Stage 10: The End

The UI, regrettably in a much simpler state than initially suggested it would be, is done. All the information is present, the UI looks as it hopefully would in an engine, although in a much more basic state. 

Had I had access to the universities systems, or just better systems in general, this artefact could most certainly have been made in an engine such as Unity or Unreal, which would have been very beneficial in terms of experience, as well as making my artefact look professional, rather than the rudimentary state it is in now in comparison. 

Stage 9: Finishing touches

With the UI looking to be in its finishing stages in PowerPoint, finishing touches are being made to ensure that the GIF provides ample information about the workings pf the UI, to make up for it not actually being interactable.

Thankfully, PowerPoint has many tools that might help with making the GIF look smooth and accurate to what the UI would look like had it been professionally made in an engine.

Stage 8: Making it look nice

In the first stages of developing my artefact I made a model of what the UI would look like in a PowerPoint GIF. This is going to be used as my artefact, given that UE4, Unity and Blender have been ruled out due to hardware limitations.

I will take what has already been made and improve upon it, making the visuals more professional, adding more description as to explain the UI in the video, and making the GIF smoother overall to give the illusion of an actual GIF displaying the UI.

Stage 7: Hardware troubles

Due to current circumstances, hardware hasn’t always been readily available. Outside of the University PC systems, I was very limited on choices, between an older home PC, or a basic work laptop. In terms of running programs, it struggles with PowerPoint at the later stages, nerve mind trying to run working versions of Unity, Unreal Engine 4 or Blender. 

After consideration and attempts to run older versions of the engines, I concluded that I would have to make the UI in a more basic blueprint manner, rather than being interactive as initially suggested.

Stage 6: Making a menu in UE4

I have began fully developing my artefact in UE4.  Following tutorials online and trial and error while working, and the UI is starting to come together. While not looking visually good, the basics of it work, with drop down boxes and information being displayed

I will keep chipping away at making the UI smoother, and perhaps adding some art to it, then a GIF will be made from it

Stage 5: In-engine

This week was dedicate to finishing my learning of the Unreal Engine in order to create the UI. I watched various tutorials on how to make menus and UIs within unreal, then, following my flow chart and planning, began work on my artefact.

The biggest challenge with creating the UI was how new I am to the engine, however with all the tutorials and self-teaching, I was able to create a very basic UI, performing simple tasks with very basic visuals, which may or may not be improved later.

Stage 4: Creating a Flow Chart

After researching both Unity and Unreal Engine 4, I concluded that UE4 would be best to create a UI. I have done a small bit of self-teaching to learn the basics of how the engine works, and have a collection of online tutorials that I can refer back to if needed.

Alongside this, I have also been preparing a flow chart, to provide a step-by-step guide on how the UI will work and how actions are performed. This will probably be made on PowerPoint, both because I know the platform very well and the flow chart does not need to be technically impressive.

Once the flow chart is finished, I’ll post it here and begin work on an interactive UI on UE4.

Stage 3: Learning to use an engine

Now that I have a semi-competent GIF of my artefact developed within PowerPoint, I can use it as framework to actually create the UI proper within a game engine such as Unity or UE4. To determine which one I will use, I have downloaded both and will be working my way through both, seeing which is more feasible to develop a UI in, as well as which one i can actually practically use without wanting to tear me eyes out.

So far, I have very little experience in Unity, and close to none in Unreal Engine, therefore I will most likely use Unity to program my prototype artefact, and then continue using it to create the final version, unless UE4 produces better results or I feel more confident in my abilities using it.

Stage 2: Digitizing a prototype

This week I worked on digitizing the first draft of my UI. To do this, I used basic shapes in PowerPoint, which was chosen because I am very familiar and comfortable with using it. I created all aspects of my UI and added numbered descriptions. It was then exported as a GIF, giving a basic idea of how the UI works and is interacted with. This will be the first point of reference for me when it comes to creating the artefact proper in a game engine such as Unity or UE4

Stage 1: Research

This stage was mostly dedicated to conducting research and thinking up ideas that could be adapted into my artefact. For the research, I mainly used YouTube videos from Creative Assembly, specifically their videos on Total War: Troy. I also watched other content creators play the game, as this gave an unbiased perspective on what the game was like. Ideas for what could be made where then roughly laid out with pen and paper. 

Creating a new game mode was the first idea, but this was quickly scrapped as a lot of the ideas within the gamemode had already been done t some extent in the base game. During the research I saw how cluttered and nasty the UI was, which led me to choose this as my artefact.