Week 4: prototyping and 3D art shenanigans

Final week of the first sprint! Things got somewhere already, with everyone having lots of work outside of this project. Still got things done though, and we got something to show for it!

-------------  Development  ----------------

For the development side of things I'll give the floor to Robin and Florian:


While all the others were doing their stuff I was working mostly on allowing the players, minions and overlord interact with each other.

This mainly means that when a player dies, the minion it was controlling should be removed from play and the player should take control away from the player playing the overlord.

This took some figuring out as it required a lot of operations on arrays which are relatively new to me in unreal. When the game loads, there are unpossessed pawns present in the scene. These are retrieved and linked to the controllers of the respective players.
The player who should be controlling the almighty overlord's character will be set aside for future use while the overlord is in the visible scene.

Once this was up and running I started working on having the players actually interact with traps. Traps are equiped with a cooldown timer and a hitbox for the player minions to run into and enter a death-state.

Finally, somewhat too close to the deadline, I teamed up with Florian to merge the files we've been creating so far and have a functioning prototype. Finally feels like we're making progress and it seems the artists are having some hope again with me as one of their programmers.

The merging went relatively smoothly with the major issue being a reset of the camera which was fixed after an hour and a half looking for solutions when it turned out a single checkbox in the playercontroller resolved all of it.


Trap activation:

 For a trap to activate two conditions need to be met. First the overlord has to be near the trap and secondly the overlord has to actually command the trap to activate.

I gave the Overlord a bool that spelled if it was active or not and made it public so other classes could acces it.
Next i gave the trap a rather big circular collider component compared to its size, representing the proximity area the overlord has to be in in order to trigger the trap. Whenever the overlord is present within this sphere and is activating traps the trap will activate.

Coupled to this I also did some research on changing material values dynamicly at runtime. I used this to collor my proxy trap whenever
it was activated. But this can also be used as a method to communicate the reassigning of players from minions to overlord later in production
by changing the colours of the minion models and the overlord one.

Overlord Movement:

 The overlord is suppose to be able to move freely along the Z and X axis and it should ignore environmental hasards.
I got this done by using a predetermined velocity, controller thumbstick axis [0, 1] and ofcourse the elapsed time to determine a new transfromation vector for the actor every frame. I was however confused when I found that my imput didn't seem to have any impact on the actor, nothing was moving in other words. Luckily after a quick code review with Robin we found that the problem was simply me forgetting to assign the controller imput to the actor.
The actor also doesnt have a collision mesh so it can freely move through the environment.

-------------  Art   ----------------

Made an art showcase level inside unreal to present our art style and what we currently have so far.

UI Mockup

Paulien made a UI mockup in Photoshop to give a bit of an idea as to how our User Interface will look. One is of the Start Screen, the other is the Character Pick, and the other is when the game is being played. We want to have a font that looks kind of Mayan, so this is not the final font we will choose. This took about 4 hours for all 3 images.

Environment prop

Paulien made a great Mayan-inspired lionhead statue as an art test to both settle the style we're going for and to see how quick and doable the workflow is.  Seeing how we're going for relatively simple/blocky shapes , she was able to fully model and texture this prop in a little over 3 hours! Pretty doable if you ask me.

Fire Particle

This particle (also made by Paulien) has been hand painted frame by frame to match the stylized look of the game.  This also took her a little over 3 hours.  

Might not be a viable workflow for every particle in the game, but works very well for things like stylized fire/smoke... And might be worth the extra time.


As for me, I converted our Mayan boy from last week into 3 Dimensions!

Modeling took about 7 hours ( with some struggles) and 4 hours to rig and skin (ditto). 

The hardest part was figuring out how to replicate how our boy's sharp cheek angle that's only visible from his profile. After some research into cel shading techniques, I found it is common practice to manually edit vertex normals where cel shading doesn't give the desired effect. So that's what I did, and I think it worked out pretty well.

Rigging was fairly straightforward using a CATrig in 3ds max, even more so since our character doesn't have the privilege of having hands. Still got into a little bit of trouble converting this CATrig into something unreal would accept.

Then just plop that shit into mixamo, and voila!

Get [Group 8] Sacrifumble

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