Reflective Journal #4 Week BEGINNING 27/03/2017

Entry #1- Level in Unreal

This week i started my work by carrying on setting up the level layout. I have now fully laid out the first half of the map, up until the first puzzle room. I have followed the level layout plan that i previously created and this allowed me to create the map pretty easily. I then got Callum to send me the wall textures that he has already finish so that i could import them into Unreal to see what they look like in our level. The majority of the textures looked really good within Unreal, however there was one that was slightly off. The problem was that there was a white line down the corner of one of the wall corner pieces. We quickly resolved this by Callum opening the texture and erasing the white border around the model. After this he sent it back to me and i was able to re-import the texture, which solved the problem. This was a very simple obstacle to overcome and took next to no time to fix.

This screenshot shows off how the textures look on the modular kit within Unreal.

Once i had imported all of the textures that Callum had sent be and they were all applied, i began to import some of the blank models that i have created to start to set up how i want the level to look. I have managed to furnish the first 3 rooms of the level and i have set it out how i want it to look. This has also been very useful for me as i can now see what models i could also create to put in these areas to make them look more realistic and get the look that i am trying to go for. I am going to write down a list of models i am planning to create so that i do not forget what i need to do. This will help me to see what i am missing to make the dungeon more realistic and help to get the look we want.

This screenshot shows off one of the rooms that i have started to furnish with blank models.

I have now set up the level fully within Unreal, which i have followed the level layout plan that i created. I have set up the two puzzle rooms ready to import the assets into to start to make it look more like a playable level. In addition to this i have created a new Blueprint for the trap tile for the final puzzle, which when the player stands on will simulate it falling. I am really happy as to how our project is coming along as i feel like we are currently making lots of progress and it is beginning to take shape. It is extremely rewarding as all of our hard work can be seen within the level and I hope that we can continue to portray this as we continue our work.

Entry #2- Blueprint work

Last week i planned to planned to watch a Youtube tutorial on how to create an inventory system to allow the player to pick up items to use. This week found a video on how to create a light that needs a key to turn it off. Firstly, i went back into 3DS Max and created a basic key model to use within the game, as i have not created one yet. With the key model created, i imported it into Unreal and i was ready to create the Blueprint. I followed the tutorial in full and create a blueprint that allowed me to turn off a light with a key. This Blueprint however is not very useful to us as there is no need for a key to turn off a light within our game, however i changed the Blueprint so that it was useful for us.

I changed the Blueprint to suit our level by removing the light and adding the door piece that i have created into the part that requires the key. I then changed it so that instead of turning the light on and off, it allows the player to open the door once they have picked up the key. I did this by copying a Blueprint i already had created, which allowed the player to press f to open a door, and merged it with the new Blueprint. The final part i changed was making the player press f when coming into contact with the key to pick it up, rather than just passing into the collision box and picking it up. I think this will make it harder for the player as they will actually have to look for they key in order to open the door.

This part was the most difficult as it took me a while to figure out how to change the Blueprint so that the player did not pick up the key just by coming into contact with the hit box. What i did was connect the press f node with the node that tracks if the player comes in contact with the collision box. At first, this would not work as the node leading off this did not allow the press f node to be attached. However i fixed to this problem by connecting the add inventory node to the collision overlap node. This means that when the player enters the collision box of the axe, it will allow them to pick it up.

These are screenshots of the Blueprints ive created, the one on the left i changed to allow the player to press f to pick up the key.

The final end product was a door which displays a message saying you need a key to open when the player comes in contact. The player then has to find the key, press f to pick it up which will display a message saying that you have picked up a key. This will then allow the player to open the door and continue through the level. I am extremely happy with this Blueprint as i can now use the basis of this to create some of the puzzles within our game, as they will require a certain weapon to open the door. This took me quite a while to complete and so when i finally did do it i was really relieved and excited as i now have something to work with in terms of the puzzles.

To further improve this Blueprint i could change the message to be displayed as text, rather than a string. This is okay for now as it is still in the Unreal, however if i were to export this, the message would not be displayed and so a text pop up would be more suitable. If i want the player to know that they need a key to open the door, then i will need to have some sort of text be displayed if they try to open the door without a key.

I have now re-created the previous Blueprint, however this time it is dedicated to picking up a certain weapon. Once the player has found the correct weapon then they will be able to insert it into the alter and open the door. This is the basis of my first puzzle, all i need to do is to create some sort of riddle for the player to solve and work out which weapon is needed. I am also going to try to create a system that allows the player to pick up 1 of 4 different weapons, however they can only carry one and will drop the other.

Entry #3- Unwrapping

I decided to start to unwrap some of my models as Callum has nearly finished texturing the modular kit. I have currently managed to unwrap the bookcase, the table and the bench. I have decided to unwrap the pieces that i have used the most throughout the level so that when Callum has finished texturing them and i have re-imported the models, they will be noticed more and flesh out the level. I find this part of the work really tedious and i don't enjoy doing it as it can get really complicated in parts, which also takes a lot of time to do. I am aiming to get around 5 of the models unwrapped ready to be sent to my partner, so that he has some textures to carry on with once he has finished the modular kit.

Entry #4- Youtube Tutorials

In the Wednesday session, i was unable to do any work on the level as i did not have access to Unreal or 3DS Max. Instead i decided to watch some tutorials on how to create different Blueprints to give me inspiration when it comes to creating my own, I found two useful videos. The first video explained how to create a Blueprint for a letter which ,when the player presses a key, will become full sized for the player to read. I am going to follow this tutorial and make a similar one to be used within the level, as part of the puzzle requires you to read books to the answer to the puzzle. I am planning to tweak this slightly however, as the person doing the tutorial created a Level Blueprint, whereas i am going to create separate Blueprints for each models as i want multiple books for the player to read.

The Youtuber that i am watching is called Ben Ormstad and he has lots of relevant Unreal Engine 4 tutorials that i plan to watch to get inspiration for some Blueprints within our game. His videos are very generic and so everything me shows you how to do, i can then tweak and change to better suit our project for what we want.

I am starting to feel more confident about working with Blueprints as before i did not have much experience with them and i did not fully understand them. However now i am starting to understand the nodes and how the work within the Engine. At the moment, i do not really enjoy working with Blueprints as i find them very complicated, however it is very rewarding to do as you can visually see the results of your time when they finally work.

Things to do

Next week we need to focus on creating the actual riddles and problems that the player needs to solve in order to make it through the level. This is a must as Callum can then start to texture the separate puzzle pieces in order for the player to read and solve. We need to create some sort of language for the player to decipher in order to complete the second puzzle and make their way across the chasm.

I am also going to continue to unwrap the assets that i have already created as i believe my work partner is close to finishing the modular kit and so i will start to send him small assets to start on. In addition to this i need to model some more assets for the level, as i am still thinking up of more things i can use to flesh out the level and give it the feel that we are aiming for.

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