When I first opened up UDK level editor, I was intimidated. I knew that it would be a steep learning curve, but I didn't think it was going to be that steep. It doesn't seem like it now, especially if you've been using UDK for years, but as a beginner I was intimidated.
Reason for such a high learning curve is because UDK is a complete game engine with a level editor that you can use to design a game, create a playable level, use it for animation such as in-game movies, script and program, create shaders (materials), use it for arch viz, prototype ideas, create simulation and so much more. UDK is build on Unreal Engine 3 technology and hundreds of game titles have been created and released using UE3. Basically, you can create a full 'triple A' title video game with UDK.
There is so much packed into Unreal Development Kit, to master it all would take years. It's no wonder that one of the biggest frustrations and problems is just getting started.
So here I was, staring at UDK interface, thinking:
Most common way to learn UDK is to start with online search. Google search for 'UDK tutorials' now contains over 400,000+ results. So, you stick with a few first page results. You spend hours watching and reading tutorials that teach the basics. You go from one tutorial to another. Some tutorials are better than others.
You spend days if not weeks digesting all the information you find.
After a week or two you come away with more knowledge about UDK then you did before, but you are exhausted. You learned a lot of functions and techniques, but you still don't have a roadmap.
Often it is not for the lack of information or documentation but lack of structure and direct specific action of what exactly you need to learn and focus on.
That is exactly what I have gone through over and over again while learning a new game engine. I would repeat these steps until I could put something together that resembled an environment. But I would waste so much time and energy on things that I didn't need to learn at the moment. Of course, this is after I would quit using the editor for a while and come back to it weeks or months later. Picking up where I left off.
What I needed is a system that shows you from start to finish of you need to learn and how to construct an environment at the same time. I wanted to be told exactly which tools and functions I should be using when constructing an environment. Give me the fundamental basics that I can build on; don't give me every option in the properties that I may never use.
If you are going to learn UDK, you need a roadmap that shows you exactly what you need to learn to construct a game environment using nothing else but default assets that come with UDK. You must not complicate this process with other software or advanced topics such as modeling, scripting, texturing, material creation etc).
You must be willing to ignore everything else and only focus on the tools and functions that get you learn UDK and construct an environment with default assets.
I know now it didn't have to be this way. All I needed was proper instruction and direction. Within about half a day I could learn the basics and construct something I can be proud of.
I wanted someone to say:
"Here is what you should learn if you want to use UDK for environment construction. If you learn this, it will make more advanced topics easier. You don't need to learn this or this, but you should spend a lot of time with this. Learn these following basics and here is the roadmap on how to do it."
After years of struggling to figure this out I finally created something to help you learning UDK much faster and easier in order to construct your first game environment that you can be proud of.
UDK The Foundation is the roadmap that I always wanted to create and you will go from complete beginner to intermediate user with this system. It is something I wish I had to start with.
My goal for you is to learn and construct your very first environment inside UDK with default assets while learning UDK. Everything is kept straight to the point of what you need to know in a very systematic and specific approach.
You don't need to spend time looking for tutorials right now. Use this UDK The Foundation series to start with. Learn what it takes to use and construct an environment with UDK properly. Then you can comfortably begin to explore more intermediate and advanced topics. But you need the fundamentals to get you there. You need to overcome the biggest stumbling block to UDK - getting started with environment construction as a complete beginner.
Module #01: Introduction and Fundamentals of UDK
You'll start with the beginner basics module. You'll get into the basics of UDK. How to download UDK, how to install and launch the editor as well as the game. You'll discover how environments are constructed in UDK, how to navigate around the editor and how to play inside the editor. These are the necessary basics of UDK that you must know. Without these fundamentals, it is impossible to use UDK.
Module 1 includes 9 videos and 45+ minutes of tutorials.
Module #02: UDK Environment Construction Basics - From Beginner to Intermediate
With second module you'll progress into learning what it takes to construct a simple environment in UDK. Just like this. But don't let the simplicity deceive you. The second module is probably one of the most important ones out of the series, it is also the longest.
Module 2 covers the how to of environment construction. You'll go into depth on how to use BSP brushes, how to work with static meshes (3d models), how to texture your environment using materials, how to light exteriors and interiors, how to work with fog and how to include a sky. You will learn the actual techniques of what it takes to create an environment.
Module 2 includes 19 videos and 3.3+ hours of tutorials.
Module #03: UDK Environment Construction Workflow - (From Start to Finish)
Module 3 brings everything together. You take everything you learned in Module 1 and 2 and puts it into context of workflow and environment construction. You will follow from start to finish on how to construct a full environment using nothing else but default static meshes that come with UDK.
Module 3 includes 15 videos and 3+ hours of tutorials.
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