Multiplayer testing - simplest correct workflow?

I am hoping the bright minds of this forum will be able to help.

Me and a friend have ambition to build a game - more at the ‘hobby’ level and don’t necessarily have ambitions to release to a commercial market. For us, it’s just about learning the engine and realising a concept.

The concept is - I know, very tired - a pure survival game. In simple terms, we want to have a map and develop an ecosystem with which the players interact. We’re on a good track in terms of the fundamental, playable mechanics - health, hunger, thirst, fatigue, that kind of thing - but we would really like to introduce the multiplayer mechanic at this stage as it will make iterating and testing much more inclusive and engaging.

He and I live in different parts of Europe - so are not able to co-develop in person. The game itself is based on the third-person blueprint - although I do understand this and first-person are relatively arbitrary.

I’ve had a look (briefly) online and note that there are all manner of tutorials and bits of literature out there; most concerning operating dedicated servers.

Given we are developing at the hobbyist level, we don’t really have a budget and are not looking to stand up dedicated infrastructure. What we really want is to set something up where I can ‘host’ a session within UE4, I can play as a client and he can join that session as a (second) client. I’m interested to know if it’s possible to do this by exposing the game via the internet, or alternatively if we use a VPN to link our sessions logically into a LAN.

Either way, we just want to be able to easily join the game at the same time and coexist in the same map as two equivalent players. What’s the best/simplest workflow? What is it that I am ‘looking’ for? Any links to documentation, explanation of terminology or actual tutorial series’ would be much appreciated.

Thanks in advance. Apologies if this is the wrong sub-forum - I wasn’t sure where this would fit.

Not sure if thread ‘bumping’ is allowed…but I was just checking back in and I am still at a loss, unfortunately.

Appreciate I’m not a regular poster - but if there is anyone out there that can help with pointing me in the right direction, I’d be eternally grateful!

Hi, you might wanna watch epics tutorial series on “Blueprint Multiplayer” Blueprint Multiplayer: Project Overview | 01 | v4.11 Tutorial Series | Unreal Engine - YouTube there he explains how to host a session over LAN and internet.

Basically I test multiplayer in two ways right now:

(1) two standalone game instances on the same pc, so one hosts the game, the other joins

(2) two or more pc connected over LAN, again one host, rest joins

But I never tried connecting two pc over internet or using VPN

Thanks for the reply.

In simple terms, as a minimum the game has to be ‘built’ and run as a standalone, right? There’s no way to launch the game from within the editor itself and then have someone connect to that?

Just trying to understand the minimum requirements on this front, too - as having to share the game with every iteration seems quite heavy going. Or perhaps it isn’t and all the changes ‘server-side’ don’t need to be shared - so the remote player is just launching the same client and getting the updated info about the game once they establish that connection.

Apologies - this is one of those topics where I should probably have a more fundamental understanding before we reach that iterative-testing phase; but by the same token, we’d like to collaborate, test, iterate, test, etc from an early stage to get the right ‘feel’ for things.