Delving into Unreal Engine 4

For my first week back, we were immediately tasked with coming up with 50 different game ideas. Luckily, our group had prepared, and over the summer we had generated about 35 ideas of our own, well before realizing we’d need 50. Thankfully, this made the remaining work relatively minimal.

Then of those 50 ideas, we as a group decided which select few ideas that we particularly enjoyed. On a scale of 1 to 4, with 1 being, “No one likes this,” and 4 being, “We all like this,” we narrowed it down to 5 game ideas that we ranked as a 4, and then chose another 4 or 5 that we ranked as a 3.

Immediately the artists set off doing concept art, and our designer began to work on the visual design documents. With so many ideas, we concluded that creating a prototype for any of them would be less than optimal, on top of the more important fact that I have yet to deal with Unreal as an engine before. Thus it was decided that I would dedicate this week to learning the ins and outs of Unreal, or at least the basics to get me started.

And I think it went pretty well. I spent effectively 10 hours of my Saturday just tinkering around, seeing how all the syntax works, and how everything is organized.

I talked with a friend of mine who had graduated, and we agreed, Unreal’s blueprint system would be a better candidate for the quick prototyping that my team will be doing over the next coming weeks, as opposed to writing C++ code.

Additionally, Unreal’s blueprints make networking simpler, as the code is done for you (and while I am one who desperately likes to know what is occurring on the back end, all of Unreal’s code is available to peruse, should I need to), and I did spend approximately 5 of those 10 hours just trying to determine the networking code.

We may not even do a networked game, but it is a topic I have an interest in. I spent last semester mostly doing networking for our game 2plicity, despite the dumpster fire that Unity’s networking system (or lack thereof) caused.

But in the event that we end up creating a multiplayer networked game, I wanted to be familiar. I did get a solid start, having a replicated object spawned and destroyed by the server, but I wasn’t quite able to get the client object to move, only the server. My friend from before clued me in that Unreal’s playercontroller is likely the reason for that, and the next time I have a go at it I will take a look in that direction.

For now there’s class tomorrow. We’ll see what ideas people take interest in, and how we decide to move forward.

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