Header image  
Well Crafted Software for the Video Game Industry
 
spacer
spacer
spacer
 
 
Home
Services
Skills
Philosophy
Resume
Employment
Endorsements
Contact Us

Services - Unreal 3 Training

Training Expertise
I have presented a variety of technical seminars and presentations to groups including the Macromedia Users Conference, local SIGGRAPH chapters, art and community college classes and instructors. For several years I was responsible for a training program to bring new engineers up to speed on the custom object oriented development system used in FreeHand at Macromedia.

I am the author of Game Development Essentials: Game Artificial Intelligence. This is an introductory text book on game AI, and was published in the fall of 2007 by Delmar Cengage Learning. The intial volume, Game Development Essentials: An Introduction , was published in 2005.

Training Format 1 - Lecture
The first training format is an interactive lecture format. Using a whiteboard and large montor or projection display various Unreal 3 functionality can be described and demonstrated. The topics listed below can be covered in two to four hours, so three to four topics can be covered in a day.

You can customize the training by choosing the topics based on your Unreal 3 experience.

Training Format 2 - Hands On
The second format is lecture coupled with a hands on session. The first half of the day consists of lectures giving an overview of the subject area. These can be customized to address a specific feature area relevant to your game.

For example, if you were interested in creating a Spy Camera weapon that would launch a spy drone, we could set up this training sequence: The morning would cover weapon theory, with emphasis on projectile weapons. The second morning topic would be player control, and how it can be switched between multiple characters.
The afternoon session would consist of a hands on programming exercise creating a weapon that launched a "spy camera" projectile that the player could use to remotely view remotely. The result would be that the trainees would have sucessfully created a working version of this weapon, and gain a deep understanding of the systems and process involved.

Customize to fit your needs
You can choose topics to fit your needs. If you are just starting with Unreal 3, a day or two of overview topics may be appropriate. Later you may want some more detailed topics covered, perhaps with some hands on sessions to address particular gameplay features relevant to your game.

If you use my services to create prototype features for your game, I can add some training time to show your designers how to use and customize the feature. I can also train programmers on the specific methods used, and how to exend and modify the feature.

Training Topics
These are a few of the topics that can be covered. The list is not exhaustive. Feel free to contact me if there is some area not listed.

Unreal 3 Developers Overview : Introduction the Unreal 3 architecture and directory structure for programmers. Covers source and project structure, C++ vs Unrealscript implementations, building and debugging the executable, building and debugging Unrealscript code.

Unreal 3 Editor Overview : Introduction to the Unreal 3 editor for designers, artists and programmers. Covers creating a map, adding geometry, texturing geometry, adding meshes, characters, lights, terrain. Using the asset browser, object hierarchy and scene manager. Also play in editor.

Animation Tree Overview : Creating and previewing animation trees in the Unreal 3 editor using the standard animation nodes. Includes directional movement, animation selection based on speed, and random animation selection.

Animation Tree Extension : Customizing animation trees by creating new types of animation control nodes.

Kismet Overview : Introduction to Kismet (graphical level scripting tool) for designers and programmers. Covers creating and linking Kismet nodes, spawning characters, linking events to spawned characters.

Kismet Extensions : Adding new features to the Kismet system by creating additional event and action nodes.

Using Inverse Kinematics : The Unreal engine support inverse kinematics, and comes with a standard animation node that performs IK for foot placement. This covers the general topic, and the specific use of the foot placement node.

Weapons Overview : The Unreal engine supports a variety of beam, particle and "instant hit" weapons. This describes the available weapon types and capabilities.

Weapon Attachment : This covers differences in weapon positioning and rendering in first and third person display modes, and the techniques used by Unreal Tournament to handle this situation.

Optimization : Optimization for rendering, loading, and gameplay logic. Relative platform performance, and platform specific issues.

The following schedule was used for the first week of a two week training session in Seoul, Korea. The studio had no experience with Unreal, and spoke limited English. The material was presented at a US studio in 2 1/2 days.

Unreal Engine 3 Training Schedule

 

Day

 

Topic

Participant

L
E
C
T
U
R
E

Monday

  • 1 Hour
  • Introduction
    Unreal 3 Engine overview

    All

  •  
  • Break

     

  • 1 ½ hour
  • Setting up source code control using Subversion and the Epic perforce depot in order to allow semi-automatic merge of future Epic code releases.
    Working with UnrealScript: Unreal Objects, game specific features, implementation.  How to extend game objects.

    Programmers

  •  
  • Break

     

  • 1 ½ hour
  • Logic tick function - UE3 Main processing loop.
    Commandlets - Utilities in the engine. Using existing commandlets, and creating new ones.
    Format of 'UPK' files

    Programmers

  •  
  • Break

     

  • 1 ½ hour 
  • Localization and UI: Localized strings, localized resources, subtitles.
    Kismet use by designers, and extension by programmers

    Programmers, designers

    Tuesday

  • 1 ½ hour
  • Matinee use
    Content management - organization.
    Basic Texture use -  alpha, specular, runtime mip streaming

    Artist, designer,
    programmer

  •  
  • Break

     

  • 1 ½ hour
  • Physics: Unreal Physics  Pawn(not using PhysX), ragdoll, vehicle
    Animation control, blending and synchronization.

    Programmers, artists.

  •  
  • Break

     

  • 1 ½ hour
  • Cinematic – Options for in game events - cut scenes, video.
    Optimization for level design – budgets, LODs in UE3.

    Designers, artists, programmers

  •  
  • Break

     

  • 1 ½ hour
  • More optimization and info on scene  culling algorithm in Unreal Engine
    Invisible brush uses in UE3:  Triggers, Physics, Ladders, Level streaming control, Blocking, Water, Portal, Post Process control, etc.

    Designers, artists, programmers

    Wed

  • 1 ½ hour
  • Map Level Streaming - Kismet, Volume, Distance control methods.
    Map level organization – Gears of War methodology

    Designers, programmers

  •  
  •  

     

  • 1 ½ hour
  • AI controllers
    Player controller
    AI Scripting in UE3.

    Programmers, Designers

  •  
  • Break

     

  • 1 ½ Hour
  • Rendering – Lighting, HDR, shaders, post-processing.

    Designers, programmers, artists

  •  
  •  

     

  • 1 ½ hour
  • Optimization for lighting - efficient static vs expensive dramatic dynamic, how to reduce cost of dynamic.
    Gears lighting model
    Other lighting models.

    Designers, programmers

     

  •  
  •  

     

    Thursday

  • 1 ½ hour
  • Optimizing map data for rendering – occlusion, “faking” lighting with emissive textures, BSP rendering optimization.
    Code optimization – performance tracking support in UE
    Optimizing data to reduce load time – Initial load & streaming.

    Designers, programmers

  •  
  • Break

     

  • 1 ½ Hour
  • Thread use in Unreal
    Networking and multiplayer synchronization.

    Programmers

  •  
  • Break

     

  • 1 ½ hour
  • Intro to Cascade - Particle Systems
    Normal map use: Bump mapping, parallax mapping, Displacement mapping.

    Artists, Designers

  •  
  •  

     

  • 1 ½ hour
  • Providing the Unreal Editor to users for creating User-Maps.
    An Efficient Method of real-time changing of Day/Night lighting.
    Production of real-time snow/rain effects.

    Designers

    Friday

  •  
  • Break

     

  • 1 ½ hour
  • The method of creation Lobby & HUD and interlocking game server with protocol
    Design of 'Security' system : protect changing speed and data of game

    Programmers

  •  
  • Break

     

  • 1 ½ Hour
  • The usage of Portals - teleporter effect and level layout use.
    Weapon Attachment – weapon positioning and rendering and animation in first and third person display modes.

    Designers, programmers

  •  
  • Break

     

    1 ½ hour

    Design of 'Replay' systems in UE3.

    Programmers, designers

     

     

     

     

       
               
     
        back to top >