Week 4 – Pre-production (Blockout)

Setting up the engine and terrain

This week was focused on starting to block out the mechanic. I used Unreal Engine’s pre-built “Top Down Template” which has its own programmed camera and movement controls. These two screenshots below show my experiments of the template with the right screenshot showing more unique terrain to simulate how the level design in in Total War: Troy would work on this template.

For the most part it seems the template works fine for what I need it to be with the only issue being the path finding for movement. The player controls the character with the mouse as you point and click your destination with the left mouse button. Unfortunately, this is more complicated on unique terrain with noticeable limits and unique path finding where the character obnoxiously walks around the environment to get to the clicked point.

Below you can see an example of Unreal Engine 4’s built in terrain editor which I used to make this map. This will work for a simple environment to show off the mechanic.

Navigation mesh bounds 

In the outliner here we can see the “NavigationMeshBoundsVolume”. This controls the space the character can explore as seen with this screenshot below. I had to alter this to fit the environment as without changing it the character suddenly stops moving when it reaches the edge of the box.

Cameras

This is the camera that is positioned above the character. This camera is the player’s point of view and when implemented into the more natural terrain it doesn’t display enough information to the player to know where they’re going, so I pulled back the camera so the player could see more of the character.

This will work better anyway since the finisher move camera will be a closeup of the character, so the contrast of the visuals will be stronger.

Texture change

I noticed during gameplay that many of the battlefields in Troy are made of sand and rock, so I changed the texture of the map to a rock sandstone for a more accurate look.

Icon Development

I also started developing the look of the finisher move icon and based its colours off a pot made during the troy era found in the British museum.

Image source for Troy pot – (https://www.theartnewspaper.com/news/tory-british-museum-martin-bailey-exhibition)

Week 3 – Research and Development

This Blog focuses on the development of my first module in industry briefs where I am tasked with creating 1 artefact in the form of DLC for the game A Total War Saga: Troy (which I will refer to as Total War: Troy for the sake of brevity), the artefact in question must be under my discipline which is game design.

The following entry details the past 3 weeks of work under this module.

Over the past 3 weeks I have been researching Total War: Troy and the surrounding game mechanics of the Total War series in general to get a better understanding of the series and what does and doesn’t fit. I specifically looked into the mechanics of the game such as battles and bartering to see where I could implement my artefact.

I found the combat to be an interesting gameplay element to focus on since it’s been the most recurring element of the Total War series with my artefact possibly giving a unique spin on the system. During this time, I was able to create a proposal for my artefact and even provide a few rough sketches:

The proposal itself details my artefact for the unit. I decided to develop a gameplay mechanic titled; the finishing move. This mechanic allows players to quickly kill an enemy unit in a quick cutscene provided that they are low in morale and health. This is to speed up the process of battles and reward good play. It also has an AoE (Area of Effect) attack where surrounding enemy units lower in morale whereas ally units gain more morale.

I also decided to develop this artefact in Unreal Engine 4 due to it’s ease and cutscene tools.