The majority of the group work that I participated in this week was testing the feasibility of the idea that I proposed as part of the team’s divergence process, “Watch Your Back”.
The majority of the work was done in Unreal Engine, where I started by spending a couple of hours playing around with camera viewpoints attached to characters.
Following a basic tutorial I imported a simple map, and then placed a player character in the game with the bare minimum mechanics enabling him to run around the map and control the camera with a mouse pointer. The camera object at this stage was fixed behind the default player character model for a moderate shot in a 3rd person view.
However, a 3rd person view was not the intended viewpoint of the game; you are not supposed to know that someone is viewing your back until it is too late (although it is worth saying that a 3rd person viewpoint wouldn’t provide too much of an advantage). The intended viewpoint, in any case was meant to be 1st person; and the way to implement this in Unreal Engine is so basic that it actually took me a while to figure out; but can be aptly described in the image below:
As you can see, it consists of fixing a camera to the player’s head (with a bit of tweaking). The next stage was to figure out how to implement the gameplay mechanic that being blindsided by any opposing players would mean the player character’s death.
The most straightforward way to do this programmatically would need to involve the use of vector comparisons between angles, unless Unreal Engine offers a better way to do this that I have not yet discovered. Wishing to avoid C++ code for now, I tried to use the graphical event editor to set this up:
This method provides an angle which I could easily pass as a variable to the game engine to run a viewpoint angle comparison method or similar.
Unfortunately, as part of the subsequent team meeting and the team’s goal this week to cull down two ideas, it looks like this game concept will be scrapped (or at least, not completed for our project this year). The reasons that the team determined this is due to the following reasons:
- Although the concept is simple and potentially thrilling and flow-enabling for a player, to make a simple idea into such an experience for the player would require a lot of polishing and perhaps a more cinematic feel, both of which would require extensive time and resources to implement.
- There is not a lot of room or creative vision for the animator to easily create such an experience, as at this stage the concept hasn’t been developed much past the core mechanic.
If we were to pursue this idea I believe that both of these difficulties could be overcome, however out of our concepts it was generally agreed that this one was the least feasible. The remaining 3 ideas were Shifter Shuffle, which is a modified concept from our original I Am Zer0 concept except you are a spirit that escaped from Hell in the form of a shape-shifting demon trying to hide in the masses from a demon slayer; this is quite far developed from our original concept of a virus infected patient. We also changed the Little Death (escaping from Hell) concept from a circular staircase ascension mechanic to a simpler combat-based boss rush in order to escape from Hell. Finally, the Codename Chameleon concept was kept as a candidate before culling the 2nd idea.
The votes for the respective ideas when determining the 2nd cull in the team meeting were as follows (with each team member casting two votes):
Despite the development on Jack and I towards the ideas of Codename Chameleon and Watch Your Back, the team settled on the other two ideas now that they had been developed further. From next week I will be changing tack and looking into how to implement the mechanics of the remaining two ideas.