Unreal Blueprint seems to be an easy alternative to programming with code. This is a very important feature of the Unreal Engine, as it makes Games Design more accessible to people who are not educated in C++ programming, and there are many people who want to learn how to make computer games- but they just don't have a grasp on the coding aspect of games development process- there are many very talented 3D artists, who would be slowed down by the code, but thanks to blueprint it's a lot easier, and doesn't require the programmer mindset. However this does not mean that Blueprint is necessarily easy, in fact it can be quite challenging, and takes time to understand what you are doing; but it is definitely not as confusing as coding.
So why bother with C++ in unreal? Why not just use the blueprint? Well the reason is for efficiency. Blueprint will effect the performance of a game, because blueprint needs to be converted into C++, as this is the language used by the Unreal Engine, this won't be too much trouble for a small game with basic features; but if used on a more complex game- such as an RPG, it can severely effect the games performance.
|Here are some variables I set up, Variables are much easier with blueprint than code, you can select from many different types of variables i.e Boolean, Floats, etc.|
|The blue square represents the screen. This is a very simple way of showing a healthbar, all I had to do was find the shape I wanted, and then give it the colour I wanted.|
|This is just a JPEG, it was pretty easy to bring into unreal.|
I am not a C++ programmer, so I can not really compare Unreal's C++ to blueprint with examples- as I would not know how to create the code in the first place. But I have used code before, but in a much simpler form- GML code. GML code is the programming language GameMaker uses, Gamemaker is a very low level game engine, which is commonly used to make 2D games. Although it's a less powerful engine than Unreal or Unity, it has been responsible for some pretty good games, such as: Hotline Miami, and Undertale- both games which have sold millions of units. Gamemaker has a very simple Drag and drop system, this is a great way to make games without code- it's similar to the Unreal Blueprint in a way; and just like Blueprint it has it's limitations. As time went on, I discovered that coding might be an quicker way of creating games in Gamemaker, although I did not figure it all out myself, I used online tutorials to learn the code I needed to make my games. GML is said to be an easy code, but for someone who knew nothing about code it was still pretty hard to learn, although in my opinion it seems like a great place to start.
|Here are all the Drag and Drop actions in Gamemaker Studio. Gamemaker Studio is a free version of Gamemaker, there are some more expensive versions of Gamemaker available and these have more features.|
|This is some code I used from my "Shapeman" game, the game consisted of some randomly generating shapes, every now and then the shapes will change into a different sprite. The code is basically showing when the shapes will change- using a countdown.|
|And here is some code relating to the script.|
|All this code also links up to the multiple choice questions, for example the screenshot above shows how the menu's questions are navigated. And below is what I had to do to show the actual menu- I had to set up a font and position it in the right place. Maybe there was a simpler way of doing this, but all this for a little menu seems a bit complex, I'm sure in Unreal Blueprint you can just create a widget that can do this for you.|
|Here are some screenshots that show my Space Invaders game. This game was pretty easy to set up, it was a good mix of drag and drop functions and code. I set up alarms, which are events that act like timers, these alarms are a built in function in Gamemaker, Gamemaker has many built in functions like this which do a certain thing, it's just a matter of finding the right ones and using them in the right places.|
|I was quite happy with the finished game. And in my opinion GML code was pretty good, but I think I prefer Blueprint, because it has a lot more features, and is part of a more powerful engine. Gamemaker is great for people who want to want 2D games, but I am not a good artist, Gamemaker would be better for people who want to make games like Hotline Miami and Undertale. But for anyone who wants to make simple 3D games such as first/third person shooters, you should stick to Unreal Engine, the blueprint as good as GML as a starting point for games design and programming.|