I first started teaching myself UDK in 2010 using YouTube tutorials, which has a substantial amount of tutorials for anyone interested. However at that time you couldn’t find a complete series of tutorials that guided you from start to finish. After searching for alternative and paid tutorials, I came across Eat3D. In my opinion, these are the best UDK tutorials!
I started by watching “Unreal Development Kit – An Introduction an Application”. I cannot emphasize how essential this tutorial series is for anyone getting started. All the lighting effects, grids and snaps, BSP brushes (Binary Space Partitioning/Bespoke Geometry), post processing effects, water, volume blocking, lens flares, door animations and sound implementation where brought to life through this tutorial.
Once I had the level set up and playable, my next step was to create my own models and materials. For this topic I covered “Unreal Materials – An Introduction” and “Old Damaged Pillar”, both of which gave me insight on texturing, adding masks and tiled detail maps, diffuse and normal mapping (high recommend the tool CrazyBump), basics using 3D Max, material nodes, window parallax materials, and decal stains.
For developers interesting in programming in UnrealScript, I highly recommend “UnrealScript – An Introduction and Application” as your foundation. Having years of experience in programming, the first half of the tutorial was a refresher on topics, such as variables, arrays, enumerations, structures, IF and Case statements, loops, functions and classes. Things got really interested when the tutorial delved into coding Kismet components, compound meshes and creating custom behavior for objects, such as weapons. For the level in my game, I had the weapon fire illuminated globes that shed dynamic light through the level. Each globe had a physics component that would make the globe bounce around the level, which gave a really nice effect. The drawback to using such a lighting technique is that I had to limit the amount of fire and time each globe would last as having too many dynamic light components resulted in frame rate slow downs.
Unfortunately due to my negligence for backing up my work back in 2010, I had accidentally dropped my laptop, destroying my hard disk and any data included. All screenshots present in this post were retrieved from old emails send to my tutor at that time. Being the level took me four months and exams round the corner I got demotivated to continue. A lesson for anyone, ALWAYS BACKUP YOUR WORK. There are multiple free tools today, including DropBox and Google Drive.
UDK has come a long was since I created this level. Being a free editor for Unreal Engine 3 was a great way to get started. For anyone interested in using Unreal technology, I would recommend Unreal Engine 4.