Unreal Milestone #2
This milestone was about building the foundation in-engine for the game and hammering out the mechanics in-place to find needed changes and developments.
I feel that the basic needs are ready to go, but I need to do more development in this next milestone to build more mechanics and add more to the gameplay.
Deliverables: Basic Controls, Asset Implementation, Map Setup, Gem Mechanics, Boss One, Lighting, Player Attack
Basic controls have been fully implemented, including movement, camera movement, and jumping. The camera will be later adjusted to focus on the enemy, but the basic camera that I wanted to build is completely working.
The player movement is implemented with animations, an animation blender, and adjustable speeds.
The player jump is also implemented. This took time to get the animation to time correctly with the actual jump, but this will probably need to be tweaked in the future as more instances of player jumps are included.
All assets and models have been added to the project, including the monsters, the player and characters, the gems, and all environment assets.
Assets being used in this game are from the Unreal Marketplace, including the packs:
Cute Bird and Monsters Darkness Pack, by Sariyun
Advanced Village Pack from the collection Advanced Asset Packs
and Fantastic Gems by inedible.red
It's going to be critical to make sure the differences in the asset packs still blend in the world.
The map has been much more time consuming than anticipated. Forest environments are very difficult and the terrain tools are harder to control. I plan to look into tutorials about procedural generation for the foliage and I hope this can speed up the process. I need to finish the sculpting of ½-⅔ of the outer environment, as well as bring in the foliage and outer decorations like trees. This map is technically functional for me to continue development in other areas, but I plan to spend extra time in the next few weeks to polish and complete the map.
I hope to bring in more around the player arena to keep the background terrain out of the main focus and just for filler in the back.
The gems are implemented to the degree of gameplay at the moment. The gems are in the world and have their shaders complete, they are able to be kicked by the player and will thus attack the boss, and they disappear once they hit the boss. I need to continue to iterate, including making the defeated boss drop a new crystal. If I can use similar parabola-like physics as the attack itself, this process should be quick.
I have discovered through this milestone that I would like to add more to the attack gameplay loop. I am debating doing more steps to reaching the gems and attacking or something similar, but I will need to continue getting thoughts and feedback from other people to develop a concept.
The first boss has had additional learning that I didn’t anticipate, specifically, I am adding Niagara effects to the boss attacks. This has been a learning curve and I have thus far implemented animations and the kidnapped bird, created a fireball Niagara effect for the attack, and I am now in the process of making the transition of the boss being defeated. I also have the fireball spawning into the world on timed attacks, but I need to research how to make the fireball Niagara object move towards the player.
Fun fact, I helped an artist debug Niagara the day I went through the fireball tutorial. It was an awesome coincidence, I would have had no idea how to help without that tutorial. I just so happened to watch it that morning!
Niagara fireball effect:
Boss One and captured bird:
a potential addition to the gameplay may be the addition of smaller enemies that the player will need to handle, but that is in development at the moment.
Lighting in the world is implemented and working. This took much less time than I had anticipated- I am currently using natural-appearing lighting because the map is an outdoor setting. This deliverable is complete and I will hopefully not have to come back to polish it because it is so simple.
This lighting might need to be developed as I add elements around the arena and potentially block light, but that is for future milestones.
The player is able to kick the gem into the boss to cause damage. This is the majority of what I wanted to have implemented for this milestone, but I would like to come back and polish it later by having the gem launch by a transform rather than by a physics force. This is acceptable for the moment and building up the elements.
This feels very anti-climactic and I really want to add more elements to the attacking loop. I am thinking about adding a platforming element before the gem, but this is just an idea. I want the attack to feel rewarding and I feel running up and kicking something isn't quite doing it.
What went Right?
I made a lot of progress in learning Unreal this week. I got to the point where I didn't have to research tutorials. I felt that I am developing my knowledge of Blueprints and Unreal quickly and it's making me more confident for future development and additions.
I have also learned a lot about my game structure and what needs to be developed/changed. I am a very visual learner and seeing the loop in engine helped me realize what needs to be changed and what areas need iteration.
What went Wrong?
This week was a very time consuming week from my Ubisoft project. I unfortunately (not overall, just for this game) had to commit most of my time to development in that project rather than this one. I hope that I can work more on this project for this milestone and get more gameplay implemented to continue developing the project.
What will you Change?
I want to build smaller pieces this milestone. I feel that I have multiple elements in the process now, which is good, but I think I really want to focus in on getting the player developed and put more energy to that and the boss. Instead of having many things going on through the weeks, I would like to focus and complete more of each rather than jumping around so much.
Where do I need help?
I need help in development of my game loops and mechanics. I am not skilled in mechanic development and iteration and that is where this project is lacking right now. I want to continue talking to people that I know are skilled in this department and get their thoughts and feedback. I hope that I can get some helpful ideas and tips to continue working on the player and boss, but add elements to make it more interesting and fun for the player.