I’m not native english speaker, please forgive my poor grammer and spellings
I’ve joined the ue4 community since 2014 and at the time I’m already working on a project using UDK.
I have been using UDK for 3 years, when I heard ue4 is comming out and saw all the stunning visuals and
new fantastic editor tools I was so excited. I thought I could easily port my project to UE4 and get started
with this new engine.
Before rambling about the many frustrations I get while porting my project to ue4, I think I should explain
my workflow with UDK.
I am a programmer, and I am working on a project alone, I bought all of my art content online from
turbosquid with royalty free and exteneded license. I have limited skills in 3ds max, I can do basic things
like add additional bone to a biped character, change/add material, simple animation, simple rigging…etc.
The product I bought always need some tweaking although it’s sometimes time consuming but not entirely
impossible to do it. After tweaking the model, I import it to UDK. The tricky thing is, sometimes no matter
how I tweak the model, it just won’t import to UDK, and sometimes UDK will just crash when I try to import.
But if I successfully import the content into UDK, it is easy to manipulate the content to the way I want it to be.
With UE4, I feel like it has a stricter demand for the content imported, and it will cause a lot of trouble
if I don’t import a correct setting of the content. For example:
I have a character skeletalmesh with a root bone, but the animation I bought somewhere else don’t have a root bone.
So when I import the .fbx, the character skeleton created don’t have a root bone. I didn’t notice this difference
until I try to attach another skeletalmesh(a sunglass skeletalmesh) onto the head socket of my character.
For some reason the socket is driven by animation in Persona but in game, the socket is only driven by the
bone translation not the animation translation, so when my charatcer play a walk animation in game the sunglass
appear out of sync.
I can solve this problem by retargeting the hip bone to skeleton, but it will lose a lot of information and
produce a weird animation. I took about a week to figure how to solve this problem beside remaking
the animation myself, I tried master pose, tried different skeleton retargeting, tried dynamically calculating
the offset difference and reset the socket transform, but to no avail.
Finally I give up searching for answer and just attach the sunglass mesh in 3ds max and export it with
the character as a single mesh.
I have done this with UDK, and from import mesh, setup animset, animtree to socket attachment,
it only took me no more than half a day, but with ue4 it took me so long because I have the wrong setting,
and even worse, the only way I can get rid of this problem completely is to remake the animation myself.
I felt insecure using ue4, because I can’t ganrauntee the content I buy in the future will trigger some other
odd behavior in ue4 which cannot be solved in engine but have to solve in 3ds max. I’m a programmer using
art tools is frustrating and time consuming, if there is anyway which allow me to get rid of the tweaking
process in art tool, I will gladly avoid it and devote more time in programming.
So last weekend, after I finally “get rid of” the out of sync problem, I try to cook my game to see if everything works
fine in shipping build. After cooking I open up the .exe saw my physics settings gone all wrong, the bone constraint I set
in PhaT, is not working like it should be, and the interpolation time I set in my character’s blendspace not working like
it should be in the editor.
Just as I thought I avoid the most difficult part of importing mesh to ue4, I came into some other weird issues
which I don’t even know what’s causing it.
At this point, I feel so tired, I feel like I’m an idiot, I doubt my capability to use ue4 to make a game.
I think finding and searching answer is part of the development process, but there is some extent to it.
When using UDK, I still need to google and search for some solution to a particular problem, but it is not frequent
and always I get a solution which I can solve it in engine, not in art tool. For UE4, beside spending a lot of time
in answer hub and documentation, videos…even if I find the answer, I can’t apply it, because it cannot be
solved in engine.
Maybe trying to make a game with just 1 programmer is not a good idea? Maybe wanting to make a game all by
myself is too naieve?
Should I go back to use UDK or stick with UE4? With UDK, I know what I am doing, but it’s an old toy and in time,
it will not be supported by Epic entirely, with UE4 it’s the new thing, but with many behaviors I don’t understand
and can’t even solve it by myself.
What is your thought on this issue? Please give me some advice.
2015/03/30 edit: I joined the ue4 community since 2014.