Week 15 + 16

After a few more days of checking over my work and the project submission criteria, i am satisfied that i have all the materials i will need to submit. Now i can focus all of my attention on the report, luckily i have already started off my report so it shouldn’t take much more effort to complete the report in time.

Week 14

Now that most of the work is done, and having gone over all the submission criteria on blackboard, i have begun gathering all of my files I will submit for the final submissions.

After checking over my project i have decided to trim it so that it will not be too large in size for it to fit on my 2 USB drives for submission. To start off, i will be taking out any textures, meshes or animations i will not be using in any blueprints, this will include the starter content and template content that i have used.

Next, i will have to reduce the texture resolution for any assets i am using, quite a few are 4k textures and that is affecting frame rate. To do this i am using the LOD Bias in the texture editor, it won’t reduce the size of the imported texture/project file, but it will change the textures size in game.

Week 13

I updated the player character with an aim down sights function that will zoom the camera in for the player, and zoom back out when the ADS button is released. I integrated the camo patterns and skeletal mesh changes into the character blueprint, much like in the character and weapon customiser, i used custom events that are called in the character customiser to change the camo pattern and mesh of the player.

I created a few heavy weapons blueprints that do not move, 2 are mounted on vehicles, 2 are ground based weapons. As i said they cannot move, but the gunner or the turret can be rotated left and right, they can fire their weapons and reload their weapon, using the great animations from the Squad UDK. These animations are collated in 2 animation blueprints, 1 for the gunner and 1 for the gun. I am also looking to creating an aim offset for both the gunner and the gun so the player can move the gun up or down while staying still.

Week 12

I have managed to finish integrating my assets for my showcase level, i continued to use the Squad UDK and Military Base assets and included some small landscapes to create small inclines in the firing range and heavy weapons range to add more depth. Upon finishing, i tried lighting my level, but encountered problems with the UVs of the assets i used, i have continued to try and get good lighting into my level, but i think it will take far too long and given my lack of experience and knowledge of lighting fully; and that i have other tasks i want to achieve before the hand in.

  • Military Base by Eudes: Link to UE4 page
  • Squad Unreal Development Kit: Downloaded from Epic Games Launcher

To move around the map, i created a 3rd person shooter style character that the player would use, i did this for a few reasons; firstly, i wanted to make use of the animation blueprint i created because of how many animations can be used in and secondly, because i think its the best way to move around the map within the boundaries that i created. The movement and camera controls were based off past projects in unreal and off the 3rd person template available in Unreal.

I then included some debugging tools that will switch the primary weapons the player can use; its not realistic, but it will show off the weapon, the customisation system and the animations. The weapons can also be fired and reloaded using the player input.


Week 11

Now that the blockout is done, i have started to integrate some assets into my environment, i started with the perimeter of the base and then moved onto the big things in the level, namely the garage area, the firing range and the heavy weapons range. I also added a landscape and sculpted them to mimic smooth, slopping hills, i plan to add mountain meshes in the backdrop to add a bit of depth to the terrain.

Assets used were:

  • Military Base by Eudes: Link to UE4 page
  • Squad Unreal Development Kit: Downloaded from Epic Games Launcher

For the weapon customiser, i created it in the same way as the character customiser, i added meshes to the blueprint, and used a series of custom events to toggle the visibility of each weapon or attachment. These events would then be called in the floating widgets that act as drop down boxes and then set the attachment of the weapon.

Week 10

For the squad customiser, I used the same technique as the character customiser, i set up a series of custom events for the individual squad member to be visible when they are called and invisible when the squad is changed. The camouflage was set up by creating custom events that changed the materials of each skeletal mesh depending on what is called in the decal change widget.

I created 2 HUD icon blueprints that will be used for the HUD. Both HUD blueprints use 2d render capture components to essentially act as a camera for the icon. But in the weapon customiser, the weapon that is previewed will change skins and attachments as the player customises it. This is done by creating custom events and then calling it in the weapon customiser widget to change the weapon or attachment accordingly.


Week 9

After some consideration, I am going to scrap the rts mechanics, this is for a number of reasons; firstly it is very difficult to get my head around getting the UI to show each of the selected pawns statistics; such as ammo, weapons or health. Secondly, there are very few tutorials or websites that focus on creating RTS mechanics in the way i want to make it inside of Unreal. Lastly, I realised during the Progress review that i was doing too much in too small a time frame. So i am going to focus more on creating an customisation system and level for my project.

I managed to get the basic blockout of my level finished, this is not in depth, but it provides a good idea of where assets will be placed and of the shape and scale of the map; excluding envioronmental details that will be in the backdrop.

The customisation system for the character will allow players to modify the camo pattern and the mesh for the character. This is done by adding the separate skeletal meshes to the blueprint and then toggling each mesh to be visible or invisible by using custom events. These custom events are called in the customisation HUD through drop down boxes.

Week 8

I presented my Progress Review to my supervisor and i thought i was okay, but it gave me a lot to think about. Part of my review was to conduct a QnA after the presentation, and one good question was around vehicles and made me question if vehicles were a necessary component, and i agree that it does not need to be in the project as a controllable unit, as such i have decided to scrap vehicles for good, and focus on making the mechanics more infantry based.

Progress review link: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1t_FvUYQSYf6a_w42Kgtmbw7GYPhkroZH

Week 7

After starting my customisation system, i have decided to create a master animation blueprint that will have all the animations for each weapon pawns can use built into it, i have done this as to make it easier to change weapons for pawns and have them change animation without having to cast to a separate animation blueprint.

Part of my work for the animation blueprint required making aim offsets and blend spaces for each for the weapons or states for the units. The aim offsets were the biggest headache as they required testing and iteration before they worked properly because of the way aim offsets are created in Unreal. Creating blend spaces were simpler to make as they were Blend Spaces 1D; meaning they only animate forward or backward, that meant i did not have to change or edit any animations before hand or blend animations together in engine.

I am having a trouble getting my description box on my custom UI widget to show the unit description for a unit i have selected in game. This is mainly because i am having to cast to an array inside of my camera blueprint and not directly to the unit that is being selected. It is also difficult to create a method to deselect a selected pawn by pressing the left mouse button (default selection key).

Week 6

I began working on a separate map that would be built to have my customisation system in it. Players will be able to edit their weapons, unit decals (camouflage patterns and squads). The bulk of the changing will be done through widgets, because the player will be interacting with the widget so it makes sense for the majority of the player control to be in the widget blueprint.

Using some of the meshes from the recent version of the Squad UDK, i added some more units that will be used for the AI characters i am going to make. I haven’t yet decided if i will have enemy AI that could be attacked and killed by the friendly or player controlled AI pawns.

For my showcase level, i want to create a military base or FOB (Forward Operating Base) set in a desert region, partly due to the theme of my project and the assets in the game, but also because there is an abundance of reference to use to create my own level. I started off with creating a top down drawn map that will be give me a rough idea of what i want it to look like and what assets may be in the level; that will be decided after i start integrating assets into the level.