Why485's Tanks/Planes/Space/Touhou Blog

I added some missiles with blueprints initially and they worked decently well. However, I don’t like visual scripting because it can get messy and out of hand very quickly so I wanted to know how to do these code way.

After an entire day and much pain, I finally wrote a code-based version of the missiles. Both types of missile are present in the video, although they look nearly identical. The blueprint missiles are longer and cylindrical. The code missiles are stubbier and elongated cubes.

The code missiles are not 100% code. It would be silly to specify things like positions and models through hardcoding. Instead it’s similar to how I would write in Unity. All the logic of how the missiles work is handled in code, but using the blueprint component editor you set things like which speed, flame/smoke effect to use, what model to use, and the relative positioning of all these things. It’s very easy to create multiple missiles with different models, effects, and basic parameters.

And with that, my weekend spent with Unreal Engine comes to a close. My biggest takeaway is that programming in Unreal vs Unity is painful.

WARNING: THE FOLLOWING IS THE OPINION OF A 2 YEAR UNITY HOBBYIST ABOUT A WEEKEND’S WORTH OF UNREAL ENGINE 4

Even if I were as familiar in Unreal’s workflow as I am Unity, it’s impossible to ignore that the speed and ease with which code is written in Unreal doesn’t compare. Unreal’s architecture and C++ based nature means there are a plethora of gotchas and things to keep in mind when writing even simple code.

There’s a lot of boilerplate book keeping that has to happen before you can start writing logic and that’s something I really don’t like. Another big problem, and I mentioned this before, is that I’m spoiled by how tightly integrated the C# scripting is with Unity. It is fantastically responsive and the turnaround time for testing is practically instant. It’s something I never fully appreciated until now.

Visual Studio’s Intellisense is also an incredibly frustrating part of writing code for Unreal. Having a delay of five seconds for almost every time you want to open the autocomplete to learn something will drive anybody mad. I’ve read that this is partially due to the way Unreal is setup, and the solution from everybody is always to buy Visual Assist to replace Intellisense.

Having to restart the Editor after every compile became the least of my concerns after having to put up a barely working Intellisense.

Blueprints are certainly worth a mention. They are Unreal’s answer to Unity’s C# scripting and they are fantastically integrated into the Editor. They are everywhere, they are easy to use, and a very powerful extension to code written with C++. For simple prototypes and very basic logic/functionality, they are very fun to work with.

However, like all visual scripting languages they don’t scale well and it’s easy for them to get completely out of hand for anything remotely complex. You’re going to want to program complicated logic and managers yourself.

Other than that, I think it’s a very cool and powerful engine. It’s definitely improved in usability since UDK and has completely shaken the “shooter first, everything else last” mentality and feeling when working with it.

I know it sounds like I probably hate the thing after all the above, but aside from the graphical aspects, the programming workflow is really the only place where Unreal makes a significant departure from Unity. While the engines are very different and work on fundamentally different principles, I didn’t find the Unreal or Unity approach to everything else to be definitively better. They’re often just different ways to attack a similar problem.

Oh yeah, and Unreal’s graphics totally blow Unity’s out of the water. Like holy crap my jaw dropped when I noticed the lights on my ship were illuminating the smoke particles around me. It’s a particle system to die for. 

What Unreal gains in graphical fidelity, it loses in approachability and ease of use. The two engines balance out pretty evenly, and whether you use one or the other should mostly depend on how well you are able to leverage the graphical fidelity that Unreal gives.

Here’s what I’m working on right now. I made missiles last night that were pure Blueprint, but I’m trying to remake them with code now.
The Blueprint ones track a preset target set in the Editor, disable its effects on collision, spawns an explosion effect, and smartly deletes itself only after the smoke effect has finished playing.
The code version right now doesn’t have collisions yet, but the target tracking and smart deletion currently works just like the Blueprint version.
I still really hate how separate the UE4 code is from the Editor. It sounds very first world problems, but having to restart the editor every time I compile code is a drag. On top of that, Visual Studio’s Intellisense is infuriatingly slow. I can’t overstate how frustrating it is have to wait 5 seconds for almost any autocomplete or autocomplete lists.

Here’s what I’m working on right now. I made missiles last night that were pure Blueprint, but I’m trying to remake them with code now.

The Blueprint ones track a preset target set in the Editor, disable its effects on collision, spawns an explosion effect, and smartly deletes itself only after the smoke effect has finished playing.

The code version right now doesn’t have collisions yet, but the target tracking and smart deletion currently works just like the Blueprint version.

I still really hate how separate the UE4 code is from the Editor. It sounds very first world problems, but having to restart the editor every time I compile code is a drag. On top of that, Visual Studio’s Intellisense is infuriatingly slow. I can’t overstate how frustrating it is have to wait 5 seconds for almost any autocomplete or autocomplete lists.

After much mulling over, I finally decided to give UE4 a shot. It’s radically different from what I’m used to and an impressive tool set.

As a simple familiarization task I decided to try to do something that I could do in my sleep in Unity. It turned out to be a lot harder than I thought because I was so unfamiliar with the work flow. I’ve never been a fan of visual scripting and Blueprint hasn’t changed my mind, but it’s nonetheless still a very powerful tool in handling simple game logic.

For my purposes at least, I’m not really convinced with UE4. No doubt I need more practice, but I find that almost everything in UE4 is more complex to do. Even the simplest things. I’m also terribly spoiled with tightly the C# scripting is integrated into the workflow and it is sorely missed. I still need to mess with it more, but I really don’t like how separate the UE4 code is from the Editor.

The biggest advantage in UE4 that I saw was the graphics and lighting. Out of the box with no tweaking at all it looks fantastic. Right now, Unity would have significant trouble trying to replicate the look of UE4 using only what comes with the base product. In the future, Unity 5 is going to support many of the lighting features UE4 has, and the graphics chasm should shrink down to a only gap.

Two bonus photos from this morning’s drive.

I went out early this morning to get this shot again.

I took the original photo two years ago with my phone, but it’s still my favorite photo the Supra.

I’m starting to get more adjusted to the Ki-84. Its energy retention really is stellar, making it a superb energy fighter that’s a joy to fly. It’s biggest problem, is that Japanese cannons tend to have very low velocities. I still have a lot of trouble scoring consistent hits.

This P-38 was an interesting kill because he tried to be clever by slowing down to force me to overshoot. With the Ki-84, I’ve gotten into the habit of easing off the throttle on my approaches, It maintains speed so well that it’s easy to overshoot so quickly that my firing window is too short.

When he slowed down, I was already decelerating and my throttle pretty low, so all I had to do was lower flaps so that I could maintain control at these slower speeds. The Ki-84 becomes very sluggish at speeds lower than 250 kph.

I was out of cannon ammo by this point (I had already scored 3 kills) so I had to pick him apart with the weak and slow 12.7mm machineguns at biplane ranges.

Using the A6M3, I unlocked the Ki-84 in no time with victory after victory. Despite the Zero’s shortcomings, it’s a very easy plane to do well in.

The Ki-84 is an interesting plane. To me, it’s sort of like a Japanese Typhoon in terms of how it flies. It retains energy extremely well and is reasonably fast. Unfortunately I’m not doing as well with it as I was the Zero. I’m hoping that’s just because it’s stock, but I probably need to git gud.

waffle-o:

So, just learned I can run Star Citizen, and it only costs 30 bucks for the cheapest ship to get in.

I am now tied between Elite: Dangerous and Star Citizen. I can get both, but Star Citizen is (technically) the cheapest way, but my computer can run Elite: Dangerous better.

Welp.

EDIT: Star Citizen is on a monthly subscription model. Elite Dangerous it is.

Basically what g-limits said. Star Citizen is not subscription based. The subscription you’re thinking about has nothing to do with the game at all and is what funds the weekly shows the CIG puts out. It gets you literally no ships/equipment/anything of value, only silly trinkets that sit in your hangar.

Frankly I wouldn’t recommend buying into Star Citizen right now because there’s just not much there yet, and what is there is so early in development that the average player wouldn’t get much out of it.

Elite is significantly further along in its development, and is much more of a game right now. However it’s important to keep in mind that while it is freakishly well polished for a beta, it’s very much unfinished. At the time of this writing, there really isn’t much to do in the game, nor is there much variety. You can experience about 80% of the game in only a single day.

I just spent about the past four hours playing The Crew with a friend. I’ve been passively watching this game ever since it’s announcement at E3, so I was curious to try it when they started giving away beta keys like candy.

The game takes place on a map of the entire United States, albeit scaled down and a bit cartoony, but it’s a lot bigger than I thought it would be. A lot more detailed too. My first night with the game I took a plane to Seattle and then drove to Detroit. Today, I drove from Detroit down through Florida, and then from Detroit to LA, and then up through San Francisco and into Seattle.

Florida was hilarious because it’s so stereotypically Florida in a way that’s shamefully true. They really captured the feel of Florida well. Cape Canaveral was really sweet as well.

While driving through the deserts of the south west, we stopped at Tucson Aircraft Cemetary and that huge crater in Arizona. In between LA and San Francisco, we took a detour to do a lap at a (simplified) Mazda Laguna Seca.

I was really impressed by the detail in the map. I’ve seen so much that it’s hard to summarize with rambling on about random details. I am fond of short lists, so here’s some cool things I noticed while playing:

  • The diversity of terrain is incredible. From snowy mountains, plains of the Mideast, sunny Florida, and hot deserts, it does it all very convincingly.
  • Building and road styles change between all the regions, and it’s a big reason why each of the regions feel so different.
  • Light pollution is modeled, meaning if you are in a city you won’t see any stars. If you are out in the middle of nowhere, you can not only see stars, but the Milky Way as well.
  • Driving in snow and on icy roads sucks.
  • Don’t just stick to the roads, there’s so much space in between the roads and tons of cool locations spread out off the roads on dirt trails or in the middle of nowhere.
  • I really like the radar mechanic for finding hidden secrets like car parts and radar towers.
  • The car handling and physics are the only thing I’m not too crazy about. They’re too floaty for my tastes.
  • The graphics were a lot better than I was expecting them to be.
  • Sunrise and sunset are gorgeous.
  • Dirt spec cars are so much nicer handling off road, but suffer in on-road speed and traction for it.
  • It takes 40-60 minutes to drive from one end of the country to the other depending on how much you get distracted and what type of roads you take.
Now that the Shinden is confirmed for 1.43, I’ve started to play War Thunder again. That plane is one of the ones I’ve wanted ever since I started playing.
The Japanese tree is understandably one of my lowest tier, so I’ve got a lot of catching up to do.

Now that the Shinden is confirmed for 1.43, I’ve started to play War Thunder again. That plane is one of the ones I’ve wanted ever since I started playing.

The Japanese tree is understandably one of my lowest tier, so I’ve got a lot of catching up to do.