needing some encouragement before i dive on in ...

Hi folks,

im Sarah, 35 from Sunny Queensland Australia. Never even remotely contemplated that making my own game would ever be a real reality. I thought the software was too expensive and my skills too poor. Now i find this software is free and i might not have to sit down to page after page of code to create something decent. (Though helpful in end game)

I would love some starting tips, other great programs that i need to have some knowledge in. Particularly as regards animation. I’m aware i’m probably a year away from even starting my game. Also aware that i will need to build some very much smaller projects to “skill up”. I have a family source fluent in C++ who can help there… great creativity and ability to plan the game and UI ideas and what not… what i lack is graphical design/ animation skills. (Although i am artistic enough with fabric and oil paints). I have done some website coding and i found that fairly intuitive and easy to work around. I have also done lots of playing around modding games and building worlds inside the games so i’m sure that will be easy enough.

QUESTION: Is there a free animation software that works well with Ue to create the skeletons and characters? Or am i better to buy and adapt characters? i have had a bit of a look around the web and not sure where to start. i’m totally fine with them not being “custom designed” to start with as i plan on rebuilding a few times. What i don’t have is $$$ to sink into Maya…

STAGE ONE: i want to create a small (pretty) but basic map. Build a small shelter, put a character in that can move around the world. probs just the ugly white man on start up. (Who is now a pretty metallic pink…lol)

STAGE TWO: Make my character collect two items in the world and have the “number” of each item appear in the most basic of basic text box on screen (probs not a custom character yet and probably not animated to bend and collect either)

STAGE THREE: lots of blanks here focusing on rebuilding after the sorry mess i play on making above…

END GAME: I want a very basic city building game sort of a blend of say The Guild/Ceasar IV /Sims /. Where i have a ruling family with some city building elements… dynasty creation and so on… i won’t go into the details. But i have created all the concepts and gameplay ideas all mapped out. Just need to learn the skills to translate into the game world. Its the game that i want to play and just can’t find… lol… Maybe in 5 years others will want to play it.

BEYOND DREAM: To recreate this with magical animations and stuff :slight_smile:

Basically i’m watching every tutorial
downloaded visual studio looking at learning basic C++
How much animation stuff am i going to need to learn? Very happy to… i’m sure it will be a blast!

love to hear what else i need to do to start with (Other than run away now) any starting advice.

Many thanks and All the best for your projects.


Hey, welcome to the forums Sarah. We’re probably on the same boat we’re both inclined to coding than the graphics side. Everyone has to start somewhere though and it’s always best to start now though in my opinion. :stuck_out_tongue:

You can use blender which is open source for creating 3d assets, however I’m not sure how well it will be for animations in UE4. There are no problems with creating armatures (skeletons) and animating inside blender but importing and exporting might have some problems. From what I’ve read, there seems to be some issues with .fbx files and blender. There might be ways to work around that though but I don’t really know enough to be honest. :stuck_out_tongue:

Oh yeah, I should probably mention to take a look at Gimp (photo-editing) and Inkscape (vector art) for 2d stuff. Both are open-source alternatives to Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator. In case you want to try creating textures and UI designs for your game.

Use 3DStudio Max for modeling and animations. Get an Educational license.

Photoshop is the standard to make textures. Gimp is free and can almost do as much, but it’s worth it to get Photoshop if your making art.

Otherwise, link up with an artist who will make the models and animations. Making games is normally a team effort and there are only a few rare people who make everything themselves. They do exist, but for most people they tend to favor either Art or Programming, not both.

For a tip: Don’t start with your game. Do some tutorials first. Then, clone a game. Make PacMan in 2.5 D or something. Participate in some game jams. After you have completed some small projects, then start out making your CityBuilding game.

I would advise against using the educational versions of 3DSMax or Maya if you think that you’ll ever be in a position where you want to sell your game (or even if you want to keep using it beyond the educational period). You can’t use any assets created with the educational license for your commercial games. You could of course get a real license (200+ dollars a month) when you start making the final assets that will go into your game, but that will still be really expensive, because art isn’t a fast process and will take you much longer than you think. And if you don’t want to spend that sort of money, your only option then is to start re-learning everything in some other cheaper/free software, which is incredibly frustrating and will take you a long time. So I would suggest skipping straight to the cheaper/free options. And that’s either Blender, which is free (but a lot of people dislike using it) or MODO indie on Steam (which is somewhere between 200-250$ for a perpetual license or 15$ a month if you want to rent it). There are others, but these are the more popular alternatives.

It’s also maybe worth checking out free stuff like Krita (for 2D art stuff) and Sculptris (for 3d sculpting organic models).

Thanks so much for your replies. Very aware this is normally a team effort and my game will not appear overnight :slight_smile:

Love to learn the animation side though. Sounds like to stay away from blender. I could manage the little amount for MODO easy enough. Are there any other cheaper ones you recommend??? Just naturally don’t want to drop $200 a month till I’m skilled up. Though that would be amazing

I do have Inkscape.

I’ve been doing lots of tutorial games and practicing the blend spaces, basic animation putting together and things. They are comming together fine. My reading also told me not to start with my game and I will be starting with those smaller basic games once I’m out of the 100’s hours tutorial.

Might be better in own topic but do any of you know tutorials based around the game play above. Most seem to be around shooter games???

Thanks so much for replies. I’m really excited to learn some new skills.

Fingers hanging over buying MODO in steam ATM… :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

You can get a trial for the non-indie version of MODO (with some extra features like scripting and stuff that you’ll likely not use when getting started anyway) on their website. It’s always good to try it out before you buy it.

Also Blender is still a good program, it has lots of cool features and does pretty much everything you need, but it’s just not the most user friendly and intuitive thing ever. It should by now work just fine with UE4 too.

I still recommend 3DStudio Max. It is the Industry standard. The free license is for 3 years. If your going to release commercially, just buy the Pro license at that time, no problem.

I do agree mikepurvis… that industry standard would be best. like most things starting with the best tools is the best approach… when i started oil painting i started with artist quality paints, not student grade and i guess same as when cooking… better quality supplies and all that.

I just can’t guarantee a release (even if i WANT to release) in three years. If i don’t then i won’t be able to afford the subscription (Though it might be a boost to get me to do so…)

I’m doing lots of forum reading on max, maya, blender and MODO. But currently still tossing between Blender and Modo… though obviously Blender is free so it doesn’t matter

Just seen something about MARI that goes with MODO? not done much reading but was looking at it…

anyway Thanks for the suggestions as to where to look. These comments are much appreciated. I shall continue pouring through forums and tutorial videos. As i said i imagine i am months away from starting anything resembling a game. :slight_smile: :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

Agree. Often you see things broken down into 3 distinct roles:

#1. Art (All 2D / 3D models / anims / rigging / textures + materials / concept-art etc)
#2. Programming: All gameplay logic / utils / Steam-Multiplayer etc. (Heavy BP / C++)
#3. Game Design: Actual gameplay mechanics / vision / story / prototypes / mock-ups (light BP)

Typically #3 is embedded into one of the other roles. But this is arguably becoming harder to do. Why?
Due to the total saturation level… All the other available games + new ones coming online all the time.
But there are still plenty of skilled devs on here that do everything themselves (Blueprints a key factor).

Mike, You’re a vastly experienced dev, with what a decade or more working in game dev???
So clearly you know Max well and can vouch for it along with Maya as being the standard.
But put yourself in the place of someone coming into this field now and being totally new.
Max is a risky bet… Its price is astronomical… 3 free years is just a drug dealer’s hook!
Max’s future isn’t 100% assured either. Some fear it could be retired in favor of Maya etc.

Instead I say try and learn Blender and stick to free. If not, then look to Maya LT / Modo.

Their is nothing wrong with blender .i have been using it for quite a while and whilst it looks quite intimidating to a new user its user interface is pretty straight forward.
i also have had very little trouble importing fbx files . i sometimes mess up the scaling of assets but that is an easy fix . i cannot stress enough the power of blender which has a game engine built in btw . Assuming you get to grips with the 3d modelling/animation suite of your choice . build some simple assets tables etc etc import those into one of the many templates
included with unreal to get used to the workflow between your 3d software and unreal . once you are comfortable doing this maybe jump into a tutorial the third person tutorial is a very good starting point .GL and welcome to the forum

If Maya is an issue then I would go with Modo, Cinema4D or anything that can export fbx but isn’t Blender lol

ooohhh… as a newb i’m beginning to see come love/hate relationships with blender evil_laugh

sorry to stir the blender pot

I am indeed a total newb… great ideas an artistic background, though unskilled in computer based graphics… the knowledge that i will have to learn learn learn… and i think importantly at the moment watch every tutorial under the sun for a few weeks to get the feel of what i want.

I don’t think i will “choose my forever program” today… or probably even in the next few months. But i am extremely grateful for all your input on each path i could take.

I have at least picked up that i need to experiment in a few programs… look at the features and do the basic tutes to get an understand of each. (Granted i was going to do this anyway) I was never going to start at my game concept. Ever.

although… i have seen some information about using MakeHuman then importing into blender then into Unreal.EDITED A QUESTION OUT I ANSWERED MYSELF] Eventually i was going to do original art and make the main character from original art… but for practicing, learning tools, playing around, i thought it might be an extra option.

thanks again

Game dev is such a long road I don’t think it matters all that much if you start out with something basic or not…
So even though you’ll hear a lot of devs say just create something simple, not all took that route themselves.:stuck_out_tongue:
A lot boils down to personal motivation levels, but also getting a little help and encouragement along the way…

UDK was very much a community like that. Modelers helping programmers and vice versa, but UE4 also has the marketplace.
Plus making a simple game / clone may feel pointless longer term! Better to create something new, even a crude prototype.
Then you have something to show to others, who in turn may help and get involved. But only if the game idea itself is solid.

What you need to do is make a list and break things down, plus figure out if top-down or bottom-up learning is best for you.
Top-down involves deconstructing projects and taking things apart to find out how stuff works and borrow heavily from that.
While bottom-up means watching tutorials & piecing things together that way. Both valid approaches but the later is slower.

Fun fact, if you email MODO and other devs and explain to them you are a beginner and just starting off and you cannot afford the price of the full software they will give you a massive discount.

There is Mixamo to create and anim characters.

General encouragement:

You can pick a lot of animations off the marketplace that will get you by.
When it comes to specific animations, it may get a little bit more difficult, which is when <insert 3d graphics program comes in>.

Ifs your primarily focused on designing a game that involves building/construction, focus on that first.

No point having pretty animations and nice models if the basics don’t work :slight_smile:

Also, Aussie Aussie Aussie…

thanks guys,

Yes i plan on getting basics working. Anticipate having my building being square blue cubes without details/ animations (but with functionality) before i do pretty building with possible animations. same with the people… while i might do a nice version of my main character, i’m hoping to replace some fairly basic people with some better ones later on.

Im assuming this is a fairly ok thing to do??

When i built my websites for uni, i had pictures in the menus and i build the code for the menus and added all the links but to start with the little animated pictures for the table were just generic clip art. I just went in and replace the image and links with the formal one at a later stage. Hopefully that will work here for blue cube → house with animations. Besides… the chances are i will have to do a full restart blank slate of the game at some point.

Although, playing with the 3d graphics and animations for a day or so and i’m liking it. Have made bending mushroom jump and hover… lol. :slight_smile: I have since asked a friend who is a graphic designer for some possible assistance. so i have some help there if wanted.

Thanks for the tips regarding software. I can afford MODO if i need it i will get it. Have blender for the moment and its find for learning a few things i think. I’ve managed to do what i wanted to start with. See how we go.

Currently i’m trying to compile a list of steps and stages. Stoyboarding the menu screens and code links that i can think of. Then planning a work list That will obviously be heavily modified as i work out what i need to do. I’m a “rough outline and fill in the blanks kinda girl” rather than starting doing one tiny little detail perfectly kind of girl.

Thanks again. I have some programming questions that i will ask in the main boards.

Some mixed advice:

  • Start with free software. You can always buy stuff later if you feel the need.
  • You can put off learning C++ for a while. You can do most stuff in blueprint and after you have gotten used to the architecture of UE4 it will be easier to get how C++ works with the engine. When you are ready, take a look at Unreal Engine 4 Course (Create Multiplayer Games with C++) | Udemy . Udemy do a lot of heavy discounting,so try to get it att 75% off or more.
  • Do not try to find a complete tutorial for the game type you want. You risk doing stuff without understanding why and have a hard time modifying the result. Look for smaller tutorials on specific mechanics and connect them yourself to get what you need.

Over all it seems like you are approaching this the right way. It is important to understand that UE4 at its core is a professional tool that takes dedication to learn. Your dream game will not be done in a long time. But the way there is not just hard work but also both fun and rewarding!

Thanks HavocX appreciate you advice.

I so far think i can stick with the free software i think. And will, as you say, re-evaluate later and see if i need it. thanks for the course link. I shall do that today. its pretty heavily discounted at the moment. I will indeed look for small specific tutorials as there hopefully isn’t a tutorial on the game style i’m making (Or i don’t need to make it…lol) But i’m sure there IS on “building a menu for plopable items” or a menu for character interactions… or setting population controls ect…

C++ i will wait till i need it. Though i anticipate i will need to to do the menu that allows you to place building when you are in game? Though i haven’t looked that up yet. I was going to do that fairly early on (perhaps even in a small test world) to get the ideas right.

I don’t expect to have a functioning game for two years, even then, i’m sure it won’t be complete… let alone possibly marketable. I’m looking forward to learning the skills and being able to say… “Oh i BUILT a computer game…”

Thanks for your advice. Sarah