Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Overall I am very pleased with what I’ve created. At the beginning of my first year I would certainly not have expected to be capable of doing what I have done.

That being said, after any experience there are often regrets and things you’d change or do different.
One of the first things I regretted was not doing this project using Unity. The project demonstrates that I have a really wide range of applicable skills, something which seems to be more attractive to small developers, and a lot of small development teams want people with Unity experience.

My second regret is, essentially, that I didn’t get around to doing more. I really wanted to look into getting a puzzle implemented, but that would require skills I don’t really have.
I was making assets right up until deadline but I still feel like it’d benefit

I am really happy with my character and its animations. I had no animation experience beyond doing test rigs when I started the project. I’m not gonna say I am the animation overlord now, there’s a reason animation is a three year bachelor. But I think I’ve understood the basics, and it is definitely something I want to experiment with more.

I’m also really happy with the overall look of the level and how much I’ve learned about engine work. Though it was incredibly challenging artistically and technically, I enjoyed the process and I would be really excited to develop more skills in this direction. 

last minute script changes

First things first, this weekend was a bit nerve-wracking. I realised the script I was using, while fine on the computer I’ve been using all this time, was very invasive in that I needed to alter UTGame files for it to work. 

I got help from a lovely guy called Scott Baker. As far as I understand, he used the platformer starter kit provided by UDK and cut out the trimmings and adapted it to what I needed. If you go way back to the start of this project, you’ll see I had a go at this kit at the start of the project but found it too unwieldy to use but all those issues have been fixed.

So basically the problem with the old script was that I couldn’t get it to spawn my character mesh unless I changed something in a UTGame file. UTGame is the default game type for UDK so if I changed those files that might cause problems for someone else down the line. It used scripts to generate a player camera locked to the character and was a bit of a faff to change.  

The new script is self self contained. It also utilises archetypes to generate the camera and the character, making it possible to make some adjustments to things like angle and camera distance while in the editor.

The only downside is that the character does not seem to be locked to its path, so if it bounces against an angled collision it is pushed out of its path. But it’s a problem that’s easy to live with.  

Thursday, 1 May 2014

This screenshot pretty much sums up today's work. Fixed seaming on the ground, repainted the cave, made birch trees and light shafts

The sunbeams is basically a cone-shaped mesh with a translucent material giving off a slowly rotating emissive.

Everything else is pretty self-explanatory. Mesh, paint, export.

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Puky toad fountain. It's a lot more obvious in real time, but water is streaming from his mouth. Will add some particle effects at the bottom as well to create splashes. The texture is basically a panning normal and a panning mask with a cubemap added. 

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Finished the bridge yo. 

So Max had a go in my level and started building it out from where I ended it, and he really made me realise how modular my assets are and how much further I can take this thing.

So when it's this long, if you run trough the entire thing as fast as you can, it takes AN ENTIRE MINUTE.


My level ended at abouts the first big tree and then the recycling starts after that. Even if it's just the same assets over and over, I think it's really something I should keep, and maybe even build further, because it really demonstrates the flexibility of the assets.

Here's a close-up of the mineshaft. I mean, it's basically a finished scenery and no new assets made. Pretty sweet. Pretty lazy. But pretty sweet. 

Monday, 28 April 2014

Entering the final stretch, today I sat down and wrote a comprehensive list of things I need to tackle before I am ready to hand, and then started tackling top priorities.

 Everything is coming together pretty nicely, except my eyes. They are feeling pretty square and computery.

Today I made a water shader and a tadpole particle effect. The water shader is basically just reflections distorted by a normal. The tadpoles is an animated particle effect (meaning the texture has all the frames and the uv-space flicks from one part of the texture to the other very fast, like a flipbook animation), so it looks like the tadpoles wiggle along. You can't see it in the screenshot and indeed it's so hard to see in game I sorta wonder why I did it, and I'm thinking about cranking down the water distortion a fair bit for that reason.

I hadn't done any particle stuff before but it was pretty simple to figure out.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

My level has glowing mushrooms and a giant toad and to be honest that's everything a level will ever need.

It's mostly about tying up loose ends and getting those last thingies in there. I'd anticipated being stressed out of my wits by this point but to be honest I am feeling very relaxed about everything. Maybe I exhausted my stress supply over these three years. Goodbye stress supply.