Visual Studio and UE4 include note

I’ve been meaning to mention:

In Visual Studio – if you create new files in the Solution Explorer, even if they appear to be in the same directory as your other files they will fail to #include as they aren’t really in the same directory. So when you get:

error C1083: Cannot open include file:

it will be because it’s created the .h or .cpp file in the GameTitle/Intermediate/ProjectFiles directory rather than the GameTitle/Source/GameTitle directory with the others. You can cut and paste the file(s) from one to the other, ‘Remove’ the files from Solution Explorer and then drag and drop the newly placed files from Windows Explorer to GameTitle in Solution Explorer to fix it.
I’m sure there’s some other way this is supposed to be done but I learn by playing and then read the instructions when I get stuck.


UE4 Glass Material

A short post in the hope of saving other people time – UE4 materials currently (in 4.7.5) do not support reflection/specular and translucent on the same material at the same time. Turning on translucent disables reflection and specular. So you’ll have to fake the reflection somehow if you need them, possibly using some clever texture manipulation.

EDIT: This tutorial has the clever texture manipulation –

I haven’t tried it but from the video it looks good!


Character design/animation workflow

I’ve had no trouble importing static meshes from blender into UE4, but adding animation is causing me trouble. I’m sure it’s going to be something simple (like checking a box that inverts something) but for some reason the character’s arm has decided it wants to be inside out – meaning now there’s an arm-shaped hole at the shoulder inside the body of the character.

I’m taking a short break from learning that to work on learning the C++ side of UE4. When I come back to it and work it out I’ll let you know what I find in case it helps anyone else!


In Which Progress Has Been Made

I’ve put a lot of time over the last few days into learning more blender and UE4. I feel like I’m starting to get it.

I’ve managed to implement some of the mechanics of my first game, which is faster progress than I’d been expecting to make – what with learning blender more seriously (I’ve used it a little in the past but with no specific aim) and UE4 from scratch.

Turns out UE4 is pretty easy to pick up, the only problem is there’s just so much of it! Though really that’s a good thing – it’s incredibly flexible and simplifies a lot of things that would have been incredibly laborious previously. It’s just learning which of the millions of options to use to solve any given problem*.

I’d been pondering making this first game a creepy/scary/sneaky type game but I’m aiming for more of a fun/arcade feel now. I may well take the concept to another larger game and go for creepy there – I’ve got a lot of ideas for this one.

Only 6 working days to go until I’ve finished my notice and go full time on this. Exciting.


* For any given problem there are more useful combinations of options to solve it than ways to skin a cat.

Beginning of the Learning Curve

I’d originally been planning on programming my first game in Java for portability but it seems like that wouldn’t be the best plan. So I’m moving to C++ and currently trying out Unreal Engine 4. I had no idea how full-featured UE4 was, it’s possible to create so much without even touching the code.
But still, I’m trying to get my head around some of the more esoteric parts and may need to go to the code level to achieve what I’m aiming for – not that that’s a problem, I was expecting to write the entire thing from scratch.

Right now I’m learning about skeletons/armatures in UE4, which seem to be slightly complicated by using blender rather than Maya. I’m not sure if they’re right for what I’m trying to achieve but I’ll play with it until I know for sure! If they do work the way I need them to they’ll save me a fair amount of work.

So I quit my job…

2 weeks ago I handed in my notice to start my own games company.

I’ve got a lot to learn but I know that’s not going to happen unless I commit and just do it.

Right now I have a bunch of ideas and soon I’ll have the time to implement them. I’m planning to record this journey as I go, partly for me and partly in the hope it will help others out if they decide to take the same chance*.

From reading around, the first thing I had to do was decide on a company name.
This can’t wait until later unfortunately, because early on you’re going to need to register on social media and for any domain names. You’re going to need these so you can start talking to people about what you’re doing and generate a bit of interest, then point them at your site when they’re interested.

My first game is a fairly simple level-based puzzle/dungeon thing. You explore, find the exit and the button that opens it; then you push the button and run for the exit before the door closes again.
There is however a neat mechanic that should make this a lot more difficult and a lot more fun. I’ll not reveal the mechanic just yet, not until I have something I can show.

* and now I sound like Rimmer from Red Dwarf. Gespacho Soup day anyone?

Blender character creation

I have been mostly learning how to convert sketches into 3D objects in blender. It’s been a really good way to learn the relevant hot-keys, that’s for sure! Operations are just so much more fluid when you only have to tap a couple of keys instead of constantly going through the menus.


I’ve started modelling a character’s face mainly as a learning exercise. So far it’s not looking terribly like the image I had in my head – I seem to have inadvertently given it extremely prominent cheek bones. That said, I’m pleased with how it’s coming along given my lack of experience – and I now have a better idea of what I’m doing for next time.

Next up I shall create hair, of the long(ish) and flowing variety so I can experiment with applying cloth physics in UE4.