Programming is its own Game (Making a Ghetto GTA in Unreal Engine 4)

Well now that Unreal Engine 4 is free, I can pick it up again. Not that I have the time, what with all of the game playing that I do and the real life job of programming. The last time I tried Unreal was way back in July with version 4.2. Now 4.7 is out and it feels like it performs a lot better on my 3.6 gHz dual core processor. I remember back then I had a whole 5 frames per second! Now I’ve got 24 – 29, perfect Youtube quality.

Speaking of Youtube, since last July, I’ve kept on the pulse of Unreal Engine. I’ve watched endless official tutorials over and over again. So its like I’ve been learning for the past 8 months even if I haven’t practiced at all.

Unreal Engine 4 uses a blueprints system that’s really counteractive to all of the lines of code that I’ve known for 20 years. I’d rather type out lines of code than learn this blueprints system. I’m sure it easier in the sense that you can’t mess it up, but its more difficult that you need to arrange and align every node in the blueprint. It just feels so cumbersome even if it prevents bugs.

Right out of the gates I was able to program a system that creates random rooms. Then it creates doorways using subtractive boxes to connect each room. It was a pretty nice system. It even generates random clutter and objects in the room and places them. I’m sure it will only get better over time.

However, I’m not here to talk about that… Using Youtube tutorials, I’ve been making a ghetto Grand Theft Auto in Unreal Engine 4. After a few hours of work, I’ve got it so the 3rd person player can take possession of a car within a certain distance. Then drive around and even exit the car. By I mean exit and take possession, the player model disappears. It doesn’t actually hop in. I’m no animator.

I’m also no modeler, because perfection takes time and I just don’t have enough of it. So I’m using the default assets that come with UE4. Its enough to get you started. There are plenty of default game styles like overhead, first person shooter, third person shooter and so on. Its easy to get going and make levels for these default systems.

I painfully programmed the ability to ragdoll on death. Its something simple, but since it was my first time doing it, that turned into a 30 minute process. At first it would just freeze the paler model Until I jumped. It was a glitch that most awful games would consider a feature!

With each model able to ragdoll, I continued on with a tutorial on making characters die when you hit them with a car! This was much easier, because I’ve programmed similar things in the past. Now I can mow down people with not only vehicles, but I made falling objects that will ragdoll characters too. Its interesting to bury characters under spawning boxes for the laughs.

I still had problems with getting the collision to work correctly. The car wouldn’t just stop when it would ram into NPCs, but it was like the impact would send the back of the car up. Physics don’t feel that realistic by default, like the car needs more weight to it. Running up to the car I can just bump into it and get it to move. I’m sure that’s wise from a gameplay perspective. You don’t want to be stuck by a car, even if you can jump over it.

Anyway, its been a fun few hours so far back in Unreal 4. I’m not sure how much time I can actually devote to it.


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