If you could offer only one piece of advice to new users of Unreal Engine 4, what would it be?
Perhaps if a lot of experienced users could pass on their best discoveries and solutions to “gotchas” that they have had to deal with, we could build here a resource that could help a lot of people. I will get it started in a reply to this post.
When we first started in UE4, we were using Blender for modeling. Our artist was more experienced with the Autodesk products from previous work, but we didn’t have a license for Maya and what we saw was that it cost thousands of dollars. So we learned Blender to try and keep costs down (we are a small startup company with very limited funding.)
Blender (while admittedly an excellent modelling software) has been a huge headache. Nothing seems to import correctly on the first try. Everything from meshes to UVs constantly come in broken through the export / import defiencies. Finally someone told us about Maya LT, which is targeted toward indie game studios. It is basically Maya but without the stuff game artists don’t need as much, such as a photorealistic renderer, cloth / hair / fur, particles, and some of the shaders. These things could be useful for cut scenes, but overall Maya LT has been exactly what we needed.
The main benefit to Maya is that it works so darned well with UE4. Everything imports perfectly on (usually) the first attempt. It looks the same way it did in Maya and works the same. Rigs and animation just work when imported, which has been a life saver. ALL OF THIS FOR $30 / month / seat. We have saved probably hundreds of hours in the last 3 months using Maya over Blender. If I value our hours at $25 /hour (cheap) then we have spent $180 to save at least $5000.
So, all of this to say: I highly recommend Maya LT. With UE4 at $19, Maya LT at $30, and Adobe CC at $30, and Visual Studio C++ Express at $0, we are paying $79 a month for an amazing suite of tools that does basically everything a game developer needs to do. Even the smallest Indie studio should be able to pay $79 / month if you are serious about making games.
Also to add about the Maya recommendation. If you get it directly from Autodesk, as opposed to Steam, you can get it yearly making the $30/month into $20/month. Not bad if you can afford the year up front. Also 2nd fighter5347’s comment. It’s how a community of information gets built anyway, all the questions little and small, they build up and years down the road some other newbie is going to appreciate it.
One bit of advice that’s been good for me if you’re working on a project you 100% intend to try and publish. If you get really stuck and have the funds, hire somebody in the LFW forum. I wasted far more time on an issue than was necessary until I got help from Rama. Things are moving along quite nicely since that. If it helps to justify, assign yourself a reasonable $ amount for your time and put some effort into the issue first. Doing so will help you to identify specific problems to be solved instead of big general issues. That way you can request something with clarity that requires less time to address and better success in getting what you want. Plus, it supports the community.
+1 : Play the funny game " try to help even when you don’t know the answer " then you’ll use Unreal Engine 4 Documentation | Unreal Engine Documentation for your searches and will hunt in docs forums and answerhub. But before that : go see and try all tutorials you find and marketplace epic stuff (content example and bueprint office usually have 50% of the replies you’re looking at ^^)
And more more more important : Have fun ! This is the only thing which will send you back to engine when you’ll be bored or annoyed. Choose a project you like and “doable” and do it and ask help to the community when you are stuck.
-search for people that want to learn/develope with you → lots of fun
-variety → so dont just do stuff in the ue4. Always change between a 3d program, photoshop/gimp,… (but this depends on what exactly you want to do :))
-set a goal that you want to reach
If you could offer one piece of advice to new UE4 Users…
Would be to jump in and start using it! No matter your current skill or specialty. Locate the Documentation, Set up Source Control, Follow along the Tutorials & Samples. Run into trouble? Search UE4 Answer Hub, Forum, Google first (instant gratification when you find the answer on your own). Once you know how to use the UnrealEd Tool Suite, you’ll know exactly what it takes to build your game with UE4.
As a long time programmer, I enjoy using Blueprints. I’m now learning content creation: Modeling, Texturing and Animation in UE4 and I’m having fun! I’m totally convinced that UE4 Can do anything, and you will be too.
That is excellent advice. On so many things I hear people say “I read the tutorial,” or “I watched all of the tutorial videos!” Yeah, but did you actually complete the tutorial project 100%? Did you, immediately after you learned a new concept, experiment with it a bit? If not, then you just wasted your time on the tutorials. The only way to learn something like UE4 is by DOING.
How do you bypass the 65K polygon limit on FBX transfer? My character alone would exceed this limit. If there is a way to bypass this, or Autodesk would be kind enough to up this limit, I can seriously considered…until then…
That, & lack of proper renderer (come on Autodesk), & a sidenote that Autodesk charging us much higher than NA have me on the fence.
Edit: Cannot believe this, less than a minute after I posted this, I got news of Autodesk announced lifting polygon limits on Maya LT!
I did a check & discovered Maya LT do not support Maya script, which I will use quite a bit, & also because of that, it cannot export mesh to Zbrush using GoZ, as GoZ required Mel script.
I was going to order Maya LT…almost…
Edit 3: Holy shii,
I read through the new features and found that Mel script are in!
*New Support for MEL Scripting
Reduce the time you spend on repetitive and complex tasks with MEL script. The built-in Script Editor eliminates manual coding and makes learning MEL easier by displaying scripts that correspond with any action taken within Maya LT. Scripts can be saved into buttons and hotkeys to quickly achieve a desired result.*
Guess I need a trial version to see if everything works.
Yup they keep lifting restrictions. Honestly at this point I don’t even know why they still want polygon limits when everyone with UE4, Unity or Mudbox can just use that to circumvent it. Along the same lines I don’t know why they allow MEL scripts but not Python. Makes little sense to me. But at least they seem to be on the right path.
Its nice for sure to give free access for non- commerical use for Maya, but when people wanted to start creating commercial content, the price point is always a sour point for indies & smaller studios.
The original cost of Maya turned a lot of people off, & use cheaper option like Blender, Mojo etc instead.
Autodesk try to lurk these group of people (me included) with Maya LT, but restrict many features in order for prevent larger studios from subscribing to Maya LT instead. Understandable, but paying for a restricted access vs paying same if not lower for full software with proper rendering, script, significantly restrict the interest. etc?
I always say that a business model built on provide value for premium range will be more successful then imposing restriction to their lower range package/product.
Just look at XBOX LIVE, trying to restrict people without gold subscription from using apps that you can already access for free just about everywhere, including their main rival Sony. A classic example of using the cane instead of throwing the bone. Thankfully, X1 was so badly beaten by Sony, that they have to lift these restrictions.
Back to Maya, now that they have lift 2 of the most critical restrictions, I am seriously considering it, (Was considering between Blender, Mojo, or Maya Full) for my commercial game. But I probably need to download the trail version & test the mel scripts & GOZ for Zbrush.
That was a great feature when we were using Unity so I am happy they are bringing it to UE4… about time!
We are able to get past the 65K poly limit fairly easily (usually) however because we make mobile games (lower poly) and we always bake our normals before exporting and the poly count is fairly low. On the rare occasion that we want to export huge scenes all together, we have had to break it up and reassemble in UE4, but this wasn’t so bad.
Hey Starseeker, I have only developed mobile games for the last several years, but I am surprised when you say that your “character alone would exceed this limit (65k polys).” To me, that seems extremely high! * Is that a normal poly count for PC games?! Maybe I am out-of-touch with the times as I am always forced to optimize for mobile. Or maybe you are wanting to export out of Maya LT with high-polys, then bake to normals using xNormal rather than the built-in Maya tools? This is a serious question…* is it normal to have your character exceeding 65k polys?**
Whoa. And apparently the main character in Ryse: Son Of Rome has 85K polys. He also has 230 blends in his face and 260 joints in the face, which just seems silly. So I guess it is possible to have over 65k polys in your characters running in a game. Mind blown.
Yeah, we bake with turtle. It is actually not bad for baking, and 10x faster than Mental Ray so kinda funny it is called Turtle. The only drawback has been that it seems to have half a billion settings that we had to play with to get it right (where Mental Ray is much easier) but once we figured it out it is rinse and repeat. Even though the render quality of turtle is a lot lower than Mental Ray when it comes to shaders, there doesn’t seems to be a lot of difference when it comes to baking. Maybe sometime I will do some real tests of Maya LT Turtle vs XNormal vs Blender vs whatever else I can get my hands on - and post the results here to the forums.