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How to customize a UDK install

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Shadowrun Awakened is built using the Unreal Development Kit. Once you install the UDK on your computer, it must be customized with our modified config files and extended by adding our original UnrealScript code. Not only programmers, but also artists should customize their UDK installations since working in UnrealEd is a lot easier when you can test them using our game mechanics.

NOTE: These instructions were last updated 7/30/2011. They should be good until at least January 2012.


Basic Steps

At a high-level, all you have to do to get a customized UDK installation is:

  1. Download and install the June 2011 UDK
  2. Download our custom code and content using the Public Snapshot on the website (Best For Artists) or from the Subversion repository (Best for Programmers)
  3. Copy & paste each piece of the custom code and content into your UDK installation.
  4. Open the Unreal FrontEnd ("C:\UDK\UDK-2011-06\Binaries\UnrealFrontend.exe" by default), remove the default maps from the cook list, add the SRA maps to your cook list, then press "Start"

The third step, copying & pasting each part of the customization, is the most complex part. Each file should really be copied manually, moving them between corresponding directories in the UDK customization. Please watch the Customizing the UDK YouTube video for more details.

UDK Directory Structure

A little background in the UDK directory structure will help you understand what you're doing to your UDK install. The root directory for a UDK installation ("C:\UDK\UDK-2011-06\" by default) contains four folders, each holding files pertaining to a specific purpose:

  • Binaries - The EXE files for both the various UDK components and the game that you build using Unreal FrontEnd
  • Development - UnrealScript classes for the core Unreal framework and the custom SRA classes
  • Engine - Configuration files and game content for core Unreal functionality (NOTE: The contents of this directory should NEVER be changed)
  • UDKGame - Configuration files and game content for Shadowrun Awakened

If you look at the project's SVN branch, you may notice that one of our directories is called "UDK" and contains three of the above four directories: Binaries, Development, and UDKGame. Each directory contains a structure that corresponds to a folder in a UDK installation. To customize your local UDK, you simply copy each file from the SVN directory to the corresponding UDK directory. It is necessary to visit each folder and copy the files since simply copying the directory will cause other unmodified files to be deleted.

When copying files out of a directory with files controlled by Subversion, there is always a hidden directory, called ".svn", in the directory. You should avoid copying this directory or delete it in any instance where you must copy directories. If you can't see the .svn directory, you need to show hidden files in Windows.

Unreal FrontEnd

The Unreal FrontEnd application is used to build code, cook assets, and create installers for Unreal games. After you apply the custom code & content for the project, you will need to run the Unreal FrontEnd and press the "Start" button. This will automatically move through the process of building the custom code, cooking the custom assets, and runing the game to see if it's working. Your can execute each step individually in the FrontEnd.

While using Unreal FrontEnd, you might find some of the following additional arguments useful:

  • -log -ConsolePosX=0 -ConsolePosY=0 - This will cause the log window to show in the top left corner of the screen, enabling you to see it more easily when using windowed mode. This is invaluable when debugging. If you're having problems, sharing a screenshot of the debug window and describing your problem is a great place to start.
  • -nomoviestartup - This will cause the short startup movie with the UDK logo to not play, saving you a couple seconds every time you test.
  • -NoSteam - Causes the game to launch without the steam integration activated.

Troubleshooting a Customization

If you are having a problem running after the customization, then try these troubleshooting solution:

  • If you don't add the custom SRA maps to the list of "maps to cook" in Unreal FrontEnd, the game will freeze and crash on startup! Please modify the list of maps to cook to include the custom SRA maps.
  • If you do not see expected behavior in the system, such as game mechanics, then likely the UnrealScript files ("C:\UDK\UDK-2011-06\Development\Src\SRA\Classes") were not built or did not copy properly.
  • If you are having problems with controls, such as certain buttons not doing what you think they should, then you should try copying over the three config files ("C:\UDK\UDK-2011-06\UDKGame\Config") again.
  • If you have a crash and the log window indicates missing content, then the various content packages (in "C:\UDK\UDK-2011-06\UDKGame\Content\UT3") probably did not copy properly or did not cook.

Other problems should be brought to the Game Issues forum and discussed with the team since they might be new problems introduced over time or otherwise not yet experienced on the team.