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Introduction to Unreal Engine 4 with Blueprints

Take your first step towards mastering the power of visual scripting for game development

Chris Wilson

This training focuses on the visual scripting language within Unreal Engine, known as Blueprints.

Understanding Blueprints is the key to unlocking the power of Unreal Engine, and starting the journey towards becoming a game developer. By following the practical examples in this training, users will be able to rapidly prototype their own ideas using one of the most powerful game development tools available.

This practical demonstration is supported by an introduction to the high level concept of Blueprint Communication; understanding the correct way to handle Blueprint communication will help you build cleaner and faster scripts that will greatly benefit projects of any scale.

What you'll learn-and how you can apply it

  • How to navigate the Unreal Editor like a pro, including hotkeys, viewport navigation, and editor configuration.
  • How to build complex behaviors quickly and easily with Blueprint Visual Scripting.
  • Tips and tricks to organise your Blueprints to save headaches in the future.
  • Overview of the key communication methods between objects, including how and when to use them.
  • Overview of visual debugging and general problem solving techniques.
  • How to create a level, manipulate Actors and organise them correctly.
  • How to create your own reusable Actors, including how to use the component system.

This training course is for you because...

  • You’re just starting out with game development, and want to understand the fundamentals of Unreal Engine and visual scripting.
  • You’re a game or level designer with some experience of scripting, and want to extend that into full game development.
  • You’re an artist who wants to see how your work fits into the development pipeline.
  • You’re a coder with C++/C# experience who wants to see how visual scripting works within Unreal Engine

Prerequisites

  • An awareness of how video games are constructed from assets (such as 3D models, textures, audio, etc).
  • The typical gameplay of a third person action game (Gears of War, Uncharted, Tomb Raider).

Course Set-up:

  • Create an account at https://www.unrealengine.com/
  • Download and install Epic Launcher.
  • Install Unreal Engine 4.18 (including starter content) from the launcher.

Recommended preparation:

About your instructor

  • Presented by Chris Wilson

Schedule

The timeframes are only estimates and may vary according to how the class is progressing

Part 1 : Introduction to the launcher and editor (1 hour)

  • Epic Launcher (5 minutes)
  • Creating a new project using 3rd person template
  • Quick overview of relevant starter content

  • Tour of Unreal Engine Editor (10 minutes)

  • Viewports
  • Content Browser
  • World Outliner
  • Details Panel

  • Creating a new level (10 minutes)

  • Creating a new level
  • Moving around the space
  • Placing + Manipulating Actors

  • Making a Blueprint (20 minutes)

  • Add a trigger box to the level
  • Open Level Blueprint + make it display text when the player enters
  • Use debug tools to step through each stage
  • Use casting to check for player collision with trigger
  • Keeping things tidy with sequence and reroute nodes
  • Organising work with comment boxes and colours

Q&A (10 minutes)

Break (5 minutes)

Part 2 : Actors and Blueprint Communication (1 hour)

  • Creating an Actor (15 minutes)
  • Create a new Actor.
  • Add a door and door frame mesh using starter content.
  • Overview of parenting objects and components, including local vs world rotation.
  • Create a timeline, and using it to rotate the door within the frame.
  • Add trigger volumes to the actor, and using same logic in the previous example to check if player is present.
  • Using the timeline in forward and reverse, open and close the door as the player enters and leaves the volume.
  • Place several new door actors within the level, alter some local properties (scale etc) to demo how they are instances of the actor we made.

  • Basic Blueprint Communication (30 minutes)

  • Create a blueprint interface so door can accept a generic ‘use’ input.
  • Add this to both the player and the door.
  • Change the door so that now it only opens/closes when the player is close enough and presses the use button.
  • Run through how the two objects communicate to each other, and how this could be extended.

Q&A (10 minutes)

Break (5 minutes)

Part 3 : Extending Blueprint Communication (1 hour)

  • Advanced Blueprint Communication
  • Making a key (20 minutes)
  • Make another object to act as a key.
  • Make the player pick it up, and record they are carrying it.
  • Have the player character and door communicate if the player is carrying the key.
  • Use blueprint communication to only allow the door open when used and conditions are met.
  • Place both objects in the world and demo it working.

Break (5 minutes)

  • Summary (25 minutes)
  • Run through all the Blueprints that have been created.
  • Show communication examples, highlight areas of expansion.
  • Set a guided challenge - create a light and light switch which display different colours under different conditions.

Q&A (10 minutes)