My first experience using Unreal Engine 4 was back in my introduction to 3D modeling course in which we created a two-minute in-game cinematic. This was more than a year ago so, needless to say, I’m a bit rusty in Unreal Engine today. So, to start off the week, I put in some time to take a crash course of Unreal Engine 4 to get back into the process.
Completing our individual level design document (LDD) was a requirement before we started our week one lab and Unreal Engine. I was surprised on how difficult the LDD turned out to be. It is fairly straightforward; answer the sections according to how your level should be developed. However, I found myself with designer block (like writer’s block but for level design). After the initial roadblock, I started to get a clearer picture on how I wanted my level to come out and completed the LDD.
With the LDD to use as a roadmap, I dove into Unreal Engine 4. I used the starter content third-person tutorial as a template for my implementation. Even with the template, I still had quite a bit of work to do in order to get a prototype up and running for my level. I started with the map layout first.
The level is set in a giant garage with four workstations in every corner connect by corridors. The garage is rectangular in shape and the player can decide which direction to explore first. In its current state, the level only has the structure of the garage created. No textures or other entities, aside from the player, inhabit the level. That will come in the later implementations.
With a playable test area constructed, I went to work on the player movement controls. The starter template provided some movement implementations that will fit in with the level; those included, movement forward, backward, left, right, and jump. One main action that was missing for the level was crouch. At this point I was completely lost, as I did not know how to implement crouch and the animations that go with it. Luckily, Unreal Engine provides a vast library of tutorials and starter animations that I was able to implement the crouch mechanic along with its animations.
Overall, this week felt like jumping in the deep end of the pool. Unreal Engine 4 is a new tool that I have not become familiar with yet however the resources are easily accessible to start learning. And that is exactly were I’m heading to now; video tutorials and documentation.