Hi everyone, I will explains in this tutorial how to use your own build of the Unreal Engine from source available at GitHub and be able to use the Launcher and the Marketplace without having the annoying re-download of the precompile Unreal Engine in the launcher all the time. Also I cover the aspect of not using the default path for all the setup. The launcher still a little buggy with this method, but it’s the best you can have with source code install at the moment. Epic have plan to fix the different issue with the launcher soon. This tutorial have been done with version 4.0.2 of the Unreal Engine on Windows platform.
0- Obviously the very first step is to have a Unreal Engine account/subscription. www.unrealengine.com/faq
1- Then you have to download and install Visual Studio 2013. The free Visual Studio Express 2013 for Windows Desktop version will have all the feature you need to develop for unreal engine, but note that only the pay version of VS2013 will allow you to use the small extension UnrealVS provide by Epic Games. So mainly, the pay version is a combination of all the express version in one product with plugin/extension support. You can download all the version of VS2013 here.
2- Next you follow this instruction to get access to the source code in GitHub.
3-Then go on GitHub in the Release section of Epic Games Organization to get the zip package of the source code and is required dependencies (can also download the optional package) on your computer. You must use the last release version available to be able to use the launcher and the marketplace with minimum issue. All release version and there downloadable package are available here.
4- When all those file is downloaded, first you extract the source code form the zip package to the location of your choice. Be care to chose a place with enough available disk space, since the final compiled Unreal Engine can take around 20~30 GB of space. Also you must put the directory of the source code in a subdirectory (this subdirectory will be use later for Launcher install). As a exemple my setup use the following path E:\UE4\UnrealEngine-4.0.2-release.
5- After this you extract all the other zip package (2 dependencies, 1 optional) in the same directory of your source code (ex: E:\UE4\UnrealEngine-4.0.2-release). You can always accept all the merge of folder since no file is supposed to overlap at this step.
6- Now go in the folder where all the zip package are extracted (ex: E:\UE4\UnrealEngine-4.0.2-release) and click on the batch file call ‘GenerateProjectFiles.bat’. This will generate your solution file for Visual Studio 2013. Use the ‘.sln’ generated file to open the Unreal Engine in Visual Studio 2013.
7- After this, you have to do a build of the Unreal Engine. I will refer you to this very nice video tutorial to help you with this stepp. The video also cover stepp 1 to 8, but use GitHib Desktop client method for code acquisition (which is also fine if you use a subdirectory for source code directory). If you want to directly jump to the build instruction, start the video at 6:15.
8- After everything is compile you go open the Unreal Editor. Should be located in \Engine\Binaries\Win64\UE4Editor.exe (ex: E:\UE4\UnrealEngine-4.0.2-release\Engine\Binaries\Win64).
9- Ounce your editor is open you will have the project selection window. Click on the marketplace button in the top right corner of this menu. Then you will be prompted to install the Unreal Engine Launcher. Click yes to start the installation of the Launcher/Marketplace.
10- When the Launcher installation prompt you to chose a install location, you MUST select the subdirectory of your source code installation (remember step 4). If I use the same example that I used in the other step, the launcher will be install in the following path E:\UE4. When the installation is finish you should have 2 new folder in your subfolder (Lancher and DirectXRedist).
11- You can now open the Launcher and you will see that the Engine is ready to be launch and that the Launcher did not downloaded the full 8g of the precompile engine. It also show the current version of the engine (4.0.2 in this case). One thing you will notice, is that the ‘Launch’ button of the Unreal Engine in Launcher actually don’t work with this setup (just do nothing). You will have to create a shortcut to the Unreal Editor if you want to launch the engine without Visual Studio all the time. Also you must NOT use the ‘Verify Install’ button since that will trigger a full download of the precompile engine. But if you do, with my exemple path the Precompile Engine is put in E:\Unreal Engine\4.0, so at least your own build of the Unreal Engine will not be override.
12- So finally we are there, you can download the content of the marketplace. One thing to know is that in it’s current state, the Launcher will always put the content of the marketplace you try to download in this default folder C:\Users\YouUserName\Documents\Unreal Projects.
13- To work around the default marketplace content location, what I like to do, is let the Launcher download the whole thing in it’s default location, close it, then transfer (cut/paste) the content in my own folder (ex: E:\UE4\Unreal Projects). This make the launcher not able to open those project. You will have the mention repair beside your downloaded content when you reopen the Launcher, don’t click on it. You have to go by the project selection window of the Unreal Editor to be able to open them. Use the ‘Browse’ button in the bottom right corner of the window to select the .uproject file of your content. If the content you downloaded is in c++, you can also use the Visual Studio solution file to open it (.sln). The shortcut for the contain in the launcher doesn’t work anyway, even if you use the default location for content, since the launcher button of the engine also don’t work. But at least with this method the content of the marketplace you already got is not re-downloaded every time you open the launcher to get new content. Also, the nice thing is that everything related to Unreal Engine is in the same folder now :).
Small mention, if your lost with Visual Studio and programming stuff I also recommend this excelent video tutorial on programming with Unreal Engine. It will also help with stepp to create project and class.
Hope my small guide will help someone! If you have question, comment or suggestion just post it here, I will be happy to answer them the best I can.