I agree, however I don’t think i was being negative, realistic is a better word. The fact is, he does not know this engine very well, does not know blueprint, brand new to game development, yet wants to create a massive open world, online multiplayer game with deep mechanics by himself. I’ve been watching projects and hanging out in forums on various dev sites over the past 12 years and the reality is, things like this very very very rarely turn out.
I wasn’t saying all that stuff to be mean, I just dont want to see someone go down that long frustrating path that I did, I know how it is when you start out with game design, your excited to learn and create something, but you lose interest and motivation quickly, which is why in the beginning people do small stuff, not only to learn but to actually complete something. When you see those completed mini projects, it gives you motivation and confidence to do larger and larger things. I did the exact same thing your doing now when i started, and i’ve been doing it for 12 years, which is why I dont have a single game completed. However i’ve finally learned my lesson after House of Demons and am focusing on smaller projects.
But here is my advice to you:
I would suggest learning the engine a bit more, just mess around with it and get to know it, learn where everything is, where all the tools and things are, that way when you need something, you don’t have to look up where to find stuff all the time. After that, learn blueprint, it is a pretty nice system, however I would be careful with it, blueprints tend to get laggy when there are a lLOT of them, so for really intense stuff, C++ is better, not sure if you know it or not but its not too difficult.
Do whatever you can do in the engine, can you build levels? do Blueprint? Animate? Texture? Model? Concept art? Whatever you can do, do it, and do as much as you can before making a recruitment post, because when you have some stuff to show, it gets people a lot more interested when they can see that you actually have something.
For the open world, I would suggest using height-maps, they are a bit of a pain in the *** to get working correctly, but they’re worth it in the long run. They look far better than hand painted landscapes. If done right, you can make your terrain look really really realistic. World Machine is a good tool for that, but it’s a bit pricey, and has a bit of a learning curve in itself. So you may want to put in your advertisement that you are looking for someone who is good with height-maps and has WM already, that way you don’t have to spend extra time learning it and you don’t have to buy it. However for the prototyping phase, you can just hand create a landscape, not many people will really care what it looks like in the prototyping phase, they’ll understand.
World Machine: Purchase World Machine
As for prototyping, this phase you shouldn’t worry about how the game looks, just focus on mechanics, and worry about visuals later.
There are a bunch of free model sites out there that you can get placeholder models from. Ones like Blend Swap, Turbo Squid and some others. You can also get models from the marketplace, but theres not much free stuff on there. Textures.com has a lot of good textures. You can get them for free, but you have a limit of 15 points a day, some cost 1 point and some cost 3 or more, or you can pay and get as many as you like, but it is a good site among others out there for textures.
Blend Swap: http://www.blendswap.com/
Turbo Squid: http://www.turbosquid.com/
Also do you have a design document? one that details all the stuff and ideas that you want in the game? If not, your going to find it really hard to create a game of this magnitude and keep organized, so I would suggest that as well. If you don’t already have one. If you ever want a team, they’ll most likely ask to see one. Having a detailed one shows people you have a plan and a direction, which also makes people more interested and willing to join. You should really spend a lot of time on it, and try to put everything you can into it, really think about all the stuff you want to be in the game, this document is the blueprint for your game, and your teammates, if you decide to have some will use it as reference when working on the game. They cannot know whats in your head so make sure to make it really detailed, really explain stuff with examples where possible.
Also you’ll want to draw out some concepts of your world, settlements, world shape, important locations, spawn points, etc. Having a clear visual idea drawn out for your world(s) will help you a lot. dont worry if its not pretty, it doesnt have to be, as long as you can see where things go and how it should look, thats what important and it will help you and your teammates out a ton. The design document and drawing stuff out are your first and most important steps, if you just jump in without a clear direction, your setting yourself up to fail. Trust me.
If your game has story, make sure to get that fleshed out as much as possible, game worlds are built around the story of the game, so it’s extremely important that you have a clear plot and direction.
You can use Google docs to create a Design Document, or create one on your desktop. I personally use Google Docs, cause if something happens to my PC, the documents wont get lost. I would also suggest Google Drive for storage of assets and such. It gives you 15 free GB for file storage, if you need more space, 100 GB is only $2/month. You can store all your models and documents and whatever else project related here, that way if your computer ever crashes or something, all your files are safe.
Versioning software like SVN is the best option for a team, even if its just 2 or 3 people. It allows, for you to commit changes and additions with the click of a button, and to also get those changes the same way. Although its really difficult to set up, and you need a server to do it. However it makes the development process a million times easier for everyone. If you dont do this, you’ll find yourself packing up and uploading your game files to a site like mediafire very often which gets annoying for you and your team, and its very counter intuitive. Unreal is set up already to use SVN already so thats why i suggest it. It can also use Perforce but thats expensive as hell so I wouldnt recommend that. You can rent a cheap server like ones from Digital Ocean, the $5 option might be too low for your project, the $10 might be better, as it has more storage and speed.
For organisation, team or solo, I would suggest using Trello, its free and can help you create a road-map for developing your game. Real-time Board is good as well, but that’s more for visual stuff like adding pictures and drawing out designs. Here is a screenshot of my tTrello for House of Demons:
You can see how stuff is organized, this helped my team out a lot, and made development easier.
All in all, I would still suggest working on something smaller, but either way, I sincerely do wish you luck, and I hope you can get somewhere with this project, happy developing!
If you have any questions about game development, feel free to ask. I’m no master at it but i’ve learned a few things over the past 12 years.