Tips and Tricks

Recap: Improving your game development experience (with VAX lead dev)

Whole Tomato recently held a webinar for Visual Assist, and it’s about game development! If you’re thinking of doing this as a hobby or as a potential career path, this may serve as a great introduction.

In the presentation, VAX lead developer, Chris Gardner, takes you through the steps of coding a modified powerup into a shooter game using Visual Studio and the Unreal Editor. 

Chris gives you a concrete idea of what games look like under the hood and how to set expectations before you get into actual game development. He also demonstrates in detail an important concept in Unreal coding—referencing blueprints in C++ code. 

We’ve summarized the most important takeaways from Chris’s presentation below.

Adding a powerup to Unreal’s shooter game.

Important Takeaways 

Prepping yourself

  • Game development is complex, and there are many possible ways to be involved. For example, you can be a programmer, a designer, or an artist, among other roles. 
  • Learn how to find, understand, and apply new information to your code. Great Googling skills are vital soft skills to have as a developer.
  • Learn from mistakes. Having an “I want to learn how to fix this” mindset when dealing with frustrating errors is the best way to learn new things.
  • Similarly, having an “I just want to learn more” mindset is just as useful.
  • If you want to finish creating a game, use a game engine; if you want to learn more about game development, make your own game engine.
  • More code inspection and Unreal features are coming for Visual Assist.

Chris’s tools and Unreal Engine setup

  • Visual Studio 2022
  • Unreal Engine and Unreal Editor 4.27
  • Visual Assist 2022.1 plugin (highly recommended) 

Handy Visual Assist shortcuts for game development

  • Open file in Solution (Shift + Alt + O) 
  • GoTo Implementation (Alt + G)
  • GoTo Related (Shift + Alt + G)
  • Open Quick Action and Refactoring menu (Shift + Alt + Q)
  • Add includes (hover or select unknown symbol)

Check out the list of Visual Assist keyboard shortcuts. These are the default installation settings.

Important time stamps

Here are the time stamps for Chris’s webinar presentation.

  • Main body of webinar (9:02)
  • Concept to playtesting (13:55)
  • Initializing projects: Setup and tools (16:40)
  • Setting up Visual Assist for the first time (22:43)
  • Base classes, methods, and referencing blueprints using C++ (23:30)
  • Unreal editor particle system (49:38)
  • Audience question and answer (59:25)
Chris added some tomatoes in the middle of shooter game.

If you’re interested in learning more about the things mentioned in this summary in greater detail, you can browse through our replays here.


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