Most helpful positive review
28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Worth the price of admission
on January 23, 2010
I've evaluated several 3D game engines, including XNA Game Studio 3 (ok for home enthusiasts), Torque 3D (not ready for prime time as of this writing), Unity (nice), Blender3D (ok for home enthusiasts), and Unreal Engine 3. The Unreal Engine UDK blows them away, although the Unity 3D Platformer is really quite good. You can't beat what you get with the Unreal Engine UDK, especially considering that its free. Some licensing rules apply if you actually create and sell a game.
I purchased this book in order to get a "head start" on developing applications with the Unreal Game Engine. I was very pleased with its contents. The examples in each chapter really drive home the benefits of using the Unreal Game Engine. I especially enjoyed the introductory chapter, the static meshes chapter, the material creation chapter, the terrain chapter, the Kismet chapter and the Matinee considerations chapter.
I downloaded the November and December Betas of the Unreal Development Kit (UDK). So if you do the same, be aware of the following differences.
1. When you copy a chapter's map to your Content directory, change its extension from ut3 to udk.
2. You will have some problems in Chapter 4: A Universe of Brushes. Some of the UT3 features (geometry modifiers for BSP extrusion, etc) are not in the UDK. You will not be able to extrude the capital and entablature on the columns in the temple. Don't waste time trying to figure out where they are, like I did. Unreal recommends using static meshes rather than BSP brushes to build your levels. So they've removed some of the modifiers from the UDK.
3. The property names in the book use Hungarian notation, but the UDK does not. Just remove the first character and you will find your property.
4. Every map needs a Killz setting. When you build your map you will get an error that the Killz setting is not initialized (something like that). So go to View/World Properties and expand Zone Info. You will see Kill Z as the first property. Set its value to something like -10000.
5. I had some issues with the Swarm, and ended up turning it off. I don't need to build my levels on multiple machines, and I didn't want to spend the time setting it up. So I disabled it.
That's it! Most of the examples in the book work as described. I'm very impressed with Kismet and Matinee. I think Autodesk could learn something here.
I can't wait to buy Volume 2: Advanced Level Design Concepts with Unreal Engine 3.