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Archive for March, 2016


Education Is The Most Important Thing 1

Posted on March 30, 2016 by Keith

Steam and Lan BluePrint Integration in Unreal Engine Part 2 - Game State Transitions

As the title says, education is the most important thing, and the subtitle on this post was almost ‘(and how I learned to stop worrying and love deletion).’ To understand why, let’s roll back to last week and the blog post I cancelled that otherwise would have been up on Thursday. It was a very simple blog post to provide a behind-the-scenes look at my operation and how I go about making a tutorial, from conception to publishing. It seemed a good time to do it because I was already taking some offline video of how I draw out level designs manually, and getting more pics and videos of my setup would just fit in with the workflow, but as I started taking pics, I also started getting very frustrated. My working space tends to be cluttered, pics alone didn’t help to explain my process, and I was having trouble putting it into words. In the end, because I didn’t feel I was explaining things well enough to make it educational, I trashed it and decided to do something else.

A parallel experience happened over the weekend. I had spent 17 hours recording a new series on network multiplayer with Steam in blueprints on Unreal Engine 4. After editing the first three sessions, I ran into something that I had to backtrack on in the current session. I wanted to go back and tie the change I was discussing back with where I originally set it up in the second session, and that’s when I realized: I had stopped explaining things in the second episode. Completely. I was commenting on things, but I wasn’t explaining anything. I might as well have been talking about the weather. There was no context as to why I was adding the nodes I was adding, or choosing one node over another. Without that, there was nothing for a viewer to latch onto to understand and learn from what I was doing. I had just gotten so caught up in doing it that I got lost in my own thoughts. It was not a positive education experience for the student.

So despite over 17 hours of invested time, I deleted the series, including the episodes I had already uploaded but not yet made public. It was a painful decision, but it had to be done. I started posting videos to teach, not simply to show that I can do something. I already have a plan to re-record the series, as I want to get it posted before mid-April, but there are changes I’m making to ensure I keep the education content as high-quality as I have always wanted it to be. Hopefully, you’ll enjoy it once I get it posted.

I just have one request – if you ever feel I’m lapsing into rote ‘just do this, then do that’ without explaining why, please call me on it. I want to ensure that what I deliver to you for tutorials are able to give you the education that you are looking for!

Marketplace Reviews To Save Frustration! 1

Posted on March 14, 2016 by Keith

Race Course Pack MarketPlace Reviews Title Screen

I have started posting Unreal Engine marketplace reviews on the channel over the last few days and I plan to keep them going regularly. Why, you ask? Because I want to be a ‘go to’ resource for game developers. This includes providing insight into purchases so that you can make more informed choices about where you spend your money. Many if not most of us considering marketplace purchases do so because we lack either the time or the experience to do everything we want to make our games great. For that same reason, we can’t afford to gamble our financial resources or time on items that may sound or look great on a web page, but are lacking when attempting to use them.

In my marketplace reviews, I try to look at the items from a developers viewpoint. Not just ‘are they worth the money?’ Much more needs to be understood when choosing, such as how difficult will they be to implement. Is there sufficient documentation for a game developer to fully understand the package? Will a developer have to deal with a lot of excess ‘baggage’ in the organization or contents of the package? I want to answer these questions for you. An excellent package may still be a bad choice if it lacks something important to you! My ratings system will likely evolve a bit over time as I’m trying to sort out the best system for each category of item, but the underlying approach and what I hope the viewer will be able to use in making decisions will remain constant.

At the time of writing this blog post, I have slightly less than 140 packages in my vault. This means I can post marketplace reviews 2 – 3 times per week for almost a year before I need more. Even then, I’m still buying regularly, so I see no end in sight to reviews. That said, I have a request – let me know what you want to see in reviews. As you would expect, there are certain things I’ll avoid such as exposing blueprint code in a blueprint package or playing audio files from a sound package, as that wouldn’t be respectfully appropriate to the creators of that content. There may still be other things you would want to know though. I’d like to know what detail would help you to make your decisions effectively, so please comment here, or on a review video. I’m happy to have your suggestions!

Changing My Approach to Recording & Editing Tutorials – Let the Weekly Blogging Commence! 1

Posted on March 09, 2016 by Keith

Common Concepts - Beginning AI In Unreal Engine 4

The first of the ‘Common Concepts’ tutorials was posted yesterday, and it has already received 175 views as I sit down to write this, the first in my promised shift to weekly blog posts rather than semi-annual! In the new tutorial, Basic A.I. in Unreal Engine 4.10 Using Blueprints, I decided to begin taking a new approach to recording and editing. In prior tutorials, I would sit down and start recording as I worked through the topic on the fly. Then, after finishing, I would go back and edit the tutorial down to a ‘more streamlined’ format to eliminate a lot of the pauses and missteps. Unfortunately, a byproduct of that approach is that occasionally, a little too much would get cut, and occasionally caused confusion for viewers. An example of this might be me exploring one way of doing things, then deciding to go a different way and cutting the first way out but forgetting that a variable I created in that first way gets used in the second way but now it has no explanation – it just appears. That’s definitely not viewer-friendly!

The new approach works differently. I make an outline of topics I plan to cover, then make the slides, and then film in short segments focused on each section of the outline. I back up the tutorial after I complete each section. If in filming a section, I decide I don’t like it, or I feel I’m being unclear, or I jumble words, then I revert back to the backup and start again. By doing so, I ensure that any re-records have to cover everything, and nothing gets cut that will leave the viewer confused. It also makes it a bit easier for me to record, because I don’t have to plan for a multi-hour recording and editing session. As I record and am happy with each section, I add it to the video editing project in Premiere Pro, and that way the video is built over time without needing a marathon recording or editing session, which means I’ll be able to record more frequently!

The final change for the video is that I decided not to do any microphone post-processing other than a very minor de-noise filter. While I actually prefer my voice with the vocal enhancer on, I think it was making my voice a little more muffled. I also did my playback with my PC set at 60% volume, so that I could determine the level for my voice. If I could hear it clearly at 60% volume, then hopefully that means everyone else watching at full volume won’t have issues hearing me! Still, I want to make a mic test video soon to post, and have viewers offer feedback on what mic and settings work best.

That’s it for this first weekly post. I have no idea what I’ll post about next week, but I’ll try to make it good! What would you like to see discussed?



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