Blueprints

BlueprintExamplesGraphicHeader.png

Blueprints are Unreal Engine 4's approach to visual scripting. This means that tasks generally reserved for programming scripts are instead created via a graph of nodes and connections, rather than having to type out any actual code. This enables artists and other non-coder type users to create intricate and sophisticated gameplay systems that were previously only available to programmers.

The purpose of the Blueprint Example is to demonstrate some of the many ways in which Blueprints can be employed in your level designs. The included level contains a variety of Blueprint-based effects. Some of these are used as level design elements for adding visual or environmental effects, such as fog sheets and "god rays," while others are interactive level elements such as sophisticated security camera systems. The goal is to provide a sense of the enormous potential Blueprints have to offer, while also providing useful examples to help users learn how to create Blueprints themselves.

For more information on Blueprints, please see the Blueprint documentation .

This document is not intended to walk you step-by-step through the creation process for these Blueprint examples. Rather, it is here to provide a high-level overview of each one and give some insight into its intention and how it does its job. If you would like to know more about each of these Blueprints, we encourage you to check out each one of these examples within the Blueprint Editor.

In-Game Commentary and Exploration

Throughout the BlueprintOffice level, the default level of this example project, you will see a series of interactive commentary box icons that float nearby certain objects. While playing the game in the Editor, approaching one of these icons causes it to expand, showing a commentary box with a brief explanation of the associated nearby Blueprint.

CommentaryBoxes.png

It is recommended to play through the level in the Editor first, viewing all of the commentary boxes and exploring how each of the elements in the level behaves. Then, once you have an idea of what each Blueprint does, you can examine the Details panel and Blueprint Editor to have a look at the scripting within them.

Blueprint Basics

If you are completely new to the world of Blueprints, you may find yourself in need of some help to really understand what they are and what they can do for your level. In that case, we highly recommend you read through the Blueprint documentation .

Included Examples

TopicCommentary.png

This Blueprint creates a commentary hint box that opens up when the player comes within a certain radius. When viewed from a distance, the object appears as a floating puck that has an "i" in the middle of it. Once the player is within range, the puck flips upside down, forming an exclamation point "!" and the box of text expands out from it. This box constantly orients to point directly at the player.

FogSheetTopic.png

The Fog Sheet and Light Ray Blueprints serve as an example of using Blueprints to create atmospheric effects for use in level design. Arranging translucent Static Meshes such as planes of fog and beams of light when decorating a level tends to be time-consuming, and so the purpose of these blueprints is to make the process easier while giving the user more control over the appearance of these meshes.

FoliageTopic.png

The Foliage Blueprint shows how to use a Blueprint to create randomly-generated foliage (or potentially other structures) that are automatically placed such that they conform to a surface. The user has control over the extent of the effect and how many meshes the system will try to spawn. As the Blueprint is moved, the meshes update to re-conform to the new environment.

ButterflyTopic.png

The two mechanical butterflies in the center of the level are examples of how Blueprints can be used to create basic AI behavior. The butterflies will fly around a specified center point, randomly changing direction for a time, before trying to return to the center point to rest. When they encounter an obstacle, they smoothly fly towards it to land, then take off again after a delay. The longer a butterfly has flown, the longer it will rest.

CamAlarmDoor_Topic.png

The security camera Blueprints seen throughout the level are designed to interact with the player when in Play mode. During play, they will pan back and forth in a search pattern. When the green search cone overlaps a pawn, the light turns red and the camera begins to track player movement. It continues to track the player until the player moves out of range. Then, after a few seconds, it returns to searching.

SecurityConsole.png

Tied into the existing camera Blueprints is a security control room. This room contains a security console surrounded by video screens. As the player presses a large button in the center of the console, the screens switch to show views from various security cameras placed throughout the level. These are the same security cameras, located throughout the level, that also trigger the alarm system if the player walks into their view.