Thursday, April 3, 2014

Unreal Engine 4 Tutorials and Some "Deep Thoughts"

To celebrate the launch of Unreal Engine 4, I got so excited I set aside some of my spare time and wrote up several tutorials.  I tried my best to think back to the first time I launched Cascade, and remember "what elements of the workflow tripped me up?"

Then I asked myself "what elements of Cascade were opened up to me by joining Epic?"  What are the little tricks we use everyday that might make all the difference for a new FX artist getting started in UE4?

Armed with this experience I put together a bullet-ed list and began writing up tutorials.  I have about 5 of them in the hopper now, and there is a long list which I am still working on.

If you are a seasoned developer with tons of Cascade experience, then these might not be for you...but if you are new to UE4, or you are interested in seeing how I work then these write-ups will be of interest.

I am starting with the basics, using particle color/alpha to modify the look of your sprites.  Editing a curve in the timeline view...using the new tabs to quickly navigate back and forth between materials and Cascade.

It's pretty straight fwd stuff I know, but this is the info I would died for when I first got started in Cascade at Raven, all those years ago.  My plan is for this to all build to giving anyone who has interest, the ability to break a Material, a Blueprint, and an Effect down into the essential elements so it's easier to take an FX problem and break it out into the elements that make up your solution.


In other areas of my thoughts...

GDC has come and gone again.  Once again I sat in the amazing studio space at Epic and watched all of the info pouring out of the conference asking myself "why I am not there?"

I think I have a few reasons...I am going to take this next year to get that sorted, and go to GDC next year.
I am making solid efforts to share more of my knowledge with the real-time FX community so that this discipline can grow and expand.  I work hard within Epic to share everything I know with my peers, and I hope this type of mentality can expand within the real-time FX community.

"Job Security" technique hoarders benefit no one in our industry.

This discipline can only get better with more and more folks sharing knowledge and information.  In the spirit of the UE4 launch, and the work that people like Bill Kladis, and Fred Hooper have been doing over at Imbue FX I am hoping to use these new lessons, and GDC to make a solid effort to get more of that info out as frequently as my schedule will allow.

A lot of this work started with the UE3 performance and optimization documentation I put together after Gears 3, and it's clear to me now I wish to put effort into sharing more of that knowledge.

I hope that other people learning new tricks in UE4 are interested in sharing their techniques as well in the UE4 Wikis.


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