Review: Unreal Engine 4 Game Development in 24 Hours by Aram Cookson, Ryan DowlingSoka, and Clinton Crumpler

Sams has always published solid content, and this book does not disappoint. In fact, I think one of the first game development books I read some 20 odd years ago was from Sams. This text on Unreal Engine 4 is comprehensive and worth reading (even if it is a few years old).

Here the authors cover many important topics, like installing Unreal, working with the gameplay framework, understanding coordinates, units, and transformations. Static mesh actors, lighting and using materials. Audio. Landscapes, world building, and particle effects. Skeletal meshes, cinematics, physics, visual scripting (including level Blueprints and classes), key events, UI, packaging your game and mobile optimizations. By the end of the book you’ll have a simple asteroid shooter demo to play.

All in all, there is a lot of content in the 24 chapters and around 500 pages. I found the discussion on customizing the game mode and player controller to be particularly helpful and not widely covered in other books. The chapters on working with skeletal meshes and cinematics were also nice.

I was never bored, and each chapter felt engaging and useful without being too long. Though the book is a tad older, most of the concepts still seemed relevant, though I did not test the code and wouldn’t be surprised if a few things have changed. But it’s a solid resource and worth reading.