Final Post

Hello there!

Sorry for the late post. I managed to get all of the sounds and UI implemented as well as fine tune other mechanics in time for the hand in. Instead of going in depth about them I’m going to let the full play through video speak for it’s self. I’ve learned a lot in this project about my abilities in game development and what to aim for in the future

Thanks for reading

Jamie

Week 10 and 11

Hey again. The final update before Easter officially begins and there’s a lot to cover so let’s just jump right into it.

First and foremost and decided it was finally time to put an animation onto the glider. I thought this would be hard but it’s actually easier than I thought it would be. Basically once the player has jumped and then hit a glider it will then go into the animation and do a jump end animation once the player hits the ground, joining back to the main animation loop.

The animation itself has the player rocking back and fourth so I changed the glider to rock alongside the character instead of rocking left and right which also solves a glitch where the player might land and stay tilted to one side. This also looks better than it did so it’s a win-win. I also added a coin animation to the player when the fly through a ring.

Glider Animation Blueprint

With the UI I tried to have the icons spin like in the Banjo-Kazooie games. The only way I knew to do this was to make a green box that surrounds the appropriate item with a camera in it that would use a render target to stream what the camera sees to the HUD. This did work but it made the frame rate sink like a stone so I had to scrap it in favour of static images. Each corner is dedicated to life, coins, red coins and keys respectively.

UI

At the end of the level there are two keys locked behind doors that require you to collect all coins and red coins respectively. This is designed to entice players to return through the level to look for collectables they may have missed and to 100% complete the level. The plan is to do something similar for the end level door but I have not decided if to make it open for around 75% of collectables collected or 100% collected yet. We’ll cross that hurdle when we get to it and test it. I also need to increase the visibility of the text somewhat. It looks better in engine I promise.

End level doors

To get around the level I have placed portals all over the level that leads to a new portal island. At the start of the level the only portal that is active is the portal in the starting area that leads to portal island and back. Portal island only has 4 portals that leads to the 4 distinct areas in the level. They are not active at first. To activate each portal on portal island you need to find the portal it is linked which activates it and it’s respective portal on portal island by going near it. The level also has one way portals that lead to portal island but not back. These portals are found at the end of sections that would otherwise lead to a dead end.

Portal Island

 

Inactive Portal
Active Portal

Next up I need to get menus in, the end game screen in and sounds. I’m going to show a video off for all these when I get sounds in.

Thanks for reading and stay safe

Jamie

Week 9

So at the start at of the week I was finishing my creative writing submission and getting that finished and out of the way. Then as the corona virus pandemic was getting worse I decided to move back home and be with family at this time. Luckily I do all my work on my home computer anyway however this means I don’t have access to Photoshop since I would have to go into the labs to use it and the labs have been shut my university anyway. So I’ll have to figure out a way to make a good enough UI without it for the time being. I’ll be working on my project over Easter however the posts are likely to be lighter from this point on.

In the last week I decided to do something lighter in work load and finished my set dressing, 80% of which was just placing down flowers. I used the content available to me in the asset pack. While there wasn’t much in this asset pack I made the best with what I had. Here is the new and improved level!

Thanks

Jamie

Week 7 and 8

Hey there, sorry for the delay between blog posts. Things got a little hectic. I also had to worry about my winter school creative writing deadline which kept me busy for a few days. At the end of the post I’ll have a video showing off everything shown so far. So without wasting more time let’s get right into it.

Week 7 was dedicated to finishing off my level design. I started where I left off and made some jumping puzzles with moving platforms. There are platforms that move up and down, left to right and ones that fall when you jump on them after a few seconds. After a few of these is another glider section which introduces a wind funnel that launches the player upwards

Aerial screenshot of the jump puzzle area
Glider Challenge

The next portion of the level leads in to three different sections. One is an on rails section with obstacles to avoid. This leads to the end of the level. This gives the player a chance to go to the end of the level or continue exploring. The end of the monorail section will have the end level door that needs a certain amount of collectables to open.

On rail section

The next portion of the level is a section of challenges based on crates floating in the water. The crates bob when you walk on them. The yellow crates stay afloat when you stand on them. The grey crates sink when you stand on them for a few seconds. Some of the crates move left to right and up and down. There is also a section where the path splits off for a collectable. More on that later.

Crates floating in the water

Another portion of the level has a wall jump that leads to a jumping challenge using the launch pads. This leads to a glider section.

launch pad section
3rd glider section

I’ll show all these off in a video at the end along side what I did in week 8

In week 8 I set to work on my checkpoints system. The way this works is that when the player falls off of the map they will be moved to the last checkpoint that they have stepped on. The checkpoints are a ring of flowers on an elevated platform. When they are activated for the first time they will change colour and do a short hop in the air so the player knows it has been activated for the first time.

Inactivate Checkpoint
Active Checkpoint

I also made the collectables. There are 3 different types.  The coin is the most frequent collectable and there are 200 of them. The red coin is the more difficult ones to find that rewards players for exploring. There are 20 of them. The keys are the biggest collectable that rewards players for reaching certain points in the level and completing challenges. There are 10 of them. They also spin and place and jump up or move upwards when collected and play a sound. The sounds are place holder for the moment.

Thanks for reading

Week 6

For this week I wanted to do a little more level design and make a new mechanic.

With where I left off with the level design I received feedback that it looks like I should be able to glide off into the distance. So I made a hang glider that lets you do exactly that.  While I could not find an actual hang glider model online that I could use I decided I could make a hang glider by putting two leaves together which fits aesthetically with the rest of the game and feels similar to the gliding with a leaf in the legend of zelda: wind waker.

How the glider works is that the glider model is also attached to the player model but is set to invisible. When the player touches the glider that actor is destroyed and the glider on the player model is set to visible and the gravity changes so that the player falls slowly.

Glider Functionality

I also made it so that the ground pound and double jump are disabled while gliding so you cannot cancel out of a glide. I also added a wind thermal that sends the player spinning upwards to gain more height. While I don’t have any effects for the thermal yet I’ll add one in when I do the other effects.

More Glider functionality
Wind Thermal Functionality

I also added rings that the player can fly through. This will give the player a coin and disappear when flown through. I will add the coin functionality when I do the rest of the collectable functionality.

On a side note I should mention that me blueprints are colour coded. Anything to do with gliding is in green and normal jumping blueprints are in purple. The camera blueprints are in blue. That’s why all the blueprints in this post are blue.

Next week I’ll be focused on trying to finish the level design as I got a little side tracked with the glider to make much level design. I also need to get an animation for hanging on to the glider and figure out how to apply it. Here is a video of the glider and the other things mentioned above

Thanks

Jamie

Week 5

So for this week I decided to create some mechanics before I go back into some more level design.  I have made a video at the end of this post showing off the mechanics talked about in this post.

The first mechanic I wanted to make was a jump pad. I made this jump pad so that the player can jump to higher areas that they cannot get to naturally. I also disabled the double jump while in this jump so that it stays fluid. The double jump becomes re-enabled when the player lands on the ground again. The icon on the launch pad spins faster when the player goes near it enticing them to use it. Here are the blueprints for the launch pad.

Launch pad BP#1
Launch pad BP#2

The next mechanic I set out to make is a ground pound. This was a suggestion to me by another student so that the player can get to the ground faster which is helpful in some platforming scenarios such as quickly getting onto a moving platform.

Ground pound BP

I also made a wall jump. I didn’t want to player to be able to jump off of any wall as I thought that might make the game a bit glitchy if they jump next to a wall. Instead the player jumps off of certain walls that has scaffolding on them. This is done by using a line trace and seeing if the wall has the wall jump collision enabled. If it does then the player will jump upwards and in the opposite direction to the adjacent wall.

Wall Jump BP#1
Wall Jump BP#2

While not technically a mechanic I made the camera automatically adjust with the player movement. Players will play this game with a controller and the camera does not move at all with the character by the default in Unreal Engine 4. You can move the camera with the right analogue stick but it moves like a tank by default and it’s clunky to use while jumping. So I made it that the camera will follow the player and this can be adjusted later on if needed as I have made the floats that would need to change public for ease of access.

Camera Auto Adjust BP

For next week I am going to do more level design and another mechanic. Here is the video containing all the mechanics featured above.

Thanks for reading

Jamie

Week 4

So for this week I have decided to start my level design. In a previous module I learned about the isolation principle of teaching a player a mechanic in a safe environment and then challenge them further using that mechanic. I have gotten a asset pack from the Epic store and used that to make my level.

I first made a starting area that the player can run around and get a feel of the character and learn to jump in a safe space. This was also the space where I tested placing down the assets in my asset pack. It’s sort of like building with Lego. I used all of the set dressing assets to make this area look prettier with flowers and trees and the like. I’ll set dress the rest of the level at the end after it’s all done and implemented.

Starting Area

I made an easy jumping section where the player will jump from cloud to cloud but should the fall down they can easily get back up the cliff side and start again.

Jump Segment

I put a box here that is higher than a usual jump and needs to be jumped onto to progress. This makes the player use the double jump mechanic and informs them that it exists if they have not already noticed by this point.

Double Jump Obstacle

I added a jumping challenge that is over the water so the player will die if they fail. This leads to a safe area where the player can recuperate before the next challenge.

Jump Puzzle over the water

After the next mild jumping challenge the path splits off. To the right there’s a small island where I will put the first NPC and his house. To the left is a section which leads to a jump pad which launches the player when jumped on and sends them to a platform with a collectable. There’s also a cloud that leads to a pillar which will house another collectable.

Area that branches off and can be explored

I added a jumping challenge with leaves coming out of this vine which lets the player get to high ground. I was originally going to have a collectable at the top of the platform but then the player could jump ahead past a section of the level so I put the place where the collectable will be on the vines lower down.

Leaves coil the vine which the player can use to ascend to a collectable

I added a section that requires the player to perform a wall jump to proceed. This is in a safe spot which allows the player to try the mechanic without any danger.

Walls that can be ascended by wall jumping

I decided that I will take a break from level design next week and I will make some mechanics to break up the monotony and make sure that the mechanics work before I make a level design around it. I can then come back with fresh ideas.

Week 3

Week 3 

Week 3 is where I started getting the character in and setting up all the animations. This is the first time I have set up animations so I needed to do some research and reading into setting up animations using animation blueprints and state machines. I had some problems at first with the jumping animation not going in an order of jump start – fall idle – land. After some tinkering around with the blueprint I managed to make it work perfectly and I am now confident with adding animations.

Animation Blueprint

During this week I also made the characters movement more in line with a 3D platformers movement instead of the UE4 characters default movement settings. I have got to a good starting point with it and I will continue to tweak and improve it as I continue making the rest of the game and the level.

In game testing ground with player character

My Final Year Project – Rad Gran

Project Overview

For this project I plan to create a 3D platformer collectathon inspired by games such as Banjo-Kazooie, Mario 64 and A Hat in Time. The game will have a light hearted tone and aims to be humorous. The focus will be on game play and mechanics.
The game will be a single player game where you have to collect various different items to progress through the stage and finish the level. You can acquire the major collectables by doing tasks for NPCs. There will also be platforming challenges for the player that requires the use of various level mechanics or mechanics that the player can naturally perform.

The reason I have chosen to undertake this project is because 3D platformers/collectathons are my favourite genre of game and the genre I know the most about since I have played them ever since I was a child. I chose this project because I have the most experience making games that are 3D and have jumping and puzzles.

My strengths are within making mechanics and making everything consistent and flow. I am proficient in Unreal Engine 4 blueprinting and I am look forward increasing my skills further through this project.

The main character is called Rad Gran. Rad gran is an old women who lives an active lifestyle despite her age. She likes to complain and comment on the situation similarly to Gex in Gex: Enter the Gecko.
She is based off of Granny Abigail Pucket AKA Red Riding Hoods grandmother in Hoodwinked who lives an extreme double life.
She is also inspired by Mrs Brown from Mrs Brown’s Boys and Mrs Doubtfire from Mrs Doubtfire.

Granny Pucket, Mrs Doubtfire and Mrs Brown. The characters that inspired Rad Gran.

For week 1 and 2 I was conducting research as to what asset packs I can use for the level art and what models and animations I can use. I have found a 3D platformer asset pack on the Unreal Engine store and I have a model with animations from Mixamo. I also spent this time writing my proposal and testing the asset packs I have found.

Mixamo