So, the following will be a comprehensive guide to what went down this week, the good, the bad, the ugly!
Production times were fairly fast. Within a day we had a prototype in place and the level was detailed to its most basic form. We wanted a simple puzzle game where you used light to kill zombies who were attacking you. You could not kill the zombies directly, but rather you had to use the environment to make these things happen. I felt this was a solid concept and went running with it within the first day or so. Luckily I had this week off so I had plenty of time to just sit back and gamedev. However, I did have to remove two days of game dev time to assist with some social life stuff. So here is the list o things that went well:
- UE4 engine was simple and smooth to use
- Established gamedev team really helped since we knew what each of us was strong at, and what our weaknesses were
- Communication through DISCORD and Google Hangouts was crucial
- Industry tools helped us to produce content super fast (UE4, 3Dcoat, Maya LT)
- P4 allowed us to share content and push updates within a repo system
- Sound design was 100% custom and quality (credit to iCompose)
- Concept met all the themes!! (not something I have done before in one of these comps)
- We had fun while doing this, and we honestly were proud of the game we ended up producing.
As with anything, there is good and bad with all things that happen. Most of the bad was related to time frames, schedules, and distance based communication. Several times we tried to use a tracking system to keep ourselves on target, but these types of systems require somebody to force everybody to use them, and if you dont have that person in place than its just randomized stuff being placed on a website (which was our case). It also didnt help that we had a great concept, but no real thought as to how it would play out in the big picture. Day 4 we figured out that we had a much more complex and robust system that we could use with such a simple concept of "triggers". If we would have thought of this in day 1.... seriously we would have had a product that might be 5x better. We were adding game logic right up until the last hour of the competition. So here is a broken down list:
- Distance based communication can be difficult if the points are not conveyed properly
- Schedules of the team members had to be coordinated
- A project of our size required ALOT of time. We could have gone with a simple concept and saved days worth of work. Perhaps even had it more fleshed out so it was smooth.
- Bugs were prevalent since we were adding code at crazy rates. Content driven dev teams need to stop and focus on bug fix, however I still feel we did well given the time we had.
- Fully realize the concept before you make any choices. We could have spent a full day on this and saved more time. The original Idea was so solid that we just ran with it not knowing what potential we had until we tried to figure out methods of making the zombie chase fun. Again, knowing this on day 1 could have meant an entirly polished game.
In-game commentary on how the levels were designed:
Look at the two primary characters art assets/animations:
Link for the dl, and I am done.
KEY FEATURES TO NOTE:
- WASD for movement
- E to pickup and place down pots
- Spacebar to use your Ultimate ability only when your soul bar is full
- LMB for igniting lights and killing zombies.
- Connect to another player via direct connect. They need to be in a game first before you attempt to connect
- Server host can reset the entire game via the ESC button and RESET option
So, with all the madness and my really locked down schedule I have not made a post everynight. However, this is going to be the ONE big post before the final post tomorrow. So lets go over what has changed:
- Added new animations for player (15 to be exact)
- Added new model for Zombie
- Added vase
- Added ability to pickup and place down the vase (e)
- Added physics to the vase so it can roll (cant break it YET)
- Added custom dynamic music system (plays level of sounds based on events)
- Added custom sound FX for almost everything.... (doors, bricks, rocks, grass, dirt, walking, moaning, groaning, attacks)
- Added and/or logic controlers allowing for gates and doors and a whole boatload of other things to be created
- Added indiana jones themed event
- Added UI elements (hearts, soul meter)
- Added main menu (so you can get to the core game)
- Added checkpoint spawn system.
- Added custom event system that allows for tracking of events (the director)
- Added custom spell effects for all three spells
- Added disintegration effects to the death of zombies in the light
- Added new types of lights
- Collect souls of the fallen undead via orbs
- Heal yourself with potions that you may find randomly throughout the world.
- The game is set in a world where darkness rules the land. However the ancient order, "Watchers of Light" had created a machine that would keep the darkness at bay. For some reason, a year or so ago the machine had stopped working, and the order was unable to reach the machine due to th emassive hords of undead. You have been chosen by the order to journey to the machine and find out what is wrong, and if possible restart the machine to save the world from total destruction.
- Play with up to 4 players in a CO-OP mission
- Journey through the land solving puzzles and avoiding the undead to reach the final challenge
- Key Notes:
- While we did use UE4, everything in this gameJam was created during the gameJam. I think this speaks volumes to what my team was able to accomplish. We have work in that would take normal teams a month. They have dedicated countless hours over the course of this week and I really owe them for that. We have created yet another game for our portfolios, and one that I can personally be proud of. Even the music and sound are 100% custom. Our sound engineer spent a day creating a system that would change the type of song that was playing based off of the zombies that were on the gamefield. This adaptive type of feature is normally reserved for AAA titles. So I am happy that we had the chance to use it here.
- Detail the level and make sure lighting is baked
- Create the end Event and ensure it works for Game over and You win scenarios
- Troubleshoot some bugs related to animations and click happy people (i like to click, it helps find bugs!!!)
- Playtest each event and ensure it is playable with 1 person, and fun for 4 people.
- Finish up textures for all core items and props
- Finish up texture for player and allow for colorization for reach player that joins
- Add a nickname atop a players head (set at the main menu)
- Link the main menu to the level (think this is done, but not sure)
- Create 25 custom VO's so that they can be added to cue the player on what is going on. This is the hardest part... but lets hope it runs smoothly.
So, no day 2 entry because I honestly went to bed at 5am after 15 hours of dev. However, today I come to you with a sweet and sexy video! The following are the changes we have made thus far:
- Different types of lights. Always on (you get no credit for kills) - Lightable w/Delay (makes it harder) - Onetime ONLY lights
- Zombie Logic - increased their logic to allow crowd control. Also made them less likely to follow you when you are out of sight
- Particle effects! This is my fav thing to do, so I added like 50!
- Gates/Switches - this is not shown in the video, but its a key part to our puzzle system
- Spells - Kick (knockback incoming zombies for no charge!) - Aura (channel cast cost, but keeps those zombies at bay for cheap)
- Respawn system
- Checkpoint system that lets you revive at your last checkpoint
- Sounds - LOADS OF THESE, our sound guy got his computer fixed and is in full swing. Love him so much. Our game sounds 100% professional thanks to him.
This day has been fairly productive. The following is what we were able to complete:
- Basic AI for zombies (they chase you and spawn!!)
- Basic WASD movement for the player
- 20 art assets (UV mapped and rigged, but no textures)
- 15 particle systems
- 1 level
- Light/Shadow code (determines if you are in the shadows or in lit areas)
So, after the theme drop I feel pretty good about our concept. We will be using UE4 and focusing on the core elements first. This might be the first year I actually stick 100% to the theme. My first task was to setup the repo (P4) and then establish our tasking on the task site we use (activeCollab). From there I went right to work with getting the concept art for the main character. This is what I came up with:
More art to come over the course of the night!
Been an interesting weekend. Spent three days making a game for another gameJam. It was rather challenging since I had to create models for stuff that I had yet attempted. Our entire mesh was disjointed and parted out. Each mesh with its own bone set and animations. This caused for some interesting gameplay, but allowed for us to have physics on every bodypart. This means flying swords, arms, legs, you name it!! We went ultra simple with the concept and I kept my art to simple shader stuff. I think it turned out okay for 3 days worth of work, and as usual we have something that could be shipped tomorrow. Check out the video and let me know what you think!
Download can be found on this site.
Been a few weeks since I have posted, mostly because work has been crazy. However, as with all my returns I come bringing gifts of visual joy!
These are dropPods that carry the robot to the ground. When you arrive at your facility you are launched from a launch station. This dropPod is how you and your friends (In MP mode) spawn into the world. We thought the process was so cool we created a button to spawn as many as we liked (without the need for a player spawn). The havoc from such things is what you see before you. However, we did find some bugs that might help us fix some stuff with the normal player spawn:
Such as, if you spawn 50 at once (have you really press hard on that spawn button to make that happen) they get stuck in the air somehow. I believe this is authentication to the server, but who knows right now! Either way, we had loads of fun and the game is really coming together now. I will probably provide a video of this entire thing in another blog later in the week.
After 3 days of putzing around with the grass I have finally created something I am happy with:
After playing with the grass I moved into making some fun stuff (this is not final but just a stress test)
So, all in all I am happy with this and can move on to the next stuff! Now for animations and shooting objects!