Induction week

Unreal engine basics

Week one

Critical review

Ark Survival evolved is an action adventure survival game by the studio Wildcard,

Based in lost human worlds that are terror-formed by the Ark obelisks.

This awesome survival style game is based in dinosaur filled worlds with rich and beautiful landscapes, everything about this game screams adventure whether that’s capturing and taming a T-Rex for a pet, riding gargantuan birds through the skies, or plunging into the depths of the sea on the back of a Megalodon to fight giant squids and other sea creatures. This epic escapade and beautiful rendered scenics is a must for all survival style game lovers. from the the dark swamps in the genesis update or the smashed ruins of Ragnarok, this game really is visually stunning.

With the Ark being such an epic size of detail the game play however can sometimes suffer with lots of bugs particularly when it comes to new maps or updates where certain items like the artifacts you are supposed to collect to spawn the boss fights that have an issue with sometimes just not spawning at all, leaving you to use codes to gain them. although the game seems to work quite flawlessly on single player and the trouble only really starts when venturing onto online multiplayer or creating your own server were you can hit such problems as mass amounts of lag or randomly kicked from the game and this can become furiously frustrating.

With there being so much about this game in a way of coding its understandably going to run into bugs especially because the game is constantly updated with things like summer, Easter and even Christmas events. But one of the major problems I find with this game is the multiplayer itself, for example joining an official server and playing with strangers online can be very frustrating as when you log off people can destroy your base, steal your stuff and generally ruin everything you have spent time doing, so everything you log back on you may have to start all over again. Its best to stick to single player or your own safe server. All this aside though the game has so many different maps and objectives to complete in the worlds of Ark that this can be over looked, as the game itself is so much fun. Whether your building a base or hunting dinosaurs for your own tames or cave hunting for those lost artifacts to have epic boss battles, the worlds of ark are extremely vast with dangers hidden everywhere. So if your into building stuff and just trying to survive in a hostage world then Ark pretty much has you covered, if you have grown out of Minecraft and looking for your next more adult survival game then I would give Ark a chance.

Discovery's 

During my first week on the course I did a wide variety of tasks and introductions into Unreal engine 4 and 3DSMAX, one of the first tasks was discovering assets from the unreal engine library on the launcher. I used infinity blade assets to create a scene in a pre made map which i found to be really enjoyable and fun.

My introduction to 3DSMAX was pretty daunting at first as the programs is pretty huge with so much to learn but after a quick start guide on how to set the system up which I save to my collage drive and my google drive so I can always have the best start to my projects, I was ready to start modelling. Being very used to Blenders interface when it comes to modelling I was worried i would struggle but what I found was 3DSmax was simpler and easier to use and I plodded on with the tank tutorial with out any problems and found to to be really intriguing and again a lot of fun, modelling is something I do really enjoy though and can see myself spending lot of time with 3Dsmax at home.

Creating textures and colours in unreal engine.

Today we had a look at creating a metal texture in unreal engine, this is one of the areas i really struggle with as a lot just overwhelms me but having ago i did see some interesting results so I’l try and explain what I did.

 

Using a seamless metal material from Google and importing this into the unreal content browser, then renamed this master material so i would be able to create a few variations of instance materials from this. 

Editing this material in the nodes edit screen I multiplied the texture and then scaled the metallic and roughness using scale parameter node. From this i created 3 different materials just by scaling. After this I added a colour nod called a Vector parameter then by doing the math of times the colour by the texture to create a coloured metal textures.

a few things I learnt from today to be noted are

-instance materials take up no memory as they are working from the original source material.

- materials are square and work the math out in tiles, when scaling you are creating more tiles.

-if something is metallic it is black and white.

- 0,0,0 = R,G,B

-colour always goes above texture when placing lines into nodes.

-textures work in squares because scale is 1 to 0

-use overlay in Photoshop when colouring textures for unreal engine.

-Roughness uses grey scale for values.

SCI FI Corridor.

Today we experimented with a sci-fi corridor, changing the colour, texture and metallic of the materials with parameters and adding a linear interpolate node into the material which this multiplies the black and white of the texture. Spent some time just messing around with the parameters to extremes and back again gaining more understanding of material creation. Also introduced to bit of Modularity were I connecting small assets into different blueprints to create groups (a Prefab) these are then converted into assets to save time and build levels faster. while I was creating my different size chunks of sci fi corridors I added lights into the blue print so the assets were pre lit and saving time over adding them light individually.

Few things for me to keep in mind

Modularity – is level design, splitting up assets to create the environment and save you time.

Prefab – is a group of assets created using blue prints.

Parameters – are scale, roughness, base colour, 

Difficulty's

My first difficulty I came across in the first week was the lighting and fog in Unreal engine some reason I couldn't quite grasp what I was supposed to do especially with the fog because as far as i am aware its not fog but a lighting setting so it is defiantly something I need to research into more to make sure I can light my worlds correctly.

I didn't really run into ay difficulty's when it came to 3DsMax just that it was very daunting at the start, I did however seem to get wireframe mode to stop working but fixed this issues with help from Ben.

Creating textures and colours in unreal engine.

This for myself was like staring at a headache, its definitely where I need to the most help and where I need to put my spare time into getting right. I will be completing the unreal course badge on this at home next week. Its not that I don't understand the math or the nodes I think  am over complicating it a lot in my head and need to find a way of simplifying it, then I maybe able to go at a faster pace when creating materials as it takes my head some time to grasp what I am doing.

Dreams

I have big aspirations in this area of study but I am going to try and keep things more simple and focused on what i really want to achieve by the time I finish studying.

At this time the thoughts of returning to university to study games design really excites me as the art side to game design is where I feel my strong points are, but for now I don’t know how I could pay for the course so I would say this is a dream for me at this time.

What I would really like to get out of my time at collage is a round skill set in the creation of games with a more advance skills ion the art side of it with assets creation and level design. I would really like to take my modelling to a higher level and become more advance in 3Dsmax.

This isn't really a dream but defiantly a big goal of mine which is to be skilled in nodes and the programming behind unreal engine as the whole thing fascinates me so I will be spending a lot of my free time to getting to grips with the process of nodes and the maths of how things work in unreal.

My work in Unreal Engine using infinity blade assets.

This is my tank tutorial that I did in class which was completing the first video.

My work from material creation

Work from my time on the Sci fi corridor.

Should all games have an easy mode? 

well I feel there are a few answer to this one question so I would like to start with no!

Why no? Because being an 80s child growing up with Commodore 64, Nes then Saga. Easy mode? There was no easy mode the only way to beat a game was to take your time and practise, all those hours with Mario and Sonic or even the crazy Dizzy the egg. There was no easy mode just the game its self in its original format same as when arcade games came out there was just one mode, I believe the whole concept of not having an easy mode came from arcade games like space invaders or asteroids where the company's who created them wanted you spending more and more money on them to get good, if there was an easy mode players would only spend a small amount of money playing them which would of in fact probably hindered the evolution of games from arcades to home consoles. I still have games on my retro console that I haven't beat due the fact that they are just that hard, I don’t even think there was a way to make games easier until the game Gradius creator Kazuhisa Hashimoto, Creator Of Famous 'Konami Code' who couldn’t beat his own game so he created a cheat code built into the game and what could have been the first creation of making a game easier, this in turn spawned the creation of cheat codes.

Now with the creation of Nes systems,Sega and PS1 games did start to get different modes including easy and very hard but even with the easy mode retro games could still be massively hard so through the 90s came a massive range of cheat codes, books and cartridges you could plug into the consoles themselves to bust open your games giving you infinity ammo, lives or just making the game crazy. Sometimes these could be fun other times I feel they really destroy a game making them super easy and completed very fast and becoming fed up with that game. These cheating easy modes only seemed to last throughout the 90s early 2000’s as with the creation of xbox, ps3 and online gaming came achievements! and harsh bans for cheating so players would now try to beat the games in the best way to earn game score and bragging rights, but it became apparent that not all gamers are skilled to a professional level, so every game started coming along with different modes not always called easy or hard but most of the time that’s basically what they was, but with the introduction of achievement's and unlockables items players were encouraged to play all the modes to full complete the game making all modes enticing for all players.

So this is where my answer changes for a hard no to a definite yes, over the years the gaming community has become such an massive thing that players from all over the globe at all ages play games now whether that’s on a console, pc or mobile. Gaming is such a massive part of today modern society that the designers and creators create games for everyone to enjoy, its about the experience, the joy and the story telling. these are some of the key factors in the immersive worlds of gaming. Being an 80s kid and remembering  the frustration of repeating a level until it was memorises just to beat it seems a very silly concept to me now. Some times a player may want a challenge and spend some hard hours smashing away on insane mode sometime a player just wants to chill and breeze through the fun side of a level. But that's the great things about games today it doesn't matter how you want to game or what you play or what level you play at whether that's a pro and smashing 400 plus wins on fortnight/ COD or just having fun with friends building things in Minecraft with mobs turned off. Games have something for everyone no matter your skill or age, should all games have an easy mode of course they should because everyone should be able to enjoy gaming no matter who you are.