Managing obsolete tutorials and info as the code base changes?

I jumped in relatively late to UDK/ UE3, and have done some opensource dev work in the past, and one of the things that always gets me is how to manage tutorials and content for a system that is under constant development.

For example, with UDK there were lots of tutorials that become irrelevant overnight because the next version of the engine included a breaking change. Unfortunately it was often very hard to know if the tutorial you were reading was still relevant to the code. A similar thing happens all the time with Blender and other open source software.

I’m just wondering if anyone has given any thought about handling this with UE4? With the old UDK we would talk about the May 2012 release etc so at least there was some reference to the engine version. I’m guessing that when UDK first came out it was similar to UE4 now, where there are tutorials coming online, and almost any information you can find is relevant. Depending on the speed of development of the engine though that could soon become clutter.

There isn’t probably much that can be done about it all, but I was curious to see what everyone else thought?

I think this is an important issue to adress before it gets too out of hand.
Better start structuring it now rather than doing it when there are too many tutorials available.
The current community tutorial section on the wiki is rubbish and not a modern way of handling it. It’s already messy and hard to use. We need a system where tutorials can be added with categories (so that you don’t have to read through tons of abstract titles to find what you’re looking for), engine number and some other basic information and maybe tags. I’d say use something that works similarly to the answer hub.

Then we need to be able to search this database to quickly find what we’re looking for. Also make a system that award contributors with some kind of show-off points (again, like the answer hub) so that they feel like they get a reward for doing so. Sure it’s silly but it’s been proven time after time that it works.
UE4 is very focused on bringing the community together and helping each other, so there should be better ways of doing so.

Same thing goes for the contribution forum section, everything that gets released should be able to be published in the same system as the tutorials under sepparate categories, right now there are tons of great content that gets buried and doesn’t get the attention it deserves simply because it’s not that easy to search the forum.

And of course, plugins should be included as well (These are more important than anything that they’re able to be filtered depending on engine version)

All pages on this site should also be able to include a link to for example the forum thread discussing it.

Front page of this section should be able to showcase popular tutorials, content and plugins and have an easy to use interface for finding what you’re looking for.

Epic, please consider doing something like this before it becomes a too big of a task.

Also, this might be better placed in the feedback to Epic section.

Hey guys, let me address your concerns by saying I agree and I am currently working on a solution with our documentation team.

I manage the wiki, link, where we keep tutorials in a public and easily updated location.

There, you can easily look up tutorials by category, titles or keywords. Additionally we plan on going through each tutorial (along with the community) and approving them for certain builds. I will also be adding a rating system soon, so that you can also judge the quality of the tutorial. If it is not a very good quality, then you can edit it or at the very least mark the section that is incorrect.

So in the future, when you look at a tutorial page, it would tell you what range of version numbers the tutorial works for and how much the community likes it.

We even have video embedding now :), so you can add notes or transcribe your videos.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Hi Alexander,

The categories are a great addition.
I don’t want to bash on Epic or anyone of you but I strongly feel that putting all content from such a big community managed by such a huge company on a Wiki is extremely unprofessional and can be done way better.
Sure wikis are commonly used but that doesn’t take away the fact that they are awkward to use for most people that doesn’t have experience with publishing in the system.
Just look at the threads in the community content section, I often see comments from the creator asking someone to make a wiki page for them because they just can’t do it themselves.
You shouldn’t have to look at documentation on how to use the system to be able to contribute, that’s ridiculous and very awkward.
My day job is publishing a large website with lots of contend and I couldn’t even imagine structuring that in the wiki format, I’m afraid of what will happen when your wiki starts getting too big.

It’s not only too hard for people to contribute, it’s also way to hard for people to find the information they’re looking for.
Right now you have content spread across too many different places, people without the cunning of Sherlock Holmes will have trouble finding what they are looking for, which will result in more questions that Epic’s support personell will have to waste time answering.
You have content and information on the community wiki, Epic’s wiki, epic’s other documentation pages, all over the forum, youtube, the answer hub and later on the marketplace(?). It would be much better if this content could be found on the same page, or at least links to them.

The contribution pages should have their own site that works more like the site (with a bit more professional design than their’s maybe).

An easy way for people to contribute with:

  • Fields to fill in any required information (Engine version, content version and such)
  • A good text editor that anyone who have ever used Microsoft Word or similar can use 
  • Files (prefferably hosted on Epic's servers so they stay online)
  • Category checkboxes
  • Tags similar to the answer hub

On these pages visitors should find:

  • Any text content and pictures on the main page of a submitted "content"
  • Comments section
  • Version history
  • Some kind of voting system
  • Information on how many times a page have been visited
  • Categories and tags
  • Files in a section where any included files can be found, with and information version history (Older files might want to be kept for users running an older version of the engine)

Also an easy to use system for searching and filtering with:

  • Easy to read information in the results with a thumbnail (if picture is included), version, engine version, last update and rating
  • And advanced, but easy to use search field that can include, exclude and all that good stuff.
  • Filters by categories
  • Filters by tags
  • Sorting by rating
  • Sorting by latest update-date.

The site should also include:

  • Showcases of most popular and recent content
  • Lists with "most popular this, month/day/week/year/all time
  • Current Epic live-streaming schedule and later a link to older, recorded streams.
  • A section with current livestreams by users (now that twitch streaming will be included in the editor)
  • User profiles, for each user with some kind of silly internet points, links to their content and comments.
  • Maybe some notification for users who have checked a certain tag that might have been changed in a new version of the engine.
  • Links to external content such as youtube tutorials that haven't been given their own page by the author.

This could be used for Tutorials, Content, Plugins and even integrate the mysterious, future community marketplace Epic have planned.

I’m rambling but I think something along the lines of this would greatly benefit the community and I really hope Epic consider doing something like this.

Thanks for listening!

Hey Sitrec,

You’ve made some excellent points that we will have to discuss and consider. I’m having this post escalated internally to get a conversation going about what we can do to make accessing information more user friendly.

Sounds great Alexander, I hope I don’t come off as an ***, just really think all the great content people spend so much time on should be able to get the publicity they deserve.

Firstly, I just wanted to say thanks Alexander for even bothering to post on the topic. It’s really encouraging to see Epic so heavily involved around here.

I agree with Sitrec, I’m also having trouble with the fragmented nature of the information available between the official info, wiki, forum and answerhub. My suggestion would have been to dump all of the official information into the Wiki, and just link to that, and then have the forum.

The flow of information would be Epic creates a wiki page on some new feature and puts in a few tutorials on how to use it. The users can then fix up errors, or point out gotchas in a far more timely fashion. Epic could just have a quick look at updates to the wiki as they get posted, to see if there is an obvious error or something they can point out - like “EPIC NOTE: It’s better to use AddForce rather than setting the velocity directly”. That way the wiki would reflect a fairly accurate balance between up to date information, the epic way of doing things, and user tips.

As for the wiki and tutorials, one of the most useful categories or filters for me would be whether the document is aimed at code or blueprints. As a coder I have a lot of moments where I find a post with the title of the exact question I want answered, only to find it’s all blueprints and not much use to me.

Anyway, just my personal opinion. You can’t please everyone, but I can see that EPIC is at least trying, so thanks!