It seems like the best place to start would be with some of the scripting techniques Iearnt by completing this prototype (based on template laid out by Eat3D in their tutorial Kismet 2 – available at http://eat3d.com/kismet2).
– Using Global Variables (for scoring, damage calculation and setting up Bools for 45degree controls
– Streaming sections of levels to preserve memory
– Attaching cameras (to take Unreal out of the first person default)
– Matinees (for simple enemy movements, intro sequences etc)
– Using True/False bools to develop a control scheme
– Using and calling remote events (triggering enemy waves).
– Many of the limited use case actions and events in Kismet (Camera shake, death, destroy etc).
Plenty for me to take in here, not just the bare bones scripting but also the idea of constructing levels in such a way that sections can be streamed in and out to preserve memory.
Also, the idea of extending existing concepts (in this case, adding the speed boost) was particularly interesting. A recent blog post from the guys at Futurlab talked about creating a game full of fun toys, which are entertaining in and of themselves (http://www.futurlab.co.uk/designing-an-awesome-video-game.html). The boost feature, for me, is one of these. Again built entirely in Kismet, it is a great addition to the basic top down shooter and it is plenty of fun just to boost through the level, weaving between pillars and enemies.
It’s worth noting that the tutorial wasn’t just creating a pretty procession, and that scripting for player failure is included.
As well as the information, actions and events that I learnt, I was interested by all the possible extensions for this tutorial.
Obviously it would be possible to keep streaming in levels and give the player more waves on enemies to face. Giving weapons to each enemy wave is another possibility. Displaying text for score multipliers is another small feature which could be added. However, my bigger ideas are all around how to take existing ideas and mold them into new shapes. It would be possible to put in stationary turrets, off to the side of the level, which could shoot the player but not be shot in return, necessitating a new strategy. These turrets could be combined Maybe the player would have to shoot a blockage whilst this was going on. It would be possible to scale up an enemy and hugely increase its health and arsenal, creating a boss battle.
Lots learnt, lots to take forward.