UE4: The First Day

For Ludum Dare 31, Epic offered up a bunch of free 90-day Unreal Engine 4 subscriptions. I wouldn't have dared make use of it for LD31, since I'd almost certainly be spending 95% of my time simply learning the engine.

However, now that the jam is over, and I have a weekend free. I decided to explore it, by attempting to port over the entry I DID wind up making, SnoZonE.

The results, after a day, are visually astounding so far:

It's a start.

There's quite a bit of a learning curve. Random glitches appear now and then... I crashed the engine no less than 7 times in about 10 hours. I caused a some major hair-pulling issues with lighting, because I marked some things as 'static'.

The editor interface is a bit rough in spots, compared to Unity, but it's also quite a bit more powerful and deliciously complicated.

I haven't even gotten into the code side of things; just importing existing assets, exporting the terrain, and learning the interface and UE4 way of doing things. I had planned to completely ignore Blueprints, in favor of using C++ exclusively, but it there's plenty of things (like that cloud-filled sky in the screenshot) that use them.

I made some attempts to migrate over the skybox, but skipping that in favor of the procedural materials that come with the engine was an easy choice.

Unity has the huge advantage of being able to export to the Web Player.  UE4 doesn't do that... yet.  Somewhere down the line, there's plans for a WebGL exporter, but until then, desktop and mobile (Android/iOS) will have to suffice.

So far it seems like it will be worth the effort in the long run, if only for the experience associated with working with a AAA-level engine.

It will be very interesting to compare this to Unity 5 when that drops, for us mortals.