Monthly Archives: December 2014

Leftovers

Well, that’s done. The scene was inspired by the Cypress Swamp in Florida, and was created in Maya, Photoshop, and GIMP.

 

Cinders (Conduit)

Post-mortem for project “Conduit” by Technical Artist – Yung-Cheng Yang prepared on 12/12/2014 CE:

The fourth and final operation of this semester was started 11/19/2014, and was officially concluded on 12/11/2014.  Its contributors were: Engineer “Brohan” Rohan Bhukan, Engineer Nidal Ilyas, Engineer Amit Prakash, Engineer Ankur Rathore, Engineer “Bromey” Omey Salvi, Producer Laurie Banks, Producer Cameron Grey, Artist “Kat” Katherine Marsh, Artist “Zumzum” Ozum Yuksel, and Technical Artist “Jack” Yung-Cheng Yang.

The majority of the operation took place in the Greater Salt Lake area, on the University of Utah campus.  Equipments were provided by the department of Entertainments Arts and Engineering, including but not limited to electronic equipments, office supplies, edible consumables, etc.

This particular project was conceived by the Design Box process as introduced by “Bob” Robert Kessler on 11/21/2014. Created on the Unreal 4.5.3, and later 4.6.0 engine, it was a first-person, platforming puzzle game made to be an educational tool to teach the concept of electromagnetism.  The early decision to lock in the design has been a time-saver – the team can focus entirely on mechanisms with little concern for going off the rails.  We will start the analysis for the last month as usual, the negatives first:

Even with a definitive overall fix on the mechanics, our team suffered from the issue of directions – we split the engineering department into three to test out separate versions of the same mechanics for particle movements in the electromagnet field.  The split may be beneficial if we have more time, which was definitely not the case here.  We converged the mechanics in the last two weeks, leading to yet another issue with SVN merging – only a few members on the team have working builds! Luckily, the issue was resolved rather quickly in the last week by heavily regulating commitment of the builds.  The other issue here was the relative lack of unified art style due to poor coordination in the arts department, the majority of which was caused by me for pumping out art assets too early in the development, thus exhausting one source of art before the others got started.

With that said, overall, the operation was a success despite of all of those setbacks.  Most of the engine issues, including an untimely update from version 4.5.3 to 4.6.0 were quickly patched out.  Extensive play-testing created very playable levels, especially the outdoors “tutorial” even for newcomers to the first-person puzzle platformers as proven today in the EAE open house.  The two levels showcased were created within the last week, incorporating the latest art assets and lighting systems.  Though crunching was not the ideal form of game development cycle, it nevertheless got results.

What could be done better? First of all, communication can be improved, people need to speak up more on the provided social networking system, in this case Slack, this was doubly important due to how large the team size was, and any hiccups in productivity has a greater effect due to increased workloads and specialisations.  Second, commitment, we as a team seemed to suffer from over-extension, an issue ironically common to unofficial modding teams in that personal obligations overtook the project.  I myself am not immune to this effect, and should in the future take on fewer tasks concurrently to focus more to mitigate such an effect.

The future is unclear – as our team scatters out into the four winds like the ashes left behind by the fire overnight, we can only go forward and hope for the best, come what may.

Conflagration (Conduit)

Dry run today!

How_to_Play_Conduit

Got some interface stuff done in the mean time:

Dial_V2_WIP_2

And no, we are not using that whole thing – that is way too complex for our purpose.

All textures implemented in game must be in the power of 2, meaning that we will have leftover spacing for many UI elements.  All targa files must also be in 32 bit, with an accurate alpha map to display correctly.

Open Flames (Conduit)

Two more days until the dry run, but the only things we have for show are the game mechanisms, no artworks.

Unreal 4 takes model files in the .fbx format, and textures in .tga, .png, or .psd in which it converts to a .mat format.  Formatting will not be an problem then as Autodesk Maya can handle exporting the models in that format, with no need for packaging the files as long as they are in the same folders during the import as construction.  The only trouble is the need to resize models as they are imported as Unreal uses a very different scale than Maya – everything is tiny!

Must move faster.