Interlude: The Upside and Downside of UE4

This isn’t the blog post I promised but, whilst starting to put together my turn-based idea, I stumbled onto something that made me think about one of the big differences between UE4 and UDK.

When I used UDK, the Content Browser was a faithful friend. It wasn’t overstocked with meshes and objects but there was enough there to let you throw together an aesthetically interesting level without too much trouble. A far from profound, but certainly noticeable, adjustment to using UE4 is the bare cupboard of a content browser.  It took me a while to understand that, simply, the free content from UDK’s default content browser had been replaced by a shop.

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My default reaction, predictable, reasonably, was to be a bit put out. Swapping my free things for expensive things hardly seemed like a good deal. As is often the case (and with the help of a friendly “thank you subscriber, we’re free now” voucher) I was able to see the benefits of the new marketplace.

As part of making a turn-based prototype I knew that, at some point, I would need to get some sort of turn-based functionality working. UE4 allows me to dip into the marketplace and grab some pre-made Blueprints for turn-based gameplay which will allow me to get straight into some of the unique features I want my zombie game to have. It isn’t necessarily the turn-based gameplay I would want in the long-term (I don’t anticipate using a visible grid because I am visualising the zombies clustering in packs, which looks more effective when not constrained by a grid pattern) but it is a great way to get the prototyping off the ground quickly.

It is also a superb way of broadening my UE4 skillset even further. I’m being handed a huge chunk of someone else’s work to pore over and learning from. Even better, the creator of the particular set of Blueprints I paid for has created a series of online tutorials which I can use if I run into trouble.

They are all available here, if you are interested:

So the trade off is a clear one; less free content included with the engine but much, much more useful and varied content if you are willing to pay for it. To be honest, I’m still torn. I liked having a content browser stacked with meshes but, on the other hand, the template i purchased is going to have a hugely positive impact on my prototyping. That would not have been easily achievable with the old UDK.

Of course, these presupposes that you use the market place. I do, for the convenience, but I imagine there are a ton of sites you could go to and grab all the Blueprints you need for nothing.

Still, I thought it was an interesting comparison and a good opportunity to share a template that I am finding very useful.

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