I am continually striving to develop myself beyond my University course. Personal projects, coding tests (hacker rank) or game jam are just some of my methods of self-development. My motivation for this is based upon my drive to succeed and achieve my dream to work within the games industry. I have used this to learn new things, develop my existing skills or to experiment with different ways of doing things. Some skills I have developed purely independently, and although this is important, learning from others is equally important. I was recently reminded of this during a discussion with someone from the industry, and I have taken this on board.
It is to this end that I have enrolled on two Udemy courses. There is an argument that Udemy courses are a paid version of free content on YouTube. However, I find that a paid service often provides a more polished learning experience than YouTube. Additionally the creator is invested in the course, and is heavily reviewed by their students. Reviews provide a reference by which to a judge course, and provide an assessment of the courses quality.
Picking a course:
My initial step when picking my courses was to decide some key areas I wanted to develop. I have an avid interest in Unreal Engine and C++, and although I am confident in my ability I wanted to develop this skill set, refining my abilities and to explore the engine further. From this initial topic I began looking at courses that seemed to cover the topics I was interested in. During this process reviews and video previews were paramount in outlining the highest quality courses. I ultimately decided on two courses: The Unreal Engine Develop Course – Learn C++ & Make Games; Unreal Engine 4 Mastery: Create Multiplayer Games with C++.
The Unreal Engine Develop Course – Learn C++
by Ben Tristem and Sam Pattuzzi
This course is designed for people of all abilities. As such it is very easy – at least to begin with. The reason I chose this course is because I wanted to observe and learn how someone else might use Unreal Engine. Ensuring that they way I do things is the best way, and learning alternative coding conventions within a structured course. The aim of this course is to develop enough C++ to create games, as well as developing professional etiquette and style. It does this through an estimated 55.5 hours of videos and tests. The outcome is not only C++ and Unreal Engine experience, but 4 projects that provide a lot of scope for exploring the engine and apply learnt knowledge to the context of games.
I have completed the first section of the course which is estimated to take about 6 hours – although it took me a lot less. Although the content wasn’t new, some of the flairs and conventions used were interesting and provided a lot of takeaways. I could certainly see the merits of the lecturing style. This first section was enjoyable. It tasked you with creating a basic word game in Console. I plan to begin the next part very soon, which begins to explore the engine and apply previously learnt C++. This section will probably be fairly simple, however would be interested to learn any tips they may have for using the engine or any conventions they may enforce.
Moving forward the projects cover using the inbuilt AI system as well as exploring physical based interactions as well as increasingly more complex game play. I will continue to write about my progress.
Unreal Engine 4 Mastery: Create Multiplayer Games with C++
by Tom Looman
This course is approved by Epic Games and is taught by a former Epic Games engineer. It is designed to “Unleash the full power of Unreal Engine” and therefore I though it may teach me some features of the engine I have yet to explore. It explores networked multiplayer – something I already have experience with, however would appreciate learning about different and more complex implementations. The course is focused on the C++ layer so I hope that it will teach me something I don’t know, and help me develop my portfolio of skills.
The accreditation of this course was enough to sell me, however it also focused on areas that were of interest to me. I have not yet started this course but I will sure to discuss it in further detail when I do.
I am always looking for ways to develop myself. Although I am yet to finish either of these courses, I find that having established “lessons” when I sit down each evening to develop my skills is a much more effective use of my time. I will always self-develop and explore things independently – I enjoy doing it. But when I am uninspired or lacking direction, these courses are there to guide and teach me a set of skills in a professional and structured way. As stated above I will comment further when I have completed more of the courses, but here’s hoping these are the first of many. I will also post details and videos of some of the project I worked on through these courses, these will be in the form of a post and not a portfolio piece as I only classify independently created projects as portfolio pieces.