You may not want to code…
Let us start by saying if you don’t want to code (pause for dramatic effect) you may not have to. When you really think about the full scope, I’m guessing that’s your frame of mind if you are here if not that’s fine too and I hope I can be of help to you too, the bulk of the people who help create games don’t code. This post is going to be a little for those that want to code and a little for those who don’t.
I’ve made the decision moving forward to use Unreal engine for the purposes of this blog and the start of my indie career. I tell you this so you can follow along in Unreal and know what to expect in the future. Unreal has a system within it called “blueprints” that is a visual representation of code. What this means is that if you don’t want to be in the coding trenches you now have a way out. Blueprints lays out before you a way to click on assets or props within the editor and draw lines that will present pop-ups asking you what you want done. That’s it, you’re done. This does all the coding in the background, but if the coder on your team needs to tweak the code he can view it in his IDE and change it how he needs to and hand it back.
Photo Taken By: Jakob Owens
In the coming weeks, I’m going to be focusing on blueprints and the Unreal Engine. Don’t fret though, I have not forsaken you coders. I will be back on the coding posts when I start focusing on that area again. If in the mean time you wanna share something with me reach out on Twitter, by Email, or leave a comment below.
For you coders or wannabes (no negative connotation here, I’m with you!) let’s talk about how to learn. Let’s start with some introspective thinking, do you like reading or are you a visual learner? If you are the former then I highly recommend heading over to LearnCPP and going through their training. It starts off as though you are the lowliest beginner and building you up to a titan of industry. If the pacing is to slow, jump ahead; If you need to take it slow then spend days on one lesson. Now, if you are the latter then I’m going to recommend you head on over to the old trusty YouTube (I personally liked Cave of Programming and The New Boston). Just like I recommend with LearnCPP if you need to go slow then take it slow if you want to speed it up then hit the gas, there is no wrong way to learning code. The best part of learning code on your own is that you control the pace.
Just remember when it comes to this industry, and each field within it, practice really does make perfect (well no one is perfect EVERY game has bugs). The biggest thing I’m going to recommend is to type everything out that these tutorials go over. Please, remember, everyone started at nothing; don’t be afraid to seek out and ask for help. When you are done with each lesson, pause on it, try things out, break the code, fix the code, and above all else remember to have fun.
Oh blueprints, you beautiful beast you! I have not been this excited by game design in such a long time. This feature alone has cranked my desire to pursue my passion up to a whole new level (you see what I did there?!). I want to learn to code, no surprise there, but this tool has made it so when you are starting out you don’t need to know anything. The cleverness and the intelligible simplicity of this tool make it so perfect for beginners. Now I’ll stop gushing and actually tell you what it does.
Blueprints, as I have said above, is a tool designed as a visual system for non-coders to code. I’m going to show you a picture then explain what is happening in the picture (since the system is visual I may as well give you a visual) so you that you get a full scope of what I’m talking about.
Let’s start by telling you why they’re orange. When you create blueprints you can select a group “highlight” them and give a description as to what the group is doing (documentation is good in EVERY aspect of game design). This is done so when the person who didn’t build the blueprint, or let’s face it for you when you forgot what this was for too, grabs this asset, prop, or blueprint they can know what is going on at a glance.
Now in the picture, (the elevator pitch of what’s going on) is that a light has been designed to turn on/off when a player interacts with it. In this case, it has been setup to turn on/off when a player presses “F” while within the trigger box. If you want a quick description of what is happening in the picture so that you can try and figure it out on your won with a little help please read below. If you want a step by step process in its entirety (take you about 2.5 hours to go through all the videos) then head over to Unreal’s Youtube channel.
The Detailed Version
- You will start by placing Begin Trigger & End Trigger boxes. You will then connect those triggers into their Enable & Disable Input boxes respectively. Then you will attach the Input Boxes into the Toggle Visibility box.
- Now you have to tell the game who is going to be making this input; the green box is the player controller “getter.” What this does is tells the game, “Hey you are going to be getting an input from this (this being the player).” You then connect those to the Enable & Disable input boxes. Your game now knows to ask the player controlled entity to turn On/Off an object.
- In the last step for the top box, you need to add the “helpful text” so the player knows what to do when at the light. This is also used so to tell the player that the prop is intractable. This one is simple, you place the “Helpful Text” bubble down and draw a line to the “Toggle Visibility” box and you are done.
- You will need to start by placing the bubble down for the prop you are manipulating. Drag that onto you Blueprint window.
- This will then be connected to the “Toggle Visibility” box, for the same reason as above.
- Lastly, you need to tell the game which button is going to turn the light on and off. You will place that bubble down and then connect it to the toggle visibility.
I hope you all found this helpful today. A little more detail then I have put into my posts in the past. I will be trying to make this more of a normality. Again, please reach out of you have suggestions, questions, or anything else you might wanna say.
Disclaimer: I get not kick back or reimbursement of any kind from the links. They are the property of their respect owners. I have shared links as to give you information and get you started on your way. ** All photos are sourced from free sites, credit to photographers is not required but I feel they should receive credit.