How to make a game with Unreal Engine

Unreal Engine is seen by many as a graphics engine capable of creating games from the technical sector “jaw breaker”. On the other hand, over time there have been not a few high-profile titles that have relied on the solution offered by Epic Games (the software house that is also behind the famous Fortnite) as their engine.

I am not referring only to the PC world: just see “Days Gone”, developed by Bend Studio and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment (originally released as a PS4 exclusive , then also arrived on the Windows platform). In short, if you are also approaching this subject, I fully understand why you want to learn how to create a game with Unreal Engine , so I will give you a hand.

Making a noteworthy project with this graphics engine, however, isn’t exactly straightforward. You have to get up to speed, study and practice a lot. That said, in this tutorial I am going to show you the basics of the Epic Games graphics engine, explaining how to use it to take your first steps. If you are ready, below are all the necessary information. I just have to wish you good reading and wish you a big good luck for your project!


  • Preliminary information
  • How to make a game with Unreal Engine 4
    • How to install Unreal Engine
    • Create a 3D game with Unreal Engine
    • Create a 2D game with Unreal Engine

Preliminary information

Before going into the details of the procedure on how to create a game with Unreal Engine , I think it may interest you to know more about the latter.

As already mentioned, Unreal Engine is one of the most popular graphics engines in the world videogame industry: think that, often, the tech demos created to show the potential of console and PC hardware are created using this engine.

To be clear, in 2020 Epic Games left many players speechless, unveiling a first demo of Unreal Engine 5 , which should be released in 2021. The demo “Lumen in the Land of Nanite” ran on PS5 and was meant to show what can be done with Sony’s 9th generation console hardware.

In short, Unreal Engine is a cutting-edge graphics engine in terms of the technical sector. Of course, even solutions like Unity allow you to create not bad titles, but generally video game enthusiasts usually “associate” the Unreal Engine with a “cutting edge” graphics engine from this point of view.

This is obviously a not insignificant advantage, but it also involves possible “limitations”. In fact, while solutions like Unity generally require minimum requirements that are “negligible” for many users and types of use, Unreal Engine has somewhat higher requirements , if you want to use it properly.

Since there are not a few who want to create titles with an excellent technical sector with this graphics engine, I therefore want to explain the requirements recommended by Epic Games (find them below).

  • Operating system: Windows 10 64-bit;
  • Processor: Intel or AMD quad-core 2.5 GHz or better;
  • RAM: 8GB;
  • Video card and DirectX: DirectX 11 or DirectX 12 compatible GPU.

In short, clearly in these cases it is always good to have a performing gaming PC to be able to do everything as it should. In any case, I remind you that to be able to create a game it takes a lot of dedication .

In fact, although nowadays it is actually possible to download and use particularly powerful tools such as the Unreal Engine for free, I remind you that video games represent a multi-faceted medium .

It is no coincidence that the big software houses deploy millionaire budgets to be able to achieve their triple AAA. Knowing how to use a graphics engine is not enough: the professionals involved in a video game range from the developer to the music composer , passing through game designers and much more.

I wanted to clarify it, as there are not a few who approach tools such as the Unreal Engine thinking of being able to master them after following a single tutorial.

No: no one will actually tell you how to make a full game like the one you’re thinking about. You’ll have to work hard and use your original code , not to mention music , 3D models , and so on.

In short, you understand well that, especially if you are alone, the time required to reach your goal will be high (trust me, even setting yourself “low” goals and trying to make a simple complete game, you will still have to take everything very seriously).

In any case, this does not mean that it is not possible, using the right time, to create small “pearls” , even without a budget, using the Unreal Engine. In fact, in this field creativity matters a lot and there are people who, often carrying out the project for years, have managed to make valid productions.

In short, it seemed right to warn you: obviously this guide, like all those present online, cannot teach you to use the Epic Games graphics engine in a complete way . However, it can provide you with useful information to understand how to start approaching this world in a “quick” and fun way.

How to make a game with Unreal Engine 4

Now that you are aware of the general situation, I would say that it is time to get “to the heart” of the tutorial. In fact, below you can find the indications that will help you become familiar with the Epic Games graphics engine . It doesn’t matter if you want to use 3D or 2D: I will try to direct you to content that may be useful to you.

How to install Unreal Engine

First of all, I would like to point out that to download Unreal Engine on Windows you just need to connect to the official Unreal Engine portal and press the DOWNLOAD NOW button for the version of the engine you prefer (). By doing so, you will get the EpicInstaller- [version] – unrealEngine.msi file . Therefore, you just have to open the latter and follow the instructions proposed by the installer (generally just press the Install  and  Yes buttons  ).

As for macOS , on the other hand, once you press the DOWNLOAD NOW button you will get the EpicInstaller- [version] – unrealEngine.dmg file . To proceed, just start the latter and drag Epic Games Launcher to the Applications folder .

Once you open the Epic Games Launcher for the first time , which by the way is also the program that allows you to access the games and the Epic Games store, you will need to log in with your profile to get started.

After that, all you have to do is go to the Unreal Engine tab on the left and complete the download of the latest version of the graphics engine, pressing the appropriate button at the top right and waiting for the download to finish.

Create a 3D game with Unreal Engine

I know: probably your will is to create a 3D game from the cutting-edge technical sector. I have already explained in the preliminary chapter the fact that this takes a long time and that obviously this tutorial cannot explain to you how to create your dream title, but I can still show you how to start getting familiar with Unreal Engine right away and provide you with the right directions to to begin.

In this case, it makes little sense to tell you how to make a 3D game from scratch, but I think it is more useful to start from a preset proposed directly by Epic Games, since the creators of the Unreal Engine know the graphics engine better than anyone. In fact, many users make the mistake of starting with an ambitious project created from scratch, then losing the desire to carry it out in no time at all.

Epic Games offers free samples that can be modified (thus creating a complete 3D game, even if made only to learn), so I don’t see why not starting from the latter, which among other things can be fun to try. and “stimulating” for your creativity.

In this context, a preset that I think is very well done is Vehicle Game . In other words, it is a 3D video game with a pleasant technical sector that allows you to become familiar with the tools offered by the Unreal Engine 4 to create a racing game .

Vehicle Game is already a complete project of its own , but you can open it with the Unreal Engine editor to “sift through” the elements used and understand how they were made. The sample was made by Epic Games and is completely free .

To download it, start the Epic Games Launcher , press on the Unreal Engine item , on the left, click on the Learn tab , scroll down the page and press on the Vehicle Game box , located in the Game section . After that, first press on the Free button and then on the Create project button .

You will then be prompted to type the name of the project , select the folder in which to save it, possibly confirm the version of the Unreal Engine to use (you can leave the latest available) and press the Create button .

The download of the project will therefore start (the weight is generally 1.4GB). Once the download is complete, you can close the Epic Games Launcher . Then open Unreal Engine , waiting for the initialization to take place.

Then, click on the More button , present in the Recent Projects section , to access the sample you previously installed. At this point, select VehicleGame and click on the Open Project button .

The editor will then appear on the screen. Don’t be “scared”: the program initially offers a “tour” of the possibilities offered , so now everything will be explained to you. If you don’t know English , don’t worry: I’m here to help you in this first initial part (however, knowing English will be of fundamental importance later on).

You will have noticed that the graduation cap icon has appeared at the top right . Press first on the latter and then on the Next button to start getting familiar with the Unreal Engine interface.

The first screen will tell you that the editor is made up of various panels . These can be moved , pinned , closed, and so on – put simply, you can customize the project screen however you like. In case you make something “disappear” by mistake, you can restore it using the Windows option , present at the top left.

The main window, the one in which you are viewing the game track, is called the Level Editor . The latter is the main element of Unreal Engine – you’ll need it to test the game , create levels , place elements and essentially fix everything.

To move around the game in 3D , just hold down the right mouse button and use the classic WASD keys . You can try right away: you will see that you can move around the track. It takes the mouse movements to go, for example, upward or downward. Press the Next button to continue.

The elements present within the scenario are called Actors by Unreal Engine. The buttons at the top right of the Level Editor are used, for example, to move , rotate and scale what is present in your game. Click the Next button to continue.

The buttons on the top left are used to manage the scene (Viewport). Put simply, you can set the way items are shown. For example, you can choose a cinematic view or disable lights and more. Remember to press the Next button to continue.

Now the program will show you the Modes Panel , which has a selection of editor tools. From here you can change the way the Level Editor works, for example to place new elements in the game world properly or to create landscapes and much more. Click the Next button to advance.

The lower left section of the editor is called the Content Browser . Here you can manage all the files related to your project, from assets to sounds . Long story short, it’s a little bit of Unreal Engine’s File Explorer – you can rename , add , remove and generally fix anything you need. Click the Next button to continue.

What the program is pointing to you now is the Details Panel . The latter provides you with all the details of the case on the item you have selected. From here you can manage several options related to Actors, such as moving them , rotating them and much more. Press the Next button to advance.

At the top right, the World Outliner peeps out , which groups all the Actors in your game in an orderly manner . You can select items and edit them directly from here. Click the Next button to continue.

By default, only the name and type of the object are shown in the World Outliner , but you can press the down arrow icon , located at the top right, to obtain further information , for example relating to the layers . Press the Next button to advance.

At the top is the Toolbar . Epic Games has placed the main editor-related tools here . From here you can save , start the game and perform all the most common operations that will come in handy during the development of the title. Press the Next button to continue.

The Menu Bar obviously represents the section where you can manage the classic options offered by all the programs. For example, you can load projects or save the current one. Press the Next button to advance.

Some buttons have an additional section that allows you to get more details about the associated functionality . In this case, the program recommends moving the mouse cursor over the rotation icon and pressing Ctrl + Alt . In this way, a window with further indications will appear on the screen .

Press the Next button to continue: the “tour” of the Unreal Engine interface is over. Now you know what all the elements of the editor are for. Then click on the Home button and the program will advise you to follow many other tutorials (if you close the window, you can access the tutorials again from Help> Tutorials ).

There is everything from the basics of the interface to the code , passing through the animations and much more. However, all the tutorials are in English: I warned you, you need to know this language well to use Unreal Engine properly. In fact, in addition to these useful internal tutorials, which of course I recommend you to complete to familiarize yourself with the tool, the portal dedicated to the documentation is also totally in English.

Perfect, now you know where to find a little bit of everything you need to start creating your 3D game using the Unreal Engine. In any case, after explaining the editor interface, the funniest moment has arrived: using the sample you downloaded earlier. Press, therefore, on the Play button , present at the top, move the mouse over the Level Editor and press on the latter, in order to start playing.

Just use the W , A , S and D buttons to complete the circuit created by Epic Games. As you can see, this is simply a mini-game that “invites” you to beat your own record time in a simple track that doesn’t take long to complete.

Put simply, you already have a “complete” title of its own. This allows you, starting for example from the World Outliner , to analyze the way in which the elements that created the game were prepared , so that you know how to manage everything when you decide to create your game.

Obviously, the variables involved are many and therefore it is not possible to provide you with precise indications: you will necessarily have to follow the documentation and put your creativity into the field to create the game you have in mind. Obviously the Web will then be your “friend” (after all, which developer does not search online , especially at the beginning?).

However, just to “stimulate” you a bit to continue, now I show you how to quickly edit this sample while having fun. Well, you will have noticed that, taking the road to the right in the only fork proposed by the game path, it is possible to make a jump , which may not always be very good.

The first idea that came to my mind is therefore to create a sort of “easy mode” , adding a “bridge” to the title created by Epic Games. In this case, the sample makes everything very simple: to proceed, hold down the right mouse button on the Level Editor and move the camera , using the WASD buttons , to the jump location .

Press, therefore, on the part of the ground present just before the jump, hold down the left mouse button on the green arrow and move the element so as to “cover” the hole. To be clear, the green arrow represents the Y axis , the blue one is the Z axis and the red one is the X axis .

Once you have positioned this element correctly, it is time to increase its size , so that the user can pass with the car without jumping. So take a look at the Details Panel , present at the bottom right. After that, type 2 in the Z box related to the Scale option and press Enter .

This way, you will double the size of this element, allowing the user to simply go straight, without having to worry about the speed for the jump. In any case, it is also necessary to go to the Collision section and set the Collision Presets option to Default , so that the machine does not pass through the “bridge”. Press, therefore, on the Play button and you will see that, if everything has been done correctly, you will be able to reach the other part without problems.

Perfect, you have successfully implemented a “bridge” within a game and managed to modify your first “full” title on Unreal Engine. Well done!

Create a 2D game with Unreal Engine

How do you say? Are you planning to create a 2D game with Unreal Engine ? No problem: although this graphics engine is mainly known for projects with a particularly advanced technical sector, in reality it can also represent an excellent tool for other types of titles.

If you intend to follow the 2D route, obviously the basic indications I gave you in the previous chapter are equally valid, but in this case I recommend starting from a different preset . More precisely, I think the sample called Unreal Stick Figure 2D may be useful (you can access the latter from the Epic Games Launcher> Unreal Engine> Learn> Legacy Samples menu ).

Of course, perhaps using Unreal Engine for a 2D title may not turn out to be the best of the moves , since there are not a few who prefer Unity for this type of use, but the choice is up to you and of course it’s also a matter of taste.

In any case, in addition to becoming familiar with the graphic engine through all the indications I have previously provided, it is of fundamental importance to put your creativity into the field and dedicate the right time to the project.

In fact, I remind you that later on you will most likely have to try your hand at programming in C ++ , as well as with the creation of models . In short, creating a game using Unreal Engine is not a walk in the park, but you must know that, starting from the tools I have indicated and doing some research (for example on YouTube ), you can actually reach your goal (obviously with the right dedication).

A prime example is titles such as Bright Memory , made by one person with Unreal Engine 4 and particularly popular with PC gamers (as evidenced by the evaluation on Steam ).

In short, I hope I have convinced you to delve into this interesting world . For the rest, let me give you another big good luck for your game!



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