Visual Scripting – Notable Problems

This post covers a few of the most notable problems I have had with UE4 regarding random crashes and compiling issues. I am less so concerned about the crashes themselves but more of the lack of supporting documentation surrounding fixes for what to me seems like a fairly common use of the engine.

There was a point where I had spent the day trying to debug a function that did not appear to be getting called. I went through my usual process of placing Breakpoints only to find that none of my variables had been declared, upon further investigation it became clear that the Compiler had taken issue with some pointer arrays, decided the function changed nothing and optimised it all away. There were no errors showing that there was an issue and it took an entire day to figure out the source of the problem and to fix it.

I wanted to move all of my generation code from the level blueprint and into its own class, either a blueprint or a C++ class but I just ended up spending hours trying to fix obscure linker and compile errors informing me that functions I had previously using did not exist. Also, whenever I compiled the code using the button in the editor it would crash without warning. The Documentation says nothing about fixing what I would assume are common errors nor how to properly set up the build file or even which header files should be included when working with certain classes. Furthermore it’s incredibly difficult to debug your code as it is not easy to tell if the error is coming from C++ or from Unreal Engine. It is also often the case that errors will be reported after one compile that will be gone after the next compile without a trace which is possibly more infuriating.

Finally I’d like to mention for anyone else who wishes to work with landscapes in the future. The editor will crash if you are creating a blueprint and try to set a child actor’s class to a Landscape;  the editor will freeze for a second and then crash and present the error reporting window, the same as the compile bug mentioned earlier. If you have a lightning fast computer this might not be that much of a problem but if like me it takes you the best part of 5 minutes to launch UE4 this can really eat up your time and it certainly drained my motivation to continue.

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