Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Holidays and project

It's really not an excuse..more of a reason?

Haven't done much with learning Unreal in the last week or so. I will certainly get to some of it tonight, after I finish this short little post.

I have read enough to see that for any final project, I will be using a lot of static meshes. Evidently, the more complicated brushes which you can use in the editor are really only there to prototype levels. Seems like one must make a big box and then populate it with things that are fast to render.

I'll see how far I can get without actually making any static meshes. But right now, still more learning. And with that, I'm going to grab a glass of water, kill the distraction that is the Internet, and crack open the book.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Chapter 3

Just finished through the tutorial chapter of Mastering Unreal Technology, Volume 1. Only had one hiccup when I adding a door animation. The book failed to tell me to select the door before creating the movement group in Matinee (pg 98). It wanted to move the trigger (cause that was what I had selected when the group was created) which didn't make sense. However, YouTube came to my rescue with some video tutorials on the UDK. The crucial piece of info was in there.

Some notes about my time today. UnrealEd seems a lot more stable this version than for v2. Have not seen a crash at all. I can pop in and out of the level to play test. I do wish I had a second monitor. The generic browser, where you find any kind of object to be placed in a level, needs to be open almost all the time and it sits on top of everything. My single monitor makes me shift the browser back and forth. That's not a big problem now while I'm learning but it will almost be required for those who are good.

So I have a high level understanding of what's going on. There are tons of properties that can be changed in almost every object type. You are probably only limited to your imagination.

I'll be getting into chapter 4, all I wanted to know about brushes. More theory than exercises. Can't wait.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

So our adventure begins

This has been a long time coming. Many moons ago, I made a promise to my son. He was but a wee child of 5 or 6 and I was going for my CS degree. I was also involved in game development club which I had started. We had a modest goal of creating a game using Unreal 2003. The story involved ducks and hunters and their eternal struggle. It was loosely based around a game I was designing. A game I had promised I would make for my son.

Needless to say, the game was too much for us and it never got beyond some concept art and a partial level. The art was awesome, I must say. However, awesomeness at the concept stage doesn't a game make. So the project was set to indefinite hold. Though I continued to tell my son that I would finish the game.

Lets mosey up to the present time. The game still has not been made. My son still asks about it, but now is old enough to hold it over my head like a large sword. Imagine large puppy dog eyes, welling up with tears as well. "Where's the duck game you promised me as a wee lad?" he whimpers off. Ok, a little dramatic license was used in the re-telling of the situation. But it's more or less the truth!

Several weeks back, I noticed that Epic had released a free version of the latest Unreal SDK and my brain neurons began to fire. Then the other day, I was walking through my local bookstore and ran across Mastering Unreal Technology. More neurons became active and I finally pushed myself to do it. I bought volume 1 (which comes with Unreal 3 as a download) and it came in the mail yesterday.

Now, I have a very notorious history of buying books only to have them sit on my desk, unused, barely cracked open. I'm making it a point to not have that happen here. I've beat around the bush way too long and it is now time come through on this promise. And so it begins.

My initial goal with this blog is to have a weekly post of my doings, thoughts on the book I'm reading, design issues I'm finding in the game, whatever that is pertinent to the subject at hand. I want to record as best I can. I think it will be mostly for my own benefit though it is possible others on the Interwebs might find it helpful as well. The first post with content may or not happen next Friday as it's Thanksgiving but I'll sure as hell give it a go, even if it's just a short paragraph of miscellaneous stuff. But I will aim for Fridays as publish day.

My end goal is to have a single completed game with my duck game vision, mostly in tack. This includes everything you might find in a basic game. Borderlands and Dragon Age it will not be. But it will be seen as a game to the casual observer. That is what I have in mind. That is what my goal is. And my promise will not be kept until this is done.