One glaring problem during my project was my lack of attendance for roughly 4 weeks near the end of the project. This heavily affected my workflow as it made it a lot harder to get feedback from my peers, as well as any help or guidance from my tutor. The lack of feedback made it very difficult to continue my project, as I was not sure what was needed to continue. On top of this, I didn’t have access to certain resources at home that I would have in college, which also severely stunted my work speed.
Another cause of my slow work speed from this time would also be my working environment; When at college, I am surrounded by students working and my tutor, which encourages more work to be done. When at home, I am more relaxed, and naturally working less. Although there are certain things I can do better at my home computer than my work computer, the majority of my project would have been much sped up if I had been working at a college computer.
I think I’ve done enough research to begin thinking about a high-concept for my project and write up a document, and start pre-production. I have written up a basic draft for a high-concept document and will continue to work on it as I advance with preproduction to prepare for the actual production of the level, which should come very soon.
Attempting to write up this document has shown me where the holes in my project currently are, and what I need to do to fill those in. I will spend some time over the next few days filling these in.
My research has given me some insight into my chosen project and platform. As the most popular game genres seem to be Adventure, Action, Shooters and Role-Playing, I should attempt to implement some of the features commonly found in those genres to my project. Time is an issue, however, as the deadline for this project is close. I’m not sure I can fit in extra production time to add these new features to my level, although I will attempt to if I do end up having some spare time.
I’ve spent a while working on the coding for my project, trying to get the basic framework out of the way – Character movement, controls, basic damage handling and collisions. However, I noticed that my understanding of the Unreal API, or lack thereof, makes doing this a little more difficult than I had anticipated. I could take some time to learn the API further, but this would cut in to my project time which I am already not up to pace with. Instead, I’ll be reverting to blueprints for the basic functionality of the game, and use C++ classes if there is something that needs to be implemented that is impossible or inefficient to do with blueprints. This will only be a very minor setback to me, as most of the time spent on my project was on working out the logic and methods behind the game functionality and figuring out how to make it interact and work, rather than the coding itself, which can be very easily applied to blueprints.
Another thing I am considering is to redirect my workflow and schedule to be more appropriate with my living situation and sleep schedule. As it stands, I live with 7 other family members with 2 computers and a laptop between us, of which only 1 computer is able to run Unreal Engine 4 smoothly enough to run my project on. As I tend to sleep during the afternoon after getting back from college, it is in my better interests to move my working schedule outside of college to be done during the night, when my family members are asleep and I have free access to the computer and am well rested. I’ll need to also make an effort to increase the number of hours I am working a week, as well as making sure the work I do is meaningful to the project and managing my time more efficiently.
After some deliberation of my proposal and brief, I realised that it would be in my better interests to change the focus of my project, in this case I will be removing the interaction between top-down and changing it to a pure platformer level.
The main reason for this is that it reduces my workload – instead of essentially having to design 2 levels, I can focus solely on the platformer level. This allows me to create a much higher quality level, as the time that would have gone in to designing and building my top-down level can go in to improvements to the design and build of my platformer level. I also had a problem with the camera transition between the two perspectives; It was very difficult to get the timing and angles to a point where multiple transitions wouldn’t feel nauseating to watch.
This does cause a small setback, as there are a few things I have done for the transition and top-down aspect (such as blueprinting the camera change system), but the setback is small. Most of the work I have done has been for the platformer side of the game, so readjusting my schedule and plans shouldn’t be too difficult.
Since my last update, I’ve managed to write the script to change the camera perspective between the two different gamemodes, designed the basics and intro for my level, and have begun to block it out in unreal 4, using the Side Scroller level as a base, as it already contains the character assets and one camera set up in the way I would like it, which makes things much easier for me.
The current design for my intro contains a few instances of moving geometry, which will have to be done through cinematics in Unreal Engine 4. I can use these to manipulate the level environment and have parts of it move, rotate and scale differently. This can allow me to put some forms of timing puzzles into the level, which I can combine with some obstacles to help make the level a little more challenging.
Here are the blueprints.
Here is an example of it working
Here is a video of a very simple moving platform
I actually had these ideas a little earlier in the week, but hadn’t noted them down.
I had struggled a little with trying to find an objective for the platforming section of the game, and how it should interact with the top down aspect. That part was very clear to me, I wanted the top-down to be puzzle based. After talking to some friends, the idea that came to me that I was happy with was to make the platforming somewhat stealth based.
The platforming levels would have various obstacles, such as lasers, cameras, things that are to be avoided. Usually these would be on a set path which they follow strictly – until the player is spotted. At that point, the player has some time to escape, hide and reset their “threat”. If they fail to reset the threat, the game is over.