Monday, April 28, 2014



There is a lot of copyrighted material in my game. I have gotten approval to use a few items but I haven't bothered with the bigger players because they would likely just scoff at me. Thus I have chosen to make the game free and beg forgiveness.

To give everyone the credit they deserve, I have created a level specifically for credits. There are a total of 78 meshes just for credit text. It took a week to hand craft the letters and another week to create the text meshes using those letters.

The credit level will likely take several weeks because I want it to look great. I have an idea in my head on how I want it to flow and realizing that vision has been unusually difficult. This is primarily due to the open space nature of credits. I have found that adding objects around the credits helps solidify the end result.

It the example below, I added a simple wood block. I think effect is stunning and much better than the text and images floating in space.

Yes... every credit gets equal & special treatment. I will probably be adding a few custom meshes just for the credits, such as a cassette tape.

Update... 5/5

This board is evolving as I work on it. I've made a few discoveries as I've played it:
1. I hate jumping all over the place. running is preferred.
2. riding an elevator through the credits is not interactive enough

This has caused me to rebuild sections of it so you can walk the entire length. There will still be a few initial jumps but then it is like walking through an open space museum.

Here is the rework of the above credits area:
Unfortunately the scale is wrong so I need to work on that.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

UDK : The One Sided Door Problem

UDK : The One Sided Door Problem

Here is the problem: 

I want a door that is open when you are outside of a room but closes when you are inside and I want it to auto open if you approach it from the inside or outside (if it happens to be closed from the outside)
Here is the door from the outside (it should be open like this)

This doesn't sound difficult but I had a bugger of a time getting this done properly. My initial solution from a few months ago was a hack and I didn't like it.

And no... a simple trigger touch/untouch does not cut it. Two triggers controlling the door has other issues (that was my intial solution). You need 1 trigger to control the door for a bullet proof solution.


This solution is bullet proof.


the area from the top

The circular area is the room interior.
The large green circle is trigger_25. It encompasses the room both horizontally and vertically.
The smaller green circle is trigger_26. This is the door trigger.
The small red rectangle trigger_26 is sitting is the door.

To do this I needed to keep track of 2 things:
1. Are you in the room
2. Is the door open or closed

If you are in the room, the door auto closes when you "untouch" trigger_26.

If the door is closed, the door auto opens with you "touch" trigger_25.

This is intuitive and models exactly how I wanted it to work.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Oscillating Transparency

I was surprised how quickly I was able to create a material that oscillates transparency.

I'm going to try to allow the player to change the 2 material variables on the fly.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Judicious Lighting

Judicious Lighting

As I've been completing the Trantor level I had to adjust my meshes a bit. This caused lighting on my opening sequence to be reset. When I rebuilt it my map size went from 17MB to 166MB causing the load time at game start to exceed 30 seconds. That wasn't going to fly.

To fix the issue I reset the lighting on the opening level and only lit the select fly-by section:

Not an ideal situation but it doesn't look that bad. You fly forward through this so you only really notice your immediate surroundings:


Sunday, April 20, 2014

Welcome to Trantor

Welcome to Trantor

I thought I was done building stuff but I can't just use the starting sequence for Trantor. I built a new complex cube mesh today and are seeing how far I can push UDK in terms of scale. It's coming along nicely...

Another shot as I'm building it. It is epically large. If I can squeeze this under 300MB with lighting it will be amazing to explore.

It clocks in at 242MB with 256 lightmap size. Perfect! Great to walk around it. Now to hook it into my game so I can use super run/jump in it.

This map is huge. Let me put it in context of the size of the stacks (and the stacks are huge):

I never been in a map that has felt this immense. 
I will be adding flying platforms to help you get around.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Building with cubes in UDK

Building with cubes in UDK

Note: you can also use BSP brushes to do this. That is probably more efficient in resource consumption. Using a mesh like in this example gives the building a slight minecraft look.

First I created a cube in blender and brought it into UDK.

A few notes about the cube:
1. I used the default cube in blender. no size adjustments
2. export size = 48. The cube perfectly aligns with other cubes in UDK with a grid snap of 16.
3. I added collision
4. I took the time to perfectly lightmap the cube using as much of the light map as possible

Within UDK I set the light map resolution to 128 on cube.
I then created a copy of the cube for every seamless texture I had.

This was the result:

Using these cubes and a few other meshes (tree, grass, stacks logo) I built this house in 2 hours:

If you look carefully you will see dark seams at the edges of each block. This is due to the light map surfaces bleeding onto other surfaces. I could fix that but I like the look of that so I left it alone.

Original reference photo:

That was a lot of fun. I will be doing a demo of my game to my daughter's class in a few weeks. I will show them this house of an example of how to build something quickly.