Intro to UDK 1& 2
This review is coming from someone who has absolutely no experience in UDK. These DVD'S were literally my first venture into the would of UE3. Both Into to UDK 1 & 2 together took me about 3 weeks to complete. That is taking into account that I work full time. You can complete these two tutorials much faster if you have more free time on your hands. Although there are some issues with missing components and slight changes in the UDK interface, these DVD's together make up a very educational and rewarding experience for individuals who know little about UDK.
Intro to UDK 1 teaches the user about using a combination of static meshes and BSP brushes to create a vibrant, playable, but small level in the editor. One of the best elements to the way that Sjoerd "Hourences" De Jong teaches this methodology is that you will not only learn a great work flow and architectural techniques, but also helpful tricks that can improve your finesse with UDK overall. Sjoerd teaches in a way that makes you feel like he is in the room teaching you in person. Explanations and reasoning accompany actions and you always fell that you are learning something, not just following along. Sjoerd also touches lightly on lighting and post-prossing techniques to help you make your first few levels look presentable. My only gripe is that since all of the components that you use in this level are provided by epic in the UDK, some of the static meshes and materials have been removed from recent versions, leaving you to have to improvise (Which can be rewarding). Or, this problem can be fixed by downloading an older version of UDK if you feel it necessary. After about 5 hours of instruction, when all is said and done, you are left with a visually impressive playable level and a wealth of acquired knowledge.
In intro to UDK 2 Sjoerd touches on some of the more advanced features in UDK. At first, having never touched the UDK material or particle editor in the past, I must admit I was overwhelmed. Working in the UDK material editor is like wiring the electric in a house. You spend allot of time in the material editor hooking up components and then turning those materials into particles with the particle editor. Although I was overwhelmed initially, I was able to quickly catch on to the methods and follow along with ease. Again, you will learn allot with this DVD. In merely 4 1/2 hours of instruction I got a comprehensive introduction to the UDK material editor, particle editor, and Kismet. You will learn techniques to create elements like rain, fire, and wind from the ground up. After you create the effects in the level you will add a character and learn how to use kismet to make a cinematic within the level. Again, you might be confused at the get go, but eventually most people will be able to catch on and produce an impressive final project. After my cinematic was complete I watched and laughed as my character progressed through the screen. It was rewarding to say the least. Unlike the first DVD most of the materials that you use for this DVD you make yourself or are provided with the contents package. So you will not be missing little components here and there.
Overall I would rate these two DVD's, as a whole, very highly. I learned allot about the UDK editor in a short amount of time. Now when I open UDK I am able to jump right in and start creating levels while at the same time feeling comfortable with the interface. Sjoerd is an excellent instructor who you can easily tell has a great deal of experience using UDK and creating games. I look forward to learning more from him and the other instructors on Eat 3D. I also hope to see a UDK part 3.