Looking for opinions on UE4 and getting started with Game Design

Game Design has been something I’ve wanted to devote my life to for a long while now, but high hopes and expectations have led me to hesitate actually getting started.

A big hurdle is that while I’m extremely passionate about it I lack interest in coding and have generally focused on the role of artist- 2d, 3d, sound, music, etc… Which means the real mechanical aspects tend to go over my head outside of general understanding of how things piece together logically. However lately I’ve really been pressuring myself to dig in, grit my teeth, and see if I can actually do anything in this arena. Thankfully I have a few friends I’ve kept in touch with who seem willing to help me, so the question has become- where to start.

Initially I assumed I’d simply start with Source Engine since it’s so well documented by now that it would be impossible not to find proper tutorials and help for whatever obstacles I might face, but the more I thought about it the more I had doubts. It’s age shows compared to the rest of the industry and while most apparent in that regard is graphics, I’m sure flexibility in what it can accomplish as far as game mechanics and other areas go have likely also become dated.

So I’m exploring my options. What I’ve come here to ask is, should I use UE4? I’ve reduced my ideas for a first project to as simple a horror game as I can manage, with it’s primary feature being a level that is pieced together at random via modular rooms generated as the player explores the game. I’ve considered different sorts of benchmarks to limit the scope of the project while I, and whoever I can manage to recruit explore our capabilities- as of right now though all art aspects would likely lie in my own hands while coding would be delegated to two of my friends. Relatively new to the craft, one is currently going to college for programming, specifically C++ which is obviously a good choice for most current engines, and the other has had a few years of experience coding many different languages but I don’t believe has had any real formal education outside of his own enthusiasm. I have experience modeling in Google Sketchup (simple as it is) and enjoyed it, and I’m going to try handling modeling/textures/animation personally, as well as sound and other art aspects.

I’ve put a lot of thought into this but haven’t explored the reality of it much yet. Obviously coming here to ask if I should use this engine will have clear bias, but insight into the strengths and obstacles to be found using this engine as an amateur are valuable to me while I sift through my options. I’m sure there’s a lot of information regarding my intentions with the project that would factor in to why I should consider UE4, but I’m not sure what all would be relevant. That said, if you have any questions about my project that might help your input here, I love talking about this sort of stuff and welcome anything you guys can provide.

I would recommend you to just directly start with your project in the ue4. Because blueprints are very powerful and easy to use -> so you dont necessarily need C++ to create a game. The UE4 has a large and very helpful community (so when you have questions during the developmen process, just post them here in the forum and you will surely get a fast answer :)) + lots of documentation:

https://docs.unrealengine/latest/INT/ (here you can find everything)
(all kind of video tutorials)

and last but not least in my opinion the UE4 is pretty easy to use :slight_smile:

^ Just go to “Blueprint Essential” save the link on your desktop its got what you need to know more about Blueprint.

Well with UE4 it takes a bit of time for the other shoe to drop as to the idea that UE4 is a modular approach to game design and what is made available can be reshaped into anything you want to make.

The Shooter sample for example makes for a really good starting point, frame work, as it is a fully functional game with many sub-components required to create an environment where players can run around and do stuff. In this case shoot guns at one another.

The other shoe to drop is the realization that the game type as to usability is bound to the environment being worked on and not tied to the core of the game engine as to the rules of game types.

This is an important realization as to modular assets and resources being made available.

Lets take templates for example.

You want to combine both 1st and 3rd person templates into a single project you could create a new template and go Window > level > migrate to your working project and you can easily switch between 1st and 3rd person.

Need vehicles download the Vehicle Game, migrate it to your project, and your driving around your level in a monster truck. Better still make a CTF game type, once, and you can included it in any game you make forever with out having to redo it all from scratch.

As a content creator myself, with some experience with UE4 now behind me, I feel comfortable saying that someone wanting to make a game does not require a high degree of programing skills as more and more plug in solutions become available and their principle task is to make things drag and drop easy for those working with in a closed edit enviroment.

To give it a label I would have to say UE4 is Star Trek technology in development and give it a year or two someone will be able to make an AAA title with out a single line of coding, as far as you having to do it. :wink:

The more I’ve looked into it the more I’ve liked what I’ve heard about UE4, the other serious consideration is CryEngine so that’s where I’ll be looking next before I make any final decisions. I’ve worked with a team that’s been trying to make something in CryEngine but haven’t learned much about how designing in that engine actually works since I’ve mostly stuck to the concept art side of things. Has anyone here switched from one to the other, or had experience working in both?

Blueprints sound really great and I can see how it would make my life a lot easier since coding isn’t a strength. I think my primary focus in the beginning would be this relatively randomly-generated environment and mechanics to make moving through it interesting (Climbing, crawling/squeezing through tight spaces, etc). The last thing would likely be trying to make the AI as smart as I can. It seems like a lot of the more precise mechanics would easily be condensed into a blueprint to make it easier to work with, after watching a few videos of things people have done.

Thanks for all the input so far! I think the next question, for those who have experience in different engines, what sort of strengths I might find in this engine vs others, or vice versa. It seems that my initial assumptions about UE4 have been correct so far, though, and I’ve liked what I’ve seen so far.

The biggest issue with the engine so far which is a really bad Con is that for some reason you can’t do pure blueprints only with plugins because of a packaging issue. You’ll be able to setup and use the Editor with the plugins completely fine but than you’ll need to convert the project to C++ and compile and build that way to make it work. (I’m still having issues after spending a hour fooling around with the new UMG with a Json Plugin and it turning out it’s not possible to package it for distribution to other people…)

Are you the only one, who encountered that Problem, or is it generally a problem?