Dimension Shifting Platformer

Ever since I worked on my 2D teleporting prototypes I wanted to take the idea into 3D. However, I didn’t just want to copy the mechanic into 3D. I wanted to take it, tweak it, and work on some new Blueprints for the 3D implementation.

I decided to make the teleport less of a teleport and more of a shift between dimensions. I loved Legacy of Kain and wanted to make something inspired by that game, but still make something that was obviously a platformer. This is what I came up with.

Image converted using ifftoany

Image converted using ifftoany

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C++ Camera

I think that Epic continues to do an amazing job with its tutorial content for Unreal 4. The C++ tutorials are as good as any I’ve used and offer some really interesting tasks to sink your teeth into.

This tutorial builds an interesting camera systems which allows players to rotate around and zoom into a static mesh. It’s very much a third person game camera, but just using it evokes the feeling of an adventure or detective game, where the player is moving through an environment, searching for clues, and zooming in on areas of interest.

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Introduction to C++

Having spent a good deal of time in recent weeks working with Unreal 4’s Blueprint system, I now feel like I have a pretty solid handle on the basics of that system. Also, by looking into the guts of Advanced Turn Based Tutorial (LINK), I feel like I’m getting a better understanding of the potential of that system.

However, I wanted to get a better understanding of how C++ works in Unreal. This desire came about for one main reason; in a professional setting it is not possible (and not sensible) for me to rely on blueprints all of the time. It is important that I’m able to, at a minimum, be able to parse code and make changes to key variables in order to tweak and tune my prototypes.

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Over the next couple of weeks I’m going to post a few times about C++. My aim is to complete some available tutorials, then play with variables in order to see what effect I have and further understand the way that C++ classes work in Unreal.

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Outdoor Zombies

After my indoor zombie experimentation, where the ranged player characters were overwhelmed by beefed up melee enemies who could take advantage of short sight lines and swarm the player, I decided to take the action outside.

There was two reasons for this;

  1. The new level design would have the immediate, but somewhat tough to measure, effect of rebalancing the game in favour of ranged heroes who can now use the full benefit of their greater range.
  2. With the game already rebalanced in favour of the player I now have a better space to start tweaking range/damage/health variables to get the levelling behaving as I want.

Outdoor Level

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Turn-Based Zombies Project: Part 1

For a while I’ve had an idea for a game which I really want to make. However, for the purposes of showing design skill and proficiency with UE4, disappearing for a couple of years (or five?!) then reappearing with a finished game doesn’t really do me any favours.

What I thought I would do instead is write up the pitch for the game, then start working on a series of design documents which highlight the individual features/elements of the game. Once these short design documents are written I can then use UE4 to make small to medium-sized prototypes of the individual features. Where that is beyond me, or I would need code/art/audio support, I will flag that up and just present the design document.

The aim here is simple; show original thinking, show that I can write clear, concise design documentation, and show that I can turn an idea into a high quality design.

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MOBAs and Approachability

How Blizzard borrows from real sports to make their eSport more approachable.

What makes a sport (any sport, not just an eSport) approachable? Why has basketball spread around the world, whereas only a few countries know what a game of cricket even looks like. Obviously, there are a huge number of factors. Amongst them, as one of the key factors, must be approachability. People play basketball because all you need is a couple of people, a ball, and something to shoot into. The rules are easy; get the ball in the basket. Most baskets, wins. Cricket needs bats, a ball, stumps, a few more people and an understanding of a rule set that goes from quirky to outright weird.

So, my theory must be that basketball is more popular because it is more instantly approachable and, therefore, attracts more players. Which sounds great, until you look at eSports like MOBAs and RTSs which, as someone new to the eSports scene like me can tell you, are much more like cricket than basketball. They are a hive of jargon, complex rules and hardcore fans.

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Which is why Blizzard’s approach to the MOBA, Heroes of the Storm, intrigues me. I’d heard that Blizzard wanted to make MOBAs a little less terrifying and a little more inclusive. As a sports fan it was fascinating to experience how, when playing my first few games, similar playing Heroes felt to picking up and learning a new sport.

HotS, possibly unintentionally, seems to me to share much of its DNA with basketball. It is these parallels I want to explore.

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(Tele)Porting a Game into Unreal 4

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:

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