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Using Unreal Engine as Part Of An Homeschooling Education Advice Welcome

My 13 year old is wanting to get into game development, I’ve personally done nothing in this field since I made the odd game for fun on the Amiga 500. I thought starting with making a 2D side-scrolling game and moving up from there. I’m going to have to get my head round things first and then pass on what I’ve learned to him. Any resource pointer/advice would be helpful t help him understand the jargon aswell as the tools would be very welcome

Hi [MENTION=744431]Yorkie Pudd[/MENTION],

I’m in a similar situation, I’m currently learning as much as I can so when my son is a bit older I can make games for / with him. The way I would approach this is by starting with my end goal - what is the goal? Is it for him to make a simple game? Is it to teach him programming? Is it just for fun?

There are tons of game engines nowadays, each with its own focus and capabilities. I will mention a few of the popular ones to consider:

Game Maker - Great for simple 2D games. It uses Pixel art instead of 3D models and it has its own drag and drop “logic.” No coding required.

Unity 3D - Full 3D engine with a very low barrier to entry. The learning curve is very low and it has TONS of learning resources. The engine is great for building mobile games and 2D games as well. The main language is C#, so learning programming will be required.

Unreal - Similar to Unity, Unreal uses C++ or Blueprint. In my opinion, Unreal’s learning curve is higher than Unity, but its a more complete engine. He has the option of doing all logic in Blueprint, so no real coding required.

I’ve personally used Unity and now Unreal. I prefer Unreal as it is a more complete engine and it suits my goals better, but it has a steep learning curve compared to Unity.

So, IMO, if your goal is to get him interested in making simple 2D games without the need for programming, then Game Maker is a great choice. If you would like him to learn programming as well (very useful skill), then Unity would probably be best. If your goal is to teach him to make 3D games without coding, then Unreal might be best because of Blueprint.

Just keep in mind, making a 3D game is very daunting at first - You have to learn a variety of tools to fit your pipeline. Example:

Game Engine - Unreal, Unity
3D modeling software - Blender (free), Maya, 3Ds Max
3D Texturing - Substance Painter / Designer
2D Texturing - Gimp (free) / Photoshop

Each one of those packages takes a long time to learn, so keep scope in mind.

If I was in your shoes, I would first start with Game Maker to get him interested in making games quickly. I would not try to teach him programming at the same time, as it might be overwhelming. Once he can make a few simple games with the logic blocks, I would graduate him to Unity or Unreal and get him started in programming. Then I would move him to 3D modeling with Blender so he can finally create his own characters, animations, textures.

If you drop him in Unreal from day one, he will realize that he cannot create any assets himself, or animations, or particles, or textures, or any behavior - leading him to try to learn everything at the same time.

Remember to keep the scope small so he can see results quickly and keep himself motivated.

Sorry for the long post, but I hope this helped :slight_smile:

PS: Not trying to lead you away from Unreal btw. I LOVE this engine, but I also have to recognize that it is hard to learn so many things at the same time. A 13 yo might not have this level of patience.

Depends on what part of game development you mean :slight_smile:

For programming, you may be better off learning the fundamentals in something like Scratch before working with UE4, Unity or similar more advanced engine.

I actually think UE would be great for learning programming. Blueprints is programming, just expressed in a way that I think is easier to grasp for most beginners.

But at 13 it might be best to start with a simpler engine like Game Maker. What you learn with it will make a huge engine like UE easier to grasp in a couple of years.

Scratch seems great as a first intro to programming. It is never wrong to start with something basic. If it ends up to easy you can just move on and the child will feel smart. If you begin too advanced and have to switch “down” it could, totally unnecessary, feel like a failure and make the child less inclined to continue.

I’d pick the brains of someone like [MENTION=29846]Blue man[/MENTION]. (PM if necessary)

I would advocate for experimentation more than working on a game. The thing with working on a game (No matter how serious) is that you eventually look back and see how ridiculously you designed it from the beginning (Which can prevent it from moving forward, without a lot of re-designing in my experience), which can be discouraging in some cases. Unreal Engine is an excellent engine for your son/daughter, and I would advocate having them jump into it without you necessarily teaching them, wherever possible.

Nah, you wouldn’t find anything interesting :stuck_out_tongue:

Also notifications are sometimes working and sometimes not

Last year my 10 yo daughter started this Unity based course through primary school. It really focused on level design, placing assets, using plugins etc and very little coding - she liked it initially, but soon got pretty over whelmed so she went back to Blocks World and Scratch.

My daughter lately said she was interested again, so I kind of thought about this issue myself. I choose Unity because there are tutorial books out there to go through (she likes physical books), I would not have to introduce yet another engine and there just seems to be more popular with the younger crowd and obviously kids at her school had heard about it.