One professor, Paul Neale of Humber College North Campus, Toronto, has developed a rather unique method of teaching Unreal Engine material networks and construction scripts to his students. He’s created a series of “Blueprint infographics” to help students learn the fundamentals of Unreal Engine.
"When teaching concepts like materials or Blueprints in Unreal Engine, there are a lot of small details that the students would greatly benefit from retaining. Just setting up UV tiling or showing how a World Align Texture works means showing many nodes, so I wanted to create a way to clearly communicate those details."
Neale began to craft the idea for the Blueprint infographics by doing a screen grab in class and hand writing some info on it with Wacom Cintiqs. He gave these out to students to help them learn Blueprints, then he started to create the infographics. “They have given me the ability to break down complex solutions into bite size pieces that can be reviewed any time they need them,” he stated.
Neale says the infographics are proving to be a beneficial learning tool. As the students are working on projects, they can easily reference the infographics through their online learning portal Backboard. “Each infographic isn't meant to be a complete solution for a task, but an explanation of a concept within a larger problem. From these, they are able to extrapolate other solutions and build from them.”
Neale originally started teaching Unreal Engine four years ago as a real-time rendering solution for assets that were designed for games. "From shaders to Blueprints, I quickly realized that it would be best to teach more of its capabilities, and now I teach full game development with it."
Humber College now has a set of Unreal Engine projects that spans two semesters, two programs, and five courses. "We're getting fantastic results. It's been a fun ride and the students love it."
Neale believes that learning Unreal Engine has had a major impact on his students’ skill sets and careers. Many Humber grads have been hired by major game studios over the years. Just last year, two students that entered into the Ubisoft NEXT competition were both hired by Ubisoft. They were chosen not only for the artwork they created in UE4, but also for their fast development of procedural sets using Blueprints.
“Being able to take submissions to the next level makes them stand out from the crowd and be hired by one of the largest game companies in the world right out of college. I would say that is quite an impact.”