Month: May 2016

My Game Evaluation

Introduction:

In this introduction I will elaborate on what our task was. We was giving a character to work with along with a brief this character was in a form of a side scroller. We was giving the option weather to do a 2.5D side scroller or a 2D side scroller. We was asked to make collectables with in this game and show the different techniques that we used to make our final piece.

Research into game:

In my game I looked into a few different game types these being 3D games and 2d games. I’ve always took a great liking to 2D games and to have the chance to make my own game that had to be done with collectables init I thought about a pixel game. We had to make a side scroller game and the first side scroller game that popped into my head that I play is a game called Terraria. Terraria was a great inspiration towards my game graphically I did a lot of research into the game and even played it a little more to get some good ideas of what I would like to see in mine. Terraria was not the only resource I used I also looked at pixel artists online and other games like Minecraft and metal gear slug. When I was younger I used to play metal slug a lot of the time it was a huge game in my child hood and I wanted similar graphics to it.  Minecraft is a first person 3D pixel game I still got some really good ideas out of it, I looked into the pixel art with in the game and that is where I got my floor idea from for my game. I did some in-depth research into the kind of audience I would mainly aim my game towards because pixel based games have picked up a lot in recent times on different platforms like pc, xbox, mobile devices and ps4 I thought to myself I would aim the game around 12 to 30 year olds. Being 21 myself I like the pixel type games and I know many other people around my age who also take a liking towards the genre of gaming. Pixel type games have been around for a long time now so people even in the 40s have some point in there life been to the arcade back in the 80s where pixel based games where a huge hit.

Programme planning & research:

I did a great deal of research into looking which programmes would work best towards the making of my game. Photoshop being one of them as everyone uses Photoshop for all kinds of photo manipulation and editing. One thing Photoshop is really good for is pixel editing as its a pixel based programme. I was looking into using adobe illustrator but I found the software was to clean cut compare to Photoshop as illustrator uses lines with in the programme which allows you to make images what ever size you want with out losing quality. This mean the programme is not pixel based. I needed to add sound into my game for back ground music and sounds for when I pick up my collectables. I ended up using Logic pro which was a really good programme to design my own music for my game. When I was shown Unreal engine I thought of many amazing ideas for what I wanted to do in my game and had to watch a load of different videos on youtube of how to use unreal engine. I used a Youtube called “MrFalaranah” and his videos are short and easy to understand, he was a great assistant in the making of my game.

The making of my game:

To start with I wanted to get all my assets complete as soon as possible so I could begin putting my game together. I started of making my main character in Photoshop, when I had complete the making of him I couldn’t figure out how to animate him. The animation of my character was a huge problem with in my game which delayed me from completing my game as the animation was my main worry. From trial and error I kept remaking what my character will look like to finally just keeping him simple and not to detailed. I was then shown a programme called Creature and this programme was key to finally getting the animation of my character complete.To begin with kept making my character as a whole image which was the problem so I decided to cut him in to six different layers these being the leg, arms, body and head. I was then able to put all the parts of my character into creature and begin adding different motors and bones to complete my animation. The character was the main problem when it came to the art in my game. I had no problems with making all my main assets like my flooring, background, props and walls etc.

I started using a programmes called unity as I heard it was better to make 2D games compared to unreal. I  soon realised what I heard was wrong and it was a lot more complex and more crafting into making the game when using unity. I put all my level together and I was just struggling how to do some of the most basic thing like sorting the layer out and to me I thought that would be really simple. After doing some research into unity I noticed that the tutorials of how to do some of the game I wanted to do could take up to 40 minutes a video. I then looked into unreal more and the videos that where take 40 minutes could be done with in 10 minutes using unreal. This was a problem for me because I spent so much time and effort in putting my game together in unity and soon realised how much better unreal engine is for my game. Because of this I was delayed in making my game as I had to remake an entire new level in unreal engine.

Problems that occurred in Unreal:

To begin with I added all my assets in and once I turned them into sprites they kept coming out really blurry when I put them into the game. I found a solution to fixing this by double tapping the sprite and turning it from world to 2D setting which made an insane improvement. Once I had put all the level together I had some major problems with making the matinee settings work. It was taking me around 2 hours just to get one of the matinees to actually work this was a really frustrating problem I kept having when making my game, I stopped bothering with the matinees then went back to them after watching some really detailed video to eventually got them to work and have demonstrated this in my blog. Another frequent problem that seem to occurred to much was that saving in unreal even though it had a auto save I would also manually save it every just in case it crashes. This happen a few times and to sort this I actually had to have everything I used in my unreal project all in one file from the destination I was important everything from.
I didn’t really have many problems doing the blue prints in the unreal engine of my game because I followed some really helpful videos on youtube. I was unable to get a damage system into my game because I didn’t leave myself enough time to finish adding the blue prints.

What I would have done better:

If I was to have a second chance in making this game I would have done much more detailed assets. I would have also added damage to my character in unreal because I was struggling to get it working. I would also add NPC’s into my game that will activate if my character was to go near then and they would damage him. I wanted to add a dialog into my game before entering the Castle a character would have popped up saying “enter at your own risk”. The dialog was something I really wanted to implement into my game because I feel it would have interacted with the user a lot more. Another option I wanted to add to my game was having a dialog over my character so once he had collected the collectable he would have said something about it.

My Final out come:

I am very impressed with the finale out come of my game. I really like how the game has come out it was what I expected to do. It has the Terraria feel init when I play, also my pixel art has come out really nice. Yes there are a few problems with in the game that I will mend in the future.

Feed back:

Once I finished my game I gave out my short example video demonstrating my game to gain some feed back. I was happy to hear the positive feed back about the game I made. Everyone seemed to like the pixel art with in the game, I did get some criticism towards the animation of my character the way he constantly run on the spot. After hearing my feed back I quickly fixed the running on the spot animation to standing still.

It was important to get this feed back because it tells me what I need to improve on for the next time round. It made me realise next time round I will show people parts of my game before making the final thing to get ideas of what people would like to see.

When I showed some of the peers in the class I was able to get not just helpful feed back but feed back that was able to help me make the blue prints with in my game work more smoove.

What I have learnt:

I have seriously enjoyed this entire module, before I was clueless to everything on these macs. The only thing I had good experience in was photoshop, which was very handy through the module. Programmes like unreal engine, logic pro, unity, cinema 4 and adobe premiere I had zero experience. This year I am really happy with what I have achieved I feel like I can actually leave now and have a basic knowledge in the industry, even the problems that occurred where helpful because I felt like I achieved something more when I managed to fix these issues. I stared of pretty slow with my blog but after a while when you actually do start adding work to it and watching it mount you get this really amazing feeling and its just been a great experience.

 

End Game Blue Prints

Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 18.19.39.png

To make this blue print I added a “event tick” in the main level blue prints which allowed me to link it to the “cast 2d side scroller” which will then go on to linking to the “score”. From the “score” I then add “integer >= integer” and put in 27 which is the amount of collectables I have in the game and what this did was tell the character after it has picked up 27 of the collectables it will tell the game to end. From there I added a “breach” which I then linked the “integer” and “cast 2d” to then I linked the “end game widget” so it will appear with the game over menu.

Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 18.20.52.png

In Game Menu Plus BluePrints

In this short video I will be showing of how I created a menu Start game menu.

Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 15.25.36.png

First of I went to my “blue prints” and right clicked went to “user interface” and selected “widget blue print”.

Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 15.24.19.png

I then double tapped the widget and went to design. I dragged in “button” from the left hand side and the dragged “text box” over the top of the buttons and re-typed what they said to “start” and “Quit”. I then pulled in “Image” and clicked on the image and went to the right had side and selected the image to the back ground that I made in photoshop and you can see the final out come in the print screen. Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 15.59.04.png

After I had created my start menu I selected the “buttons” and went down to “events” then add “OnClicked” to both the buttons.
Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 15.24.26.png
After I had added the “onclicked” I went to graph. When I selected “graph” I added the “onclicked”s to the blue prints. From “Onclick start” I added “remove parent” which removes the widget from its parent widget. I then added “show mouse cursor” which allow me to use the mouse to select the buttons on the menu. I then added “enable input” by enabling Input on an Actor, you can allow a player to press a button or key and execute events that affect the Actor in some way (Unreal Documentation). I then added “get player controller”which the interface between the Pawn and the human player controlling it. The PlayerController essentially represents the human player’s will. (Unreal Documentation)

Example of my final menu.

Creating a Health Bar and Health Regen

Blue prints for the making of my regen health bar, what I wanted to do is to have a health bar appear in the top left corner in a visual way. I wanted the health bar to slowly regenerate over a period of time and I also wanted to display the percentage visually.

Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 12.27.21.png

I opened up the 2D side scroller found in the “blue prints”

Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 12.28.14.png

I then opened up the blue prints and added three different variables these variables being MaxHealth, Currenthealthbar and RegenRate. I then turned them all into floats. In the “maxhealth” I set the current health to 10. I then set the current health to 5.0. In the “Regenrate” I changed the regenrate to 0.5 so it would slowly regenrate over a period of times instead of in a few seconds from when the player gets hurt, it will add a realistic effect from recovery.

Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 12.39.32.png

After setting up my variables in the 2dsiderscroller I then right clicked and went to “user interfaces” and added a widget to begin blueprinting.

Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 12.43.02.png

I opened up the widget and added in two knew variables, I named this “healthpersentage” The way this will work in the progress will be out of 1 and it will take in float in puts of 0.5 will be 50%.

Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 12.49.44.png

I then went to the “Design” to create my progress bar, where it said percentage on the right had side and I binded it to the health percentage.

Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 12.52.07.pngI went back to the 2d side scroller blue prints and bind the widget to the view port. first of all I added “event begin play” I then linked this with “create widget” I then dragged out the “return value” then selected “promote to variable” and called it health bar widget, I then added to “view port”.

Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 12.57.16.png

I then added a “function” and called this UpdateHealth what this will do is update the health every time the game ticks.

Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 13.07.53.png

The first thing I put into the inputs was the damage so later on in the game I will be able to add damage to the health bar.

Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 12.13.35.png

To start with I added in the “current health” and “maxhealth” then linked them to “Float <= float” and linked them both to it. I then dragged out a “branch” from the “update health” and linked the out put to the “branch”. I then grabbed the “regenrate” and added a “delta time” so what this will do is read the ticks of the game. I linked these both to a “Float x float”, I then added in “current health” and added a “float + float” and linked them to the “float x float”.  So what I’ve done here is grabbing the delta time and multiplying it by the regen rate and adding that to the current health.

I added another “current health” and “Max health” and added a “float divide” then linked them. I then dragged out the “health bar widget” then looked for “health percentage” and sent them equal.

Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 13.32.46.png

Atf that I then went back to the “event graph” on the 2d side scroller and added “event tick” but because I was already using an “event tick” I had add a “sequence node” which aloud me to have more that one string of the “event tick” and from there I added the “updatehealth”.

This is a short video showing of the health bar regen when I press play.

Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 13.39.39.png

I then went back the “Designer” menu and added in a text box. I changed the “Zorder” to 1 and set the text to nothing.

Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 13.42.42.pngI then went back to the “update health” blue prints. I then floored both the “current health” and “max health” from both of these I added in “To String (int)”. I then added two “appends” and linked them to the “set health text”. After I had done that I then added the “health widget”, “append” and the “set” to complete the final code.

Character Animation

This is a video of me creating a sprites and turning the frames of my character into a animation in unreal engine.

First of all I created a new folder named “character” this is where I will now import all my images to make my animation into. I turned all the images into “create sprites” I then selected all the images and right clicked edit. From the edit screen I then had to make all the selected image Shrink wrapped but from the collision menu under “Collision geometry type”. I then had to select all the images and make a “flipbook”, from here I then opened up my character “blue prints” went to “event graph” and  chose the “select blue print” and changed the True and false to my flipbook animation.

Moving Platform

Creating a moving platform in unreal engine for my game.

To begin with I had to go to “Cinematics” and click “add Matinee” then right click in the add matinee and add a “Empty group” to allow me to edit. I then selected the platform in the unreal engine then click “Actors” and clicked “Add selected actors” to begin the movement. I then selected “Add new moment track” this automatically added a key frame in, I then had to move the timer bar to choose a time I wanted the platform to move between.

I added a keyframe at the end of the time then went back into unreal and moved the platform manually using the tool then added a frame again. This allowed the platform to go up and down and to make it constantly repeat I had to tick loop which made it so go up and down constantly.

Digital Culture Pixel Becoming Popular

Minecraft was is a pixel based game that was released in 2009 and is probably the most dominate game that is pixel based on them market today. You can also argue that it is a indie. minecraft__140227211000.jpg

Pixel games becoming Popular

Pixel games are currently dominating the gaming world if you was to look on steam you would find lots of pixel related games. I personally think this is due to people becoming bored of all the amazing graphics in games and wanting something new. You could say pixel games are old though because during the 80s  all games where pixel based. I love the idea of pixel games it bring an entire new look to games and I really do think there is much more to come from pixel games.

2014-07-02_13.56.00.png

Adam salesman says “It’s hard for people to take pixel art ‘seriously’ the same way they take 3D seriously sometimes. But then you get brilliant counter-examples like papers, please, which almost no one would describe as ‘retro’ or ‘8-bit’ despite the pixelated presentation.”

This is very true because pixels where the thing in the 80s people have a lot of stick against it as the new generation is all 3d and realistic and people dont see the point in pixel based games. The pros in pixel games pixel games will never age and will always have the pixel look to it, this is what makes pixel games special as they are just a huge collection of pixels to make something so simple look so nice.

Sam.B. (2014). Pixel art games aren’t retro, they’re the future.Available: http://www.theverge.com/2014/7/3/5865849/pixel-art-is-here-to-stay. Last accessed 15th May 2016.