Join Craig Barr for an in-depth discussion in this video Epic launch screen, part of Unreal Essential Training.
- Unreal Engine 4 is linked within an entire Epic ecosystem, so a launch pad or module directs you towards things like news tutorials, and even games. And the way that you would access that is with an icon that will look something like this. Once you click and launch from that icon, you're going to be prompted to sign in or log in with your account, and you need to have an account to access Unreal Engine 4. The reason why you need to have an account is so that you can access updates and new builds, and the great thing about Unreal Engine 4 is they're constantly updating and putting out a lot of new releases.
So, for example, one of the things we're going to see on the Community page here front and center is this latest release here. So at the time of the construction or building of this course, I'm running Unreal Engine 4.10, and you can see that from the big yellow button on the top left corner here as well. So just a little side note on that. Most likely on this course, you'll be running perhaps a different version. The content that we're using within this course should work fine within future releases of Unreal Engine 4.
Now let's take a look or a quick little tour as to what this Unreal launch pad is all about. So it's more than just launching of unreal Engine 4. You can see that within the community section here we have all of these different things like news, being able to jump into things like the AnswerHub forums. You can even get into the road map of future development test cycles or future ideas for Unreal Engine right from the developers there. You can access the blog, where you can see what developers are talking about and what artists are doing with the Unreal Engine 4 world as well.
You'll get into things like what is new, community spotlights, education spotlights, and even things that are happening within the games industry in general, so you might get news related to specific events or conferences that are happening. Now, as well, it's worth noting that the launch pad itself is laid out in this tab-based system, and that's important to note because that follows directly within line of the way that the Unreal Engine ecosystem works, and we'll be working within Unreal Engine 4, Unreal Editor to build our content, and it is based on this tab-based system as well, so it's important to note that this works the same way.
So before we dive down into the rest of these here really quickly, let's look at these other tabs here. So you have the Unreal Engine tab, and the other tabs will update and change over time, so they're going to show you things like new projects. So, for example, here's an Alpha project, Fortnite, that users can sign up for to take a look and test run that. The big massive world of Unreal Tournament, where you can actually grab and install that and create different things and grab pieces from the market place. As well, here is access to a dev kit where you can go in and actually share and create your own versions of content for a game in here, so this will always update as the launch pad is always live and linked to your account as well.
As well, it's important to note that within the Unreal Engine world you don't need to be right within the software, right within Unreal Engine, to access things like learning documentation or tutorials. You can do that from this launch pad. So, for example, if I click on Learn, you can see that we can get into things like documentation, video tutorials, and different things that are going to help me learn and get up to speed on Unreal Engine 4, so definitely go through and browse and check that out when you get a chance as well.
Now, another really cool thing about Unreal Engine 4 and this launch pad is that you can dive right into the marketplace. This is a place where you can submit your own content as well as buy content. There's lots of free stuff up here as well. Definitely take a look at this marketplace. It's a very powerful, very big ever-growing store with lots of excellent things available on there. The last area here is my library, so it's going to be linked to your library. In this case, I have it linked to our projects specifically that we're working with, and it's going to highlight the engine versions that I'm running here as well.
Now, what happens when we launch Unreal Engine? Well, what's going to happen when we launch Unreal engine here, I should point out that there is a little pull-down arrow here beside the Launch button, and this is going to give me access to previous versions of Unreal Engine 4. That's important because if you're working within a project and you're deep within that project, it's often not advisable to maybe update right in the middle of that. If you're doing specific things or maybe you have specific items that are set to that specific version of that engine, you may want to stay within that engine before updating, wait for the project to be done, and update.
So in this case here, I'm running the latest version at the time of the building of this course, which is Unreal Engine 4.10, and let's launch it and see what happens now. So if I click this button, it's going to go ahead and launch the Unreal Editor. The Unreal Editor is where we build all of our content within the Unreal Engine 4 ecosystem. Now, this is where we're going to have the option to create a new project to work with our projects. We're working with this Beach project, which is with our lighthouse, so I'm going to double-click that, going to launch the editor to bring us within Unreal Engine 4 here, and it's going to bring up our scene.
Now, this is where we can dive in and begin to create our content. So you can see the launch pad is there for more than just launching Unreal. It's there to provide you with resources to help you learn, resources to help you build your project as well.
- Customizing the Unreal UI
- Creating a new project
- Creating landscapes
- Blocking out levels
- Assembling a scene
- Working with materials and lights
- Adding post-processing effects
- Defining bodies of water
- Adding atmospherics, foliage, and wind
- Working with the Blueprint editor
- Creating cinematics
- Monitoring performance
- Packaging a game for distribution
Skill Level Beginner
Q: I can't open the exercise files. What's this .7Z extension?
<div>A: The .7Z extension is for a 7-Zip file. 7-Zip is an open-source file compression standard that is similar to a ZIP file, but it has a much better compression rate in certain situations. For the exercise files in this course, using a standard ZIP file would have added around 150MB to the download size, so we opted for a more efficient format.</div> <div> </div> <div>To extract the .7Z file, you'll need some free software. If you visit <a href="http://www.7-zip.org/" target="_blank">7-zip.org</a>, you can find free, open-source software for Windows. For Mac users, please see <a href="http://www.kekaosx.com/" target="_blank">kekaosx.com</a> to download Keka, a free application that can do the same. For those with software security policies in place, Keka is also available on the Mac App Store for $1.99.</div> <div> </div>