Every last working day of the current month I publish a report reflecting on the previous month. These reflections exist to demonstrate my progress, share my experiences and help transfer what I learn to others.
The Past Month
In May I worked on a Pinball simulation using Unreal Engine 4 as a learning project.
I meant to release the game by the end of the month, and while I did finish it, I just couldn’t publish it.
The UE4 Editor is a Power-Hungry Beast
I own a 9-years-old Dell Inspiron N5010 with a dual core 2.4GHz processor and an ancient AMD Radeon HD 5000 graphics card that, with care and an excellent build quality, is still working flawlessly.
However, it’s well below the recommended hardware requirements for Unreal and, although it runs Unity 3D without any problems, it just can’t handle Unreal at all.
I’ve been working on the lowest editor settings and the most FPS I get is 23.
That wasn’t too bad in the beginning, but later on UE4 proved to be buggy and unstable, constantly freezing and crashing while I work or try to test the game.
The most pain I suffered was when it was time to compile and package my project. Despite it being a small Pinball game, it took hours for a single build, and it often failed with errors that had nothing to do with my actual code 😑 .
So, I gave up.
Instead of wasting so much time (several days so far), I decided to buy a new gaming laptop that more than can handle Unreal.
Gaming laptops are over priced in Bahrain (like, think 2x its actual worth) and my budget is tight, so I bought an Alienware 17 R4 from Amazon for around $1330. Here’s hoping it comes in one piece 🤞.
I’ll be attempting to package the game again when the laptop arrives.
Investment is Key to Growth and Self Fulfillment
If you’re an amateur or hobbyist, then my advice is to stick to what you have till game dev becomes an important part of your daily life.
But, if you’re already committed to becoming a pro and starting your own studio, then it’s extremely important to invest in yourself And your tools.
Never again follow some random tutorial on YouTube or go through low-quality courses just because they’re free.
While their authors mean well, amateurs unintentionally teach some really bad habits that are costing you a ton of time and effort without you realizing it.
Invest in your education and choose courses and books made by experts in their fields, don’t shy away from paying for high quality knowledge.
Also, buy the tools that would greatly improve your workflow.
Whether it’s a Visual Studio plugin that vastly improves your C++ workflow, a license to some expensive software or more capable hardware, investing in your tools and speeding up your work allows you to create more and higher quality content in less time with fewer hiccups.
I can’t emphasize on how important these two points are. If you’re in this for the long run, then not investing might hamper you or downright stop you from achieving your goals.
I completed the 30 Day Blog Transformation Challenge course on Udemy, and while waiting for my new laptop to arrive I’ll be focusing on my blog for a week or two.
I’ll be writing a guide to learning game dev effectively, and will touch on choosing your learning materials in more detail.
Other than that, while working on Pinball the skill I lacked the most was coloring and lighting. I will subscribe to Gnomon’s Workshop and do their color courses.
I’m planning on using Houdini in my work too for creating assets and VFX, so I’ll go through Gnomon’s Houdini fundamentals course as well.