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Developer Journal : Unreal Basics

Developer Journal

As of Monday the 1st on March, we learnt Unreal during the week. We learned the basics of the engine and how to use its user interface.

When we first started, we had to set our project settings. Within the project settings there are many ways to customize your project such as whether you want to use the blueprint system or C++ – We also have the option to set our quality and platform. (See Figure 1)

Project Settings Fullscreen
Figure 1 (docs.unrealengine.com)

We are going to be using blueprints for our first year of using Unreal, this is essentially a Visual Scripting system. This is a node-based interface which is used to create gameplay elements, used to define object-oriented classes or objects in the engine.

“This system is extremely flexible and powerful as it provides the ability for designers to use virtually the full range of concepts and tools generally only available to programmers.”

docs.unrealengine.com, 2021

This tool is very helpful to many beginners, as it is a simplified version of programming. This can also be especially useful for making small prototype projects as the blueprint system proves to be easy to use to create these types of projects within a short amount of time.

Another thing we learnt about was using Actors within a scene, this is any object you can place within a level. This can range from a simple shape to characters and even some lighting. (See Figure 2)

Place0.png
Figure 2 (docs.unrealengine.com)

Actors can also be modified in a multitude of ways, they are capable of many 3d transformations as well as housing some properties, this means they can be highly customizable.

“Actors are a generic Class that support 3D transformations such as translation, rotation, and scale.”

docs.unrealengine.com, 2021

These are basically what we will be mostly placing within our level, Actors can be thought of as containers that can hold special types of objects known as “components”.

Figure 3 (docs.unrealengine.com)

Many different types of these components can control how Actors work within the engine – this can range from how they’re rendered to how they move.

As shown in Figure 3, this is an example of what an Actor hierarchy of components looks like. As you can see, there are several components attached to this object which enable a mesh to show as well as some effects such as audio to emit from it.

I think that so far, learning Unreal has been quite interesting and I’m excited about getting around to using the engine. I’ve already used several different game engines before, such as Construct 3 or using Phaser with Visual Studio – however I don’t have as much experience with using 3d engines, So this’ll mostly be new and exciting to me.

Bibliography

Docs.unrealengine.com. 2021. Get Started with UE4. [online] Available at: https://docs.unrealengine.com/en-US/Basics/GettingStarted/index.html [Accessed 11 March 2021].

Docs.unrealengine.com. 2021. Blueprints Visual Scripting. [online] Available at: https://docs.unrealengine.com/en-US/ProgrammingAndScripting/Blueprints/index.html [Accessed 11 March 2021].

Docs.unrealengine.com. 2021. Placing Actors. [online] Available at: https://docs.unrealengine.com/en-US/Basics/Actors/Placement/index.html [Accessed 11 March 2021].

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