My First 2D Game in UE4: Getting started


2D Game Screenshot
2D Game Screenshot

In this tutorial we are going to make our first contact with Unreal Engine, learn and understand what is in the main tabs of the interface, how to move around and set things ready to start building our First 2D game. In the first contact with the engine you may feel pretty dizzy, but once you understand what everything is, things will get actually very exciting.

New project

New project screen
New project screen

Assuming that you already have downloaded and launched Unreal you will get a screen similar to this one (if this is your first project you will only get the option New Project).

There we will choose the template for the 2DSide Scroller as highlighted in the image and set the options on the settings to Desktop/ Console, Maximum Quality, and No Starter Content (the 3 boxes under the image).

Our game is saved by default to our Documents folder in a new folder that Unreal has created inside, and there you will find all the projects that you create. This is handy to know if you use more that one computer and you need to copy the game to somewhere else.

Finally, we have to name our game and it’s important that you know that no spaces are allowed in the engine. For the purpose of this tutorial I have named mine as MyTutorialProject.


First time we open our engine


Unreal Interface
Unreal Interface
Once inside the engine we will get this interface with 5 main sections that can be dragged and moved around to fit our preferences. 


The Viewport



Viewport
Viewport
The viewport is by default in the middle of our screen. There is where all the visual part of our game take place. There we place our character, the platforms, enemies and everything that plays a visual roll in the game. 

Here our objects can be selected, copied, scaled, duplicated… We can also navigate in our level, toggle between perspective view, to top, front or left and right view.


 In the top left corner of our viewport we can see these tabs:


Toggle view
Toggle view

There we will be able to change our view clicking on perspective.



View Menu
View Menu


From this unfolded menu we will choose front, and, in this view, we will be most of the time as our game is a 2D game and we won’t need the perspective view at all. We will need still to use the Y axis, though, but let’s not jump ahead.
Wireframe View
Wireframe View
Your view will probably have changed to something like this. Is nothing to panic about: the engine has set your view to wireframe too.

To set this back to our desired view in the same set of tabs where we have changed the view, we will have a tab that says wireframe. Click and you will unfold this menu:
View Mode Panel
View Mode Panel

We are going to make our game not too complicated so for this project we will go unlit.

You may have notice that our gizmo has changed when we toggled to front view, now it only displays the X and Z direction. Clicking the objects of the viewport will make the gizmo to move to that object. By default, it’s setting in select and translate objects (short cut W). By grabbing the arrows (mouse left) and dragging we will see our objects moving to where we drag them.

If we hit the space bar, the appearance of our gizmo will change because this toggles between the first 4 options of this menu:

Scale, Move, Rotate
Scale, Move, Rotate
Here we see among others, the scale (R) and rotate(E) option. You don’t need to be worrying, in the beginning about any of the other options of the menu displayed above.

Selecting an object and pressing the back-space key we will delete the object. If you’ve done this accidentally, control +Z will undo the step.

To navigate in Front view (is different in perspective) we use Mouse Right and Drag to pan the viewport camera. To make a selection box use Mouse Left and Drag. To Zoom you can use the wheel of the mouse or, if you don’t have, press right and left buttons of the mouse together and drag. Finally, the F key is very handy to focus in a selected object.

World Outliner

World Outliner
World Outliner


Everything that is placed in your viewport it also has a place in the World Outliner. This is in the top right side of your screen.

You can also select things in this panel and that will change also in your viewport. The panel has a search bar to find an object faster. Beside the search bar its also an icon of a folder that will add new folders to organise your objects.

The world outliner is very handy when your viewport gets very busy and you can’t find things, but it is important that you name everything properly and all is  conveniently organised.

 (A hint to find things in the viewport is to select in the outliner and press F and the viewport will focus really fast on it).



The Content Browser


Everything that we use in our game is in our content browser.

Content Browser
Content Browser

It’s not the same that the world outliner as the things that we find in our content browser do not link directly with the viewport and the world outliner but is information and assets that sometimes can be dragged several times to our game.

By default, with the 2DSide Scroller template, we already have some folders and assets in this content browser. 


We are going to need to create some folders to place some of the items that we will be creating so let’s see how to do this by creating a folder to place the User Interfaces of our game. We will create this in our 2DSideScrollerBP folder and to find it we can use the search bar. Let’s type there the name of the folder until you see it and open it.

Right-click inside in an empty space and in the unfolded menu, in the very top you’ll see and select the option new folder and we will name it as UI (user interface), and there we will store all the interfaces that we have not create yet as the menu screen, pause, game over...

Unfolded Menu from Content Browser
Unfolded Menu from Content Browser
Now that we have at last created something for the game, we can click Save all that it’s also in the content browser (Save frequently, as the engine can crush sometimes, mostly if you have many things open at once. Ideally have everything close in your computer when you are using Unreal).

Content browser menu
Content browser menu


To the left of the Save tab we have Import. We use this to bring to the engine all the images and assets that we are going to use for our game. Ideally, every image that we bring to the engine has to be in .png or .tga format and the size has to be in power of two (this means that the value in pixels of the image has to respond to the rule 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64,… ). We are going to bring an image to use as a background to for our game. The one that is already in is 512 by 512 px, so let's go with that size.


Find or create in photoshop an image that you like, make sure that agrees with the rules that we have already established and save it into your computer (I recommend you save all your images in a folder that you can create for this game). Find the folder in the engine called textures and open it because is there where we want to import our image.

Let’s click Import now and search for your images in the folders, acept and your image should be now in your content browser.

Texture folder with new sprite
Texture folder with new sprite
Now, in order to replace the background image that is in the viewport by default, we are going to create a sprite with the image that we have just imported. Right-click on the image and in the unfolded menu choose sprite actions and then create sprite, and the result should be that you have a new image underlined in blue right beside the image that we had imported. We are going to move this new sprite into the sprites folder. We do this by dragging the image to this folder and selecting the option move.

Details Panel


We are going to select the background that was in the viewport by default and speak about the Details Panel that is the bottom right of your screen.

Details Panel
Details Panel
In the first section, transform, we can see information about its location, rotation and scale, and we can modify there the properties. Notice that the value on the Y location is -441.9. What is important about this value is that  is smaller than 0.

Transform Section in the Details Panel
Transform Section in the Details Panel
Now select one of the ledges and you will see that the value in the y axis in the location is 0. So we could say that in a 2D game in Unreal, we use the Y axis to order our items in layers and if we want this objects to collide between them they have to be in most of the cases in the same Y axis value.

Next thing to notice in the transform panel is the scale of the background that right now is to 28. If we modify this value to 1 you will see that the background will became very small. (Ctrl +Z to undo the changes)

The next section in the details panel is the sprite information.


Sprite Section in the Details Panel
Sprite Section in the Details Panel

Unfold the menu and search for the sprite that we created with our new background and notice what happens if you select it.

We have replaced the background image for our own image. The image, even when in pixels was the same size, now appears to be bigger.

To fix this, in the details panel double click in the image of the sprite and we will open a whole new set of options for our sprites in a separated window. In the details panel find were it says pixels per unit, and we are going to give to it a value of 2.56. Save (left top screen) and close this window. Now if you check your viewport again the image is the size it was before.


Changing pixel per unit
Changing pixel per unit
Let’s delete that one and try something different (viewport, select background and backspace) and instead of changing the background in the details panel we are just going to drag it into the scene (Remenber, drag the sprite, not the texture).

The image is smaller and maybe is in the front of your scene, but now you know that you can modify this in the details panel. Scale it back to 28 in the transform panel and make sure the y location has a negative value.
  
We don’t need to modify the value of pixels per unit because we did this before, and it has not been changed.

The last thing that we are going to do in this tutorial is to delete objects from the viewport using the outliner.

Selecting in the world outliner
Selecting in the world outliner

Select the first ledge scroll to the last and pressing shift key click it too. This selects everything that it’s in between too, press back space on your key board and all will disappear.

You can do the same with the right and left ledge.  If you want we can add one ledge back to the scene so our character has a place to stand. Select it from the sprites folder and dragged to the scene. Make sure that the value in the in the Y location is 0 so our character won't fall.

Adding a Ledge
Adding a Ledge

The Mode Panel


Mode Panel
Mode Panel
Don't be concern right now about the mode panel (left top hand of your screen). We are not really going to be using this panel for this game. All you need to know for the 2D game is that you have to be in the Place Mode that is the first tab of the panel.

Place Mode
Place Mode

We are all set to start placing things to interact with our player in the scene. Learn in the next tutorial how to create different sorts of platforms for our 2D game.



My First 2D Game in UE4: Getting started My First 2D Game in UE4: Getting started Reviewed by Maria Cereijo on February 04, 2019 Rating: 5

Free Design Stuff Ad