Where to begin? Advice on if this is the right engine for me, and where to begin if it is.

I’ll try to keep this from being absurdly long - I am long winded by nature so… I’ll try.

So, for the last year and a half I have wanted to make a game. I’ve been stewing on ideas off and on since I realized not only that I wanted to make a game, but that it was, at least theoretically, possible. I had no idea how far development platforms had come. I’ve tossed out umpteen ideas as stupid, or frivolous or cliched… but I think I have settled on something worth pushing through. Like most good ideas, once the foundation was in place and SOLID, the rest just flew up. I have the better part of a game in my head now… Skeleton is in place, so is the muscle structure. It doesn’t have a face yet, but the skin if quickly growing and something like an expression is beginning to form. I don’t know if I’ll be able to find the people I need to really begin and push through to something tangible, but time will tell. (I cant art. Arting is hard and I cant do it.). In the meantime, I am writing a script and putting together, on paper, the structure and look of the game along with various ideas and so on. Id like to have as much down and decided before I start ‘making’ the game as possible.

So, having decided to stop what-iffing and actually DO something, I find myself somewhat confused right off the bat.

I have ZERO knowledge in this. I have budgeted myself 3-4 months to finish the script and paper-planning-stage of the game as well as choose a development environment and learn enough about that environment to get started. Now, obviously, 3 months isn’t no where near enough time to learn to create a game, but that’s not what I’m trying to accomplish in 3 months. I just want a working and fundamental knowledge of the engine/environment I choose to work in, enough to begin and enough to move head, stopping only as things stump or confuse me. I don’t want to bull forward and just ‘figure it out’ as I go, only to find out 300+hrs in that in order to do something I want to do, I have to go back and change every **** inch and ounce of work I’ve already done.

So, this brings me to the forums. The only dev environments I really know of are Unity, Gamemaker and UE4. I have Gamemaker (There was a sale a year and change ago, so I snatched it up, have never really used it). I also have UE4, downloaded day before yesterday. The more I read though, the more I realize that this isnt a one size fits all kind of thing. One engine isnt ‘better’ than another for all purposes. So, it leaves me at a loss of just what engine to use. I thought you all might be able to help me.

Ideally, my game will be a simple, 2d platformer. Pixel type graphics or a hand drawn look like, say, Mark of the Ninja (just off the top of my head), though, if Im extremely lucky and can nab (an) artist(s) that are capable, I’d have pixel style graphics along the lines of something like Momodora RUtM, Hyper Light Drifter, etc. That general style/look. Put it this way, Im so newb’d at the moment I dont even know the development challenges specific to those styles, or even the proper name. I doubt they are called 'Pixelly looking but pretty and more complicated that Mario" type games. Barring finding magic artists though the style will be scaled back to something along the lines of say… Starbound or Symphony of the Night, or, whe knows, maybe even a Risk of Rain kinda thing. Any way, I’m rambling.

The game will be a 2d platformer with pixel or handdrawn graphics. It will contain an open world (ideally) with a hub world for quick traveling, but if all goes to plan, all the ‘levels’ will interconnect and allow for exploration right off the bat. The best description I can think of is Megaman meets Dark Souls. There will be dynamic combat that rewards timing and knowledge, blah blah. Some kind of progression system, items to equip, etc. Dash, double and wall jumps, etc. Maybe a grappling hook, cause, I mean… 'errbody likes a grappling hook.

I’m sure UE4 can make such a game… but is it my best option? Now, Gamemaker seems designed to make such a game, but I don’t know how powerful it is, and how well it would lend itself to what I would think would be a semi-complex platformer. UE4 appeals to me also because, obviously, it can do just about anything, so learning it would/could facilitate other ideas down the road… If its extremely unsuited to this sort of thing though, I don’t want to shoot myself in the foot right out of the gate. Unity I know very little about.

So, thats my question in a nutshell. My secondary question though, is, lets assume UE4 does come recommended and you all say “yeah sure, it’ll make a 2d pixelly-thing game just fine”… I would then ask you all, Where do I start? Ive done some browsing and poking around and there is a lot of info out there, so much so, that its overwhelming. Are there a series of tutorials or a book, or something you all could point me towards that would help me ‘learn’ UE4 over the next 3 months? I dunno, a lesson plan or tutorial video series, etc? Anything specializing in 2d is somewhat preferred but really, anything you all recommend would be appreciated. I’m hoping to set up an hour a day to learning UE4 (Or whatever engine comes recommended for what i want to do). 5-6 days a week and spread it over the next three months. so, comprehensive or detailed courses are more than welcome. I wish I could find local classes for this, but how they would mesh with my schedule I do not know.

Anyway, Im sorry this was so long, I just wanted to be thorough. Thanks guy!

Honestly, UE4 might be overkill for that type of thing. While you could certainly do something like that with UE4 it might be easier with Unity or Gamemaker to get to do the less complex graphics and have the game running well. It’s difficult for people to be able to optimize the settings of UE4 and since your game wouldn’t need many of the graphical features it would be even more of a challenge to adjust all of the things that might be slowing performance.

What “darthviper107” said. There are a ton of tutorials out there, that’s for sure. I’d start with Epic created ones. The “Intro to the UE4 Editor” series to get a basic rundown of the editor, then maybe the “2d Sidescroller w/ Blueprints” and the “Endless Runner with Blueprints” since those seem to be up your alley. You can find those by following the Learn link at the top of this page. This guy has made a bunch of game templates that are pretty cool and can teach you a lot.
Like you said, there is so much stuff to learn from, out there in the web. You have to focus, get the skills you need, keep chipping away at it.
Good luck