Update! 23-05-2016

It’s been a couple of weeks since the last update, I’m sorry about that, but we all have day jobs too I’m afraid, but never the less have a look at what we’ve been up to.

Engine:

On the engine side of things, for these past weeks we’ve been trying to track down a recurring error. In short sometimes when we open the editor all of the settings in the spawners have reset to the defaults. We’ve trolled through the UE4 answerhub looking for others that have had similar issues and attempted to implement their solutions and/or to use their reproduction steps to isolate the cause of the issue; all to no avail. However, after several days of testing and giving up, we finally located the cause of our issue and had nailed down some reproduction steps. It turns out to be a known issue in the engine, that thankfully doesn’t affect everyone. You can read more about the problems we’ve had here on the UE4 answerhub.

We’ve got a few of our own still lurking around, firstly sometimes when the zombies die they continue to follow the player or their last set location on the nav mesh (yes I know we said that this was fixed, but turns out I jumped the gun). There’s a new bug too, well it’s old but we’ve only just noticed, it’s possible to uber rapid fire the perma pistol by mashing the gamepad trigger or the mouse button. So we’ve now hunting down the causes and solutions to these, but thankfully nothing it game backing (right now).

 

The rest of our time over the last couple of weeks has been spent (on the engine side) optimizing. We’ve got a lot of clean up going on now to remove enemies from rooms past, so we don’t have hundreds of unseen blueprints and behaviour tress eating up all of the processing power. We’ve also cleaned up a lot of the blueprints to remove erroneous nodes and ticks and new functionality to deactivate elements that aren’t in use. We’ve also done a lot of lighting work, but more on that below.

Thanks to all of the optimization work we’ve got a stable 60fps on built versions of the game on mid-range PC hardware

 

Game:

Quite a bit has been done on the game side as well, mostly the lighting. We’ve performed a complete overhaul of the lighting in the game / levels add the optimization and the overall aesthetic of the game. Arguably mostly importantly we’ve seriously limited our overall number of dynamic lights and even objects that can be effected by the dynamic lights and shadows, which gave us a huge boost in performance. We’ve then gone room by room adding in new lights and testing bouncing, shattering and the falloff to achieve the effect described by the concept art (check out the images below).

Additionally, to this we’ve finally implemented the Q-Zone, which was surprisingly easy, a few amendments had to be made to the spawners to make it all compatible, but all in all it went a lot smoother than I had anticipated. When the player enters the Q-Zone all the lights will shut off, the spawners effects (light and smoke) enable and red lights start revolving, and then the waves of enemies begin (check it out in the video below).

We’ve also tweaked the shotgun to make it a little more effective, we’ve added a few more controls to the doors so that they unlocked when a certain number of enemies have been killed from certain spawners, not from all the spawners (as it as was before) and we’ve added in a temporary menu screen for the Swansea Comic Con at the end of this month.

 

More soon. J

Friday Update 15-04-2016

Blog Post 15-04-2016

Friday Update! (15-04-2016)

We’ve booked and paid for our table at the Swansea Gaming and Comic Con! Were we’ll be showing off the latest build of You’re Doomed!

 

Audio:

We’ve got another new music track from Chris, and it sounds pretty sweet, in fact it’s pretty much there. It certainly pushes the pace of the game and truly sets the tone for the game and the level. Chris has been pushing out some excellent work so much so that we’re actually now ready to show it off. Check out the music in the gameplay video later in the blog post; again this is all still test and alpha version stuff so expect some changes and many additions in the future.

 

Weapons

Jon’s had his eyes trained to the guns this week and has smashed out a bunch of concepts for the PermaPistol (Buck’s default weapon) and the MegaShotgun (the first weapon pick up). We’ve got a colour scheme working across our weapons now with each weapon having a different bold colour, currently the Perma has blue and the Shotgun has orange, the idea being that the player should be easily able to identify the weapon at a moment’s glance Check them out below.

Jon’s also modelled the PermaPistol and is actually painting it up as I write this. Check out the model (whilst it was in development) below:

PermaPistol Modelling

PermaPistol Modelling

 

Engine:

There’s not been that many update to the engine as such this week, as most of my time has been spend on making grenades (more on that later), but there’s still be a few updates / changes.

We’ve added the new capsule shadows to Buck now for both the direct and in-direct lighting to get that nice soft shadow look around base of the character (the capsule shadows are a great new feature in UE4.11)

Buck SoftShadows

Buck SoftShadows

 

We’ve again be tweaking the lighting as the levels emissives have been added in, but that’s an on-going thing now that lights change almost every day. But this week we’ve been tweaking the game camera a lot, trying to balance out the auto-exposure to the game’s current lighting as well as toning down the bloom and lens flares effects because they were getting excessive given how many emissives there is in game (both level and enemies).

The bug where enemies continue to follow the player even after their death has now been solved (actually that was solved whilst I was writing this post), the cause was a conflict between the spawning animation informing the enemies that they could move and the death function telling them that they couldn’t. If an enemy was killed too soon after spawning the death function would say “stop” and then the spawning animation would complete and say “Let’s go!” We solved this by putting a check in the can move function that stops it if the character is already dead.

An actual engine bug was found this week as well and was reported to Epic on the UE4 AnswerHub, it was to do with the arrow component of a blueprint affecting the rendering and post-processing in game.

https://answers.unrealengine.com/questions/404366/4111-arrow-component-causing-rendering-issues.html

 

Whole Level Screen Grab 01

Whole Level Screen Grab 01

 

Game:

Grenades have been added this week to the game, they’re still proxy in terms of their geometry but the behavior is solid. Buck can throw them approximately eight to ten meters in front of him, they then bounce a couple of times and explode. The splash damage has a radius of approximately six meters and the damage fall off is control by a set curve.

Check them out in the new gameplay video below.

 

Level Assets:

Rich has also been tirelessly at work on the materials for the level assets, working with a Photoshop – Substance Painter pipeline and what was looking good is now looking incredible. Because Rich is making all of the masks for Substance in Photoshop they are pixel perfect and tile amazingly from asset to asset, even if they have different UV layouts and resolutions.

Check out the screens below and the gameplay video above.

 

 

 

Friday Update!

Friday Update! (08-04-2016)

 

Audio:

Chris has continued to work on the game’s music and has delivered us a few new level music demos and he’s going to carry a few of them forwards and dial them up a bit. Again we not going to show them off this week, but watch this space.

 

Characters and animation:

Jon’s been hard at work creating the materials for the gibbed version of the Zombie and has completed them this week, each gib (head, arms, legs and torso) have their own unique texture, which is obviously covered in blood. The Zombies attack animation and functionality has been implemented this week as well, you should be able to see it in the gameplay video later in the post.

Zombie Gibs Paint

Zombie Gibs Paint

 

Engine:

A lot of the new updates we’ve bought into the engine can be seen in the gameplay segment below but there’s still be a few engine updates.

Cosmetically we’ve a few place holder particle effects in the game now, the spawners have this billowing green smoke pouring out of them, the plan is that this smoke will start when the spawning begins and then cease them the spawner is exhausted, but that part has yet to the implemented (it’s on my things to do list). The double doors now have particle effects too, when they open the drag sparks and smoke across the ground and they spark and smoke when they smash together on close.

The game’s functionality controls and variables have now been integrated with the Unreal Engine 4 framework, which has taken some work, but should have already been in place (to be honest), however having done this gameplay changes, tweaks and additions will be much easier in the future.
A few new bugs have cropped up as well, one the funnier ones is where dead zombies still chase the player.

Spawner Smoke

Spawner Smoke

Level Screen Shot - 2016-04-08

Level Screen Shot

Door Open Sparks

Door Open Sparks

 

Game:

The major update to the gameplay has been the implementation of the points system, this has been a long time coming and it’s finally coming along. Currently the points system gives the player a few points for actually moving through the level, but it gives loads for killing enemies and even more if they gib. There’s also a multiplier that currently iterates by 0.2 for every kill that gets racked up, it does get reset though if the player idles for more than a few seconds or gets hurt.

There’s also a new door locking system which forces the player to kill a certain number of enemies in each room before the doors unlock and they can progress; the number of deaths required to unlock a door is displayed in front of it.

And last we’ve finally implemented the zombie’s attacks. When they are in range and moving slow enough they’ll take a swing (or two) at Buck, if the swing makes contact then Buck gets damaged (this is actually done by looking for player characters within range of the attack, not on collision).

Below is a video of the gameplay from the latest build.

 

Level Assets:

Rich has gone full pelt on the level assets this week. We’ve managed to integrate all of the new level geometry into the game, so all of the proxy and block out geometry is gone. We’ve also been implementing the base materials for the level geometry, we haven’t got them all in the game yet, but Rich has made them all (in substance painter too).

The new door frames, door geometry and animation has also been added to the game as well, all the animation is timed the same as the proxy animation, but it’s a little more refined and higher quality. The integration of the new doors didn’t come without issue though, at first the collision under the failed and the player could fall through and then the nav mesh refused to build across the new door frames, resulting enemies that could leave their rooms; both these issues were solved by placing a new block all collision volume under the doors, however removing this volume didn’t cause the nav mesh issue to reappear… We’ll be leaving it in anyway.

 

 

 

Friday Update!

Friday Update! (2016-04-01)

 

Maybe, just maybe these blog updates will start being a regular thing again (don’t count on it though!) and then we can stop doing massive updates like this:

 

Ai:

The Zombie horde’s AI has be tweaked as well, he will now forget about the player after the player leaves the room and the door closes behind, however if a Zombie gets in to the corridor before this happens he will now keep chasing (they did try to run back to their room, making even more like fodder than they are already!). If they manage to chase you through the corridor and into a new room then this room now becomes their home, so if they lose the player in here then they will stay in this room instead of trying to return to the room then spawned in. Check out the behavior tree below:

Zombie - Behaviour Tree

Zombie – Behaviour Tree

 

Audio:

Chris has been hard at work on the game’s audio and we’ve got several test tracks for the level one music, going for something between Drum and Bass and Speed Metal with a bit Trance sprinkled on top for taste. We’re not quite ready to show this off yet, but we will.

We’ve added a few proxy groans, grunts and gun shots aswell, but these are just placehold while we create (license) out own.

 

Characters and animation:

The Zombie has been the focus of the last few weeks for me (with Jon finishing up the Chucker’s materials) and I’ve been doing my best to power through his animations. He now has 20 unique animations, including seven deaths, these one for each different gib state (he can gib now btw) and one bonus death because it didn’t work for its intended gib state. The Zombie’s animations can be previewed below on SketchFab and YouTube.

 

Engine:

We’ve put quite a few changes in the game build itself recently as well. The Zombies have had possibly the most updates, mainly to their Ai (you can see this in a paragraph above), but we’ve also add gibbing to them will several different gib states, they can lose various limbs (one at a time) or completely gib. We’ve got the new spawners going in as well, so the zombies can climb out of grates on the floor or fall out of doors on the walls (yes fall); the grates had eight different spawn points so the zombies can climb out omni-directionally and the walls spawners have two spawn points as there’s two doors on these. For the walls the spawning will alternate between the two spawners and for the grate spawner the spawn points will be randomly selected. This is still in development and not quite working correctly yet as we’ve had to completely rewrite the spawners. The zombies now also slow down when they approach a target point on the nav mesh instead of running full pelt into it.

Corridor doors (proxies) are now in as well and animating, these let the rooms know whether a player is entering or leaving a room (so the Zombie horde knows how to behave). These also gib any zombies who are unfortunate enough to become trapped in them when they close. As enemies can now chase you into a corridor (mentioned above) you can also die in them, which means that zombies can be left wandering around a corridor, which also throws a wrench into our plan to use the corridors as safe points and checkpoints. To get around this issue when a player dies and respawns in a corridor checkpoint, any enemies in that corridor will be instantly gibbed, problem solved…

The game has also been updated to UE4.11

See below for a video of the new spawning mechanic:

 

Game:

We’ve got a few changes to the game as well. Firstly we’ve got a new start to the level, a little introduction as such where you get to kill a few zombies before we drop you into the horde. We’re performed a first pass at the lighting to make it feel more like the planned level, but this is still in development. We’ve tweaked the damage for the projectiles to stop the pistol from being so overpowered. We’ve also tweaked the damage that the zombies can to the player, we’ve actually given it a range of values so each attack can be slightingly different, this makes you’re remaining health value far more interesting without effecting the gameplay too much. We’ve also tweaked the Zombie’s health a bit to balance with the other damage tweaks.

See the current gameplay video below (this was made before the new spawners were added and broke the game :(, there’s also a quality issue at the start of the video ).

Level One Capture

Level One Tweaks

 

Level Assets:

There’s been quite a few updates to the level. Firstly we’ve done a complete overhaul of the lighting (and will again) to start to create the levels atmosphere. The new proxy corridor doors are in and animating as well, there animation is far from final as we plan for them to have a little more character and to be slighting broken as well, but the proxies are there. The doors also gib enemies who get trapped in them :).

Rich has spent this week building and unwrapping the new /final level geometry; so far we’ve got final walls, floors and corner wall segments, all modular so the levels can be quickly put together. We’re going to turn these into a few randomisable prefabs in Unreal (with some additional geometry such as: pipes, transforms, doors etc…) so we can get some nice variation in the level. Check out the image below:

Wall Concept - Engineering

Wall Concept – Engineering Designed by Rich Morgan

 

Engineering Wall

Engineering Wall

 

 

UI:

There’s a new visual health indicator on the HUD, its Buck’s face in various states of being beaten up. The HUD is still very much in development so expect to see lots of updates here. You can check out the new HUD below or in the Gameplay video a little further on.

Game HUD - Development

Game HUD – Development

Mega Update – Chucker

The Chucker (the engineering levels’ tough guy) has also smashed through our floors in the last month. Jon’s had him sculpted, re-topologised and painted (through Substance Painter). Julian’s  got him skinned and rigged so he’s ready to animate: Check him out on below:

Like the Zombie we’re not quite read to show off any of the Chucker’s animations (because they aren’t any yet), but until then here’s a screen grab from Maya of the rig:

Chucker Rig

Chucker Rig

Mega Update – Zombie

Jon Carroll has also finished texturing the Zombie in substance painter and he’s looking ace. Julian Hainsworth has started animating him as well (the zombie that is) after having got him all skinned and rigged. Check out the Zombie on SketchFab below:

We’re not quite ready to show of the animations on SketchFab just yet, but in the meantime enjoy this screen cap from Maya:

ZombieAnimate

Zombie walk