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Verse, the new unreal scripting language

Hi, guys, I watched last year’s review event and I got so excited to see the new scripting language.

I knew that it was in the work, but for a couple of years and I’ve been wondering why it was radio silent for such a long time.
It was such a relief that I saw Epic busy working on it and we will soon have access. hooray~!
My concern is just that by the time it is announced, it might be a little too late to make any changes, due to fundamental architecture modifications.

So I would like to start a discussion so that Epic guys know what we expect from them.

I know that the new IL has roots in SS (SkookumScript). As a scripting language, SS was very powerful and versatile with some minor quirks.

As a SS review, here are my observations.
Highlights of SS.

  1. Powerful coroutines such as Race, and Sync.

  2. Very fast and dynamic compilation. Yes, it supports runtime hot-reloading (like Live++ without crashes and it just works) and you can’t live without it once you are using it, especially when encountering hard to reproduce bugs.

  3. Versatile iterators. It had a clever iterator and Linq like syntax; good for functional programming.

  4. Closure or Lambda expression.

  5. REPL.

Lowlights of SS

  1. Quirky syntax. It’s based on Smalltalk and it may work against adopting new users.

  2. REPL. REPL is part of the highlight but SS REPL doesn’t remember states and it’s not possible to build up experiments.

  3. Editor. It had a very basic editor and it’s not easy to work on a large-scale project.

The expectation from the new IL.

  1. I expect that the new IL will include the SS Highlights from the above at least.

  2. REPL is a standard feature these days. But it should remember the states so that we can build up experiments. It’s not really a REPL without it and all REPL that I know of works this way.

  3. Write the Editor as an open-source plugin to the existing editor such as VSCode. Do not waste time making a custom editor. I personally use Rider and I like it a lot. I’m sure Rider guys will support it themselves and it will make it easier for them to support it. I saw you are using VSCode already but I just like to make sure that it is the case as Epic is not known to write good text Editor, coming from UE3 experiences. ^^

  4. Please support FSM similar to UE3 Script. It’s not hard to have FSM but function, event overloading will not be possible without built-in to the language itself. The function/event overloading is not just a powerful feature but if it supports, it can help to port UE3 codes to UE5. If you had some UE3 scripting programming experiences, you will know how powerful it is.

  5. Debugger. I expect it would be a lot better than the current Blueprint debugger. I hardly found any useful information from using it. ^^

  6. Blueprint -> new IL converter. I’m not sure it’s possible to convert 100%, even if not, it will be very helpful to get the conversion work started. We can take immediate advantage of existing Marketplace assets and make them useful for production. In my opinion, Blueprint should be avoided in production except for prototyping and procedural stuff such as Animation, Materials, and VFX. They are not only slow but hard to understand/maintain. BPs can quickly get out of hands and so many Assets are made with blueprints they look horrible. It’s a big turn-off about UE in general. I hope the new IL will help remedy the problem and I expect much higher quality assets to be released once IL gets out the door.

I think that’s all I have to say at the high-level and please feel free to add your request or to discuss.

Cheers!

3 Likes

This isn’t 2014-2016 dude. Epic are unlikely to look here tbh (maybe UDN or the Twitter-sphere or elsewhere). That said…

  1. Scripting in UE5 should work like scripting in other tools such as Godot / UDK / Unity. It should be a fully self-contained environment with no dependencies on external software, especially anything from Microsoft or JetBrains or other commercial corp. Otherwise its a FAIL. Epic can license or bundle an open-source editor if its needed. But UE5 Scripting shouldn’t require any outside tools. The crucial thing about adding scripting is, it should be simple / reliable and just work out of the box.
  1. A converter would be nice. Regarding if you can make production games in Blueprints? It depends on the game. Something that screams competitive multiplayer e-sports (military shooter / driving sim), probably doesn’t belong in Blueprints. But that leaves a whole lot of other games that do (or can). BP is Slow? What about nativization? Plus, UE4-C++ isn’t a magic bullet, you can still run up against hardware / api limitations anyway. Its also more myth than fact to say BP is hard to understand / maintain. The problem is BP (like anything else) is easy to abuse. If so, you get this & this. But BP is also easy to manage once you’re comfortable with it. BP is 1-out-of-10 in difficulty terms versus C++ / Java / C#. And that’s good news, as it means more time to focus on gameplay. Also with BP, you can visually arrange code in ways that make it more visually accessible, meaningful, memorable. That means its easy to return to 1-2 years later and remember what it does. But overall, the whole point of making a game using a game engine is to make games. So you shouldn’t have to use C++ if you’re not modding the engine. So the logical solution would be to offer Scripting + Blueprints side-by-side.

I hope this isn’t a complete necropost yet but I would just like to show how excited I am about the prospect of a new scripting language.
Of course I would not want to do away with Blueprint as they are very accessible even for people with no programming background whatsoever.
That said, they are not a very good tool for building a more complex game logic while the iteration times for C++ (create decorated headers and implementation, handle all sorts of cryptic template errors thrown on compile time, recompile restart editor) are abysmal.

So what I’m looking forward to:

  • Being able to declare a variable/parameter just by using it. No filling out input/output info about every function from some dropdown menus
  • Being able to define local variables just at the beginning of the scope that uses them: this is such a savior for more complex logic
  • Being able to do version control (merge, diff, all the standard operations in version control which you can not do with Blueprint (the BP diff tool is useless for Subversion workflow in my opinion))
  • Being able to write quick throwaway scripts: just write/copy some code to the REPL, see what it does. If it does what you want, promote it to a function.
  • Being able to simply refactor (For example moving a function to a different Blueprint is so painful now)
  • Being able to write long comments
  • Being able to organize functions by IDE regions (all functions are just on a single heap in Blueprint)
  • Not having to shuffle nodes around all the time. Yes, you can keep Blueprints tidy, but I find myself spending so much time just shifting nodes around so that the code is readable.
  • Not having to move my hand between keyboard and mouse all the time (J)

I think Blueprint is a wonderful language that has it’s place but I’m really excited about being able to write code again.

Visual scripting was great. If Verse will be instead of blueprints… good bye Unreal… If i compare Uscript (that was horror!!! :-D) with blueprints… Productivity in blueprints was 6 times shorter (maybe more and much better for teamwork). In the visual scripting I have better overview about overall vision, while the code cannot be said that way.

Don’t worry, visual scripting isn’t going anywhere :wink:

UE4 C++ may have negated the need for a dedicated text-based scripting language. After working UE4 Blueprints for a few years, I’ve come to appreciate Visual Scripting. Blueprints have really matured, and I think at this stage, the implementation of a text-based scripting language would be going in ReVerse. Unless it is the Visual Scripting Language too. For example, UE4 Blueprints uses text formatting to copy/paste. The BP-Text can be edited in text-editor. I’ve performed batch replacements using the method of copy BP to Text, edit Text, copy/paste Text to BP with changes.

If anything, visual scripting should be getting even more visual. Perhaps support a WebMedia Node to display Webpages, Images, Videos, Play music/sound within the Eventgraphs. I’m ready to go beyond basic Comments and would love to eliminate breaking my code emersion to go into apps for info. If we really want to push the limits, I’d vote for 3D Blueprints. We can already build levels in VR collaboratively in UnrealEditor, might as well be able to script logic in VR collaboratively in UnrealEditor.

It was very exciting to see the unveiling of UE5 yesterday but at the same time, it was very disappointed that there is no mentioning of the new scripting language. Last year’s video got me very excited about Verse. Yeah, I know. There are some haters but this thread is not about if it’s better than BP or not. I just wanted to discuss if we are going to get an IL and what we would like so that Epic will take them into the consideration before it’s written in stone. However, it’s not even part of UE5 yet. For people like me, the wait is too painful and we don’t even know what we are waiting for.

3 Likes

First, sorry for my poor English speech, is not my native language.

  1. A solid game is made with solid game loop and solid subsystems. So, C++ is the way.
  2. A tool to prototyping and help artists is welcomed. So, Blueprint is the way.
    All this are ok and well think, but all this was planned for large teams.

IMHO, Epic must think about small teams. Need deals with a long term “ignored” fact: a small team can’t manage heavy programming (C++) in PROTOTYPE phase, nor programmers in a small team have to behave like artist with a tool (Bluescripts) . (BTW don’t matter the size of team, the programmer is always more productive with a scripted textual language for PROTOTYPIING).

Once Skoomscript is not supported anymore in recent Unreal versions; Unrealjs and Phyton are suiteable only for Editor and automation tasks; and Lua and Haxxe need compilation all the time, we small teams are putting heavy expectations in Verse.

IMHO, This misconcept “Blueprints for prototypiing” is about to be resolved by Epic: Verse is the answer? It seems Verse will be a language for rapid prototyping, good! If Verse can be transpiled to C++ (in build-time ony), excelent!

Also, it seems Verse will be like Smaltalk, which syntax is easy absorbed for small teams.

So, what we need now for real? We need a serious ROADMAP, MILESTONES, for Verse, from Epic.

Can we have big expectations about Verse? Please, Epic, publish some plains, some dates. Let we know if Verse will resolve small teams needs.

Ty.

1 Like

@Amanda.Schade @VictorLerp

^ THIS ^

Dear Santa Clause Sweeney @ Epic North Carolina Pole…
Any hints at all if VERSE is coming on this years’ sleigh?
(160+ shopping days left but its usually best to ask early). :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:
:deer::deer: :deer: :deer: :deer: :deer: :deer: :deer: :christmas_tree: :christmas_tree: :christmas_tree: :christmas_tree: :christmas_tree: :christmas_tree: :christmas_tree: :christmas_tree: :christmas_tree:

I am waiting for verse, so tired with spaghettis code of blueprints, and constant mistakes with pointers in C++. So any news on VERSE? :smiley:

And bumping it.

2 Likes