UE4 Editor Terminology: We need your feedback!

In our constant effort to offer you the best experience with UE4 and always improve the editor, we need your feedback regarding UE4 terminology. We have noticed that many of you are sometimes having difficulty understanding specific UE4 vocabulary and we want to fix that! We are hoping you could take a few minutes to assist us by putting together a list of terms/labels that you didn’t understand/caused confusion when you first started using UE4. Our goal is to develop a simple solution that will help new comers translate prior Engine/software knowledge to UE4. :slight_smile:

If you could please fill out **this survey **and what your previous engine experience was and list out the UE4 concepts, terms, features, tools, etc. that you had trouble understanding/wish was better explained.

For example:

Coming from [name of previous engine or other software – Unity, CryEngine, Maya, 3DS Max, etc.]

Terms/Labels I found confusing:

  • UMG (it took me a while to realize it was related to UI)
  • Axis definitions are different (Z axis is up in UE4 when Y is up in Maya)
  • What an Actor is
  • What PlayerController is
  • etc…

Cheers from the User eXperience team!

OK, I’ll bite. Pawn. Seems like a really bad name for something. Actor and Pawn seem like very strange names for GameObjects/Entities of various kinds.

Names like Persona might sound good for marketing, but “Animation Editor” is actually more understandable. Matinee not as good as “Cinematic Editor” etc. I’m guessing there are a bunch of those.

I cant give you 10 from other softwares but here is something that has been bothering me lately. Pretty much nothing in Behavior Trees made sense to me until i watched zoombapup’s tutorials; like, why use Services and Decorators while there are more definitive words? I couldnt even convince myself that it was due to me being new to all this AI stuff.

Btw, thanks for your time for making those tutorials zoombapup! They’ve answered so many questions for me. :slight_smile:

Thanks Jacky! glad you got something out of them. You’re right actually, services and decorators would normally be called other things in most AI engines I’ve seen. For sure decorators would normally be called conditions. Services… hmm, I’m not sure about that one, maybe queries?. I did kind of understand them pretty quickly though once I read the description. So maybe an experience thing as you mention.

Oh another one. SLOT. In the animation editor (aka persona). No idea what that is meant to denote.

oh right thats what a persona is. that is a really bad name, and ive been actually looking for the animation editor on and off for a while.

no problems with object, actor, pawn, character, controller ect, coming from ue3 its obvious.

Persona makes a ton of sense, persona is a social role or a character played by an actor. you are creating a persona for your actor. think of unreal engine as a play.

I came from my own c++ 3d engine.

some things that messed me up were the pc to pawn/char relation. possession and un-possession. and the difference from uobject and aactor and why they were prefaced with u and a. :slight_smile:

Coming from Unity’s Raycast I didn’t connect it with *Trace. And speaking of traces, MultiLineTrace seemed like a way to trace a shotgun spread or the like, though that was solved with a few minutes of experimentation.

Only other thing I can think of is that I thought a Pawn would be something owned by the player. Player shoots a bullet? It’s a pawn of the player.

None of these took more than ten minutes for me to find the answer/correct behaviour for, and all make sense in hindsight. Overall I find the naming conventions to be pretty accurate.

After trying to learn some stuff on my own and reading some of these comments, it seems to me that what is really needed is something to tie it all together… an actual outline/description of the metaphors being used.

If the editor’s functionality and references are being sold as ‘theatrical’, with things like ‘Persona’ and concepts such as ‘casting’ (maybe refer to it as ‘auditioning’ instead? lol), then sell the editor’s metaphoric theme more aggressively at the onset of learning.

Some sort of info-graphic maybe also?

As a side note, type casting is not unique to Unreal, and has been around since ALGOL (1958) I believe. To the best of my knowledge (and I’m not an expert here) it is called casting and/or coercion in every typed programming language since. I would be very surprised if Epic felt it would be appropriate to change the name.

omg… Noooooo!
just getting used to the terminology and changing it would mess the majority of the rest of your users up

It’s not in the names, it’s in the presentation or in expression of how the name is used. When a user is new he/she needs that extra bit of description, actually any time you need to make sure you are being clear to the user you need to use the full description or the area that it pertains to, it’s not in the names themselves. That’s just something else that needs to be learned, they each cover more than a simple area and just needs to be understood well as to it’s current use.

For Usage ie:
Persona - Animation Editor
UMG - UI BP Creator/Editor

Actor/ Pawn/ Player Character/ Player Pawn , yes these can get a bit confusing in their use & maybe a few might need to be separated some way or renamed. (actually I’m still working on this sometimes, lol)
But… remember even if a user is using BPs, they are still coding and most of these terms are industry terms. And just like coding or game creation, in some cases they just have to be learned.

3d Modeling & Game Engines have always had their axis that way, it’s crazy but it’s an industry standard now. Maybe work with Maya & ‘Blender’ on their exporters and on Importing into UE by maybe creating a standalone Viewer/Rigging program to help people fix their models instead of trying to change the axis. (changing this would actually just blow my mind after all this time of using it this way)

Focus on being more descriptive in the documentation & the tutorials, explain what you mean, just because someone creating the doc etc. knows the subject well, they can’t assume the user does.
The only hard part here is not to put the more advanced users to sleep, lol.
Footnotes, expandable text that open up into more info, links that don’t lead to just an API reference that has no clear usage or implementation but to detailed usage.

The majority of your users are tough & have some knowledge of how to code in some form or another and they have some experience, they just want to be able to apply it to UE4, not have a game handed to them.
I don’t need or want a ‘point n click’ Kiddy Game Creator, I need more information on what I am using and how to apply it.
We need the power UE has under that hood, we just need to better understand how to use it.
I don’t want to be spoon-fed but when I go look for information, I’m looking for a feast not the linen closet. (dead-end)(but when and where it applies)

In 4.5 scalability/ desktop and other options became available when creating a new Project, I think I was drooling when I first read about this. Now we’re in 4.6 and I still don’t fully understand when or how to use it, not completely. And packaging / release is still vague even after months into UE4, there’s information there and some is useful, but you have to remember I just got off the ship, off the bus, whatever. I get the words but the meaning??? & usage ??? (not to mention making my game fully marketable and ready to sell)

Be Mindful, I don’t mean that there may not be a few things that could be changed & actually would help us in a huge degree, but for the most part ya’ll are improving the docs & tutorials and the information flow so much & exponentially expanding the user knowledge base, that it will catch up at some point and that too many naming changes might do more harm than good. Ya’ll should keep working on ease of use & application, most of these other things will work themselves out.

btw… thx so much for asking and being concerned & looking for solutions to these problems, keep up the good work Epic! & thank you personally for asking, Celia!
I’m sure if the community thinks about this long enough we’ll come up with something solid that might really need rework or a new naming convention. :wink:
jeez… I get hyped up about UE

I’ll go with ayretek.

Only one more thing on my mind.
Give us the opportunity to comment on the documentation like provides. This will solve all our problems in a very very short time. To figure out what to use how when and why eats up the most time. I spend the last 2 day to “evaluate” what units some function input parameter expects (ie. m, cm, mm? or kg, g? or s, ms…?..and so on), same goes for return values as well - feels a little bit like spending a lot more time on research than actually on production.

and I have to agree with you Wolfsblut
(about misspelled that lol)

whenever trying something new, I spend less time just experimenting, printing strings out & hoping my computer doesn’t start smoking than time actually spent finding any information about how to use whatever it is. (have locked it up a couple of times tho)

btw… fyi… they are trying to migrate the docs to the wiki to consolidate the documentation and to allow comments etc. for that exact reason. (yeah, ‘Wiki’- scary I know)(and I hope they find a way to make it a solid knowledge base)
so they are listening & are definitely trying, every time I look I see new improvements but it would be great to comment, especially when one finds something broke or misleading.

I wouldn’t call a Wiki something like scary. It looks and feels a little bit…well, too complicated, compared to what docbook looks and feels like. Writing documentation and reporting bugs is one important part - usage examples, use-cases and best practices are the more important aspects of a documentation over time. Have a look at for yourself, type in any function name you can think off and read yourself to an expert level in no time. I don’t know if you can get to something that useful if you depend on a wiki and its…deficiencies?

Describe (ideally in steps) typical workflow (hi and low level view) of doing typical in game development activities, example:
[Importing static mesh]

  1. Export from your 3d package mesh into fbx file
    ^^^ describe what are the conditions that this mesh must meet, i.e. how to prepare mesh to have one material only, number of materials, one material which creates illusion of having many materials on that mesh. Give examples. Suggest optimal (at the time of writing) number of vertices. Show how to create LOD’s. Explain what LOD’s are. Give some tips and tricks on how to reuse one mesh in a level for different purposes etc, etc, etc.
  2. Import that mesh into UE by doing:
    step 1
    step 2
    step 3

During my UDK time “Cascade” was one of those words that confused me -> especially for beginners it’s pretty irritating what exactly is meant with this :slight_smile: e.g just mention particle editor in the documentation ^^

Wow, great discussion around naming and terminology here! I’ve been talking with Celia and the UX team, and we’re wondering if you guys would be able to fill out this survey so we can get a good look at all this wonderful info.

UE4 Terminology feedback Survey

Thanks everyone!

Nice! I like surveys!

do we get a prize?
does the monkey bite?
… I’ll stop there with the monkey jokes before I get into trouble! :cool:

Pawn = “a person used by others for their own purposes”. I mean, it does make sense because you can posses it and play with it. You control it with some kind of a controller. I’m not sure if it can be more clear without being an overly long name.

I filled out the survey, but the big ones for me waaay back in the beginning were (with reasons):

  • Actor: An actor is a person in real life

  • Pawn: I thought this had something to do with AI since there was a Character class as well (+ above mentioned actor)

  • PlayerController: I can create all input actions in my character class, when/why do I need this?

  • Cascade / Persona / PHAT
    None of the above names are actually used in the editor. In a tutorial I was following it said to open Cascade, which is nowhere to be found in the editor.

Once I read the documentation a bit more it was easy to understand, but at first glance these terms tripped me up a bit. :slight_smile:

coming from Cryengine, and before that Id stuff, I have to say that the terminology has slowed my progress a little. Its not a really big deal, but its something that I have noticed.

As for Z-up, please stay that way. Maya users can simply tick the z-up setting, rather than the whole rest of the world adapting to them.

I also agree with the previous comment that a guide on best modeling practices for UE4 is something we need.

but overall I’m really enjoying UE4, especially the constant improvements, regular updates and listening to user feedback (in the previous engine I used, I think the deliberately did the opposite of what the user feedback would suggest).

Thanks Epic