Drawing A Line Under the Top Down

It feels like I have been working on this for months, but finally it is done.

First sentence, first lie.

If I learnt one thing from making this top down shooter game it is that, no matter how much you build, and test, and refine, no game is ever truly finished. I’ve got a laundry list of things I’d like to add to this prototype: better matinee for the boss introduction, a more professional front-end, and a visual indicator of the score multiplier. Oh yeah, the game has a score multiplier. If the player defeats every enemy in a wave their score multiplier increases by one. Unless you built the game, you wouldn’t know it.

However, the score multiplier is emblematic of why I am stopping production of the Top Down Shooter prototype. If, beyond the simple joy of learning something new and creating, the aim of these blog posts and these videos is to show game studios, producers and employers what I am capable of, then there is a law of diminishing returns on new features here. Hence calling time. Whilst I can acknowledge that the prototype isn’t perfect, I want to take my learning in a new direction.

That is not to say I haven’t learnt a lot here, I have. Elements of the learning populate lots of my other videos. I learnt the basics of attaching cameras in this tutorial, and then used it in the Nightmare Dungeon Redux that is available here. Though the tutorial was heavily focused on Kismet, I have used the foundations to help with my Matinee. The boss battle, and associated introduction sequence, was the culmination of learning about remote events, event key frames, particle effects and a whole bundle of techniques.

The video in this post shows only content I created beyond that explained by the tutorial (the full video is available here). Both the turrets and the bosses were created using a combination of Kismet (SpawnProjectile, Trigger Volumes) and Matinee (heavy use of Event tracks) to create different challenges for the player. I’ve mentioned this before, but I really like the turrets because the change the angles that the player has to think about. The top down shooter, by its nature, tends to travel along one axis. The turrets at least make you think in 2D.

So, what comes next? I want to have a look at material creation and terrains. Then I want to make a first person shooter level. Unreal has shown incredible flexibility by facilitating the top down shooter, but I have encountered some challenges that I would not have found if I was using the first person camera.

Thanks to Eat3D for the fantastic tutorial. I learnt a lot and highly recommend their stuff.

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