Yes QUT. Micheal did a really good job of organising the showcase night. Did you go?
how did you find UDK?
The only other engine that I looked at in detail was Unity so I can't really compare although the level designer says it's more intuitive than the source engine. I will say that it is a really powerful engine. Apart from the level placement features the editor contains several powerful tools in their own right. As a result it took a while to get up to speed on using it efficiently and I didn't have the time to learn each tool in detail.
I was the programmer on the project so I needed to learn Unreal Script. Like the other tools it is quite powerful and took a little while to get my head around it properly. Not only is it object orientated but it's state orientated too which makes it great for games. One piece of advice is to read through the documentation on their website thoroughly and do the tutorials. I made the mistake of learning bits and pieces of the language throughout the semester as I was trying to implement features. I didn't have access to the C++ source so I can't comment on that.
I also think it would have been a good idea not to base the game from the UTDeathmatch game since there were times when something unexpected would occur that is normal for UTDeathmatch but shouldn't be in this game. For example when the player died they would drop a gun and our enemy character would pick it up and end up with an oddly oriented massive gun attached. It turned out to be a fairly easy fix but took quite a bit of time to work it out. Although the example game is a good learning tool if I was to make another game I would start from an empty one and add what I needed.
One thing that annoyed me was the editor needed to be closed every time I wanted to compile the code; it would be nice if there was a compile and reload button in the editor.
Overall it was quite good.