Reflective Journal #7 week beginning 17/05/2017

Entry #1- 3D Modelling

I decided to carry on modelling some more pieces for the level. The last piece that i needed to model for the first puzzle was the 4 mounts that will each have a different weapon and one which will open the door. The four animals i have chosen to represent the champions are; a bear, a wolf, a lion and a stag. I decided on these animals as they are animals that are portrayed as being quite strong. I also wanted to try and tie in the Celtic theme, as we are basing our level within a Celtic castle and so i think that these animals to relate to this.

I started out my creating the wall plaques for all of the mounts and i began with modelling the bear. Once i had modeled this piece, i used it as a basis to create the other three pieces. The most difficult piece that i found was the wolf head, as i could not get it to look like an actual wolfs head. Overall, the heads did not take me very long to complete as i just used the previous head and changed slight things about them to make them look like the animal i have chosen.

Here is a screenshot of the four mounted heads i have been working on.

I am happy with how the majority of the heads turned our as they look quite similar to the actual creatures. The only one that i am not really happy with is the lion as i could not get the right it to look right, however i still think that you can tell what animal it is supposed to be. I designed them with the intention to me made out of stone, rather than actual stuffed heads so i am not overall worried that they are not very detailed, as long as the player can differentiate the difference between them all. These were probably the most difficult pieces that i had to model as they required lots of editing in order to get the look of the animal that i had chosen.

Entry #2- Unreal Engine

Todays session i started work by importing a couple more models that i have created into Unreal. I have mostly finished setting up the two libraries that join the puzzle room, which will provide clues as to how the player will be able to solve the puzzle. I have also added some more smaller features around the map such as barrels and crates to try and flesh out the level.

This is a screenshot of the "Library" i have been working on.

I have set up the basic layout of the room, i just need to re-import the models now once i have the textures for them. I just need to start to add the smaller details to give it a more realistic feels like the books on the shelves and items on the table. The two alters seen in the screenshot i am planning to place books on which the player will be able to read and interact with. I have already seen a youtube tutorial on how to create a Blueprint which allows the player to pick up and read a book; i just need to figure out what i want the player to read. I am also planning to place a couple of journals around the level for the player to discover and read in order to integrate some story within the level.

I need to start work on the riddles that the player will need to solve in order to open the door. At the moment i have got all of the mechanics working, it is just a matter of creating the written work for the player to solve. I am finding this part very difficult as i do not know where to start. I want to make the puzzle fairly difficult for the player to solve but i do not know how to go about doing this.

Entry #3- Story Work

Today i began some work on the story elements within the game, as i did not have access to my computer. I decided to start to write a few rough drafts of journals that i am planning to dot around the level to give the game more depth and mystery. I also want the journals to give hints and tips as to how the player needs to approach the puzzles. At the moment, i have written it in the form of an unknown person, as i think it will make it more mysterious. Once i have completed them, i need to go into photoshop and create the pages, as i will need them to be displayed when the player presses a key when they come into contact with the journal.

Here is an example of the Journal that i have created within Photoshop.

This is the style of journal that i was hoping for. First i wrote up the draft within Microsoft word and i used the front sergeo script. I found that this is the best looking one as it looks the most like how a written journal would look. I then went on the internet and found a template book which i used to create the journal. I then resized the image, copied over the text and deleted the white background. I am really happy with the finished product as it has turned out just as i wanted it to. I am going to try and create the Blueprint now within Unreal to see if it works.

I think it will really aid the players journey and help them out, as some of the puzzles may be a bit complicated is there are no hints as to how to solve them. I also think that this will massive help to aid the tension and horror elements as it will help to give some back story to the area that the player is in.

In addition to this, i also did some more work in my sketch book. I think that i have finalized the idea for the first puzzle. I want there to be four riddles in total; two in each of the adjoining rooms. In the center of the room will be a large stone tablet with lots of words next to symbols. Once the player has solved the riddles, they will be the four words on the tablet next to symbols. The player will the use these symbols to work out which weapon they need in order to unlock the temple door. Following this i jumped into 3DS Max and quickly modeled a stone tablet for the level.

This is a screenshot of the model stone tablet i created in 3DS Max

This is what i have created, it looks very basic however i think that once a texture has been applied it would look so much better and will actually fit in the level. The plan is to write the words on the top of the tablet so it is easy for the player to read. I am planning to have around 20 words written on the tabled, each accompanied with a symbol. I first need to figure out what words i want on the stone as well as the symbols as i will need to inform Callum to include this when it comes to texturing the asset.

Once created, i decided to import the model into Unreal to see how it looked within the game engine. The first problem that i noticed was that it was a bit small, when the player walked up to it you may not have been able to read all of the symbols and words. I fixed this by going into 3DS Max and just scaled the model larger.

The stone tablet within Unreal Engine 4

I am much happier with the size of the model now. I think that once t has the texture on and the inscriptions it will be easy for the player to read. If, when it comes to it, the player cannot read the writing i can just go back into 3DS Max and enlarge the model once again. When i was in Ureal, i decided to make a quick change to the two rooms that join the main hall. I decided to put a wall in place, rather than keep it left open.

These screenshots show before i put in the wall (left) and after i put one in (right)

I think that the new room looks much better as it is more confined and secluded. I hope that it will make the feeling of the level much more mysterious and add an element of challenge to the level as it requires the player to explore all routes.

Entry #4- Blueprint work

Following the creation of the journal template, i went into Unreal to try and create the Blueprint straight away. I found the youtube tutorial that i had saved a couple of weeks ago to help me with this Blueprint.

I followed this tutorial to create my own Blueprint for the player to read the journals that i have created. The first problem that i faced was that the person who created the video did the Blueprint as a level one, however i just made it as a Blueprint for the model at this problem was solved. The next problem that i faced was when the player press E and the journal was displayed, it was too big for the screen and you could not actually read all of the information on the page. Again, this was pretty easy to fix as i just had to open the widget Blueprint and re scale the image to fit the screen size.

This is what the book looks like (left) and the Journal page (right) within Unreal

I am very happy as to how this journal has turned out. The text on screen does make it hard to read the pages but i am not overly worried about that because once the lighting has been built for the level then that should be removed. Another point to mention is that the Journal has a white border around the outside of the book. Although this is not a major problem, it does make it look less realistic as you cannot see the actual level behind it. I will try and change this in the future but at the moment i am just happy that the Blueprint works and the player is able to read the book.

My next step will be to write up the rest of the journals, create the templates within Photoshop and then copy the Blueprint to create the others. I will then dot these Journals throughput the level in the designated places for the player to find so that it will aid them in their Journey.

After i created the Journals, i decided to try and finish off the last part of the puzzle which involves the player picking up other weapons and discarding them. At the moment i only have one weapon that the player can pick up, which is the one needed to open the door. I want a total of 4 weapons, each which can be picked up so that the player has to work out which weapon they need. I also want to create a system as to where they are only allowed to pick up one weapon and if they want to change weapons, they can discard one and pick a different one up.

I re visited the Youtube channel where i had previously seen the video on creating this sort of inventory system and i began to follow the steps. At fisrt i created a new Blueprint for a sword, the second weapon that the player can pick up. I the copied over all of the nodes from the hammer Blueprint and placed them into the sword one. I then followed the steps in the video and i have now created a simple inventory system that only allows the player to pick up one weapon.

Here is a screenshot of the nodes within the Blueprint and the message displayed if the player tries to pick up more than one weapon.

I am very happy as to how this part has turned out as it was pretty simple and easy to do. I did have a problem at first when i picked up the hammer and went to pick up the sword it allowed me. I soon discovered that i forgot to change the set "slotitem" to 1. This meant that when i picked up the sword, sot item was still 0 which allowed me to pick up the hammer too. I have now changed this and i can only pick up one weapon. I am now going to try and create the discard system to allow the player to drop one weapon and pick up another if they so wish.

I found this process frustrating at times as the tutorial was spanned over 4 videos. A good percentage of the videos was unrelated to what i wanted to do, for example setting up a UI where the player can see what they have picked up, which i did not want to include in my game. I have to keep skipping parts to try and find the relevant sections in order to complete my Blueprint.

This is a screenshot of the nodes that controls dropping the weapon from the inventory.

I followed the next tutorial and i have finally created a system for picking up an dropping the weapons. I had to change some of the nodes, as the tutorial had created multiple inventory slots, where as i had just one. I had a problem occur when i picked up the sword and dropped it again, i went to pick up the hammer and drop that however it just spawned the sword again. I changed this by adding the set variable to the end of the discard node, so that went the player drops that weapon, it sets the variable of that weapon to 0 ready for it to be picked up again.

After creating the Blueprints for the two weapons, i decided to model the final two weapons; which will complete the 4 weapons associated with the 4 heads. I have modeled now altogether a sword, a hammer, a spear and an axe. These 4 are special puzzle items and so i have made them look very different from the other weapons so that the player can see that they are important.

These are the four key weapons that the player will be able to pick up in order to open the door.

I have now imported the 2 new models and began to create the Blueprints for the puzzle. All i did was copy over the pick up Blueprint into each of the models, so that the player could pick up the weapons. Then within the first person character i added onto the previous Blueprint i had created for the discarding a weapon. Now the player is able to pick up any of the four weapons and must drop one by pressing t before they pick up another one.

I am extremely happy after completing this part. This was by far the most complicated and lengthy Blueprint that i have created but it was worth while. Now the puzzle mechanics is complete and all that is left is to finish the visual parts such as the actual symbols and riddles that the player needs to solve in order to figure out the correct weapon needed.

Things to do

I will continue work on the Journals that i have started as i want there to be quite a few dotted around to assist the player. I also need to finalize the idea for the puzzle; which involves creating the riddles and deciding on the words that will be on the stone tablet. I will then have to pass this information on to my partner Callum as he will need to put them on the textures when we comes to do them. In relation to this, i also need to unwrap the new models that i have created and then send the new file to Callum so that he has the new set. Finally, i will continue to model any assets that i think our level will benefit from, if i think of any.

Created By
Lewis Stubbs


Created with images by DGlodowska - "book reading love story"

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