Hi everyone. I and my colleagues have been busy working on this project for last few weeks. I post my progress 3-4 times a month in our development blog, so those who are interested can follow our work. However right now our website has not that much of traffic, so as Mark suggested I decided to also post the updates here once in a while.
Here is a summary of what has been changed in game as far as code is concerned in the last month.
I started with writing a little win application called “Basic Refactor”, to help me with refactoring the existing unreal script code:
It’s far away from a complete solution but it does well the only thing I need it to do right now. So I’m not going to add more features to it at least for a few months, but after that maybe I add some options to it so it can be useful for other programmers within community.
The next thing was re-implementing all the existing code for final game in a more clear way, so it will be much easier to read, modify, debug and also adding new features. I also used Basic Refactor to refactor the code a little and added some essential code to engine side of unreal script. Also there was 2 code packages, and I decided to integrate them so we don't run to potential issues in future.
The biggest new feature is Dialogue System which you can read more details about it in our blog. I just point to some of its features here:
Main goal for this system was to minimize the manual work needed to be done by one of the team members and the result is pretty satisfying. This system is completely based on archetypes and easily customizable in all areas without any coding needed.
Manages all dialogues and subtitles needed for the game in one place. Designer can use lots of archetypes as well as a couple kismet actions and events to have a good control on the system.
Ability to control the visibility of subtitles in real time, for example through options menu. As well as the ability to change the general volume and pitch for dialogues.
I also added some properties to help control delay and play time via archetypes, plus some controlling properties.
Designer can customize the visual aspect of the subtitles, even individually for each game character.
The newest feature is support for multiple languages at the same time. As you may know story plays a key role in this game and we wanted it to be completely understandable for non-English speaking players as well. I decided to write this part in a way so it doesn't have any limitations for supported languages, so I spent a lot of time and wrote it in a general way to support as many languages as we will need in future without any changes in code whatsoever.
To be honest, this part of the system was the most cumbersome and the hardest thing I did in this project so far, way harder than I though it would be, well fortunately it is finished and ready to use now, so cheers.
Also there is a few dozen log, debug and control properties in this system which helps debugging and trap unexpected problems in future, if any.
I added a few new super classes for GameInfo, PlayerController, Scaleform GFx, Projectiles, Weapons, SoundGroup, etc., which helps to keep the code more manageable and the time needed for additions and modifications at minimum.
I also re-implemented the whole save/load system to avoid some problems, but I had not time to test it out yet.
Actually right now the code is a completely new code base and we can start to implement new features in a few days. The only part of the code that is yet to be re-implemented is about 10-15 percent of the whole demo code (5 classes to be exact) which I will finish 3 of them in a few days, and the other 2 will remain for a few weeks later.
From now on I probably will post more frequently here until our blog gets more attention, so hopefully my posts won't be this large in future. I hope our artists also post here every now and then about their progress so you can be more in the loop and be able to follow our progress.
Let us know what you think and also tell us if you think there is some parts of the demo which need more changes or even a different course.
Here is my second post and it's an update about what me and Rob have done so far on this map. As I said in the title it's still pretty far from a finished scene but we are happy with the results so far.
Pretty much everything in the map is done with BSP and the BSP is almost finished for this map. There is still some additions to be made with lighting, static meshes from the modellers, etc.
The work that I done is almost whole the BSP, whilst Rob has been in and out fixing problems with set up the materials, build of the lighting and stuff like that. As I said up, we're almost finished with the BSP just yet. We can only see there being minor changes with it. The only thing that we're waiting for is static meshes and models from the Art team. We're expecting to hire two more experienced modellers shortly and they will help us and the process of building the game will become much faster.
Doing BSP for me is my favourite part of job so I didn't had any problems at that point, we'll see in the future job of this map will there will be any major problems, I hope not.
We discussed what we wanted to do with this map, Rob mentioned to me very important and helpful tips because practically this is my first piece of work for the team, so with future work you can expect even better results.
Hope you like the results of what you have seen so far, enjoy and have a nice day!
Hello to everyone, not just guys (hope that there are few girls to)!
In my first two blogs I showed you the stuff that Rob and me have done on the storage room level from the first demo. For this blog I again have the storage room to talk about but with much more improvements and new details that we implemented. I must stress it's far from a finished level but it's getting there just fine. Art team has a huge task in building new assets for the level and when all is finished we'll have a great first level for sure.
So you're probably asking yourself what's new and what has been implemented on the level, pretty much all of it, except the basic shape is new. Firstly we added much more detail to walls by adding static meshes that were created by the art team. It looks nicer than just BSP with the material, it looks more detailed now. You'll probably notice that we have added the nice structure to the catwalk. It now looks more realistic and interesting. It's still not finished but as I said it looks better. Also about the catwalk, Rob played with the materials of the catwalk itself and it looks pretty good now, better then before at least, haha. We added a lot more BSP and in the meantime we had more ideas about the level. We added "lower storage room" (you'll notice it by small round windows) and you can now get to it by going from "upper storage room" through the hallway. In future Rob will animate the cranes and boxes that are going through that lower storage room. It will be interesting and for sure add some nice detail to the whole level. We also added the bridge, it's just the static mesh for now, but later it will get animated. For a more realistic view we started to put more structure around the level, you'll notice much more of it (catwalk, upper storage room and etc.). We're also slowly going to input more static meshes than we have now, a lot more of them we'll be implemented when the Art team has finished with it. Beside the BSP that we are done on this level, we have also completed the lighting. We put more lights in the level, you'll this in the pictures.
In the near future we will probably hire a new level designer and that will allow us to complete more levels in a quicker time frame and finish the project quicker.
Cheers guys, I hope that you enjoyed this second blog and all the work that the team have done so far. Pictures below.
Afternoon all, (damnation you will read this in the afternoon)
I'm Jack, and I'm the sound designer and composer with 3rd Element Studios, and this is my first diary blog entry.
So far I've mainly been concentrating on the musical side of things, composing the game's main themes whilst I wait for an opportune moment to jump into the rest of the fray.
Currently I am working on cinematic music for a promotional trailer due out towards the start of next month, and it is jolly good fun; especially as I am getting back to good ol' film music way of writing. Ah the ease of linear motion... none of this silly 'player interaction' or 'unpremeditated sequences of events' to worry about.
The clip is only c. 30 seconds long, which seems an easy enough task... however fitting just enough emotion, intrigue and excitement to get an uncommitted viewer to take notice is no small feat. Luckily I am surrounded (via ethereal planes) by a team of rather talented artists, writers, programmers and unsurprisingly, since they do seem to account for a large proportion of the earth's population, Manchester United fans, whose artwork, lyrical prose, remarkable input and dedication to the red devils leave me with no lack of inspiration.
I mainly write in a classical style, drawing influence from classical and film composers, however I have a further penchant for writing weird electronic music, and experimenting with unusual sounds as musical tools, so it usually creeps into whatever I am writing, eventually (and hopefully) creating an interesting original style. I'll leave you to judge.
For musical tasters feel free to check out my website at jwmelham.com, until I get some sneak preview music uploaded on the website for your listening pleasure.
I'll be back with some more unstructured ramblings about music and sound soon, as hopefully next time you'll actually be able to hear something too!
Hey everybody. In the last couple of weeks I was working on a basic menu and HUD for the game. There is not much art assets involved as I used only placeholders, so I’m not gonna show you some shots ATM.
At first I designed 2 different UI for them, but then for some reasons I decided to integrate them into one. So right now the result is an SWF file including both menu and sub menu pages plus the HUD including support for subtitle and a basic support for question system. At this point the goal is to finish the functionality of the UI, and I don’t care about the visuals.
The next step for the UI is to finish UI part of the question system, and then add the multilingual support to both subtitle and question parts of the UI.
The only major gameplay feature that I’ve done since the last post is the Question system. The game we’re working on involves a few dozen decisions for the player which he can never come back and change, and he has to face the consequences for them, good or bad. Most of those decisions will be made through answering a question with some predefined answers. With this system we are able to manage all those questions in one place using archetypes. Following is the major features of this system so far:
The main goal, much like the Dialogue system, was to ease the managing and handling all the questions in both content browser and kismet, gladly we’ve reached this goal.
This system has a queue for simultaneous questions just in case, so like the Dialogue system if anything goes wrong, system can handle these kind of situations.
Each question can have 2, 3 or 4 answers. This numbers are hard-coded and I didn’t add the ability to change it via archetypes. The reason for this was the UI part of the system and its limitations, and also we only need 2 or 3 answers for each question ATM. However if the time comes and we need more I can change the numbers in code and modify the UI part accordingly.
Like I said, there is no way for the player to go back and change his/her decision, and they’re completely permanent. Because of this we want to be sure that the player is able to understand his/her options before he/she chooses one. For this I came up with the idea of a simple (but not necessarily short) tooltip or comment for each answer. Right now each answer can have a tooltip, the only thing the player has to do is to hover the mouse on an answer to read it’s description.
I also added a couple of kismet actions and events to have a good control of the system in kismet. The most important one, is an event which will be called whenever player chooses an answer, so kismet would be able to act accordingly, as most of our decisions involves modifying some actors in the level itself.
Also there is some properties to customize the visuals of this system via archetypes as well as a few debug and log options.
The next step for this system is to add multilingual support for questions as well as answers and tooltips, and also adding a feature to play a voice for the question. Hopefully I’ll post the details when most of these are done.