Ok, “what am I doing”? you’ll probably ask. This has already been on this blog! Do I have no any new topics to cover so I dig out an almost 3 years old topic? Well, I decided to rewrite this entry exactly because it is almost 3 years old and Unreal Engine 4 changed a lot. What’s more, my experience grew up and my opinions and approaches to many things changed too.

This article is aimed to people who want to start working in Unreal Engine 4 but is overwhelmed by the sheer amount of online tutorials and simply don’t know where to start. I just want to share you the collection of articles and tutorials that helped me the most with learning UE4.

The most common questions:

Is Unreal Engine 4 sexy already?

Yes, it is! With every version UE4 is getting faster, more stable and receives juicy and shiny features that allows to make outstanding games. It already has been used to make many big, succesfull products which achieved commercial success. And it is open source and free to learn, so just grab it!

I can’t decide between Unreal Engine 4 and Unity. Which one is better?

There is no simple answer to this question (especially when you don’t want to start a flame war). Both engines are mature and have impressive portfolio of released games made with them. I think, that I will simply tell one, in my opinion the most important, major difference between these two engines.

Unity is easier to start with and easier to learn. You can create and publish game very quick. It also gives you more freedom on how the game is constructed. But, if you are making bigger project, which might take few years to finish, managing such big project in Unity is a terrible pain. Doing changes will start to be gruesome task and the compilation will start taking ages.

Unreal Engine 4 requires more time to learn it. There are a lot of hidden options and rules which developer will have to be aware of to make game work well. It forces to construct a game in a specific manner. But, because of forced standards of the game construction, the game itself is better planned and more stable. It is also magically easy to put big changes to a game even in the late stage of work. UE4 also gives all tools embedded into editor, which allows to create professionally looking games over the years of development.

Long story short – if you are doing small game, which you plan to finish in less than a year, or maybe some small, 2D mobile game then Unity is probably a better choice for you. But if you are planning to make bigger game (which will take more than a year of development) then, in my opinion, UE4 is the only right choice.

Blueprints or C++?

Blueprints are a scripting language for UE4 but a visual one. If you start learning UE4, no matter if you know how to code or not, I suggest to start with Blueprints. You can iterate with them much faster than with C++ and they will teach you basic ideas of how UE4 work. After some time you will discover that Blueprints can be easily rewritten into C++ and you will learn where to use Blueprints and where C++. There is even a great official article about balancing C++ and Blueprints.

What is the best tutorial to start with?

There are two series of UE4 tutorials which, in my opinion, are the brightest gems in the whole sea of UE4 learning materials and they are made by one awesome guy – Mathew Wadstein.

The first series is an Intro to UE4 in which Mathew describes all basic stuff like working in editor, using Blueprints and using some of the tools available in UE4.

The second one is a FPS in which the simple FPS game is made. It shows how to plan the development of a game,  the more advance use of UE4 structures and how to create a game from scratch.

I also recommend his other series like “WTF is …” where he explains single features of the engine and “UE4 Highlights” where he describes new features in every engine update.

What’s next?

The next step should be checking out Unreal Academy especially Game Development category. You can find full courses for more specific and advanced topics there.

Time for C++

When speaking of coding tutorials I don’t like videos. What am I suppose to do, watching like someone else is typing? Pointless! I prefer good old text tutorials like this one from irreplaceable Raywenderlich.com It gives easy and smooth introduction to C++ in UE4. But it will give you basics. The next step is to check most of the references written in the UE4 official documentation and… trying to write something, reading API references and checking out Answer Hub.

Bonus

There is one concept in UE4, which is really important but I found it difficult to grasp and there are no really good tutorials talking about it. It is the importance of game components, their roles and order of their creation. To learn about them, read the first chapter of Koloska’s Shooter Tutorial.

And for dessert…

Check how Zak Parrish talks about common challenges (and mistakes) when making games in UE4:

But wait! There is more!

UE4 is constantly expanding and this requires learning new stuff all the time. UE4 Live Trainings are great source of knowledge so it is a good idea to check out their YouTube Channel regularly.