The reason these weeks will be updated at the end of the project was that I was so focused on the game. I completely forgot about updating the blog.
Week 14 and Week 15
During both weeks I had outdone myself. I had made progress on my level and added the last 2 sections, which were the Kitchen area and the Salon area. Since you last saw the level design I had changed the layout and re-modelled level 1.
The rest of both weeks. I continued to fix parts of the game, to try and get it to a polished version for my submission. I also managed to produce the 2nd core mechanic, which was the swimming mechanic and added it to the lobby.
At the end of the week, I added sound effects to the game and also produced art assets for the user interfaces.
I came across a few problems with this project, but overall I did a pretty good job.
This week, I started by producing two collectable systems. These were to give a reward to the player for completing an area. The first collectable will be shown as a necklace, the player will find this necklace throughout the level. At the end of the level, some UI will show the number of necklaces collected in that level. The second collectable will be shown as a playing card. This playing card once collected will allow the player to swap between the character displayed on the card picked up.
Next, I thought about how I wanted the mechanic’s test level to look and decided on making it on a ship (The Poseidon). I researched the film as reference (The Poseidon Adventure) and realised the ship used in the film was based on the RMS Queen Mary ship. I started by making the hull of the ship and texturing the model using Substance Painter.
I then added the top deck to the ship with invisible collision boxes at either side of the ship, so that the player wouldn’t spend too much time on the ship. By this point, I decided to go with making the ship into a game lobby. The lobby will allow the player to explore the ship, as well as testing both the core mechanics.
Throughout the second half of the week, I focused on making a polished game lobby, adding more assets and even a cool spawn area. The spawn area for the lobby is positioned in a lifeboat in the water. Afterwards, I produced a water material using a water normal map I found while doing research on the subject of a ‘water system’. I also learnt that when making a material instance of the current material, any changes made can be seen in the build.
At the end of the week, I added a simple teleporter to allow the player to select which level they wanted to play. The latest model of the game lobby is shown below.
Next week, I aim to have a polished 1st level, and a working game. As well as this, the lobby will be completed with decals and the 2nd core mechanic.
In week 10, I sketched a few designs of the UI as well as designing a re-modelled version of the first level.
In week 11, I decided to re-model the first level because when taking a step back to a players perspective, I realised that if the level was the right way round many doors and other entry points weren’t accessible. As well as this, I added a longer interactable vent area due to fixing the climbing system problem.
The problem that had risen from producing the climbing system in another test level, was that the tracers used couldn’t identify a climbable surface. During that week, I booked an appointment with a tutor to resolve this problem. The solution was a simple tick box on the collision of an object.
As you can see from the images above I also textured some walls and stairs, which I used Substance Painter to make the materials. I also managed to make a simple place mechanic using a box trigger.
At the end of the week, I was starting to get overwhelmed with stress due to the deadline getting closer. I asked for advice from my supervisor. The decision I made was to focus on my contingency plan, and if I had any time, I would produce the 2nd level. My supervisor advised me to produce the second core mechanic to the 1st level (Swimming).
In week 8, I developed a checkpoint system with a respawn point and a death box.
This week, I continued to develop the checkpoint system this was because when testing the checkpoint system, I noticed that when the player respawns health was not put back to 100%. During the week, I added health renewal to the checkpoint system and added a delayed respawn.
The delayed respawn was added as when the player passed through the damage box, the health bar changed quickly when respawning. I added a two-second delay to show the health bar decrease and increase with health.
During this week, I also produced some basic UI. This included the Main Menu, HUD, and Options Menu.
In week 5, I said that I would aim to get my contingency fundamentals done. I started the 6th week off by becoming very ill and spent the first three days of the week trying to do work, but not having the ability to complete the set tasks for the week. It came to Thursday when I recovered slightly and decided to complete a few tasks.
Thursday 27th February
I started by developing a moving sequence for an area of my level called the Salon Area. The moving sequence contained three Salon chairs that would seem to be malfunctioning, challenging the player to move between each chair without getting squished by the chair. This is similar to other game platformers; such as the ‘Crash Bandicoot’ remastered game.
After producing this movement sequence I created a simple light switch system that will eventually be connected to an event relating to the sequence above. This event will consist of the player having to pull two switches to open the door, which will end the first level. To notify the player that a switch has been pulled a red light will be shown as green.
Friday 28th February
On Friday, I implemented inputs for interaction in the level, so that the player would be able to open a vent to access a hidden room. Within, the first level most hidden rooms will contain a collectable that the player must collect throughout the sections of the level. The collectable will reward the player after completing a challenge, and the collectable count will be displayed on the in-game UI.
In week 7, I was still very ill. Which I made up for the loss of time in the following weeks.
During the 8th week, I decided to produce a Checkpoint system, which included a respawn point and a death box. The Death Box (Box collision) was placed in the level so that if the player tried to skip an interaction in the game, the damaging box collision would take away all the players health. This meant I would have to develop a checkpoint for the player to respawn. In the first level, there is only one checkpoint which means the player has to take extra care when moving through the challenges. The player also only has 3 lives.
Towards the end of the week, I produced a metal ship door taking reference from the interior of a submarine. I created the door frame, handle and metal door.
Next week, I will continue to develop the checkpoint system and develop a collision box that kills the player on touch.
This week I was a lot more laid back and wanted to take a step back from producing content for the game for a few days. Throughout the week I have focused on the development of a climbing system. I looked into Ray Tracing and using Capsule Tracers.
During the week I started to develop the basic ‘climbing a ledge’ using a capsule tracer, from a target on the player characters pelvis to the top of the ledge shown by two capsules. I firstly produced a height tracer and a forward tracer.
After creating the height and forward tracers, I was able to produce a climbing a ledge event by setting up many variables like ‘Is Climbing’ and ‘Is Hanging’. Continuing on from this I added a hanging idle animation and climbing animation to eventually develop a climbing a ledge mechanic.
Further, Into the end of the week, In addition to the climbing system, I developed a side to side jump. This allowed the player to jump from one ledge to another. I duplicated the blueprint for grabbing a ledge and created a new function to jump left and right by using two arrows.
I Developed the last part of the climbing system, which was the ‘Jump Back to Ledge’ movement. I created two new functions to ‘jump back’ and to ‘turn back’. I produced an event to turn back and turn forward. Then I added the animations to the character animation blueprint.
When testing the jumping up to a second ledge, I came across a few minor problems. These included: the animations for jumping got suck and when jumping up to another ledge the hands of the player character wouldn’t connect with the top of the ledge. This could have been due to sticky keys and maybe the ledges collision. Below are two videos showing these problems.
Comparing the ladder system I produced and the climbing system, the mechanic that I will be implementing into the game will be the climbing system.
Next week, I will aim to have my contingency plan completed by the end of the week. This includes: Implementing the level into the main build, producing basic U.I and having a playable level.
At the start of the week, I developed the basic movement for the player character. I produced a toggle run mechanic, which allowed the player to have the option to switch between running and walking through the level. Below is a video capture of this mechanic.
The mechanic consisted of a basic running function set to different walk speeds.
After making the toggle run mechanic, I played the video game that I took inspiration from when designing the level layout for my project. This video game is called ‘The adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn’.
When playing the game, I started to brainstorm new additions to my levels. One of these ideas was to have a kitchen section on the first level where there are food pulley lifts. The idea was that if the player jumps on one of these lifts, the platform will move due to the weight of the character. The section will include multiple platforms to make it challenging for the player.
This would mean I would have to research physics, changing the weight of the character.
Tuesday 4th February
On Tuesday I developed a list of modular assets I needed to produce for my game. My original plan was to download asset packs from the internet. This would have made it easier for me to develop the rest of the game to my scheduled deadlines, but unfortunately, I now have to take extra time to produce assets. As well as this, I designed the first half of the first level which I hand drew.
Wednesday 5th February
I started the day by researching ‘The Poseidon Adventure’ 1972 film, to get more of an insight into how the film scenes were made. I found a documentary on the backstory of the film on Youtube and also the making of the film through the director’s storyboards.
After researching about my inspiration, I produced a white boxed section of my first level using Unreal Engine 4.
To end the day I decided to produce one of my main mechanics, which is the ladder system. When developing the ladder system I created two ways for the player to climb the ladder. The first option was to allow the player to climb the ladder once touching it. The second option was to enable input for the player to press to climb the ladder, this was by pressing ‘E’ on the keyboard.
Thursday 6th February
Today, I produced an online survey to ask players opinions on platformer games. Unfortunately, I only received one response. This shows that I need to put more content into my surveys.
After this, I designed the 2nd half of my 1st level on paper. I’ve added to the first half by adding a Gallies (kitchen) area and a hair salon area.
Friday 7th February
I started the day by finishing the first white boxed level. I have added the two sections from my hand-drawn sketch. These areas challenge the player to escape each room by avoiding platforms and balancing their way to the exit.
Next week I will be aiming to produce the core mechanics for the level, this includes a climbing system and a swimming mechanic. I will also be researching ‘How to spawn water and flowing water in a level’ and developing modular assets to use throughout the 1st and 2nd level.
In the first two weeks, I produced a games design document to show my research and design specification for my project.
This project is based on a film called ‘The Poseidon Adventure’.
The Poseidon Adventure is a film that was made in 1972, which was based on the novel by Paul Gallico. The story details a passenger liner travelling from New York to Greece. During the journey, the ship is hit by a tidal wave and flips upside down. Fortunately, there are 10 survivors.
I will be taking inspiration from the films direction and other media to produce a 2.5D survival puzzle platformer, which will mean that the game will be presented in a 3D world, but with 2D art backdrops. Some parts of the game will allow the player to explore a level using all movement controls, whereas other rooms will force the player to move left and right. A mixture of platformer and side scroller.
‘The Poseidon: Through Deep Waters’ is a singleplayer game which will consist of two levels. The first level will introduce the controls and story of the video game to the player, whereas the second level challenges the player to traverse around an area with the risk of drowning.
My main focus will be on the level design and gameplay mechanics, and secondly, the overall layout of the game. The aim of the game is to find/collect all survivors and escape the sinking ship. Each character will have a skill that will help the player through the two levels. The more survivors found and collected, the more ability the player has to complete the level.