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Which game engine/creation kit is best for a Point-n-click choice-dialog game?


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#1 wisetaner   Members   -  Reputation: 108

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Posted 14 August 2014 - 01:39 PM

Hi everyone,

 

I'm in the research and concept stage of developing my first indie game (while also working currently working part-time), which will be a multi-console point and click adventure with dialog choice prompts. The way I am envisioning this it will have camera angles and 3D models similar to "The Bards Tale", with puzzle, some QTE's, and dialog choices similar to "The Walking Dead" game. The main issue I currently have is that after doing some in-depth research on game engines and game development kits, I'm a bit overwhelmed and don't know which one will work best for me.

 

I'm equally uncertain if a game development kit is the game engine, just with tools to help develop the game around the engine for less experienced developers. Such as Unreal Developers Kit 4 (UDK 4). This is the one I initially researched and I do like it, but I'm not sure if it's overkill for what I need; to be honest the 25% royalty fees on any games I hope to sell...leaves me weary (but I'll go with it if need be).

 

Some of the other game engines I have looked into are Unity, but it's price tag is far too high for me to pay up front (I have practically no funds...well very little). Shiva 3D at  www.stonetrip.com except that their site is confusing to find things. I have also looked at various engines and kits on the three following sites, however some of the information on the sites appears to be out-of-date:

 

http://terrektwo.hubpages.com/hub/25-Tools-Make-Your-Own-games

 

 http://rpgmaker.net/engines/

 

 http://www.worldofleveldesign.com/categories/level_design_tutorials/recommended-game-engines.php

 

Just so everyone knows I have been thinking about creating a game off-and-on for awhile, as well as I do already have a story concept of my own I'll be using, and I have a recent Bachelors degree in 3D Art. With experience using Maya and 3DS Max for 3D modeling, animation, and Photoshop for texture design. I mention that so you guys and ladies know I am not going into this completely blind, only perhaps partially blind...because I still have a major challenge trying to understand/grasp how to write script.

 

I've taken a few courses in college and I can understand HTML easily, PHP and Javascript moderately well, but when I look at C++, Perl, or whatever. I can study/stare at the code for minutes which quickly become an hour or two, simply trying to decipher it only to start wondering, "why does this look like calculus mixed with latin! (Side note, I've only recently read about Lua scripting language, I don't know much about Lua yet.)

 

Seriously though, I think I can learn how to program to develop a game, if there was a thorough tutorial on how to create the various game elements. Along with an equally thorough explanation on why the code is used the way it is, with visual side-by-side examples for how this code does this and that code does that. Although a tutorial such as that might be asking too much.

 

Well, I don't want to bore you guys by writing more, so if you have any questions for me about what I'm doing, planning, or anything else, I'll do my best to answer. Hopefully you guys can help recommend the right development kit for me to use.

 

Lastly to itemize what I'm hoping for, is this:

  • A game development kit for:
  • Point-and-click Adventure game
  • Level Editor
  • Scripting Editor (helps simplify or makes writing script a bit easier to comprehend)
  • 3D and 2D models and environment
  • minimal upfront cost (even if there is a larger fee on royalties)
  • Works well with dialog option choices that change game play and character reactions
  • Create QTE's
  • Can output games for PC, Mac, IPhone, Android, PS4, XBox One, etc

 

Thank you in advance for your help!

 

Mike



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#2 rAm_y_   Members   -  Reputation: 481

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Posted 14 August 2014 - 01:56 PM

UDK4 = UE4, UDK3 = UDK3 and I am pretty sure it's a 5% royalty fee not 25%, and it's only $19 (per/month).

 

It's also new and doesn't have anything like the amount of plugin/support that Unity does but you shouldn't think of it as overkill, why should you if your familair with Maya then it's a similar editor environment , there are a lot of settings yes and it has a very good visual scripting editor(blueprints) that for the game you describe would be plenty enough and mean you would never have to write a line of code.

 

You won't be able to publish for Xbox as you need to first get a deal with Microsoft and they won't allow you unless they are sure it's going to be a hit. Same for Playstation and Wii.


Edited by rAm_y_, 14 August 2014 - 01:57 PM.


#3 wisetaner   Members   -  Reputation: 108

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Posted 14 August 2014 - 03:02 PM

UDK4 = UE4, UDK3 = UDK3 and I am pretty sure it's a 5% royalty fee not 25%, and it's only $19 (per/month).

 

It's also new and doesn't have anything like the amount of plugin/support that Unity does but you shouldn't think of it as overkill, why should you if your familair with Maya then it's a similar editor environment , there are a lot of settings yes and it has a very good visual scripting editor(blueprints) that for the game you describe would be plenty enough and mean you would never have to write a line of code.

 

You won't be able to publish for Xbox as you need to first get a deal with Microsoft and they won't allow you unless they are sure it's going to be a hit. Same for Playstation and Wii.

Thank you for the response rAm_Y_,

 

In regard to UDK 4 and UE4, I have scoured their site and am still uncertain. this quote from their site doesn't help at all "Pick whichever is more favorable to you and apply either the new UE4 royalty model (5% of gross revenue) or your existing UDK terms (25% of net revenue after you take home $50,000) to all UDK product revenue from January 1, 2014 onward." You can find that about half way down at there site here, https://www.unrealengine.com/faq

 

As for plug-in support UDK/UE 4 does have that now, according to the same FAQ page, but you need to be registered as a developer through Microsoft and Sony first. As for publishing on Microsoft and Sony, you just need to register as an Indie developer and after you meet their requirements they will send you a kit. You can read more about their "ID@Xbox" at this site http://www.xbox.com/en-us/Developers/id as for PS4 visit this site http://us.playstation.com/develop/

 

You just first need to be registered as your own company. :)

As for the Wii, I didn't really look into that, but it is likely they have a similar program.

 

Hope that helps you out.



#4 rAm_y_   Members   -  Reputation: 481

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Posted 14 August 2014 - 03:10 PM

UDK is the Unreal engine 3, UE4 is the latest Unreal engine 4, I didn't mean you can't load plugins into UE4, I meant there are not many community based created plugins as there are for Unity, such as a world builder plugin or terrain generator etc.

 

As for publishing with Microsoft or Sony, my understanding is that you will really struggle to do this unless your a well established developer  particularly with the Xbox one or PS4, you may be able to on the Xbox 360 for example, other people in here will confirm this, but it's not an easy thing to do.



#5 wisetaner   Members   -  Reputation: 108

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Posted 14 August 2014 - 03:34 PM

UDK is the Unreal engine 3, UE4 is the latest Unreal engine 4, I didn't mean you can't load plugins into UE4, I meant there are not many community based created plugins as there are for Unity, such as a world builder plugin or terrain generator etc.

 

As for publishing with Microsoft or Sony, my understanding is that you will really struggle to do this unless your a well established developer  particularly with the Xbox one or PS4, you may be able to on the Xbox 360 for example, other people in here will confirm this, but it's not an easy thing to do.

 

::shrugs in uncertainty:: For as much as I know, you may be completely right. :)

 

Which brings me back to my original question, as to what would be the best Game Development kit for my purposes?



#6 Gian-Reto   Members   -  Reputation: 1814

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Posted 15 August 2014 - 12:33 AM

Question back: Are you not happy with UE4 or UDK? Are you just intimidated by their choice of scripting / programming languages? Did you really give the engine a spin?

 

IF you do not need the best 3D graphics around, Unity is also an option. And altough most people will recommend using C# with it, you can use Unityscript which is basically using the javascript syntax.

Be aware that the full featured version of Unity sits behind a paywall in the Pro Edition which costs you a cool 1500$. I don't know if you want to spend that money (altough I can guarantee you that I am fully satisfied with Unity Pro, it really does all you could wish from a Game Engine and then some), so if this cost is prohibitive for you, UE4 is your best choice I guess.

 

You mention that UE4 might be overkill. There is a free version of Unity. No royalities involved, if you make more than 10'000$ annually from games, you are prohibited to use it.

This version has lots of features cut. But if you do not need highend graphics, you might not bother too much about it.

 

Then there is a host of smaller Indie Engines, some of them are free. JMonkey, Panda3D, and so on. I advise you to jump over to devmaster.net and have a look at their Engine DB.

 

 

Now, if you want to know which Engine would be best to start with, I would say stay with UE4, or, if you don't need the best 3D graphic, give the Unity free version a try. These are incredibly powerful engines, but at least Unity is very beginnerfriendly (UE4 most probably just as much) thanks to a intuitive Editor, lots of documentation and a large community.


Edited by Gian-Reto, 15 August 2014 - 12:35 AM.


#7 rAm_y_   Members   -  Reputation: 481

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Posted 15 August 2014 - 01:35 AM

I think people need to get out of the mindset that an engine/editor like UE4 is overkill, there is a learning curve yes, but if your not prepared to go down that curve then you can't really expect to publish a successful game. The curve is similar to learning Maya or Blender but the beauty is that it's mainly point, click, drag and drop, how much easier could that be.

 

So you may want to create a Tetris like game, why does UE4 need to be overkill for this, you have some of the best game engine coders that have created a highly optimized game engine yet it is overkill. You wont have a huge exe/dependencies footprint when your game is built it will if anything be smaller and more optimized than lesser engines such as Torque would produce, you need a high end machine to run the editor yes, but that doesn't mean the game you build will essentially need such high end specs, it depends on what you have set the game to do.



#8 fireside7   Members   -  Reputation: 245

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Posted 15 August 2014 - 11:10 AM

From your description it sounds like you should get your feet wet on a 2d point and click game first.  Take a look at http://www.adventuregamestudio.co.uk/



#9 wisetaner   Members   -  Reputation: 108

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Posted 15 August 2014 - 12:19 PM

From your description it sounds like you should get your feet wet on a 2d point and click game first.  Take a look at http://www.adventuregamestudio.co.uk/

 

Hi Fireside7, I appreciate your idea and while it is certainly worth considering as a backup plan, my plan is to put my 3D modeling skills from my Bachelors degree to work developing this game. While at the same time incorporating 2D elements as well. If I were to just create a 2D game alone, I'd feel as though I were not making full use of my skills.

 

But again, I will definitely consider your idea as a backup plan. :)

 

To which I thank you for that!

 

Question back: Are you not happy with UE4 or UDK? Are you just intimidated by their choice of scripting / programming languages? Did you really give the engine a spin?

 

IF you do not need the best 3D graphics around, Unity is also an option. And altough most people will recommend using C# with it, you can use Unityscript which is basically using the javascript syntax.

Be aware that the full featured version of Unity sits behind a paywall in the Pro Edition which costs you a cool 1500$. I don't know if you want to spend that money (altough I can guarantee you that I am fully satisfied with Unity Pro, it really does all you could wish from a Game Engine and then some), so if this cost is prohibitive for you, UE4 is your best choice I guess.

 

You mention that UE4 might be overkill. There is a free version of Unity. No royalities involved, if you make more than 10'000$ annually from games, you are prohibited to use it.

This version has lots of features cut. But if you do not need highend graphics, you might not bother too much about it.

 

Then there is a host of smaller Indie Engines, some of them are free. JMonkey, Panda3D, and so on. I advise you to jump over to devmaster.net and have a look at their Engine DB.

 

 

Now, if you want to know which Engine would be best to start with, I would say stay with UE4, or, if you don't need the best 3D graphic, give the Unity free version a try. These are incredibly powerful engines, but at least Unity is very beginnerfriendly (UE4 most probably just as much) thanks to a intuitive Editor, lots of documentation and a large community.

 

Thank you, Gian-Reto, for the thorough explanation! As for UE4/UDK4 it isn't that I was unhappy with that, exactly the contrary, from everything I have read and seen it is a very powerful development engine kit. My only concern was whether it or some other program would do what I needed it to. I suppose what I meant by "overkill" was that I have heard so much about it, I thought perhaps I was getting swept away by all the hype. So I didn't know if it would do far more than was needed, if it would be just right, or if it would not be enough.

 

I have not tried any game development kits yet, as I wanted to find out what other Indie developers (such as yourselfs) thought about the different ones before I devoted myself to one or the other. Also because it might take me a couple weeks or months to get accustomed to the kit (i.e. only a few hours a day I can devote to this), so I wanted to have a reasonable certainty of which program might be the best for me before hand.

 

From what you have said it sounds as though UE4 is indeed the best one, as I don't have the funds for Unity. Though I'm also going to reseach JMonkey and Panda3D before I commit to UE4. Seems I may also want to email Unreal as well just for my own piece of mind, as you said you're more familar with Unity.

 

At any rate, thank you again for the great input! :)

 

I think people need to get out of the mindset that an engine/editor like UE4 is overkill, there is a learning curve yes, but if your not prepared to go down that curve then you can't really expect to publish a successful game. The curve is similar to learning Maya or Blender but the beauty is that it's mainly point, click, drag and drop, how much easier could that be.

 

So you may want to create a Tetris like game, why does UE4 need to be overkill for this, you have some of the best game engine coders that have created a highly optimized game engine yet it is overkill. You wont have a huge exe/dependencies footprint when your game is built it will if anything be smaller and more optimized than lesser engines such as Torque would produce, you need a high end machine to run the editor yes, but that doesn't mean the game you build will essentially need such high end specs, it depends on what you have set the game to do.

 

Very true about the learning curve, rAm_y_, although as I mentioned above to Gian-Reto, it seems I may have used the wrong term in regard to UE4 being "overkill". At any rate, I do understand what you are saying and it also appears UE4 may be the developer kit I ultimately use for my game.

 

Thank you again for your valuable input! :)

 

 

 

So guys, now that I have a better idea about the game development kit I'll be using, are there any scripting/programming tutorial (preferably videos) you would recommend? I understand the basics and a moderate amount of the theory behind programming, but as soon as it gets into the heavier scripting...or in my case medium scripting. I have a difficult time making heads or tails out of any of it.

 

I've watched the youtube channel "thenewboston" but his explanations and tutorials are so simplistic that I really don't learn anything. But then I find others that are so overly complicated, I get the impressions they are meant for advanced students. If there were tutorials geared to help teach first time game developers how to program and relate it toward programming for a game, that would be really cool.

 

But, if you guys and ladies have any recommendations on this at all, please let me know.



#10 Gian-Reto   Members   -  Reputation: 1814

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Posted 15 August 2014 - 05:30 PM

 

Thank you, Gian-Reto, for the thorough explanation! As for UE4/UDK4 it isn't that I was unhappy with that, exactly the contrary, from everything I have read and seen it is a very powerful development engine kit. My only concern was whether it or some other program would do what I needed it to. I suppose what I meant by "overkill" was that I have heard so much about it, I thought perhaps I was getting swept away by all the hype. So I didn't know if it would do far more than was needed, if it would be just right, or if it would not be enough.

 

I have not tried any game development kits yet, as I wanted to find out what other Indie developers (such as yourselfs) thought about the different ones before I devoted myself to one or the other. Also because it might take me a couple weeks or months to get accustomed to the kit (i.e. only a few hours a day I can devote to this), so I wanted to have a reasonable certainty of which program might be the best for me before hand.

 

From what you have said it sounds as though UE4 is indeed the best one, as I don't have the funds for Unity. Though I'm also going to reseach JMonkey and Panda3D before I commit to UE4. Seems I may also want to email Unreal as well just for my own piece of mind, as you said you're more familar with Unity.

 

At any rate, thank you again for the great input! smile.png

 

Well, you have seen Firesides comment... even though he talked about 2D isntead of 3D, his intentions most probably was to tell you: "start small".

 

2D, to most, is easier to get into. Now, if you're an awesome 3D Modeller already, you might have an advantage over the usual beginner that will certainly make it easier for you to start.

IMO, the added complexity of 3D comes down to two things: Modelling and using the 3D Space in your game. As a good modeller you might also be accustomed to most 3D technicalities, but some 3D Math will still come handy, and you will still have to deal with some more complex AI navigation and stuff like that later on, even if you sidestep most programming issues with a good engine.

 

To come to the original topic in a kinda roundabout way: if you want to go full 3D, no matter how small your project, Unity and Unreal are your best bets as a beginner. Of course you could cut some fat by writing your very own, extremly lean engine...

 

But as has been pointed out before, Unity or Unreal will not add much "clutter" to your built game, you don't seem to be trained programmer in non-web languages, and you seem eager to build a game (as opposed to an engine). Unity / Unreal will give you what you need, and then a hundred times more. But at least Unity will hide the complexity reasonably well. After a quick steep initial bump you will be up and running...

 

 

In the end, both UDK and Unity free edition can be downloaded for free. Just get one of them, look up some tutorials, and see if you can get the hang of it. Invest some hours to really try to get into it.

 

If you can't get into these big, well documented engines, chances are the smaller, less documented engines will also trip you over.

When you do get the hang of things, you can still switch to a different engine if you happen to find a more suitable one, and at least the basics will translate from one engine to another.

 

 

To get back to firesides comment:

"Start small" - for you that might mean "develop the simplest 3D game you can"... get a Modelled Plane to fly around in a simple level. Try to build an nice 3D Level with little game interactions yet. Get a rigged character animated ingame... and so on. If you want to, you can create small games around all of this basic learning tasks.

 

Find out what motivates you. Its finishing a game for most people. this is where the "start with 2D Games" comment comes from.


Edited by Gian-Reto, 15 August 2014 - 05:34 PM.


#11 fireside7   Members   -  Reputation: 245

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Posted 16 August 2014 - 07:59 AM

 

Hi Fireside7, I appreciate your idea and while it is certainly worth considering as a backup plan, my plan is to put my 3D modeling skills from my Bachelors degree to work developing this game. While at the same time incorporating 2D elements as well. If I were to just create a 2D game alone, I'd feel as though I were not making full use of my skills.

 

Of course, you should do what you think is right, but I've been through this, and what I found was that the programming, especially in setting up the framework can take a very long time.  So, basically, you are only working in one skill set.   I think it's best to work on all of them a little at a time.  Modeling, design, and story.  I also think it's best to start on a small project.  With a 2d point and click framework, you can just take snap shots of models and make sprites and backgrounds, and work on game design and story, while building a 3d interactive framework.  The engines, like Unity, are very basic and take a lot of work to set up, and need a lot of development time concerning scripting.  It tends to end up a horrible mess at first.



#12 wisetaner   Members   -  Reputation: 108

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Posted 16 August 2014 - 06:31 PM

Hey Gian-Reto and Fireside7, I'll respond to your replies tomorrow evening (Sunday)  or on Monday, as I work the weekends and don't have a lot of time for conversing right now. :)



#13 Gian-Reto   Members   -  Reputation: 1814

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 09:34 AM

Of course, you should do what you think is right, but I've been through this, and what I found was that the programming, especially in setting up the framework can take a very long time.  So, basically, you are only working in one skill set.   I think it's best to work on all of them a little at a time.  Modeling, design, and story.  I also think it's best to start on a small project.  With a 2d point and click framework, you can just take snap shots of models and make sprites and backgrounds, and work on game design and story, while building a 3d interactive framework.  The engines, like Unity, are very basic and take a lot of work to set up, and need a lot of development time concerning scripting.  It tends to end up a horrible mess at first.

 

 

Point taken. If you take animation out of the equation, a 2D Game is extremly simple to do. And you can completly scratch the need for any kind of engine.

 

But, this assumes the TO has either the artistic skill to work in 2D, has access to an artist who has, or is ready to put in the time to learn it. Not everyone good in 3D Graphics creation is talented in 2D Drawing (just as true the other way around).

 

 

In the end, it all boild down to some basic advices:

- Start as small as you can.

- Be aware that your first few tries will most probably fail. The bigger your first try, the more this will hurt.

- Just get started and try it. You will waste time on going down the wrong path anyway even with the best advice you could have gotten.



#14 wisetaner   Members   -  Reputation: 108

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 06:04 PM

Wow, you both have given me a lot to think about! I was thinking about explaining my rational for doing a 3D project versus a 2D project, but after re-reading the insight you both offered I think I should probably consider both options equally. Although similar to what Gian-Reto said, my education is in creating 3D assets, which may out-weight my skill with creating 2D assets.

 

How ever this turns out, I'm already thinking up the timeline and scope and have a good idea that it will be a long term commitment; especially since I'll be doing every part of the development myself.

 

As of right now I'm in the process of trying out UDK and Unity.

 

I'll respond more tomorrow.



#15 Gian-Reto   Members   -  Reputation: 1814

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 03:39 AM

Wow, you both have given me a lot to think about! I was thinking about explaining my rational for doing a 3D project versus a 2D project, but after re-reading the insight you both offered I think I should probably consider both options equally. Although similar to what Gian-Reto said, my education is in creating 3D assets, which may out-weight my skill with creating 2D assets.

 

How ever this turns out, I'm already thinking up the timeline and scope and have a good idea that it will be a long term commitment; especially since I'll be doing every part of the development myself.

 

As of right now I'm in the process of trying out UDK and Unity.

 

I'll respond more tomorrow.

 

Not to make your decision even harder, but there are actually some devs that went the "3D Assets to 2D Sprites" route. Its a very sensible one for people like you that have 3D expierience but no 2D talent.

 

Basically you create your assets in 3D, you prepare the animations in your 3D Package, and you render snaphots of the animation frames (or you just render the objects if you don't need the animations).

With the help of a 2D Tool you turn these renders into Sprites you can use for your 2D Game.

 

Very similar to how Donkey Kong was created back in the SNES days.

 

 

This might give you very good 3D Render looking Graphics without the complication of using a 3D Engine. And its certainly a style you don't see too often nowadays.


Edited by Gian-Reto, 19 August 2014 - 03:40 AM.


#16 wisetaner   Members   -  Reputation: 108

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 12:05 PM

 

Wow, you both have given me a lot to think about! I was thinking about explaining my rational for doing a 3D project versus a 2D project, but after re-reading the insight you both offered I think I should probably consider both options equally. Although similar to what Gian-Reto said, my education is in creating 3D assets, which may out-weight my skill with creating 2D assets.

 

How ever this turns out, I'm already thinking up the timeline and scope and have a good idea that it will be a long term commitment; especially since I'll be doing every part of the development myself.

 

As of right now I'm in the process of trying out UDK and Unity.

 

I'll respond more tomorrow.

 

Not to make your decision even harder, but there are actually some devs that went the "3D Assets to 2D Sprites" route. Its a very sensible one for people like you that have 3D expierience but no 2D talent.

 

Basically you create your assets in 3D, you prepare the animations in your 3D Package, and you render snaphots of the animation frames (or you just render the objects if you don't need the animations).

With the help of a 2D Tool you turn these renders into Sprites you can use for your 2D Game.

 

Very similar to how Donkey Kong was created back in the SNES days.

 

 

This might give you very good 3D Render looking Graphics without the complication of using a 3D Engine. And its certainly a style you don't see too often nowadays.

 

 

I'm going to need to process that for a bit, I think I understand what you're saying, Gian-Reto...but my mind is going in several directions at once at the moment. So I'll need to think on it for a bit. At any rate, it sounds like a potential route!

 

In the mean time, I think I just came up with a "potential" way of solving my lack of programming knowledge. I found a visual scripting editor called, Kizmet, (while searching Youtube for Unreal scripting tutorials) which appears to be both a learning tool for UDK non-programmers as well as a true scripting editor program. I'm not sure if it's compatible with UE 4, but at least it will hopefully help me understand how to write programs. :)



#17 Lactose!   GDNet+   -  Reputation: 3813

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 01:38 PM

The equivalent in Unreal Engine 4 is Blueprint.



#18 wisetaner   Members   -  Reputation: 108

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 07:36 PM

The equivalent in Unreal Engine 4 is Blueprint.

 

Thank you, Lactose! I'm going to start learning Blueprint!






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