Last week I’ve finally gotten to finalise the second level in our game! I’m pretty happy with how it turned out to look. Although some jumping parts are a little bit too difficult and I still have to change those. Here are some pictures of it!
This week I did a lot on our game in the likes of designing the UI and menu.
This is the Ui design I’ve made and implemented in the game. For this I had to design buttons, sliders, dropdown boxes etc. as well as the main composition of the buttons.
In this picture are 3 things that I’ve added over the last week. The target point on the ground to make it easier to relate your character to the floor, the UI to know how many jumps, dashes and slow-mo you have left in the tank and the aiming reticle in the middle.
After that I’ve added an easier and cheaper way to add ivy so we dont have to add a few million ivy planes but just a couple.
Last week I’ve spend most of my week thinking, designing and decorating a new level for our game!
The main idea behind it is that you leave the area that your civilisation build and enter the caves to get to the surface. In the caves they have build some structures to help you get to where you want. This way you have to follow the build structures to navigate your way trough the cave.
Its certainly not finished yet and I have to do a whole lot more in it like adding foliage, adding more variety in the rocks, setting the mood etc. but it’s getting there! Most of the rooms and jumping parts are already set and ready to be played. Next week I’m going to finish it so it will be able to be played!
Definitely worth to download our builds and to check later on the release of this new level!
After weeks of technical problems due to the 4.14 update, I finally wanted to finish the animations of the player avatar. I wanted to make all traversal feel good, since movement is the most important aspec of our game. I had to retarget animations from mixamo to the avatar skeleton, which was a difficult process. This is because standard 3DS max skeletons use collarbone joints and mixamo skeletons use shoulder joints. After a lot of iteration I finally got it right, I guess i created some funny bugs in the process.
Some Examples of animation-retargeting bugs.
Now that I could transfer mixamo animations, I needed to recreate or rework a lot them. Some animations didn’t loop or had root motion baked in, some i basically recreated from scratch. Then I started blending the animations together in the animation Blueprint. I wanted the transitions to feel very smooth, so that it would be a joy to control the player character.
Examples of animation blending.
Then I added some particle effects to some animations to make them feel better, like to the dash an the wallrun.
Examples of animations with particle effects.
We also weren’t happy with the level Tigo created for the playtest-class, because we thought it would be too difficult for new players. So I quickly created a new level for the playtest, with a built in tutorial. It is very straightforward, so that the new player isn’t confused about where he/she should go.
It was my job to implement the Avatar mesh with correct animations in the game. I started out with finishing the low-poly mesh. That meant finalizing the design on some aspects of the character. The hardest design elements to create were the legs and the feet. After some experimenting I was pleased with the result.
Low-poly mesh of the legs and feet of the character
After this I rigged the main character, this was a pretty straightforward process.
Stress test of the character rig
Then I started implementing the cloth physics on the main character. Since I already knew the workflow of APEX cloth, this went relatively smoothly.
Apex cloth setup in 3DS Max
However, when I started implementing all my work into the Unreal Engine, everything fell apart. Apparently Apex cloth doesn’t work with the 4.14 release of Unreal. I realized this after about a day of troubleshooting.
Cloth errors in Unreal 4.14
When I tried to implement the cloth physics in a 4.13 Unreal project, everything worked fine.
Correct Cloth implementation in Unreal 4.13
Also everything else related to animations and skeletal meshes is broken in some way in 4.14. We wanted to use animation retargeting to use some animations we found online, but this feature also doesnt work with the newest Unreal version.
Early test of animation retargeting in 4.13, it still has a lot of issues, but at least it works.
This week I’ve spend most of my time working on taking the idea of the artlevel Olmo created and making the portalhub out of it. The main idea is that you have 4 sides with 4 differnt portals to go to the different levels. With a small jumping puzzle you get to the desired portal.
After that I started with making the hi poly meshes of the environmental rocks. Those will be used to fill up the non human made environment.
Now that we finally established a definitive artstyle for our game, Tigo could continue to work on the environments while I designed the main character. Since the player is always looking at the avatar model, we wanted to make sure that the mesh looked and animated nicely. The main idea of the character was to design a simple, female, sci-fi character with a cloak. From early on we decided to give her a slender build to represent her speed and agility.We also wanted to accentuate legs of the character with clothing, this reflects the fact that running and jumping are the main types of interaction with the environment.
Early design sketches, illustrating the slender build with accentuated legs.
After making a fair ammount of thumbnails, I decided to block out the big volumes of the character in 3D. I used Zbrush for this. After I was happy with the main shape, I detailed the parts made of cloth, to later bake down to normal maps.
WIP sculpt of the main character
The final shapes blocked out in Zbrush.
Then I took the mesh into 3DS Max to create the low-poly mesh and design the hard surface elements of the Avatar, like the helm and the legs. I wanted to create a clean topology for the character, but I allowed myself to use a fair ammount of polys to get the shape definition that I wanted.
CloseUp of the topology flow of the low-poly mesh.
The final low-poly mesh, optimisation still needs to be done. Some elements need to be added.
After I made the low-poly basemesh, I imported it into unreal to see the result. Some optimisation still needs to happen and some detailed elements still need to be added.
The final basemesh rendered in Unreal, with testmaterials applied.