Focus: Unreal Engine is a series of posts where I’ll share my experience and discoveries working with Epic’s free Unreal Engine 4 for video game creation. There will is no set time for the articles to end, but I will have a goal: the creation of a playable game level for Halloween in October, 2019. I will share the level with everyone for learning and for fun!
Unreal Engine: Up and Running
The new online Unreal online learning page is one of the best learning souces I’ve ever used. I started out with, “Your First Hour with Unreal” which is part of the larger “Getting Started in Unreal Engine” learning path. By the end of the hour I had a working level with a decent scene, lighting and effects. I highly recommend starting with this short course (it even has a quiz) if you are a beginner like me. Note that there is a “Learn” tab in the Unreal launcher itself which provides links to learning features created by Epic Games.
Since there are so many sources to learning Unreal Engine 4, I’m not going to do an introduction here. But I do want to point out two aspects of working with Unreal that I think deserve emphasis.
Multiple File Structure - Unlike many other creative applications which usually export/save all data in a single file format (Photoshop, Word or Maya), Unreal saves in multiple file formats. It’s like a toolkit. There are file formats for levels, materials, assets and more.
Blueprint Visual Scripting - Blueprints (for short) are collections of visual scripts that are containers for content. When you use Blueprint you are programming, but using nodes instead of code. An example would be a Door Blueprint. You add the door to your scene and when you are in the game (press play in the editor) the door will automatically open when you approach and close when you pass through. And, of course, you can edit the Blueprint inside of the Blueprint editor if you want to make changes.
The Unreal Marketplace
This is a marketplace for content that will work in the Unreal Engine. The Marketplace is still in the process of growing, so it’s not quite as deep as the Unity marketplace or Renderosity. But the quality of the content is quite high and there are free items posted every month. I also like how the content is arranged and displayed. Searching for content is not as effective as in the Renderosity marketplace, but it’s adequate for the size of the Unreal marketplace.
For my Dark Ride project, I plan on using content from several sources including the Unreal Marketplace and Renderosity.
Note that the Unreal Marketplace is having a 5th Anniversary sale until the day after Labor Day (Sept 3). I’ve already picked up several items for the Dark Ride project at 50% off. Renderosity also has great sales like this practically every week, plus an extensive Free Stuff section.