What do "Character" and "Blueprint" (as actor subtype) mean?

From the name and from my reading the Unreal documentation, I got the impression that a Character is the catch-all class for representing a character – or anything else capable of movement and autonomous decision-making – in Unreal. But the more I read and see, the more I think that I misunderstood things, and things like AI logic and game state tracking should go in a Blueprint, in the sense where “Blueprint” is a child class of “Actor.”

If that’s the case, what is Character intended to do? I think Character might be a display class, used to hold human-style animations and maybe player input. Is that right? Should I expect most actors in a game to be Actor-Blueprints (is that the term for them, distinguishing them from Blueprints as a scripting language?) and not Characters alone?

If this is true, that would explain why I’m having so much trouble doing any customization of Character in the Content Browser…

Hey @PorotisDev, I hope your development is going well!

An Actor is the base object that unreal relies on for its engine mechanics, the primary parent class. A Character, on the other hand, is a “Pawn” which is the base class for movable objects (a subclass of Actor) in Unreal. Character is a quick way to create objects with meshes and colliders.
Blueprint is another beast, as it is the visual scripting language Unreal utilizes to streamline production, and make it more inclusive for users. It is an incredibly powerful tool and can be utilized in all base actions a game needs - a library of visual scripting functions.

I hope all of this can help you! I’d also recommend checking out all the starter content unreal offers, it’s good learning material!

1 Like

Does that mean that “Character” is primarily about depicting human-like (or otherwise complex) meshes and animations?

I know that “Blueprint” primarily means the scripting language, but I’ve come across references to a Blueprint as something you can put into the gameworld – something that often has Actors and Components attached to it. Have I misunderstood this? Is a Blueprint always something to be attached to something else? Is it a thing that goes into the gameworld at all?

I’m looking into the Lyra sample game now. A networked multiplayer shooter is pretty far away from what I want to write, but maybe it’ll have some ideas in common with what I’m doing – and maybe it’ll be more helpful than the UE5 documentation, which is what got me into my current state of confusion.


Simply put, yes. It’s just a base object and components that serve to streamline developers’ processes.

Blueprints are best described as components, just because of the massive functionality they have the potential to bring. You can attach them to practically all game objects, as you would write C++ code, and bring full functionality to your interactive experience.

If you’re into videos/tutorials, here’s a good one for beginners: Your First Game In Unreal Engine 5 | Tutorial
I hope this can help you out, and good luck with your creations!

1 Like

@ZenLeviathan, thank you for your help!

It sounds like I can ignore Character in favor of Pawn, at least early on in the development process and if I don’t particularly want human animations.

Blueprints as components also make sense, but they mean that my understanding of part of the manual was hair-raisingly wrong. I’ve gotten what I wanted in this question, so I’ll ask another question for the new matter this raises…

On the tutorial video… is that information available in text form? I prefer manuals of good quality, that lay out the components, thoroughly and with no surprises, and let me figure out how to put things together on my own. Second to that, I can do text tutorials, grudgingly; but I find that they’re often hard to derive general lessons from, especially if they throw a block of code at you and tell you “this is the solution” without explaining why. But I really dislike trying to learn from videos; if those are the main source of documentation for Unreal, I may look at other options with documentation more to my liking – and smaller fees if I win big.