More focus should be put on API Documentation

I know documentation is being worked on but there has been very small improvement since 4.0.2. I know it is a lot of work and it could take months to finish it but the C++ source is the most powerful feature in UE4.
It deserves the most attention right now in my opinion. If Epic puts more effort into it (more people, more time) it will be finished very soon and I’m sure of that.
Once the documentation is clear everybody can start to get their hands to make games instead of experimenting with basic things and not really going anywhere.
It will be very beneficial to both sides: people don’t get frustrated and save time, Epic gets money faster due to people making game faster.
I know these are obvious reasons but I don’t think it is being taken seriously (enough).
So again, please, focus on providing us the knowledge so we could be successful with you.

Anyway, thank you for the wonderful engine.

I assure you we take the API reference very seriously, but as you said, it isn’t something that can be done quickly. We have a lot of work to do on it. We need to make sure everything is commented in the source, and we need to improve the comments that exist now. We also want to find a sustainable way to provide examples code right in the reference. The presentation and formatting is also something we have spent a lot of time thinking about and discussing. There’s just a lot to do and we have to balance it with continuing to improve the engine and tools.

What is it you feel needs the most work? Coverage? Quality of explanations? Something else?

Eventually all of the above will be needed. My main concern was the effort being put to this. On AnswerHub there are countless questions about concepts and stuff that people could not find in the documentation. In my case it was the OnActorHit delegate. Using what the documentation provides I tried to call OnActorHit.AddDynamic but my function never got called. It turned out overriding ReceiveHit was the solution. However, I don’t blame the documentation itself because I know eventually it will be mentioned in the doc why OnActorHit.AddDynamic did not work but ReceiveHit did (or other things that show this). I was just concerned about the progress of completing the doc, that it would take a long time for things to make sense. If you guys are taking it seriously like you said, and I believe you do, then I’ll just accept it. Thank you to replying and I appreciate for the effort.

This topic is hard for me to suggest things for, namely because of the size of the engine and how much work proper, complete, concise documentation is. However, that being said - maybe UE can take a few pages from the Unity documentation. One of the things they really have going for them is great explanations and code samples that make understanding what the purpose, use, and details of a certain “thing” (function, property, class, etc) is.

I go to AActor::RootComponent for example, and there’s nothing. That’s a pretty important thing from what I understand when it comes to working in code with Actors and adding components. Unity documentation sometimes details other classes that may be more suitable for situations, etc etc.

I think in the long run, now that UE is slating (no pun intended) itself as a more indie-friendly tool for development, putting an extra emphasis on good, concise API reference would be easier on the staff having to go through the AnswerHub, and provide even MORE (cause there’s already a lot to love with UE4) reasons to be ecstatic about using the engine.

Just my 2c.

We kinda had the same issue with parts of the UDK’s API, though it was generally smaller than C++ framework we have here. Though there was a good news there, whenever the use case for some function/property was unknown or just confusing, I would do a find in files or find all references in the VS and and it would bring me a couple of use cases for that property/function in the UT example game that was included. Here in UE4, while the number of the samples is pretty good at the moment, but they’re each very very small, making them not using much of the framework at all, so they’re not much help when it comes to this.

My point is if you guys think making one of the examples like Shooter or Strategy game much more comprehensive (for instance turning Strategy example into a real strategy example, i.e. an RTS) would be less than half work, you may want to do that first, which will be ready much faster and is still using most of the more used functionalities. Otherwise, the API would be the way to go, especially because that’s still more straight forward for people to find the info they’re looking for I assume.