UE4 Game Development Week 1
Final extended version:
Prelude aka what goes wrong: So yeah... One week ago I got this idea to expand my demo reel with audio implementation in UE4. That was the basic plan. Get awesome free assets from Paragon and make a sound. I was so naive to believe that all that I have to do is to simply drag and drop map + characters. Nope. Not that easy. Some could say: "hey I'm only sound designer I'm not gonna spend an unknown but surely long amount of time to simply build a playable level". I'm so glad that it's not my way of thinking. I like to suffer. I learn how to make a playable game in UE4!! Yass!!! It was one week ago. 7 very long days learning how to make AI, how to transplant Paragon character to ThirdPersonPlayerCharacter and so on. 99% of the stuff that 2 years ago I would say that it's the last thing on earth I'll probably come across in my entire life. Process: I'm not going deep here. I'm still confused about what I did (it has to be processed later same as a rebuild of lighting in the engine). Loading Soul City level map was easy but early I found that accessible location is incredibly small, so small that demo reel would be 20 seconds long. Unacceptable. A lot of BlockingVolumes were removed, relocated, transformed and built from scratch. Then I had to add a playable character. The basic mission was about a retargeting skeleton from Muriel character (also from Paragon) into basic ThirdPersonCharacter. Then there was a long process of programming animations logic with State Machine (AnimGraph) and in Blueprints. What luck I have to choose so specific character that except walking everything is different than in typical TPP. Basic locomotion was quite easy even like for 'my first time'. Walk, Run (flying alike), flying and jumping. Then shooting projectiles. Muriel does not carry a gun but instead, it's shooting from bare hand. It was not an issue then. I'll back to it later. So I had a map a playable character, so far so good. Exploring mode on! I could end up developing and began audio implementation. So ambient noises like rain were added. Quickly I found that UE4 is better in audio than I thought. Even that I planned to make realistic soundscape reproduction I didn't know that I can do so much with physics like attenuation occlusion of other physical objects. Wow! This is great. Thought it could be implemented in a much better way. Filtering should be based on distance (point A to B in AudioVolume). Instead, it's time-based which can easily lead to filtering effects like in Daft Punk music. It doesn't sound realistic. It doesn't sound good. Anyway, I found a way around to make it less drastic. So now ambient sounds follow basic acoustics like in real-world with attenuation of exterior sound in interior locations. Cool! But not enough. I needed an enemy and guess what? To make an enemy alive you have to create AI for him. Yes! Artificial Intelligence. I still feel like a god after creating my first (basic as it can only be) AI. Enemy (GRIM from Paragon) got animations of walk/run and shoot and AI so it can search for a player and shoot him to death. Also, the player can do the same to the enemy. It was a long and difficult process learning from a bit older tutorials to find out about new AI features in UE4 so I could do it once again this time with a much better result. The enemy will not only search for a player but when the player will move away far enough, the enemy will stop looking and will move to a location where the player has been seen for the last time. What a smartass this enemy is! AI Blackboard and Behavior tree are really cool to work with. I can imagine now how complex logic AI must have to be to have like 100 interactions which are still like 0,00000000000001% of what human is capable of (well... some of them). I can tell that I debugged an enormous amount of problems here and there's like ten times more to fix but thankfully I'm not making a full game so I don't need to mind of features that are not going to be in the game. Or they will? I can't trust my mind at this point anymore. Projectiles were another new to me. Shooting, targeting, lifespan... so much to learn. At this point, the enemy's projectile is shooting with hit results and even with sound for this event. It's still straight-shooting, no angles no nothing fancy like that. Same for the player. Thank you, Muriel, for being so different! Aiming Down Sight was made for this purpose but I can't force my playable character to aim in different angles because of specific animation. I know at this point how to do it for a player with a gun. With Muriel, it's like her shooting animation fires when I'm trying to aim. This plus I believe that I need to go much deeper into animation to create AimOffsets for every angle. Maybe one day. Right now it's not that bad but it could be better (as always). Footsteps on different surfaces. That goes quite easy but with problems of course. Somehow it works now also for enemy and enemy got footstep sounds with are deep, powerful and I believe they represent massive machine well. Recording sound effects for Muriel footsteps in the studio didn't go well and my first idea is temporary now till I make new audio assets that will match her better. It's one of these moments when trying to make realistic sounds is not the best idea for a video game (or movie). But recording sessions in the studio is not wasted. Obviously, it's awaiting the right moment to be used in a different project. Also, some experiments ended up as sound effects for big and giant gears in the actual game. For audio now event was made to fire audio when a player gets to the specific point and some electronic devices got their sounds. There's still much more to implement but I will do this closer to the end of working on this project. Here I'm also looking for realistic acoustics. In the underground location (basement) I made 'behind the wall' music like it's coming from the club. What track is used I will tell when the project will be done as I still have to tell about it to the composer who made it. Here I came with the idea that I haven't heard before. Small something that makes 'behind the wall' sound ore realistic but it's not commonly used (laziness guys? Hmm?). It's the sound of a shaking wall! How obvious! Yes, walls and all physical objects love to vibrate when huge bass is projected at them! So I did it here. It's still an early level of development but idea and execution are patented. Just waiting for the right moment to be redone. So on the seventh day after spending the whole day on the beach the next step that I took was to expand the map. It looks like the whole map is ready, buildings are located, etc. All that must be done is to develop playable areas. It's a rather mad idea to create it for the whole map but it will be extended beyond basic playable area so I can do a few minutes of a video montage for my demo reel. This is how it looks after 7 days of tweaking: Youtube link. Not everything is showcased it's just quickly run through playable part of the map.
Continue reading (Final version):