Any Unreal Engine Experts Here?

Huntn

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I've always been interested in computer graphics, played with it early in my life, and then let it slide.Recently, I kind of got a wild hair. Any experts here? My intent is to create a limited environment with a theme, like a secluded grotto, pond, waterfall, balcony overlooking with secret hideaway in side of a cliff, that you can walk through.

Can you do all of the things, terrain, plants, and architecture within the Unreal Engine or do you need 3rd party stuff? I was shocked to find that all the stuff for it seems to be free as far as learning.
Thanks in advance! :)

 

thekev

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Does it actually have 3D modeling tools? You need some way to deal with textures/texture painting. You need shader creation, compliant with whatever renderer it's using. You need some skinning and rigging tools if you plan to animate anything. A game engine isn't really where I think most people would build assets. Check integration with something like Blender.
 

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I’ve dabbled with Unreal, and I know a bit about Blender. If you want to know anything specific, feel free to ask.

The first thing you should do is check out the Megascan assets, which come free with Unreal.

 

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I'd suggest starting with Unity vs. Unreal, it's also free, there are 1000s of resources from tutorials, model/texture/etc. assets and outstanding community support. It's got a little friendlier interface, not as overwhelming as Unreal, especially for someone who's just getting into 3D software, some of the organization/abstractions in the Unity UI make more sense from a sort of "cinematic metaphor" (if that makes sense).

While you probably wouldn't wade into the code up front, Unity is going to have less ramp up time, and I think you'd be able to understanding some of the code basics without being a developer, for example, something like controller implementation - FWIW, Unreal uses C++ and Unity uses C#.

I spent a few years in Unity, we built several apps, just small stuff, published through Oculus/Steam - developed a couple of prototypes we shopped around the West Coast - and my extended SV gig was working on the SDK for the AR firm we had a consulting contract with, all built around Unity.

To clarify, I did mostly backend, so I didn't get engaged with much in the way of design, that's where @Renzatic has much better expertise, especially around asset creation outside of Unity/Unreal.
 
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Huntn

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Does it actually have 3D modeling tools? You need some way to deal with textures/texture painting. You need shader creation, compliant with whatever renderer it's using. You need some skinning and rigging tools if you plan to animate anything. A game engine isn't really where I think most people would build assets. Check integration with something like Blender.

I’ve dabbled with Unreal, and I know a bit about Blender. If you want to know anything specific, feel free to ask.

The first thing you should do is check out the Megascan assets, which come free with Unreal.

I’m curious it is self contained being able to do terrain, vegetation, and 3D architectural modeling, or does it require 3rd party programs/assets to accomplish this?
 
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Huntn

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I'd suggest starting with Unity vs. Unreal, it's also free, there are 1000s of resources from tutorials, model/texture/etc. assets and outstanding community support. It's got a little friendlier interface, not as overwhelming as Unreal, especially for someone who's just getting into 3D software, some of the organization/abstractions in the Unity UI make more sense from a sort of "cinematic metaphor" (if that makes sense).

While you probably wouldn't wade into the code up front, Unity is going to have less ramp up time, and I think you'd be able to understanding some of the code basics without being a developer, for example, something like controller implementation - FWIW, Unreal uses C++ and Unity uses C#.

I spent a few years in Unity, we built several apps, just small stuff, published through Oculus/Steam - developed a couple of prototypes we shopped around the West Coast - and my extended SV gig was working on the SDK for the AR firm we had a consulting contract with, all built around Unity.

To clarify, I did mostly backend, so I didn't get engaged with much in the way of design, that's where @Renzatic has much better expertise, especially around asset creation outside of Unity/Unreal.
Thanks, I’ll look at Unity. I downloaded UE and looked at some of the tutorial titles. For the Unreal Engine, they certainly give the impression it can do everything and I’d like to get that straightened out In my head. I know zero code….
 

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I’m curious it is self contained being able to do terrain, vegetation, and 3D architectural modeling, or does it require 3rd party programs/assets to accomplish this?

You can do some basics in Unreal, but it's primarily meant to accept models created in another program.

For example, you can create a basic bumpy terrain generated from a flat plane in Unreal, and paint it with textures. But when you want to start adding extra details, like rocks, ferns, grass, trees, and whatnot, you're going to need to buy an asset pack (or use some of the Megascans listed above), or make them in an application built for creating 3D models, like Blender, Maya, or Cinema4D.

Unreal can do some basic geometry, but it's all primitive based. Planes, cubes, cylinders, and so on. With a bit of creativity, you can make some interesting shapes, but it's always gonna be pretty simple and flatish looking.

If I were to recommend you do anything, it'd be to start out on the simpler end of 3D, and work your way up. I would look into low poly work, since you don't have to worry about complex shaders, or UV maps, surface normals, or subdivision surfaces, or anything like that. It's all flat shaded shapes, and it helps you build a nice foundation that you can work from when you start wanting to get more photorealistic. Plus, you're producing a bunch of neat looking little scenes in the meanwhile, making you feel like you're actually accomplishing something.

For example, this is one of the first real scenes I built. Except for the fog, and rain, this is all stuff you could learn within the first couple of days of using one of the aforementioned DCCs.

LowPoly.jpg
 

Renzatic

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Though starting out, you'll probably want something that takes you through the bare basics step by step. For that, I recommend the now legendary Blender Donut Tutorial!

The bare bare basics

Part 1 - Beginning The Donut
 

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I'd suggest starting with Unity vs. Unreal, it's also free, there are 1000s of resources from tutorials, model/texture/etc. assets and outstanding community support. It's got a little friendlier interface, not as overwhelming as Unreal, especially for someone who's just getting into 3D software, some of the organization/abstractions in the Unity UI make more sense from a sort of "cinematic metaphor" (if that makes sense).

While you probably wouldn't wade into the code up front, Unity is going to have less ramp up time, and I think you'd be able to understanding some of the code basics without being a developer, for example, something like controller implementation - FWIW, Unreal uses C++ and Unity uses C#.

I spent a few years in Unity, we built several apps, just small stuff, published through Oculus/Steam - developed a couple of prototypes we shopped around the West Coast - and my extended SV gig was working on the SDK for the AR firm we had a consulting contract with, all built around Unity.

To clarify, I did mostly backend, so I didn't get engaged with much in the way of design, that's where @Renzatic has much better expertise, especially around asset creation outside of Unity/Unreal.

I've only looked at some Unreal stuff, but I've spent the past year playing around with Unity quite a bit. So I can't compare the two, but I can say I've found working with Unity to be a fun time. Especially after I picked up a mouse with a scroll wheel to use on my Mac. Unity + track pad = 🤬 To be fair, I think it would be an issue for any Windows software ported to the Mac that relies heavily on the scroll wheel.

I'm a web developer, so I've just been playing with it experimenting with some VR stuff. It's tons of fun to step into a world you've made. I just wish I had the artistic skills to compliment my developer skills. Earlier this year there was a 2-3 month stretch where I was probably spending 50-60 hours a week playing with Unity. And that's after my day job. I've not played much with it lately. Kinda burned myself out. But I might jump back in again real soon (at a slower pace). I had started something I'd like to get back to.
 
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Huntn

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Comeon, @Huntn, you can't tease us with hopes of nerdy hobby discussions to come, then bail on us!
Dude, this stuff takes time. :)
I’m still interested, but since I posted this I have yet to start an Unreal Engine tutorial, but it’s still in the plan. And when I’m not working out at the gym/pool, playing computer games (currently No Man’s Sky), I’m still sorting out password manager stuff, have to check out DataVault, and figuring out how to send our 20 year old grandson back to Minnesota, busy busy. Three days a week I work out and on those days not much else gets done, same for the weekend chores outside which does not leave tons of spare time. 👀 Still have to decide on Unreal vs Unity, but naturally lean towards UE. I predict more nerdy hobby discussions are forthcoming be patient.:D
 
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Huntn

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I've only looked at some Unreal stuff, but I've spent the past year playing around with Unity quite a bit. So I can't compare the two, but I can say I've found working with Unity to be a fun time. Especially after I picked up a mouse with a scroll wheel to use on my Mac. Unity + track pad = 🤬 To be fair, I think it would be an issue for any Windows software ported to the Mac that relies heavily on the scroll wheel.

I'm a web developer, so I've just been playing with it experimenting with some VR stuff. It's tons of fun to step into a world you've made. I just wish I had the artistic skills to compliment my developer skills. Earlier this year there was a 2-3 month stretch where I was probably spending 50-60 hours a week playing with Unity. And that's after my day job. I've not played much with it lately. Kinda burned myself out. But I might jump back in again real soon (at a slower pace). I had started something I'd like to get back to.
I still have to decide between UE and Unity. I’ve got a couple of ancient USB powered graphic tablets and wonder if I pull one out and it still works, if that would be an asset for this purpose?
 
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Regarding Unity vs Unreal Engine, is there any significant difference between their capabilities? And based on recommendations that Unity is easier to use?

Though starting out, you'll probably want something that takes you through the bare basics step by step. For that, I recommend the now legendary Blender Donut Tutorial!

The bare bare basics

Part 1 - Beginning The Donut
What software is that? Heading to the gym, be back soon. :D
 
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Renzatic

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What software is that?

That's Blender, which you'll probably be using if you want to tailor or create objects specific to your scene.

The good news is that Unity can read .blend files natively, and Epic made a nice importer addon that makes moving objects between the two programs as quick as hitting a button.
 
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After the gym today, I actually sat down and worked my way through the first tutorial at Unrealengine.com/learning/Your first Hour in Unreal Engine 4 tutorial. It's free. My first hour, half the course was like 3 hours (with some interruptions added. Still have the other half to do.) Yes I'm taking notes, and finished the first quiz which is presented half way through. All of the time is navigating the interface, with a tutorial project, and covers items like how to edit actors, add actors, import from other projects and other programs, just getting familiar with how to navigate around. There's even a free starter game project (game assets and a basic setup), you download as part of the tutorial, under their Marketplace/free/Epic games.

So far I see nothing that is scary. The unreal engine program, and the assets provided seem very polished. Nothing too mysterious so far (knock on wood). ;)
 

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After the gym today, I actually sat down and worked my way through the first tutorial at Unrealengine.com/learning/Your first Hour in Unreal Engine 4 tutorial. It's free. My first hour, half the course was like 3 hours (with some interruptions added. Still have the other half to do.) Yes I'm taking notes, and finished the first quiz which is presented half way through. All of the time is navigating the interface, with a tutorial project, and covers items like how to edit actors, add actors, import from other projects and other programs, just getting familiar with how to navigate around. There's even a free starter game project (game assets and a basic setup), you download as part of the tutorial, under their Marketplace/free/Epic games.

So far I see nothing that is scary. The unreal engine program, and the assets provided seem very polished. Nothing too mysterious so far (knock on wood). ;)

That's interesting. I found a similar experience with Unity. I thought their online tutorials were mostly well done. I grew out of them very quickly, but I've been a developer for a long time. I just needed to understand the basics.

Nice to know Unreal has some quality stuff as well.
 

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That's interesting. I found a similar experience with Unity. I thought their online tutorials were mostly well done. I grew out of them very quickly, but I've been a developer for a long time. I just needed to understand the basics.

Nice to know Unreal has some quality stuff as well.

The one big advantage Unreal has for non-coders (like me) is the Blueprint visual scripting setup. Rather than dealing with the seemingly arcane syntax and structuring of C++, you just have to wrap your head around a bunch of premade logic blocks strung together in a nodal system.

For what Huntn's planning, which is a single environment with some interactive bits and bobs strewn about, it won't take him long to come to terms with things.
 
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Huntn

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The one big advantage Unreal has for non-coders (like me) is the Blueprint visual scripting setup. Rather than dealing with the seemingly arcane syntax and structuring of C++, you just have to wrap your head around a bunch of premade logic blocks strung together in a nodal system.

For what Huntn's planning, which is a single environment with some interactive bits and bobs strewn about, it won't take him long to come to terms with things.
Yes, my goal is to create an immersive, interactive scene, that I can walk through, kind of like a fantasy location I’d like to get away to. Flowing water would be a very nice touch.

i still have active although somewhat neglected Minecraft projects, one is a Jungle House that is partially escavated into the side of hill/mountain, in the jungle surrounded by lush foliage and huge trees, overlooking a wetland of lakes and islands. There is a railed balcony, and steps and down to lake, which has nice clean, clear water, not yucky pond scum (like many lakes especially hot climate lakes are). :)

The other is a giant tree in a mountain terrain. large enough to support individual dwellings built among it’s branches, with both internal carved into the tree and external steps, with a huge hall in the base of the tree.

Now Minecraft is simple and crude, and well, blocky. But even there, intense building can wear on you, block by little block, lol. But I own a Nordic Content Pack which includes a world that might just blow your mind. ;) There is also at least one stunning Minecraft Rivendell build out there. This is when the creation can overcome the blocky-ness of Minecraft.

For this Unreal Engine collaboration, I’m going to start basic and see how far it can take me.
 
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MEJHarrison

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The one big advantage Unreal has for non-coders (like me) is the Blueprint visual scripting setup. Rather than dealing with the seemingly arcane syntax and structuring of C++, you just have to wrap your head around a bunch of premade logic blocks strung together in a nodal system.

For what Huntn's planning, which is a single environment with some interactive bits and bobs strewn about, it won't take him long to come to terms with things.

If I'm not mistaken, Unity has similar tools available. Seems like there's several as I recall. I can't name them off the top of my head as I wasn't interested, but I do recall coming across a series of videos where a school teacher tried several different tools with his class.

Honestly, I think he'd be find either way. Coming from someone who been a developer for a long time, I don't think it matters. It's not the tool being used that matters here, but the person wielding it. I very much doubt he's going to be pushing the limits of either tool, so I think "pick the one you like" is a perfectly valid answer to the question. It's not like one tool will lead to success and one will lead to failure.
 
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