Lecturer in Game Design | PhD Student

Honours Blog

Posts tagged Interaction
19/03/15 Project Update

Quite a large update for this week seeing as we have a demo-day this Friday; some new features and some bug fixes. This week I had finally gotten round to modelling the new couch and chair and implemented a new 'Object Inspection' mechanic for key objects in the game.

Models:

  • Clock (Hands set to "One Past Midnight"- Reference to Andrew Lindsay's Project)
  • Lighthouse Ornament (Last Solus - Reference to Jamie King's Project)
  • High-Backed Chair
  • Couch
  • Side-Table
  • Cushion
  • Medicine Container + Tablet
  • Pill Organiser 
  • Radio
  • Cup
  • Plate/Saucer
  • Log
  • Ash
  • Firepit thing
  • Card x2
  • Picture Frame (Free-Standing) - Visual Update

Textures & Materials:

  • Clock (Face, Body, Glass, Door)
  • Lighthouse Ornament
  • High-Backed Chair & Couch (Sharing the same material for the time being - Placeholder)
  • Side-Table
  • Cushion (Placeholder)
  • Medicine Container
  • Pill Organiser
  • Radio
  • Cup
  • Plate/Saucer
  • Log
  • Ash
  • Firepit thing
  • Card x2
  • Video Tape Box x2
  • Picture Frame Texture (Small) x12
  • Large Picture x1

Lighting:

  • I have removed the ambient point lights that illuminate the room when the main lights are off. They have now been replaced with a togglable sky light to make the lighting model less 'patchy'.

Interaction:

  • This week I made good progress on the new mechanic where the player can "inspect" key objects in the scene (Started last week). There was little/no documentation on how to achieve this mechanic online through kismet so I spent most of this week and last trying to get this to work. When the player presses "E" on a key object they be able to view the model in a full 360*. The player controls the object using the arrow keys and leaves the viewer by pressing the "Enter" key.
  • Pressing the "H" key displays a hint to the player showing which key objects they can inspect. This hint mechanic is implemented by having a secondary model (slightly larger) that is toggled on when the "H" key is pressed: This model has a scrolling white emissive material that should make the interact-able object temporarily more visible.

SFX:

  • Clock Tick
  • Clock Chime
  • Light Switch (On + Off)

Animation:

  • Initial "Waking Up" cut-scene has been updated.
  • Clock Pendulum (Attempted to Sync with Clock Tick Audio, still not 100% synced)
  • Fade transition between main scene and object inspection scene.

Fixes:

  • Fixed some unintentional hard edges, overlapping UV's and lightmaps.

GALLERY OF UPDATES:

OBJECT INSPECTION:

HINT MECHANIC:


SUMMARY:

This week's work has been some of the most rewarding so far. Managing to get my object inspection kismet sequence working was difficult (and its still got bugs!) but having that extra mechanic in there gives my honours project another layer of depth and interaction. The animated clock pendulum and sound of the clock ticking make the room feel more "alive" which is a nice touch in my opinion. I'm pleased with how it's going so far and hope that my project goes down well during the demo-day. Over the next week work on the honours project shall start to slow down drastically due to shifting focus to other course work. I feel that the honours project in its current state is "Submit-able" whereas the rest of my coursework is not. I would like to add more notes, some audio narrative and extra environmental objects at a later date.


NEXT STEPS:

Models:

  • Dog Bed
  • Dog Toys
  • Plates
  • Cups
  • Folded Linen
  • Notes
  • Pocket Watch
  • Key
  • Phone Plug (Currently just plugged into power)

Textures:

  • Dog Bed
  • Dog Toys
  • Plates
  • Cups
  • Folded Linen
  • Notes
  • Pocket Watch
  • Key
  • Phone Plug

Interaction:

  • Fix bug with Object Inspection mechanic.
12/03/15 Project Update

A much smaller blog post this week. I have been trying to implement a new game mechanic, but so far to no avail. I hope to be able to have it working - or a variation of the intended mechanic - for next week. This week's update list is a lot smaller, but a crucial mechanic has been implemented and works!

Textures & Materials:

  • Typewriter Paper Texture (Note)

SFX:

  • Note Pickup/Replace

Interaction:

  • Now when the player interacts (Presses "E") on the typewriter a GFX movie opens displaying the note in full screen for the player to read. The note can be closed by pressing "E" again. This mechanic can be duplicated for more notes or "readable" objects added to the scene at a later date.

Animation:

  • A basic cut-scene camera has been implemented (A feature that had been removed post pre-production submission). The animation path and animation shall most likely be changed again at a later date.

GALLERY OF UPDATES:


SUMMARY:

This week has been focusing on implementing more interaction in the environment. I hope for next week to have the new mechanic implemented, but it may take some iteration and bug-fixing to get it working as intended. Getting the note-reading functionality into the game should hopefully allow for an injection of written narrative into the scene.


NEXT STEPS:

Models:

  • Armchair
  • Sofa

Textures:

  • Armchair
  • Sofa

Animation:

  • Finish the introduction cut-scene.

Interaction:

  • Finish the "Inspect Object" mechanic.
05/03/15 Project Update

This week's work was focused towards the engine side of the project. There were a few issues regarding lighting that I wanted to fix, alongside implementing a new feature. The new additions and edits are listed below:

Models:

  • Glasses
  • Video Box
  • Video Cardboard Sleeve
  • Plastic Wrap for Coffee Table

Textures & Materials:

  • Glasses
  • TV - Stronger Specular Map on Screen & Body
  • Roof - Removed Normal Map
  • Material Instances added to emissive textures for objects related to lighting

Lighting:

  • Brighter lighting when lights are 'on'.
  • More ambient lighting when lights are 'off'.
  • Warmer and more vibrant fireplace light.

Interaction:

  • Added a new mechanic where the character is short-sighted. This means the player has the ability to locate the glasses in the room to clear up their vision. I felt this touch adds an extra layer of depth to the character and setting. The mechanic is completely optional as the player is not forced to locate the glasses.

GALLERY OF UPDATES:

MATERIAL INSTANCING:

In the prior lighting system the player could turn off the lights, but the bulbs and glass remained illuminated (as this was done through the material properties). To sort this issue I researched material instancing which allowed me to alter the emissive properties of the materials during play through kismet. These changes mean that the emissive channel of my materials can be toggled on or off through a matinee sequence similar to the lights (Toggle between a value of 0 and 1).


SUMMARY:

Although not as productive a week for modelling as any prior weeks, I've decided to start implementing more mechanics to support atmosphere and narrative. The room is more natural now with the only major items that are required in the room now being the final Armchair and Sofa models. I wish to start adding in more environmental narrative in the coming weeks.


NEXT STEPS:

Models:

  • Armchair
  • Sofa
  • Magazines/Newspaper
  • Magazine Rack
  • TV Remotes

Textures:

  • Magazines/Newspaper (A few variations hopefully)
  • Magazine Rack
  • TV Remotes

Interaction:

  • GFX Movies for showing written text and investigating objects.
12/02/15 Project Update

This week was less productive than I had intended it to be in terms of the honours project due to illness. I didn't feel up to creating some of the bigger assets so instead produced some smaller ones to make the scene appear more busy/lived in. A list of what changes I have made to my honours project are listed below:

Models:

  • TV
  • Desk Lamp
  • Plugs & Cables
  • Cardboard Boxes
  • Video Tapes

Textures:

  • Paintings + Photographs
    • These new textures are paintings/photographs/tapestry at my grandparents house. The paintings are done by my grandfather.
  • TV Box + Screens (Off and On)
  • Desk Lamp

Interaction:

  • TV can be turned on and off using the "interact" button

Lighting:

  • I have animated the lights in the fireplace to emulate the flickering of the flames. I am still not too happy with how it was animated, but I now know the process and can alter it at a later date.

Gallery of Updates:

Video of TV:


Script:

I have started working on a script for Forget-Me-Knot. I am still trying to decide the manner in which the key story beats will be conveyed, either narrated as a story or as the current thoughts of the character. Once I am happy with the script I will post it on my blog. Currently I feel it requires more work before I will upload it.


Summary:

As previously mentioned, I felt that this week's productivity was heavily hampered by being ill. I hope that for this coming week I will be able to complete this list of models as I feel that these items will make the scene look considerably fuller. I intend to work more on my dissertation (gathering data and making a concrete framework) in the next coming weeks, so progress with the honours project will slow down.


NEXT STEPS:

A lot of the assets on the list from the previous week have returned to be on this week's list. 

Models:

  • Telephone
  • Sideboard
  • Typewriter
  • Book Case
  • Record Sleeves

Textures:

  • Update record player texture
  • Create textures for above assets
05/02/15 Project Update

Starting this week I have decided that I will now be using a weekly blog format posting every Thursday. This new format will allow me to better formulate my blog posts as they were previously sporadic and of a lower quality than I was hoping to publish. Now that most of my process in terms of asset creation has been explained I will be condensing the content in these posts.

The latest update to Forget-Me-Knot was rather large due to the lack of recent blog posts. I will quickly list the assets and changes made to the game in its current state:

Models:

  • Door (Handle, Glass, Body)
  • Door Frame
  • Skirting Board & Roof Trim
  • Record Player

Textures:

  • Normal Map for Walls
  • Normal Map for Carpet
  • Emissive Maps for Window Glass
  • Emissive & Normal Map for Door Glass

Interaction:

  • Door Handle Animation
  • Animations can now be reversed (closing) by reactivating the trigger (No longer requires a seperate closing volume
  • Drawer SFX added
  • Cupboard Door SFX added
  • Record Player Animation(s) & SFX

Lighting:

  • The previous lighting model has been redone. Lighting now looks more natural with the additions of a new spotlight that is activated when the room lights are turned off. This spotlight replicates the natural light coming in from the window.

Video of Updates:


Record Player:

The current textures for the record player and speakers are not final as I was more concerned about the animation and interactivity aspect. The player can toggle the record player on which plays 2 animation sequences (The first moves the Pickup Arm over the record and moves it down to make contact with the spinning record disk. The second animation is a subtle looping 'bobbing' animation for the Pickup Arm.)  The player can activate the record player by pressing the interact button, and deactivate it whenever they please.


Global Game Jam - Narrative Progression

During the Global Game Jam 2015 at Abertay I created a prototype game called "Respire" with a team of 4 of my peers. My task on the project was to work in the engine to build the environment and add interaction. I worked on creating a sequencer in Kismet that would allow the player to progress to different "Story Beats" once the previous one has been completed. The original Kismet for this was created within 24 hours so it was messy and badly optimised. The day after the game jam, I worked on refining the Kismet Sequencer so that It both ran better and was easier to understand. I think will adopt a similar system in Forget-Me-Knot to handle narrative progression.

Old Sequencer:

New Sequencer:


Summary:

I feel that I am making good progress towards my 'end goal' for the honours project. The main concern with Forget-Me-Knot is that I am essentially creating a "whole package" of audio, visuals, gameplay and narrative. Although it is a lot of work, I shall try not to let it overwhelm me. I am finding that these blog updates are a great way for me to gauge both my progress on this project, but also my progress as a game designer/creator.


Next Steps:

Models:

  • Television
  • Telephone
  • Record Sleeves
  • Sideboard
  • Typewriter

Textures:

  • Update record player texture
  • Create textures for above assets

Audio:

  • Start scripting narrative and implement the narrative sequencer.

Lighting:

  • Make the lights in the fireplace flicker.
Lighting, Physics & Basic Interaction

Today I had to go to Whitespace to work on my honours project. Frequent power failures in my village due to heavy rainfall have made 3D modelling and UDK work nearly impossible as even when saving often some files ended up becoming corrupted. To counter this problem I traveled to Abertay to work on the dual screen PC's in Whitespace.

Today's progress mainly revolved around removing the default weapon loadout, UI, adding in physics objects, dynamic lighting (toggleable) and testing other interactive mechanics. I started the work fixing a lighting issue with the walls by combining multiple wall panels in Maya before exporting them into UDK and replacing the existing walls. 

Smaller objects are now interact-able with the built in PhysicsGun. The objects have a higher mass than they normally would to depict the strength of the old man. The controls are left click 'pushes/prods' an object, where as holding right click on an object will allow it to be picked up and moved around. This mechanic could be useful for hiding objects behind others for the player to find.

Pictured above is a screenshot depicting where the light sources are, and also - if you have keen eyes - the custom collision mesh I had to create for the bookshelf. I was having issues with Autoconvex collision where the book collision meshes and the shelf's collision mesh were encountering problems. These problems lead to the books being 'ejected' from the shelf. Thankfully by implementing custom blocking volumes the issue is now sorted.

I also ran tests on adding hinged physics doors to the game, these would hopefully mean that opening cupboard doors and such would work in a similar way to in Amnesia. Sadly the tests did not work exactly as planned and more iteration on this feature will be required.

Terrain, Lighting, Fog and Player POV

While looking through the settings in UE4 I noticed more in-dept control over player view, fog, terrain, lighting etc. The most interesting for my honours project was the player view controls, I found a way to make the character short/long sighted. This could prove interesting as I may implement a mechanic around the character requiring glasses to see properly. Unreal Engine 4 appears to have more accessible controls over the more intricate details which I am finding quite enjoyable to explore.