Unreal 4

Gardens of Eden Update 3

I HAVE DEFEATED THE BUG!

Hello everyone! Welcome to the third update on Gardens of Eden. It’s good to be back off of hiatus and now for an update!

First off, and perhaps most importantly, the lighting bug has been fixed. If you’ll remember, I was having issues fixing a bug that involved the lighting building in UE4. In short, it just wouldn’t build. Instead, it would get stuck at 0% and never progress past it. The quick version of how to fix it is: in your Unreal Projects Folder, change the map name while making sure the editor and the launcher are closed. I also changed the project name here just for good measure.

On to the update!

Here is a more detailed walkthrough of the updates I implemented recently:

What’s going on in the octagon?

 

Well, I removed the spinning blocks. They just weren’t quite working. The quick spinning version looked… uncomfortable. And the slow spinning one didn’t actually contribute much of a challenge or reinforce the learned mechanics. So instead we now have a little bit wider jump. As you can see in the video, I have to get a bit of a running start before I can make it across. The area on the other side is also raised, so if a player falls in the river they will have no hope of escaping and will have to go with the tide.

 

As for the tower, I completed the stairs! What I mean by that is the jumps. The jumps get progressively more and more difficult without being too frustrating. For the first few times the player falls through the stairs, if they miss, they will land on the floor directly below them. This way they won’t get too discouraged and annoyed by being punished, and can try again quickly. The final jump though is larger and the player can fall down two floors if they mess it up, but it’s unlikely. For more info on how this works please enjoy my video. Additionally, the player can jump into the crack in the wall and use that as a middle ground to go to the next set of steps.

The temporary lighting in it just makes me think about the future, like how I’m going to create torches to light the player’s way. I’ve got to finish up some of the terrain, the rivers need to flow somewhere, add collision to the walls, and add in the tree and river. Soon we’ll start beautifying the area.

Next week we’ll talk about something more mobile game centric. I’ll see you then!

Scott

When the Studios are away Game Devs will play

Where to start. First off this post wont be as full of designs and analysis as most of my posts are. (Fair warning)

So 3 months ago I was laid off. In the month after the layoffs I worked to pull some of my fellow developers together and we tried to figure out a game we could make in the time we had left over between when we were let go and when we would inevitably get new jobs. About 2 months ago (and after a few meetings where we would rescope and refigure out what we want to do) we came upon a game concept, which we thought, could do well in the mobile space. So we went to work. Now we are less than a month from release and things are beginning to die down. (I know no crunch time? High five team for accurately scoping our project!) Hopefully as soon as Apple approves I can announce the project here.

We considered going with the freemium model but decided against it. Because while the idea of characters or power ups to help the player might be beneficial to us making money it would expand the game past our initial scope and delay release/didn’t quite fit. (3-month development cycle isn’t a whole lot of time, especially with such a small team). So we decided to just keep the gameplay simple, insert ads and see how that plays out. As of this writing, I think it will do well. Is it going to be the next Flappy Bird? Probably not. But this experience has allowed us to try something new and keep our skills sharp as we wait for response from potential employers.

If this game does okay then maybe next time we can scope a little larger and go freemium. But for this one it just didn’t fit. And I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. I think it will work out better than us trying to shoe horn something in.

I’ll outline more about the project here after it is announced.

Thank you,

Scott

Prototyping… I love it

Sorry it has been awhile. I started working on a new project in UE4 and have just been distracted by it.

 

I like to prototype. It helps me to figure out my thoughts and test the game mechanics to see if they are actually fun. Also I don’t have beautiful colors or great looking assets to cloud my judgment. It allows me to focus solely on the mechanics.  I know it has been written to death and back about but I feel it is really important for Game Designers to spend some time prototyping. And in their prototypes try different things to see what works and what doesn’t. In the following video I ran through and created a prototype for an infinite runner.

As you can see it doesn’t look amazing. I used assets, which were in the Unreal 4 starter pack this allowed me to focus on the fun. Because of this I learned more about my game which I would have never known otherwise. For example: The free run element is not working it makes it too hard when the player can free run across the field. If I were to do a full version I would lock the player to 3 different tracks (Or columns depending on how you want to think about it). Amongst the crazy things I tried one was the double jump. This you can see when I hit the particle field it gives the avatar a boost up. This was surprisingly rewarding because it looked intimidating when I was approaching it. This is a small sliver of all the things I learned from prototyping but I will continue using this practice because I feel I learn a lot from it.

There are millions of different reasons why I prototype but the main reason is to help me find the fun. Because if I don’t find the fun, then later on the team may have to crunch to try to change a chunk of the game because it isn’t fun.