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Mindless Pursuits


Archive for the ‘Behind The Scenes’


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!

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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