Reflective Journal #5 week beginning 03/04/2017

Entry #1- Pinterest

I started the week out by creating a new pinterest board, which i am filling full of images of different languages and letters. I am going to use this as inspiration to either use an already existing one or create a new one entirely using the images i have found as inspiration. We need a new language as one of the puzzles require the player to translate and spell out a word in order to get across a chasm. I am also looking into Celtic gods and goddesses as i think this is a good place to start in terms of translating a word into a different language.

Here are a few examples of runes that i have found and added to my Pinterest board

I have chosen lots of images of Celtic runes, as our level is supposed to be based within a Celtic castle and so this language would be the most sensible to use. I had to do a bit of research about the history behind the Celts so that i had some idea as to what religions they followed, what language they used and the sort of culture they were. I would live to incorporate some historically accurate facts into the game, which is why i have chosen pictures of runes and began to make a list of relevant Celtic gods that we could use.

Entry #2- 3D Modeling and Sketch book work

During today's session, i decided to model some more assets for the level. The first piece i created was a generic table, which i mainly want to use within the armory too. This was pretty simple model to make and only took me around 15 minutes to do as i have already created tables before. I then went on to create a training dummy which i will also use within the armory of my level. I used Pinterest to collect some reference images that i used when i started to model the piece. This took me longer than the table as it had much more detail within the model and required more thought as to how i was going to get the desired shape and I am happy as to how both of these models have turned out.I need to continue to unwrap these models so that they are ready to be sent off to Callum so that he can texture them, however i believe he is still working on the modular kit pieces.

Above is a screenshot of the two models i made within 3DS Max today

In addition to this, i started to do some more work within my sketch book. I created a list of horror considerations that i need to think about when trying to incorporate this into our level. I used articles i found on google to generate some ideas and now i have a list of good ideas to use within our level and things to watch out for that are often overused. I want to avoid as many cliches as possible as i feel like this will ruin the game and make it predictable. i have also created a list of games that i can play in order to gain some inspiration as to what i could include within our game to create a horror atmosphere and what works well.

Finally, i started to look into light maps for 3DS Max and UE4, as i was sent a video tutorial my another peer. I watched the video in its entirety to gain some idea and understanding as to what they are used for and how i go about doing them, which i then had a go at doing it myself. I started on the generic wall piece as i already have a texture created for this. I began by creating a second UV within the unwrap and i started to lay the pieces out accordingly as he suggested in the video. I then saved the new model and re-imported it into Unreal. I am finding video tutorials extremely useful as they provide me with the necessary information i need to complete my tasks.

Entry #3- Unreal Engine 4

I started today by completing some work within Unreal. I was watching a couple of you tube tutorials on how to create a horror-survival based game and it gave me some inspiration for what i can include within my game. I wanted to make the player hold a torch, so that this is the only light source they will have when navigating around the level. I jumped into 3DS max and quickly modeled a torch for the player to hold, which i then imported into Unreal.

The first thing i did was delete the default gun that the player has and then i rotated the characters arms so you could only see the left hand. Then i imported the torch, lined it up with the characters hand and i was finished. The problem that i had was when i played the level, the torch would stay in the same stationary position whichever way the player looked. This was simple to fix as all i needed to do was attach the torch to the first person character and now when i played the character looks like they are holding the torch. I also had to delete the function that makes bullets spawn when the player clicks onscreen, as the character no longer has a weapon to fire bullets from.

Here are screenshots of the first person view and the third person view of the torch

I added a default point light to the top of the torch and attached it to the first person character so that i could see what it would look like if it was producing light. I now need to make a particle effect to put on the torch to give the impression that it is burning and lighting up the room. I am extremely happy as to how this has turned out i think this will be a really effective feature to include the horror elements within our level. I am excited to see what it looks like with a particle effect and once all of the lighting has been built within the level.

The only problem with this is that the player holding the torch does not look realistic. The torch follows where ever the player is looking, however it does not move with the character for example when they run it does not move with their hands. This is not a major problem, but i will look into trying to solve this so that it just gives the game a more realistic feel. I am going to use this as a base for a new Blueprint that i am planning to create. I want the player to start off with nothing and they have to pick up the torch in order to navigate the level. I do not think this will be particularly difficult as i have already created a pick up system with the key and the weapons. I am also thinking it would be good to incorporate a system where the torch burns out and has to be re-ignited. This would certainly add to the horror element as the player would periodically be plunged into complete darkness and would have to wait before they can light the torch.

I also began some work on trying to create a Blueprint for the spike traps at the end of the puzzle. If the player were to step on the wrong tile and fall into the pit, they will land on the spikes and be killed. However, i cannot get this Blueprint to work. I have tried to set it up so that if the player comes into contact with the collision box of the spikes it destroys the actor, but this does not work. This is not a major problem for now as the majority of the level up to this point is not furnished, so i am not immediately worried about this problem.

I think that i am going to have to set up some sort of health system for the player as i want to include some traps within the level for the player to dodge and so these will take a small amount of health away. The player could also be damaged if they get the puzzles wrong, which would prevent them from just randomly trying different combinations. I will look at some tutorials to see if i can set up my own health system or at least find a way to "kill" the character if they come in contact with something.

Entry #4- Tutorials

Recently i have been watching a lot of you tube tutorials to both gain inspiration for my level and to also learn how to create new Blueprints that will be useful for my game. I really enjoy watching these videos as it is great seeing how other peoples work looks and it gives me an idea as to what my work could look like if followed the videos. There has been lots of relevant tutorials which i have watched and used to create Blueprints within my work and there are some which i am planning to follow once i have completed my current task.

I found a relevant video on creating decals for my level such as blood stains to add to the atmosphere of the level. At the moment the level does not have any horror elements in it as i am still waiting for Callum to finish the textures so that i can import them into the game. I am going to have a go at creating my own decal bloodstain to be used within our level, as the video tutorial i watched provided all of the textures that he used and so i can just download them. I am looking forward to creating these as i feel it will really enhance the level and give it the added extra features which will make it what we want.

Entry #5- Decals

Following the video i watched on you tube about how to create decals within Unreal, i decided to give it a go for myself. I searched for some pictures of bloodstains and i think that i found the exact same image that was used within the tutorial, as i was unable to download it from the link provided.

The blood stain image i used to create the decal

I copied this image over into Photoshop and created two different layer; an alpha and a diffuse layer. I was unable to create a normal map for this as i only have access to the older version of Photoshop at home, which does not allow me to create a normal map. After this i imported both textures into Unreal and created a new material called "Blood_Stains". The first problem that i was faced with was once i had plugged the textures into the material input, an error message was displayed.

The error message says "[SM5] Material using the DefferedDecal domain need to use the BlendModel translucent". I looked within the comments section on the video tutorial and a few people were experiencing this problem. They suggested changing the blend mode from opaque to translucent. This fixed the decal and i was able to view it within the engine. The next problem that i discovered was that the decal was not very visible. I assumed this was because i changed the blend mode to translucent from opaque, however there was no other way to get the decal to work. Again, someone within the comments section suggests changing the decal blend mode to stain rather than translucent.

Here is a screenshot of the two decals i have produced.

Above i have included a screenshot of the two decals that i have created. As you can see from the left, that decal is still very dull despite having set the blend mode to stain. This one i used the image provided within the you tube tutorial and i copied it to the t. The one on the right is far more pronounced and you can see much more detail in the decal. I am going to explore using decals more to see if i cant get the color in the first one brighter. I also want to see the other things that can be achieved by using decals and so i will try to look for any articles or videos i can look at to get an idea.

Entry #6- Unwrapping

Today i am continuing to unwrap the models that i have created within 3DS Max. I have already unwrapped around half of the models, so i am planning to get the rest of them fully unwrapped by the end of the day. This means that i can then send the file to Callum, who can start texturing the dungeon assets ready for me to re-import them into Unreal. As i have previously said, i do find this part very boring and tedious as sometimes it can take a very long time to unwrap very detailed models. I am very happy with my current progress as i think that i am well ahead of where i need to be. Although i do keep jumping back between tasks i am making sure to address any problems that i face and to order the work load in terms of things that i need to do first, in order to complete other tasks.

Things to do

Next week i am going to continue to set up how the level is looking by using the models i have created. I will then use this to give me inspiration as to other models that i could create to help flesh out the dungeon. I am also planning to follow a video tutorial i found on how to create a lock picking mini game, as this was one of the features that we wanted to include within our game when we presented our presentation. At the moment i am mainly waiting on the texture to be finished so that i can see what our level looks like, which is when we can really start to focus on the lighting, particle effects and the rest of the Blueprints.

Created By
Lewis Stubbs
Appreciate

Credits:

Created with images by Unsplash - "video controller video game controller"

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