After days of reading documents and doing little to nothing else, I spent three hours setting up UDK last evening for the purpose of getting to know UDK, Unreal Script and Unreal Engine 3. Man, what a slap in the face. But I figured I'd best share my lessons learned - if only to remind myself when I click on this in the future and re-read my thoughts:
- You're a noob again. Doesn't matter how good you are or how much you know, a new product, a new environment, anything new (like new shoes) means learning from scratch. The only question is how quickly you get the concept. This time I'm not starting with zero knowledge so I'm hopeful but it'll be months at least before it all makes sense.
- Be patient. Really, it's this. When I think back, I didn't know shit about LUA or the HW2 engine when I started PTV (or any of my other half-baked, never to be published mods). The same applies here. In time it will make sense. The initial frustration is simply a by-product of knowing you *could* do it but lack the experience. Work past it - there's no alternative.
- Act and plan simultaneously. Forgoing one for the other doesn't work. A plan only functions if you know how to implement it and you can only act if you have a plan. Until you know something back to front (in this case an engine framework), you have to work from both sides to get as broad a view as possible. Then, when you know what you're dealing with, you can put that plan you've had in the back of your head (or on paper) for months into action.
- Little steps. You can't imagine how good I felt when I managed to get Epic's generic tutorial working and figured out how to close the game pressing esc. Useless? Yes. Informative? Very. I'm three hours smarter on how UDK is set up than I was before. No reason to be discouraged because my first delve into Unreal Script wasn't a cool weapon that shoots pink rainbows. That might be a good step somewhere down the line though...
- Think twice. And use Google. Anyone into IT will know why this is important.
- Notepad++ is for scripting, not coding. Nuff said. Need a real coding environment. That's my next stop.
That would be the end of my thoughts on my first experiences with UDK. I'm sure, when I look back at this in a few months time, I'll feel like an idiot. But that's why I'm posting this, after all.