That game is free (I have very little money to spend) has an editor that works right in unreal engine 4, and has a server where we could play each other’s levels. If I don’t do that, I will resort to my original plan of having them create levels using the templates but I feel setting up rules, especially for multiplayer, will be over our heads (maybe in year two of the course). Any suggestions?

The Unreal Team has done some great tutorials. One of the best, in my opinion, is the level design tutorial. It teaches the very basics of the engine and is a great place to start. Again, in my opinion, these tutorials are the best way to learn the engine, they hold your hand a lot, so you can understand everything that’s being done, then there’s an “on your own” section at the end, where you use what you’ve learnt to add something onto the level. All this is done with the default assets in UE4 also.

In regards to the violence in Unreal Tournament, if the age group you teach is above the age restriction of the game, it should be fine. You could always get consent from the parents.

As far as the violence goes, I highly doubt that the Unreal Tournament would even be rated M+ (17+), it would likely be rated 13+ if rated by the ESRB, considering it doesn’t have drug use or language.

If violence is part of the concern, and you are teaching level DESIGN, why not start the class with changing the violent aspects to be very cartoonish and fun? So, replace some weapons with carrot that shoot carrot juice or something, and make the game be something different.

This will be good from a design perspective, as guns are inherently fun in a different way, and will teach them how to think about the games enjoyability factor, not just the level building process. This should give you a jumping off point, since they will start to understand how important thinking how this affects gameplay is, rather than just building something that looks cool.

This would mean you yould need to create/find some crazy ideas for weapons, though.

+1 for that. Replacing those parts is really easy -> so they will learn how to use the editor in a very beginner friendly way + they can be creative :slight_smile:

There’s also a large number of templates and example projects available for UE4 if you don’t want to use UT.