It’s time to break away from tutorials and push my knowledge and creativity in Unreal 4. Over the last few days I have been working on taking a prototype I originally put together in Game Maker and transferring it into UE4.
The original Game Maker platformer was put together with help from Shaun Spalding’s tutorials, available here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCn7FE3Tx391g1tWPv-1tv7Q.
Here’s my version:
The prototype is more of test bed, with lots of mechanics (double jump, wall jump, power ups) thrown into a basic space in order to try them and see how they feel.
My addition, what makes the work unique, is the three teleports. Each teleport has a slightly different effect; one is just a basic position change, one makes the player explode on arrival, and one sees the player leave behind a clone. Each teleport happens in two phases: first the player drops a teleport ‘anchor’ (mapped to 1, 2, or 3 on the keyboard numbers), then the player can teleport to their anchor by pressing the same number again. This enables them to leap around the level and solve puzzles in almost two places at once.
Getting the teleporters working was the final thing I did in Game Maker before getting stuck into UE4, so I never extended the prototype any further. No levels, no puzzles, just the basic mechanics. My quiet aim has always been to replicate the prototype in Paper2D and then build some of the puzzles I had sketched out in Game Maker.
Here’s where I’m up to:
So far I’ve got the basic teleport mechanics up and running. I have the basic port, the explosion on arrival and the duplicate, all with basic functionality. Here are my blue prints:
Using the teleport node in Blue print made the basic teleporter very straightforward. Duplicate was also OK, as I used the same spawn nodes as I did for placing the teleport anchor. Explosion is more of a work in progress. I’m currently using a radial impulse to destroy the blocks (as you can see in the video). The problem is that having them react to a radial impulse means they respond to physics … which means the player can bump into them and knock them over. This is not what I want. I want them to be immovable unless the player uses the exploding anchor next to them. I need to find a cleaner way to destroy certain instances of certain blue prints without needing to resort to physics.
Polishing the explosion teleport is one in a long list of jobs I need to do now I have the functionality (broadly) working. I need to get some objectives into the levels. I need to create moving platforms, timed switches, pressure pads and other devices that force the player to be in two places (almost) at once. Then, I need to add some visual messaging to the teleports. I need to make it clear, as have done with the teleports in Game Maker, how the teleports work and I’ve found in the past VFX will go a long way to solving that.
So that’s what’s next; adding extra mechanics around the basic teleports, then polishing the ports a little bit, then building some levels.