System requirements and getting started

Good evening find folks here,

I have a few questions as a basic, get you started in the right direction, message.

First, you could say my son recruited me to do a project together, but I almost feel like I’m behind the 8 ball compared to him with knowledge of this stuff as I really haven’t been into gaming in quite a long time. This could be a fun project we do together though.

I’m sure my current rig (2004 Core 2 Duo w/generic 16mb nVidia vc and 4gb ram) would not be sufficient to handle the intense graphical elements of today’s level designing, so that’s the first recommendation I’m looking for. I really don’t feel like putting a system together piece by piece, although I could if that is what is needed. Is there a pre-fab system or one that would need very little in the way of upgrades that would be able to handle Unreal and all other applications that may be needed for developing your first project?

Next, my way of C++ programming is practically non-existent. I have a basic PHP knowledge base as well as Moderate VB or technically you could call it VBA skills. If it were VB scripting, I could knock it out in pretty good time. I’m not sure how these languages will translate over to C++ though. With PHP and VB I pretty much learned it on my own through much forum help over the years and still find myself asking a question every now and then having not actually taken a single class in my life. Is there a book and/or tutorials that covers basic C++ as it relates to content and action development within Unreal that you would recommend?

I understand, by what I’ve researched thus far that Blueprint Scripting may be the way to go for beginners. Is this different from C++ or is it C++ that was already created by someone else or possibly it’s own scripting language within Unreal? I’m not sure that I quite understand exactly what it is.

I’ve watched some basic level creation videos already to visualize exactly what I’m getting myself into. It kind of reminded me of the 90’s when I would create levels for Duke Nukem 3D. I created over 100 levels for that game, but all the game play dynamics and interactions were already setup. All I did was use the level editor to create custom playable levels. Probably the pride of my Duke Nukem levels were the recreation of the Tony Hawk Pro Skater for Nintendo 64 levels, but Duke Nukem Style. :slight_smile: Will having that experience help at all in creating levels / an entire game within Unreal?

From what I’ve seen so far, the design elements are already there, you just have to configure them in such a fashion that makes game play interesting and fun.

Lastly, before I go. I want to make sure I have what I need to start with…

  1. PC Capable of handling all required software
  2. Pick up Unreal and Install
  3. Possibly pick up Visual Studio Community (Heard it’s good for the C++ side of things)
  4. Learn as you go Level designing plus Blueprints and C++

Is there anything I’m missing in the way of software required?

I did hear something about Blender, 3Ds Max or Maya, but I understand they’re more for asset creation and within Unreal is already a vast array of assets to use that for a first project, none of them would actually be required. One of them may be required at some point if you want custom assets within your game, but you can create an entire unique game without it entirely. Is that correct?

Thanks for any assistance,


Yeah, you definitely need a new computer. If you don’t want to build one, there’s some available, look at Lenovo, Asus, and MSI for gaming laptops or maybe HP and Dell for gaming desktops. You can save money though by building your own.

I would think if you know any programming you could probably get a handle on C++, as for what Blueprints are, they’re like a node-based representation of C++
In the old version of the engine (UE3) they had their own scripting language that was built off C++ called Unrealscript, and then they coded their own node-based system off Unrealscript called Kismet. This time, with UE4 Unrealscript is gone and Blueprints are a node based system that ties directly back to C++, so it’s much more flexible and powerful. It’s a bit easier to understand than coding, and you don’t have to know syntax, and you can easily share Blueprints.

As far as 3D programs/assets–there’s a lot of free assets available, and it’s certainly worth it to develop a game with temporary assets. But as far as actually using them in a game–I don’t recommend it, since the assets won’t necessarily match each other, or be quite what you were looking for. Plus, people tend to recognize free assets which can generate a negative response to your game because it makes you seem cheap.

It was mostly to get started sooner than later. To build one would require researching all the individual components and take longer to get started because none of the PC’s here are anywhere near good enough. I’d probably be looking for Desktop. So you’re saying to just look at ones that are specifically touted as Gaming Systems and they should be sufficient?

That’s what I’m hoping. Translating to C++ would just be a matter of learning a different syntax, but the functions would be similar.

I’m not sure I understand what you mean by node based. Maybe that will be one of those things where I’ll figure it out as I go when the need arises. When I think of nodes, I immediately relate it back to working the Duke Nukem levels and a node could be something like a door pivot point, so you would have one node on top and one on bottom and the nodes rotate to give you door movement or in the case of a curtain you may have one node on the left, the other on the right and activating action would move node 1 towards node 2 giving the appearance of the curtain moving. Is this similar within Unreal or am I off-base with my thoughts on this?

That’s what I thought, but he’s pretty adamant about being able to produce a finished product using already established assets. Although, we’re in the very beginning stages of this, so there’s plenty of time for minds to be changed. :slight_smile:

Thanks for the help.

I now have a new system put together. Please let me know if this is sufficient enough of a system to really get things started. I have 15 days to return anything if need be.

MB: Asus Z170-E
CPU: Intel i5
VC: EVGA Geforce GTX 960 4GB GDDR5
MEM: Crutial 8GB DDR4 in 2 4GB sticks
SSD: Samsung 850 EVO 120GB SSD (OS Drive)
HDD: WD Black 1TB (Data drive split in 3 partitions, D: Programs 300GB, E: Work 200GB, F: Downloads 429GB)
CD: Samsung Super Writemaster, Just for installing OS & drivers pretty much
OS: Win10 Home 64bit
Monitor: Acer GN246HL

I’m not sure if the data distribution is appropriate or not for the intended application.

Generally my Work drive ( E: ) is where I would store project files which generally included offline website backups, tons of images or even general word and excel project files.

The programs drive ( D: ) is where programs are installed to, although I’m sure that’s pretty consistent with anyone running SSD.

What has historically always been my largest partition Downloads ( F: ) is a safe place to store program install files, which still needs to be migrated from the old PC yet. The sad part is that I never get rid of anything so I have installs for programs I’ll probably never ever use again dating back to 1990. :slight_smile: LOL

I may not need the size distribution the way it is. I just set it up like that to get something done, but since there’s no data anywhere yet it will be easy to change if need be.

Because I’m not familiar with how Unreal or any of the other added support applications do things. Does it make it easy to run the program from D, but save your projects to E? Does the size allocations make sense or do you think I may need more working/project space than that? Considering my current download partition is only 150 GB, I’m sure it doesn’t need 430 and maybe programs won’t need 300GB. Just trying to get an idea what I’m in store for with Unreal. All of my other programs combined don’t take up near the 100GB allocated on my old system.

I’m a little bit concerned about one thing as it may relate to unreal. The Acer monitor came with a disk, but it’s just documentation and nothing about drivers. Went to Acer’s website to pick up a proper monitor driver, but they only had a W8 driver. Figured it must work for W10 too, but nope… It would not install. I plan on calling their support about that tomorrow. Currently it says, “Generic PNP Monitor” for the monitor driver. I would think the VC driver is more important than the monitor itself I just didn’t want to run into any hardware related issues along the way.

Do you feel this is a suitable rig for developing with Unreal?