6.21.2016

Video Tutorial Series Aims To Assist FPS Creators

By Mathew Wadstein

Hello, I'm Mathew Wadstein, creator of the MVP (Minimum Viable Product) series of YouTube videos showing how to create the basic prototype for an FPS (First Person Shooter) from scratch in Unreal Engine 4.

MVP FPS is the first in a continuing series of video tutorials that walk you through the creation of a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) or prototype starting from scratch. The goal is to show you how, using an empty project and only engine-supplied content, products are structured and created within various game genres. In addition to the source for the project there is a PDF file that outlines what you will be learning in each video along with a simple additional task that you can do to try and improve your skills on your own.

With each explanation of how we are doing everything to get this project up and running, the videos also walk you through why we are doing it and the other possible options for content creation along the way. Every node that we use will be discussed at a minimum during the series, but in addition there are separate videos that cover what and how we would use these features of the engine in more detail.


WHY AM I DOING THIS?

About six months back I took on the task of trying to handle keyboard input in a UMG widget so I could have keyboard and gamepad controls inside of a Game Jam entry. At this point the official documentation basically gives you the types that a node expects but not really any explanation on how you are supposed to use it or even how to get those types if you need them. This is no fault of Epic or the Docs team as most API stuff is higher level and just pulled in using other applications to scrape the comments from the source itself and for most programmers it works well enough. With Unreal Engine 4 going free, there was an influx of newer programmers wanting to learn the engine and nothing really catering to them documentation-wise.

Around the holidays earlier that year there was a fantastic series I was watching that basically showed you one node a day for Substance Designer and explained how it worked and how to use it in a very clear and straightforward fashion. I absolutely loved this method. I decided to see if I could do something similar while passing along what I knew about UMG as UI is my favorite part of an engine and I found people wanted help on this topic quite frequently. I decided to try and keep things as simple as possible for people who wanted this as more of a video reference to go along with the official documentation, so I broke up the videos into a What Is? series along with a separate How Do I? videos if needed to show an example of use. I also got this crazy idea to put out at least one video a day, but more on that later.

The MVP series came about from a desire to put all of the nodes I have covered in the past and to show that creating something from scratch is doable by anyone. Plus, it doesn't take too long to get the basics in place, which was another element of creation that I wanted to highlight. By sticking with a from scratch method and trying to use only included engine content or other sample content you can pull in from the engine itself, it allows a clean prototype to be created by anyone. This preserves the option to flesh those basics out into something that you put your own touches on.


MORE? YOU WANT MORE!

As time goes on more videos will be added to each series in order to build on the basics of each template and give it more features or more options that you may want to add into your game. As of now there are two more videos for the MVP FPS series introducing how to make our character crouch as well as how to make them sprint. The future of the series will be adding in things such as making a projectile weapon, adding in some basic enemies that can shoot back, maybe tossing in some AI so they are not just target practice fodder, and finally giving our character some hands and a weapon to shoot with! This is just a small part of the planned future for the FPS series with a Brick Breaker/Arkanoid prototype being next on the list for its own from scratch series.


A LITTLE LIGHT VIEWING

In addition to this MVP series and any specific nodes that might have been used in it, there are a few more that might be of interest as well on the general YouTube channel. As mentioned before this started out as a way to give some form of video documentation to go along with the API docs and to breathe some life into the static text that most programmers are used to having as a reference. At this time there are over around 400 videos covering all sorts of things from materials, AI, general Blueprint tips, and even a series of videos breaking down how a game jam entry was created. All of these have the accompanying code that was used in the examples in a GutHub repo so you can see the code itself if you need it for reference.

Thank you for learning more about the video series! I hope that is assists you in your Unreal Engine development!

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