How do I create an FPS in Unreal Engine 5?
- Build/Purchase a good framework
- Import your Project into Unreal 5
- Build/Purchase environments, music, characters, and weapons
- Create a good story
- Create an interesting world
- Create devious and brilliant villains
- Make sure the gameplay is good
- Study all aspects of game design
- Have a message you want to send
Is it easy to create an FPS in Unreal Engine 5?
Yes and no, depending on the complexity of your game, and what tools and resources you are able to purchase/build in furtherance of your goals, it can be either very easy or very difficult to create an FPS. With asset packs you can get one started in a day, but if you make everything yourself, you’ll learn more.
By the way, is a Third Person Shooter more your style? Check out this Baskin article, my favorite writer, me, breaks down how to do it.
What do I need to make an FPS in Unreal Engine 5?
All you need is a desktop PC capable of running Unreal Engine 5, some asset packs, some characters and environments and music, and you can have an FPS up and running within the month.
Let’s create an FPS
How to create an FPS in Unreal Engine 5, that is one hell of a question. I could think of at least three levels of resolution where this question could be answered, in only the most cursory of senses. An FPS needs a good controller, as it’s foundation, with a nice array of weapons. The shots should have weight. They should feel good to fire. With nice sound effects, and visuals to match their combat utility. From the moment you fire the weapon, to the shot going off, to the bullet connecting with the enemy, dirt, object, or wall, and the feeling as you reload. Basically the closer you are to approximating Half Life 2, the better.
It also needs good enemies, who are fun to shoot. They need to have advanced AI behind them, so their behavior patterns are interesting and fun to engage with in combat. With lots of different enemy types.
However, maybe that’s not even where we should be starting this article at all.
Before we continue, maybe have a look here at game dev academy’s article on the same. It can flesh out some of the ideas we go over in this article.
SECTION 1: Creating an FPS from scratch in Unreal Engine 5
STEP 1: (Skip if insane)
Download the FPS Starter Kit, it costs a pinch of money, but it will jumpstart your game. (Or any as good or better framework for an FPS.)
Create a new project from your base framework, and open Unreal Engine 5, open a new project, and navigate to your newly created folder. Open the project, and wait for the shaders to compile.
[If you skipped this step to save money: Please create all the following systems before continuing.]
STEP 2: Let’s go over what we’ve created.
We have created an overwhelming wealth of weapons, from shotguns, to assault rifles, to sniper rifles, to pistols, lasers, and grenade launchers. All of them have a good weighty feel to them. Except the laser which feels light and airy.
We have created the ballistics, the mechanics, acquired the rights to or created all the 3D models, created the 3D animations and synced them to our character in third and first person, created or acquired the rights to all the sounds, created the collisions and did the raycasting required for the creation of bullet trails from your weapon and the subsequent synergy with your newly created enemies, and collisions with everything that exists in the levels, including hit location, and destruction physics.
[Since you are doing this from scratch it will take you a while, prepare to sink about a year or two into studying and building some of this. But 30 dollars is a lot of money to some people, so be sensible and put in the time needed if you can’t afford to buy your own framework. You will learn a lot in the process.]
We’ll need to get into behavior trees for this. After completing step 1: Your enemies will now have the ability to run around with weapons, they can patrol, they can see and hear the player with their senses, they can feel and respond when attacked, they can target the player when they see him, they can calculate the player’s location and fire in that direction, they have the ability to use tactics and fight in squads, they can navigate around the level through the use of A* Pathfinding.
You will also need a good understanding of the unreal skeletal system, the skeletal mesh system, the physics system, the animation system, and the animation graph, as well as a firm understanding of Character Blueprints and how they are assembled in an AI or Player Character.
Let’s write a separate article on behavior trees to cover the basics, then you can get started coding your complex AI. Depending on complexity, this can take anywhere from a month to 5 or 10 years, depending on how much you need that 30 dollars.
Sitting atop the spire, you the programming master, laughs a bit to yourself. Yes, you say, I did code all those systems myself, this writer is far less advanced than me. He could learn a lot from me.
The player controller is your bread and butter in an FPS game, if the player doesn’t move and control well, your game is not going to be successful. But if you have a good controller, things are looking a lot better. Your controller is the foundation of your foundation.
It needs to move and look smoothly, it needs to look right when seen through the player’s own eyes. You will need to build arms that float around the camera, or rig your mesh in such a way that the player’s body doesn’t obstruct the camera. (Harder, but more rewarding.) If you have different perspectives you will also need to code in the transition back and forth between third and first person. Swimming and parkour mechanics added as needed.
There are developers I know who could tell you a lot about how to make a good Character Controller, once you do, you can sell it on the asset store for more money than any game would fetch you. That’s not entirely sarcasm, it’s a truth. If you are good enough to build all this, from scratch, sell on the asset store you WILL make BANK.
Prepare to devote approximately 5 years to study, and 5 years to development. Please keep in mind this process of learning may be disrupted if you at any time acquire 30 dollars, which will just spoil things by solving everything for you, and you will learn nothing.
STEP 3: If you have skipped Step 1, and completed Step 2.
The knowledge you have gained will carry you far in this industry, now aren’t you glad you started from scratch, just be sure to take the following advice, it has been many years, Upgrade to Unreal 10.
Trust me, a lot has changed since you mastered FPS Character Controllers, Weapons and AI.
Unreal 10 has features that you cannot believe are even possible, and at the time of writing, this Engine is entirely theoretical. However, with 20 years having passed since you began your journey, all to save 30 dollars, you are now approaching the latter half of your life. Reflect on your romances, and make sure your family life is in order, and try to be around to meet your grandchildren.
SECTION 2: PRACTICAL ELEMENTS ANCILLIARY TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF YOUR FPS GAME
As a master of all trades, I should be asking YOU how this should be done, but here is my humble opinion on some of the other important elements of your FPS.
You will need to acquire environments. I know, I know, you are also a master at 3D Modelling, you take time from your 100 grand a year job to read this and be among the little people. However, for an average indie dev, purchasing new environments is a paramount and necessary function of your job. You will probably earn money, which you will spend on environments, just so you can earn more money and purchase further environments.
When your levels are sprawling, complex, and interesting to walk around in, and they are populated with NPC’s who are fun to talk to and fight, and you’ve built in a bit of a story, and you have connected a web of environments for the player to move through, you’re starting to make a real game. You might make money off it at this point, but keep developing, you’re not done yet.
Don’t underestimate music. Your player will be listening to that music the entire time they’re playing your game. From the moment they boot it up, to the moment they put it down, they will be hearing your music, so it better be good.
Buy up some music on humble, if you get a little extra money, invest in Envato Elements for unlimited royalty free music, for your games or just your own projects. You will also get access to unlimited sound effects, and they have borderline EVERYTHING. They have 9 pages of snake sounds. Basically mandatory in a professional indie game.
Your game is only as pretty as your 3D Models. Many games have been ruined at this stage of development. Many games are brilliantly saved or eternally remembered, for getting this stage right. There are three serious options for an indie dev that I can think of.
OPTION 1: EPIC GAMES STORE
You can purchase everything you need on the Epic Games Store, they have high quality models at a range of prices, from cheap to super expensive, you can’t go wrong here, but shop around to find the best deals.
OPTION 2: Character Creator 3
This is probably your best option. If you want unlimited, Next Gen Level High Quality Characters, with every element of design and rights covered, go for it. I would suggest buying the most expensive suite on offer, it will set you back $1,190.00 USD on sale, or $1770.00 normally, but you pay for that once and you NEVER have to worry about characters again, and you never have to pay another dime to anyone. You are essentially set for life with this suite.
OPTION 3: DAZ3D
These are really high quality characters, you’d have to search pretty far and wide to find a prettier suite of characters, and they’re not that expensive either. If the above looks too expensive to you, why not just buy a good character for 10 or 20 dollars, a nice outfit, a few important pieces and licenses, altogether, if you have the basic stuff already, you have a character you can use in your game for 40 dollars. It looks nicer than Cyberpunk, and I made it myself.
Technically, as a discount option for indie devs, this can’t be beat.
um…. *scratches neck*
I have spent approximately 6 or 8 thousand dollars on this discount option. Recently spending 900 dollars on a whole hell of a lot of licenses. Literally 900 dollars just buying the rights to my outrageously large collection of characters, clothing, environments, etc, etc.
However, much like someone who went with the discount option, Character Creator 3, I am now set for life. hohoho.
I can just sit back and develop my game now. Period. This step is completed, and done well.
SECTION 3: THE THEORY OF FPS GAME DEVELOPMENT
So, how would you like me to tell you, that all the previous steps do not really matter that much, that’s just the baseline. Once you have a working system, good combat, a good controller, a story system, music, characters, environments, a world to explore, mechanics, and the rest. That’s just what you’re supposed to do. What takes your game to the next level is your vision and storytelling ability, as well as the strength of your characters.
This is not always the case of course, but most big FPS games are telling a story, here are a few elements to keep in mind when crafting it.
The Enemy should be memorable
Your game will need a good villain. Whoever the nemesis of your player is, they should be a truly fascinating monster. Half Life 2 leads the way with some of the most memorable, and brilliantly written villains in the history of the medium.
A fine example would be Dr. Breen, model yourself on him, when writing and creating that villain;
Concordant to this is the enemy itself, the NPC’s you will be fighting and interacting with along the way, they should be interesting, unique, unusual in some way. Your player will be at war with them the entire time he’s playing the game, they should be interesting and brilliant, as well. Part of this is just design and story but this can also bleed into your mechanics, the smarter your enemy is, the more fun they are to shoot.
You’ll feel better about defeating an enemy who is devious, and challenging, and smart.
The Story & World Must Be Captivating
As well as having good villains, and enemies. The Main story itself must be well written, and interesting. The world you inhabit, tells half the story itself, like Demon’s Souls, the rest of it, told explicitly, must be inspired, and brilliant, and cunning. All your best ideas have to go into this game, do not settle for anything other than a brilliant story, with deep fundamental themes, a message to send, and make sure all your best content is crammed into the beginning, and the ending. Make sure both are strong, and don’t neglect the rest either. Your characters should be memorable, they should feel like your player’s real life friends. Your player should know these characters by name, and have a sense of their personality as strong as if they knew them in person. Chie is still my heart, and I remember Yosuke as a good and loyal friend.
Your main character should be a foil for the villain. Whatever each side of the conflict represents, your main character and your villain or villains, should feed off of one another, in a symbiotic system. To advance one’s agenda is to bring the other to ruins, in a zero sum game. The game is over when the player swarms into the Citadel and does away with Dr. Breen.
The mysterious G-Man is there uttering arcane and profane secrets, to the hapless player, as he ushers you to the end of your journey, and the game ends.
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Have a great day,