Reflective Journal #8 Week beginning 24/04/2017

Entry #1- Feedback from peers

In today's session, we received some feedback from our peers on how they think our level is going and what we can do to make it better. We received some great feedback that will help us further improve the level to make it better and iron our any bugs or mistakes that people have found. I really enjoyed having a look at the work that my peers have completed as it is a great opportunity to see what my other peers are working on and how far they are in their project compared to where i am.

The first bit of feedback we received related to the keys or buttons that the player uses to interact with the different objects throughout the level. I agree with this statement as, at times even i get confused as to which button i need to press in order to interact with an object. I am going to either change the read key from "E" to "F" as this key already controls the picking up of keys, weapons and opening doors, so it would make sense to use this button as an interact button rather than use a completely new one for the read function. I think the game would also benefit from either a menu system where the player can look up the controls, or either a text pop up that is displayed on screen for the player so that they can see which key does which. I think then i may need to change the key for the discard button, as "T" is not used in many games, so i will look to see which keys are the most used and i will change it to that.

Secondly, there were some comments about the lack of lights within the level making it dark. At the moment i have not added any of the torch models into Unreal, so there is currently no lighting being created from inside. On the other hand i have not yet built the lighting and so this is not a major issue at the moment. The reason for this is so that i can easily edit the level still without getting any lighting issues when i come to change anything within the level.

I am planning to put some lights within the level and so i hope that this will solve this issue, but i want some parts to be unlit as the player will have to use their torch to navigate their way around the level. I am hoping that this will help to create tension and a horror atmosphere as the player will not be able to see what is in their surroundings. Using this feedback, i am planning to model a couple more assets such as candles to dot around the map to light up the level. I already have a torch to mount on the walls, but i think it would be better to model some candles to place on tables around the level.

I am really happy with some of the positive feedback also, there was a comment on the decals that i have created looking really nice. I appreciate this feedback as it took me a very long time to figure out and properly fix so that it looked right within the engine and so it is great knowing that it looks good and my peers like it. There were a few comments on the interactivity features that i felt good about as these parts took a lot of effort and time to create also. I spent hours trying to get the weapons system to work and when i finally did it i was so relieved and excited as my hard work had finally paid off. There was a comment saying that one of the weapons did not work, so i am going to go back into Unreal and try and re create this bug in order to try and fix it, as this would be a real issue when it comes to someone playing the game.

Entry #2- Unreal

Today i have been carrying on with some work within Unreal, as Callum has sent over some of the textures that he has completed. Now we have textures for the following; table, books, doors, bookshelf. With the textures imported our level is really starting to come together. I am excited to see how all of the other will look within the engine and how they change the way our level looks. It is really rewarding seeing all of the textures within the engine as we can now finally see how both of our hard work has paid off after all this time.

An example of the few textures that i have imported into Unreal

In addition to this, i have also added a new room onto the starting area and altered the living quarters slightly. I decided to change this as at the moment the level is quite linear, so i wanted to give the player a few options on where to go. The new room still leads to the same place, however there is now a bit of an opportunity for the player to explore the level. There is not much in this room; it is just going to be a storage space but i think that i am going to place some objects in the room for the player to pick up such as lock picks which are needed to pick the doors open. It also makes the level look like it has been inhabited and that you could actually see someone living in the space. I have not yet created the lock picking function and so i am not too worried about what goes in the room at the moment.

These are the screenshots of the new room that i have i have added onto the starting area.

I also had to fix quite a big issue with the floor tiles, as throughout the level i discovered that some of them were overlapping with each other. This would have caused some problems when i came to build the lighting, so i thought it was best to try and fix this problem now rather than save it till later. This took me a few hours as i had to move the tile pieces of the majority of the level. In the future, i will need to take a bit more time when it comes to placing the models as those hours could have been used created more rooms or assets rather than fixing a problem that could have been avoided in the first place.

Entry #3- 3D Models

Following the feedback session, i have decided to model a few extra assets that i feel the level would benefit from. The first being a candlestick. One of the points raised was that the level may be too dark, and as to yet i have not modeled any light sources. I have now started work on a candlestick that i will be able to place around the map to supply a bit of light wheres needs be. I have now created two variations of a candlestick; a singular one and one with three heads. I am hoping that this will allow some light within the rooms and help to illuminate certain areas.

Here are the two candlesticks that i have modeled.

I am very happy as to how these models have turned out, as i used reference images for medieval candlesticks when i began to create them. I also need to model some more smaller, miscellaneous objects such as plates and food to place around the level to make it look like it was once inhabited. At the moment all of the models help to give the impression that someone was there, however i think that it is important to include smaller details to give it that extra effect.

Entry #4- Unwraping

I have continued to unwrap the remaining models that i needed, so that i can resend the file to Callum so he has all of the models. There are only a few i need to unwrap at the moment as i did the majority the other day; i have only created a few new pieces since then. Some of them are fairly easy to unwrap, such as the stone tablet which is basically just a giant square. Some,however, are more complexed and are taking quite some time to unwrap properly. The ones that i am having the most issues with are the animal heads. These models have quite a lots of faces, edges and extruding points, making the model difficult to unwrap. I have so far managed to unwrap only one of the models, however i am not too happy with it because it is still quite confusing and i think that it going to be difficult for my partner to tell which piece attaches to which part. I am unsure if there is an easier way to do this and i will look into tit

This is the unwrap for the Stag head once i had flattened the unwrap.

In addition to this, the newly modeled candlesticks are also a pain to unwrap due to the curved surfaces and varying protruding lengths. I am trying my best to unwrap the models in a way that will make sense to my partner, however this is proving more difficult with the complexed models.

Entry #5- Lock picking tutorial

I have decided to start work on the lock picking system to feature within our game as i am currently stuck on what to do next. I have already imported the models into the level and i have placed them accordingly. At the moment i am just waiting for the rest of the textures before i can start to do anymore work on the level. I am going to follow this video tutorial and try and create my own lock picking system which uses models instead of images. At first, i am going to try and do the system with images as i want to get it working fully first. I will then focus on adapting the system to include models instead of images. My aim is to get the lock picking function working as this was one of the main features we wanted to include within our game.

At the moment, the Blueprint is not going very well. The video that i am trying to follow is less of a tutorial and more of the person showing you the Blueprint to give you an idea of how to do it yourself. I tried to follow it to the best of my ability, however some of the parts were not explained very well and i did not understand what the person had done in order to get to this part. I am going to re watch the video and make sure that i have all of the parts in order to try and fix it. If this does not work i will attempt to have a look for a different video online. I am really eager to try and complete this Blueprint as this, i believe, is the last main feature that we have said will feature within our games and i think it will be a fine addition to our game.

Things to do

I am going to carry on with the lock picking Blueprint in order to try and get it working for the level. I am also going continue to model some more assets where needs be and then unwrap them ready to send to Callum for texturing. I will also carry on with creating the light maps for the models, ready for when we finally build the lighting within the map. In addition to this, i may also change the level layout as i feel some parts could benefit from different routes and ways to explore the level.

Created By
Lewis Stubbs
Appreciate

Credits:

Created with images by TeroVesalainen - "question mark hand drawn solution"

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