Game Level (Task 3 PROGRAMMING)

Previously I had used the application Unreal Engine 4, was to programme a walking sequence fro my basic character design. For this task I had programmed a lot more, including platforms, jumping sequence, background and spikes. This part of creating my game, ‘Betrayal’, was quite challenging as I did keep running into problems that were unfamiliar to me, but with practice I was able to figure them out.

My first step was one of the easiest as I had done this before so I just followed the steps of my ‘Walking Cycle Unreal’ and then that step was finished. Import my sprite sheets, group them together in a flipbook and then spread out the frames so the animation isn’t too quick paced.

The second element that I added into the game was the background, thankfully this didn’t need much when it comes to programming as the playable character wouldn’t be interacting with it. To insert the background into my game, first I selected the stock background and clicked backspace and then force delete- this would leave a black blank space to add my own background. In the bottom tab in a button called Import, I clicked on that and then searched for my background file. Once the file appear I right clicked on it and went Sprite Actions> Create Sprites, unlike the figures I only needed the one block image, hence why I didn’t extract the individual sprites. I then double clicked on the sprite and changed the Sprite Collision Domain from standard 2D to Use 3D Physics. All I needed to do after that was drag the sprite onto the main screen and adjust the size accordingly. I also pushed the background away from the playable character so there wasn’t a chance they would collide.

screen-shot-2016-11-29-at-09-49-55

Following the background was the level platforms, this was a little more complicated compared to the background, however the sprite process was the same as the background so I just repeated the previous steps.  The few things I did differently were that in the Background tab that popped up, I changed the Collision Geometry Type to Shrink Wrapped and increased the Collision Thickness to 100, preventing the chance of Poseidon falling through the level. Unlike the background, I had to make the level platforms as close as I could them to the protagonist, same with the floating level platforms that I created. I discovered that when I added the floating level platforms I did fall into problems such as overlapping the main level platform and the process of increasing the collision thickness of each one was taking a lot of time. To get rid of this problem I went back into Adobe Photoshop and created one long level platform with the floating platforms included, this made moving the whole level a lot easier and discovering what slight changes I had to make.

When adding my level platform in, I wanted to make my character larger because he was quite small compared to the map. I attempted this by resizing Poseidon on the main window with the scale tool, I should not have done this as it also manipulates the controls by not allowing me to jump, sliding across the already made platforms and moving when my hands were off the controller. This is something avoid next time I create a video game.

Once making the level platforms through a few trial and errors, I had to move on to an even more complex step of adding the jumping sequence to my character. This was a very complicated stage as I had to had new parts to the Event Graph of Poseidon’s main blue prints. The first step was to add a new variable on the left hand tab, by clicking the plus sign on Variables, and titling my new component “is.jumping” and selected Get. Once I had the new component in, I added a few new ones by right clicking on the event graph and searching what i needed; Update AnimationBranchSet Flipbook and Sprite. Following that I arranged them accordingly, much like with the walking cycle all I had to do is select the right sprite animation i had created previously, however this time it was “A_Jumping”. Attaching the False branch to the Set Flipbook shows that when I am not activating the jumping sprite, it will continue to use the walking and idle animation, additionally this is why i have the Update Animation component as its constantly updating the animation activated by certain buttons.

One more thing had to be added to the blueprints, however this part was much less complicated. I moved down to the Handle Jump tab and added two is.jumping bars by dragging them onto the blueprint and selecting Set rather than Get, I then linked the Jump box to one of them and the Stop Jumping to the other, then my jumping sequence was complete.

To sum up this task I did find it quite challenging as I have never programmed a game before, let alone used the Unreal Engine, apart from doing my Walking Cycle Practice’. Somethings I do look forward to discovering is programming NPCs (Non Playable Characters), life/ mana bar, checkpoints and hidden passages. As this is my first game I do feel very pleased with what I have created, especially with all the designing aspects coming together, even if i have changed the design of a few items throughout the making process. When creating a game next time I will definitely work on going into more details for designing and programming more animations like my shooting and stance animation.

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