I wrote a Unreal Engine 4 book

A year ago I published Unreal Engine 4 (UE4) book in Japan. The title was “Unreal Engine 4 De Kiwameru Game Kaihatsu” (Unreal Engine 4 で極めるゲーム開発”). The direct translation of that might be “Game Development Master Course with UE4.”

UE4Book_Jacket

Overview

The book covers both the Western game development process and practice of simple 3D action game development. The process described is based on Epic Games’ one and used by my previous UE game project. The practice of game development goes through this process.

This book is intended to serve as the text for a boot camp in Unreal Engine 4 game projects. It can also be used by students, amateur game developers, hobbyists, self-taught game developers alike. In Japan, some game colleges and some game courses in universities adopted the book as a textbook.

The readers shouldn’t be familiar with programming because the book doesn’t require C++. The game development in the book uses only Blueprint, which is a visual script language in UE4. If Blueprint is hard for a reader, s/he can skip chapters handling Blueprint. Every chapter shows Disciplines Icons indicating what discipline should read the chapter. Even engineers should read the book to understand who works on what in UE4 game development.

FIRST PART “BEGINNING”

  • The first part of the book explains game industry disciplines and an effective game development process (Western style) and how to operate Unreal Engine 4. If the reader had only an experience of Japanese game development process, which is notorious for its ineffective, s/he can renew what an effective process is.
  • The book tries to go through a real game development process. But the book sometimes had to put easier/essential chapters before harder/application ones. So chapter 3 shows a difference between a real process and book’s one.

SECOND PART “PROTOTYPING”

  • The second part start with a graybox methodology. Graybox means a draft level design consisted of simple meshes; boxes, sphere, pre-designed stair meshes and so on. Gray-box methodology makes level designing rapid and iterative. (Sometimes Graybox is called as Whitebox.) UE4 supports BSP features for a gray-box. The readers learn how to use BSP and design their first level.
  • Like this, the readers are supposed to learn knowledge and then operate UE4 to implement it on their game in all chapters.
  • After designing a gray-boxed level, the readers import game assets from downloadable source assets, set up the assets, convert grayboxes to invisible collisions and put static meshes within the collisions for the final version. (Meshing shortly after grayboxing is not right way, but chapter 3 and text warn this disorder as I said.)
  • The book is going into a Blueprint part. Blueprint is a visual script language for game designers and artists. The readers try to implement small game mechanics with Blueprint because a real game development process starts from prototyping phase. My book recommends that the readers prepare difference test levels for difference mechanics. They are learning various UE4 features (trigger, event, physics, collision, AI and so on) and hooking up them to her/his game with Blueprint.

THIRD PART “PREPRODUCTION & PRODUCTION”

  • By the end of the book, the readers add contents on their game having fixed level design and fixed game mechanics and polish the contents. They work on animations, materials, lighting, VFX and SFX.

RICH APPENDICES

  • The readers can download source assets for a practice of importing, projects for each chapter and final project data.
  • Video tutorials replay all operation steps described in the book.
  • Six Appendix PDFs have totally over 160 pages and the same quality as the book. The PDFs handle more deeply topics; Character Movement, Construction Script, Camera, UI and Build. Like the book, the readers can learn knowledge and operations and then integrate them into their sample game.
  • (In a fact, these PDFs were written for the books. But the publisher didn’t have much paper to print them, so they and I decided to serve them as PDF.)

RECEPTION

  • Amazon.co.jp Review 4.4 (14 reviews)
  • When the 3rd impression of the book published, it got official text authorized by Epic Games Japan, a Japanese branch of UE4 developer.
  • Some game schools and game courses in universities use the book as a textbook.
  • It had been translated into the Korean language and published in South Korea.

THANKS

A structure of the book follows “Game Development with Unity.” It’s a good book written by Michel Menard and translated into Japanese in 2011 by my previous colleagues and me. Good points of her book are to teach readers correct step to developing a game. I respected the concept of her book, so I polished her ideas and wrote my book.

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