Courtez DevLog

Courtez

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Jul 16, 2021
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Hello everyone! If you aren't familiar with a devlog, it's essentially a blog where I will add a post for each milestone in my game developing journey. So far that journey consists of following some tutorials to learn things. It's a useful thing to be able to look back at and see the progress made. If you're considering learning game development as well, feel free to create a post here!

GameDev.TV - Unreal 5 C++: Learn C++ and Make Video Games

The first course I'm doing is GameDev.TV's Unreal 5 C++: Learn C++ and Make Video Games. I knew a little bit of C++ from a course in college, but that was 7 years ago, so walking me through the basics was mostly welcomed. I write code every day, so I would say for a regular programmer, this course starts out very basic. Along that same vein though I've been recommending this course to everyone for that same reason, it's a great entry point to coding.

One thing I appreciated about this course is it assumed no prior knowledge of Unreal Engine at all. Over the length of this course you are tasked with making 5 mini-games. The first game doesn't get into writing code at all, it gives a good overview of Blueprints as a base, so they can take that knowledge and let you carry it over to the coding side.

Game 1 - Warehouse Wreckage
As I mentioned, this game is dedicated toward being an introduction to Unreal Engine in general, and to blueprints. I learned how to use an impulse to simulate a projectile, how to use the simple shape brushes to do some basic static mesh creation within Unreal, and how to import, place and texture objects.



Game 2 - Obstacle Assault
In this game, the instructor helped me through setting up Visual Studio and Visual Studio Code to work with Unreal Engine, and then goes over many basic concepts of programming in general and in C++ more specifically. The course had me create a number of obstacles in C++ like platforms that move up and down or rotate in circles, and expose parameters to customize those obstacles to the editor, so specific instances of the obstacle could behave differently.

The result is a simple Fall Guys-esque game where you try and get through the obstacles. I was more focused on learning the concepts than making a functional game though, so most of these you can simply walk around the obstacle.



Game 3 - Crypt Raider
Crypt Raider aims to show some more advanced C++ for having different actors tied together in functionality. I made a statue that can be picked up and carried around, and when placed in a specific spot, it opens a door in another location. The assets the instructor had me download for this game kept crashing my Unreal Engine, so I wound up having a less polished level than I originally anticipated. I would get 30-45 minutes through designing a part of the level and then it would just crash and not be able to recover my progress. This definitely taught me to hit the save button religiously.

As a result, I didn't "finish" this game the way the instructor did, but I did get through all the core concepts that he was teaching, so all my movers and triggers worked, they just weren't placed correctly to make a coherent "game".



Game 4 - Toon Tanks
For Toon Tanks we are greeted with a new instructor. We say goodbye to Sam Pattuzzi and hello to Stephen Ulibarri for some more complex C++ learning. The remainder of this course is also using Unreal 4 instead of the new Unreal 5, which they promise shouldn't really have many differences in terms of how to go through this course. I will say that myself and a number of other people who took this course got stuck on one section trying to determine the object the tank is aiming at. Apparently after writing the code for this I needed to restart the editor for it to be picked up in Unreal 5, which I guess wasn't the case in Unreal 4.

That minor hiccup aside, the course also repeats a lot of learning that was already done in the previous lectures. The first three seem to build on top of each other, where the instructor is referencing the knowledge from past episodes and moving faster through parts I already knew when setting up the game. Because this Toon Tanks tutorial was recorded before parts 1-3, it can feel slow and boring when the instructor is re-explaining something that I just learned.

As you get deeper into Toon Tanks however, the complexity does rise, and you do wind up learning new things that weren't covered in previous lectures, such as building projectiles using the projectile class in C++ rather than an impulse, building some movement logic from scratch, giving players and AIs health, and giving the game a beginning and ending.



Final Thoughts
I think I'm going to skip going through the course for game 5 for now. I've got the fundamentals of C++ and Unreal Engine down now, and I'm eager to move on to a multiplayer course to start learning how to get players together in a session and network the game so players can see each others' actions.

I would (and already have) recommended this course to anyone who has ever shown interest in game development but didn't know where to start. If the coding aspect is too daunting, there is also a Blueprints course with similar content (although only 2 games).

I'll be sharing my progress in this thread more regularly now as I move through the multiplayer course and potentially on to a few others. I want to know the basics of blender in case I need to make a few meshes for level design, or make tweaks to assets we get on the internet, and there is a few other courses on GameDev.tv that seem interesting, like the cinematic creator course or environment design course.

As I worked through the course, I took 33 pages of notes on anything that seemed interesting. I've scanned and uploaded them to google drive for anyone to take a look through, and see how I learn!
 
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