[Unreal Engine 4] 10 Tips and tricks to use Blueprints

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We have released Spink, a mobile game made entirely with Unreal Engine’s Blueprint system.

Using only Blueprints has its pros and cons and we’ll discuss that later. But if you choose to rely heavily on visual scripting, you need to be productive with it.

Thoses tips are mainly for Blueprint beginners, but advanced users could eventually find something new 😉

 

1. Getter and Setter shortcuts

If you drag’n’drop a variable, just keep ALT to add a SET node and CTR to add a GET node.

10T&T_getter_setter

Note that you also can drag’n’drop directly on a node input/output if the types are valid.

 

2. Use reroot nodes

It’s really easy to make a Blueprint look like a plate of spaghettis, using reroutes helps a lot in readability.

To add one, just type “rerou” in contextual menu :
10T&T_reroute_contextual

or double click a link :
10T&T_reroute_double_click

The best way to see the benefits of reroutes is to compare Flappy Bird to Unreal Match 3 Blueprints, they share some code for achievements and it’s totally unreadable in FlappyBird, guess why…

 

3. Branch shortcut : “b”

For sure the most used node of all, even if it’s half a second of benefit, just multiply that by the number of time you add a branch.
Juste press “b” while you left click.
10T&T_branch

 

4. Automatic layout tools

Unreal Engine 4.10 brought useful tools to beautify your nodes by aligning them automatically.
Automatic nodes arrangement tool

Not perfect, and if you have OCD like me you will still spend hours cleaning your nodes, but helpful.

 

5. Easy reparenting

Worth to note, there is an automatic option to reparent a Blueprint, get it from the menu :
10T&T_reparent

 

6. Search in all Blueprints

Default search tool in Blueprints focus on the selected file only, but you just have to uncheck “Find In Current Blueprint Only” to search everywhere.
10T&T_search

Also good to notice that the search field support advanced functionnalities (search in specifics elements, logic operators support, etc…), check the official documentation.

 

 

7. Categorize variables and functions

Blueprints offer the option to categorize variables, useful for big Blueprints like GameMode or GameInstance growing very fast.
You can’t make it directly from the variables panel (ergonomy error IMHO), you have to modify the variable “Category” dropbox :
10T&T_categorize

 

8. Comments

Even the best code is hard to maintain without good comments.
Remember that there are two types of comments in blueprints :

    – Box comments, using the “c” shortcut, changing there colors in properties is a good idea

– Node comments, overring on a node and clicking the small three dots :

10T&T_comments

 

 

9. Math Node at the rescue

Blueprints are fast to use, but when it comes to even the smallest math operation, you multiply by 100 the time it would take with code.
To avoid that, here comes the Math Node! It handles parameters and enable you to write inline operations.
10T&T_math_node

 

10. Enhance ads support

Unreal Engine’s ads support is currently very weak: only banners.
This is clearly not enough to make a viable ads based game.

Fortunately, there is a simple trick to add full screen ads on Android : you simply have to modify the file GameActivity.java to use the top/down banner option as a trigger. Check the details in the original topic on Unreal Engine Forum.
That’s not perfect of course, you’ll have to report this engine modification on updates, but it’s free, fast and compatible with a 100% Blueprint project.

The best ad model : Rewarded videos (personnal opinion there, but some studies think the same way) is still missing sadly… but there are plugins for that if it’s mendatory for you.

 

 

That’s it, I hope this helps and happy Blueprinting 🙂

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