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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsAgainst The Mountain - 1st Person Exploration/Platformer
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baftis
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« Reply #140 on: November 27, 2021, 03:53:47 AM »

Hi, Leonard

Actually, what you have mentioned is because of the philosophy that is set in place for this project: the simplest, most straight-forward, shortest path with the least resistance to implement anything in the project.

This I firmly believe will save me a lot of headaches when it comes to optimization later on in the project. Though this is gonna be a huge pain in the neck when it comes to shaders and material optimization (because I'm not super familiar with those concepts yet).

Also, I've read something some time ago in a book about game programming or graphics programming (can't remember the name, but it was certainly a book by Michael Abrash). Something along the lines of "if you want a fast running feature, have fast running code from the get-go. Not slow running code at first to be then optimized later on." And I happen to like common sense like this, therefore this philosophy stuck with me without ever knowing well how to program things. And I believe I did a decent to good job (pardon the name pun), if I do say so myself. Granted, the script to anything can always be improved by asking myself "can I go even simpler than this?"

   
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« Reply #141 on: November 30, 2021, 02:15:16 AM »

Yeah, that's a good attitude to development Hand Thumbs Up Left

Seems to work for you, this is one of the more actively updated devlogs on the forum
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« Reply #142 on: November 30, 2021, 06:38:08 AM »

Yes, it does work.

And I do plan on having a zero-day work schedule (the kind of thing where you work every day on the game, no matter how little without a day off), which also means having a devlog update every day. But it's proving to be a rather difficult production strategy to keep up with, considering burnouts and all. Balancing job/free time is a doozy in and of itself, add this game to the mix and it becomes a juggling act very quickly. And you have to be an artist in order to manage it effortlessly. But with enough practice, one will get there.   
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« Reply #143 on: December 02, 2021, 03:25:44 PM »

DAY 53

Did not update the devlog these past few days but I did work on the project. I've done the greyboxing for a cave level using the assets that I made last week and currently I'm about halfway through completion of this first cave level.

Here is how it looks now:









At face value, that doesn't say much. But if I were to add a reference near it, then it starts to say something. Here's how it looks with a character reference:







OK, now we're getting somewhere with this. You get the scale of everything in relation to the character, at least.

I also did the logic for one of these sections. It applies the same logic as the collectibles: there are 4 spawn points and at runtime a switch will spawn at one of the spawn points, randomly.

Initially, I wanted to apply some controlled procgen by way of room spawning: at runtime, in certain places, a room will spawn that is different every time and will lead to different paths. But the way I've laid out this level does not lend to this feature, because this level was thought up as an experience from start to it's current state. So I'll take note of this and do the controlled procgen in the next cave/mine level.

After that, I thought of blocking some exits as a controlled procgen thing, so the experience would be "OK, this playthroguh you're going this way, the next playthrough you're going the other way". And I thought "Nah, this is not adding to the experience necessarily". And then it struck me. How about having a switch of some sort (for now*) and the player would have to find the switch. But each and every time, it will be in a different place (out of 4).

*I say "for now" because the plan is to have a bundle of dynamite that is blocking the way and the player needs to find the detonator. The placeholder switch works as the detonator, because it does exactly what it's supposed to do: go from OFF state to ON state and possibly add a delay to the explosion so as to not detonate instantly.

So I stuck with this, but as I'm writing this devlog, it struck me that this is something very close to the switch-hunting that was in 90's FPS games. That is not really a fun feature, so I have to be careful and steer away from switch-hunting.

You might also notice two big rooms in some of the screenshots. Those particular rooms will probably not have the same shape when this is completed. Those shapes are for reference only.

Now, you guys might be curious as to how this level will be set dressed. And to that I say: what a coincidence, I'm curious too. Smiley) But no, really now. I mentioned in a previous post that the set dress will NOT be "model a variant of the room in blender then import it in the engine".

Well, now I'm not so sure that this pipeline won't happen. Setting aside that placing small-ish individual assets around the rooms might get tedious and time consuming (I actually love doing that, it's relaxing in a weird, twisted kinda way), the process might turn out some repetitive results. You would probably start to notice that I was using only 4-5 different meshes, even if I scale them to ungodly sizes and shapes.

So I'll really need to think this one through. I won't exclude a combination of both modeled rooms + individual assets placed around. But this is a problem for future me to properly solve, first on paper, then in the real world and then again in the game world.

So that is all I have for now. See ya in the next post, bye.
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« Reply #144 on: December 03, 2021, 12:02:15 AM »

I love the sense of scale

Also, I'm somewhat reminded of ant nest casts (appropriate, because the player character looks ant-sized next to the environment)



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« Reply #145 on: December 03, 2021, 03:32:00 AM »

Hey, Leonard.

Wow, that was weirdly fascinating.
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« Reply #146 on: December 05, 2021, 06:22:15 PM »

DAY 54

Finished the layout for the first cave level today. And it. Is. A. Monstrosity of a level. Check it out:



To give you guys a sense of scale, the player character is actually in this screenshot at the very entrance of the cave. I genuinely had to double check if it is there in the screenshot before I uploaded it, because the resolution of the screenshot it small and I could not see the character clearly. But it is there.

Here is the player character in the biggest room there is in this level:



And here is the character in the same room, but from another angle this time:



Sorry about the missing walls, it's late here and I just noticed I missed this spot. I'll do it tomorrow.

Now this layout will certainly present issues regarding what mechanics and how many mechanics and hazards should be placed here, because of the sheer size of some rooms. Certainly it leaves a lot of elbow room for the pacing of the level, but I'm more concerned with how many hazards, obstacles and so on are placed there because of fatigue issues (how many mechannics are too many for this level). This level should be a lot of fun to populate.

The colossal rooms are left empty on purpose because I need to have a lot of space for the path and a lot of space for the eye candy. I'm really excited to populate it, seriously.

One small fun fact: the entire cave is exactly as tall as the dam. Look:



Holy crap. Even if I would've planned this out, it wouldn't have been this exact.

That's all I have for today, I'll see you guys in the next post. Bye.
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« Reply #147 on: December 06, 2021, 01:22:14 AM »

Damn, that's huuuuuge. Does it feel huge when the player moves through it?
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baftis
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« Reply #148 on: December 06, 2021, 06:19:19 AM »

Hi, Leonard.

At the moment, it feels like the player character is shrunk and is moving through a regularly sized room. This was to be expected though. Some meshes were scaled up to 20 times their size and the texture scaled along with the mesh size. Let me show you.

This would be the regular sized room with the appropriate texture (focus is on the texture):



Notice that there are small squares inside the bigger squares. Those small squares are equal to 10 unreal units and the big squares are equal to 100 unreal units.

With that in mind, this following screenshot would be one of the scaled up rooms with the scaled up textures:



Notice the difference? In the second screenshot, the "bigger squares" are much, much bigger and the smaller squares that used to show a 10 unreal unit difference are also much bigger. I cropped the picture badly, but at the edge of the screenshot you can see that the dark gray color is sandwiched between two light gray colored square. Those were the squares that originally made the 100 unreal unit differentiation

Now, let's move on to the biggest room in the level:



In this screenshot, what you see is what used to be the smaller squares. Now they are huge, bigger than the 100 unreal unit squares in the first screenshot.

Now that you have proper context, this is why the player character feels small instead of the world feeling big: because of the stretching textures. Again, this was to be expected because of the nature of the workflow. There is a thing in Unreal in which you can tick a few boxes and make the textures tile at their original resolution, but it's really not worth the hassle.

Even with this issue, the scale works, it feels immense and that is what I was going for. Changing the texture to a solid color would fix the issue and would give you the feeling of being in a colossal cave with the current assets. Populating the area with correctly scaled objects would give the proper feeling.

I have not played it through from start to finish yet, because there are some things I forgot to do yesterday, like placing walls. I have not placed anything in the vertical section and that also stops the player from progressing. But I am currently on it.

I do suspect that it would take longer than 7 minutes to complete (which is the time I've set for a level to be completed on a "if you know what you are doing" basis. But this remains to be seen, if it's good and properly paced, I have no problem going over 7 minutes, I can always compensate with shorter levels after this one.

 
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« Reply #149 on: December 06, 2021, 05:02:45 PM »

DAY 55

So I've started working on the ledge climbing  mechanic. I'll be honest I had no idea where to start, so I had to look up a tutorial to give me a head start. As soon as I found a tutorial that was close to my vision, I watched it and, in the first 2 minutes, a real mind-blow occurred.

I learned that you could actually add trace channels to an object. This means that you can apply a tick box to an object to detect if the object itself has a certain collision property. In this context, it means that you can have a hundred cubes scaled as plain walls, but you can add a channel to the collision that is specific to ledge climbing and tick the channel on only one object. This results in one out of the hundred items is technically climb-able.

The revelation also hit me that I approached wall running wrong. If you remember, I had an issue where the player character does wall running if an object is at a certain angle, but it would do some accidental wall running most of the time. The way I approached it was that I controlled the angle to be obnixiously precise and it worked, but still had rare and minor issues with accidental wall running. With this new nugget of wisdom, I can apply the same technique to wall running. The more you know...

Anyway, the implementation did not go smoothly:
1) there was a wrong if statement in the blueprint, it was set to true instead of false when jumping to grab the wall. Glossed over that section multiple times when debugging, because I figured that the player must be jumping when grabbing the wall, but eventually caught it. The player is not grabbing the wall while jumping, it grabs the wall when falling.
2) I placed three functions at the event tick: the ForwardVector LineTrace, the height vector LineTrace and grabbing the wall. This one was very quickly fixed by removing the Wall Grab function from the Event Tick. It caused the player to go in 0,0,0 position and grab... ugh, something...I have no idea what it grabbed....the ground???
3) This one was particularly tricky. At this point, everything should technically work, but the character did not grab the wall. I tinkered around, but got nothing, for about an hour or so. Got a very intense flashback of the Rope Swing debacle. But I figured it out: I had an InRange Float node that was bound to one of the character bones (pelvis), but the heigh of the pelvis did not match the InRange Float node values, which were less than the pelvis height. Doubled the minimum values detecting the pelvis in the InRange Float node (from -50 to -100) and now it worked as intended.

So that's it for today, I'll upload a video tomorrow. See you guys in the next post. Bye.   
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« Reply #150 on: December 08, 2021, 01:40:53 PM »

DAY 56

Work continued on the Ledge Climbing mechanic today. It was slow and with issues. And it was definitely one of those days that felt like nothing works, even though I've clearly made progress. Soul draining, isn't it? So much fun...

What have I achieved so far:

- The character hangs on a designated model.
- The character can move left and right while on the ledge (animations implemented but not wired because of a little issue written below)
- The character can drop from the ledge at the press of a key
- Clamp the yaw rotation of the player camera while ledge climbing (look 90 degrees to the left or to the right)

What I am planning to do:

- Make the player jump up on the ledge above (+animations)
- Make the player jump to the left and to the right (+animations)
- Make the player move on corner ledges (+animations)
- Make the player climb on top at the end (+animations)

Here's what the progress looks like:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1bQZsSLex65qlTmBjlZpDZmUyO9v_VnEE/view?usp=sharing

So far things are actually going OK-ish. I mean, the basic functionality is there, I can build something with what I've got, even if it is simple and crude and one dimentional. There are a number of issues that occurred, though:

1) When hanging on the ledge, the player character rotates with the camera. And this one is going to be either the easiest or the hardest issues to solve, for one simple but big reason: The camera attaches to the capsule component of the player. This means that whenever I rotate the camera, I rotate the capsule (DUH!). Also, as a consequence, whenever the capsule is rotated, the player gets rotated. And herein lies the problem: the camera needs to be separated from the capsule component, which UE4 does not allow to do. It has to be linked with the capsule. I did thought of a solution, but it felt flat on it's face: adding a second camera. This is when I discovered that UE4 does not allow you to attach a camera outside the capsule component of the character. So that went out the window.

2) I managed to restrict the camera yaw movement while the character is hanging on the ledge and it works just fine. The problem is that when the character exits the hanging state, the camera either: a) retains it's 180 degree yaw movement or b) is stuck at the 0 degree angle and you cannot move the camera left nor right, only up and down. An absolutely stupid fix solved the problem: In the Set View Yaw Min and Max (minimum and maximum angle at which the camera can turn on the Z-axis) the values were -359.9 for min and 359.9 for max.

Yeah, THIS works.... Because if they are exactly 360 max and -360 min, it will remain stuck in a 0 degree angle and you can only look up and down, but if its 359.9, you can do 360 movement dozens of times....THIS works...jeez 

3) I may have fudged this one up quite a bit, but here goes: I've used the ThirdPersonAnimBP onto the FirstPersonCharacter BP. When going into the Event Graph of the blueprint to create some logic for the animations, I've encountered a stupid problem. The boolean variables do not interact with the Cast to First Person Character node, only with the Cast To Third Person Character node. So either I have to rename the ThirdPersonAnimBP or I have to re-make the First Person Anim Blueprint with the Third Person Anim logic.

4) The player character doesn't stop at the end of the ledge, but goes a bit more further. This might be solved easily by tweaking some of the tracer capsules' values. Hopefully...

Taking off my visual scripting hat and putting on my designer hat, the way the ledge climbing feels now is... just slightly out of place for a first person game. I dunno... it feels kinda off. It feels like this mechanic should belong in a third person game. But I've seen wall climbing in first person shooters before and they worked. But they did feel like it feels in my game. I have a suspicion that it's a camera thing that holds this mechanic back.

As I write this, I've remembered that I had a talk with JobLeonard about a particular feature for when the player is looking down the dam. He suggested using an FOV kind of thing (which ultimately turned out that he was reffering to a Dolly shot like in the movies). I tested this feature at a different field of view for when the player is grabbing the ledge and it sort of works. It feels different at 110 FOV than at 90 FOV. This time, it also gives an actual sense of height, which is cool. It actually is an improvement. We're getting there guys!!!



Nice view, though.

What also really feels satisfying is the drop from the ledge. It's a small thing to be satisfied of, but it really matters. The drop has a nice bounce to it, not in the cartoony sense, but in the dynamic, interactive sense. You feel that when you drop, it's not just a simple drop, it has a weight to it, a throw to it, a certain force to it. It feels like the character put some effort into the drop (if that makes sense).

I can add things that might work. I remember mentioning this a while back (don't remember in which post) but if the ledge climbing or wall climbing is paired with some boulders or rocks falling, that would make a lot of sense and would add a challenge. Also, if I pair the wall and ledge climb with a stamina meter, then things will get really interesting.

When I'm done with this mechanic, I'll implement 2 more mechanics to see how they feel. A dash mechanic (though right off the bat it seems a little bit on the nose) and a ground pound mechanic. The latter felt a lot of fun in another project, and I found myself using it out of the blue.

That's all I've got for today, ladies and gents. See you in the next post. Bye
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« Reply #151 on: December 09, 2021, 12:44:43 AM »

It's lovely to read how you're figuring all of this out, thanks for sharing the process in such great detail.

Quote
I tested this feature at a different field of view for when the player is grabbing the ledge and it sort of works. It feels different at 110 FOV than at 90 FOV. This time, it also gives an actual sense of height, which is cool. It actually is an improvement. We're getting there guys!!!
Is that in the video you shared as well? Because if so the transition happens so subtly while facing the wall that I didn't even notice things changed!
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« Reply #152 on: December 09, 2021, 02:51:36 PM »

Is that in the video you shared as well? Because if so the transition happens so subtly while facing the wall that I didn't even notice things changed!

Hi, Leonard. Thank you, I'm doing the best I can. Some days are better for writing than others, but what's important is that you guys are entertained and like what/how I write and I get to keep myself on track and improve both my writing and the game. 

Yes, the FOV change is in the clip. The fortunate thing about the FOV change is that in that clip, it snaps at the same time as the character on the ledge, so that is awesome. The unfortunate thing is that the transition is jarring when climbing down the ledge.

As such, I've made some changes to the FOV feature and I did manage to make the FOV transition smooth instead of snapping straight from 90 to 110, like in the clip with the dam. But now the change is noticeable, both when climbing on the ledge and dropping from it. I'll also have to toy around with where exactly in the blueprint "chain" should I put it so that it is a seamless transition.

I did approach the FOV thing in the wrong way at first. When I showed you the dam clip with the FOV change, I made a timeline with a Set FOV variable. The problem was that the timeline went from zero to one. It shouldn't have, even if I had the variables hard coded. But here, in the ledge hanging FOV, I went in the timeline and actually placed the FOV values directly in the timeline, bypassing hardcoded variables altogether. And this method worked. Now, the only things that should be done is to tweak the values of the time it takes to reach FOV 90 to FOV 110 and vice-versa. I reckon that, when dropping from the ledge, it should take a lot more time. Currently it takes about .2 seconds to go from 90 to 110. Going in reverse should take about a second or so.

     
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« Reply #153 on: December 11, 2021, 04:04:17 AM »

Day 57

Very very quick little update: the character rotation while on the ledge is fixed. Here's how it looks now:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ROx3v3VsOmVGeErvtExlMlKQQjcIFScA/view?usp=sharing

I went in the wrong direction about solving this problem, at first. I thought that the camera and the capsule are the only two components that are directly involved in this issue. Turns out I overlooked a tiny little detail: the player controller.

The player controller acts as a thread tying the two components. That's obvious. What wasn't obvious (at least to me) was that you can snip this thread and tie it back again, contrary to what I believed before, like the "camera has to get bound to the capsule component" thing....it's still valid. But you can tinker with all variables in the FirstPersonCharacter panel. As such, I found out that there is a tick box for the Use Controller Pitch Yaw. Untick it and the camera moves independent from the player character. It was as simple as that.

Lesson: When you think you have all the variables you need to solve a problem, think again. And then again, and again until the solution clicks.

Also, JobLeonard: In the clip above, you can see that the transitions from different FOV's are obvious now. Haven't got to this part yet, but soon enough I will.
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« Reply #154 on: December 14, 2021, 03:26:52 PM »

DAY 58

Not much visible progress has been made on the ledge climbing mechanic. What I have accomplished is that the player character now has the ability to climb the top of the ledge.

Now, I said "visible" progress, because I have also finished the jump left and jump right script, but the script does not work. And I have no more motivation nor patience to work on that today.

Speaking of motivation: there are moments like this where it feels like I don't really know why am I doing this game. Most of the times, there is a drive in there that pushes me to create and I love it. But sometimes, just sometimes, I find myself lacking in motivation to work on this project. It feels soul-crushing and almost debilitating. I still love the project, I know it has some potential for someone out there to enjoy it, but when I get hit by issue after issue after issue, I feel like giving up.

But that's not gonna happen with this project. I know that the feeling is just a setback now and I am very close to finish scripting all the game mechanics that will be implemented in this project. I am getting closer, for real, this is not just  pep talk.

I'm doing this game because I can. I'm doing this game so that someone out there can come home from work and log in this game and take some or all of the stress off of him or her. Maybe he/she even has a smile while playing it. Or maybe remembering a certain scene from the game and revving up his/her imagination, making the player think and feel like he wants to be there.

I am doing this because someone, somewhere out there might fall in love with the scenery, or the gameplay and I don't want to rob him/her of this feeling. Moreover, I will actively try to feed him this feeling (not shoving it down the neck of course). And I am dead set on making this project happen, no matter what.

Sometimes I go into selfish mode and remind myself that I can make a great game and be able to make a living out of making games. Sometimes I go out of this selfish mode and think that "Hey, you can make a game, make a living AND hire someone to make a living making games as well and treat him/her like you treat yourself."

But it's tough sometimes. It's tough in the sense that you essentially get drowned in demotivation when things do not go as planned or go in a wrong direction that you don't know how to mend (yet). I keep reminding myself that "It's just a small phase that you have to go through in order to grow as a dev and as a person. This is how great devs are forged, you know?"

So yeah. Now that I feel better, I can move on to detail what has been done.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1bSeb_rRwYPJpCzwX-M_WS5_KUpRrjona/view?usp=sharing

As you can see, the animation is nice, but there is one thing I'd like to do further: attach the camera to the mesh of the character (the head, more specifically) so that it matches the movement of the head. The climb up feels a little slow, but this is in the current context. It might feel alright when I will attach the camera to the head during this animation.

I am a little flabbergasted as to why the Jump Left and Jump right mechanic and at the moment I can't figure out why. I'll have to play detective tomorrow, because I need to get some rest.

That's all I have for today. See you guys in the next post, bye.

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« Reply #155 on: December 17, 2021, 04:18:16 PM »

DAY 59

Today I have finished scripting the ledge climbing mechanic. This has definitely been way more complex than I have anticipated and it was riddled with bugs. But it is functional, now. I have showed you the left and right movement, the jump on ledge, can't remember right now if I showed you the climb up ledge, but now I'm showing you the corner ledge movement. Here's how the last part looks:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1y5AFX2KuCmygc9xm9XTIq_qGMBOwz1M1/view?usp=sharing

There was a lot (and I mean *a lot*) of work to do on this, but once the hard part was done, parts of the script would get recycled.

What follows is a pseudo-breakdown of the mechanic. It's not in the order I implemented it and it certainly doesn't have all the nuts and bolts mentioned because I'm brain dead right now and can't think straight:

TRACING THE WALLS AND LEDGES: I had to have the character detect a wall in front of him, how high the wall is, if there was a ledge that could be walk-able left or right, where the player can jump up the ledge and corners that the player can turn on (well, that sounded x-rated and grammatically wrong at the same time). This was fairly easily done with tracer channels. This was the repetitive task. Tracing forward, tracing up, tracing left/right, tracing the jump up and tracing the corners, all of then worked almost exactly the same.

LEDGE MOVEMENT I genuinely thought I could get away with the bare minimum of Set Movement Mode to "Flying" and the adjust the direction of the flight, but sadly that wasn't the case. I tried to cheat my way out of this one, but of course the scripting gods would not allow it, so I had to do the work. And of course I only had a vague idea on how to do it. So after pouring through blogs, tutorials and some UE documentation, I made it work. Minus the animations, those do not work now. And the tracers don't properly work either: they don't detect the edge very well and the player remains stuck when reaching either end of the ledge. This was my first experience with the Animation side of Unreal Engine and there is a whole lot to learn here. This is where things got overwhelming to me and start making a ton of mistakes and lost motivation. But I ploughed through and I got through with it.

LEDGE CLIMB ENTER and DROP: This one was straight forward to do, especially the drop. This is where I used the Set Movement Mode to FLYING in a successful way, with a lot of booleans. The actual ledge climb was a ton of work and had to research extensively, because I had no prior know-how. The way I managed to get it to work is with a lot of vector nodes involving the Wall Normal, the Wall Height and the Wall Location.

CORNER LEDGE MOVE:  This was surprisingly not a lot of work and involved a lot less movement nodes than I thought I will implement. Basically lots of boolean variables and if statements, with enabling and disabling the player controller and an anim montage. That particular anim montage did the gruntwork for me

There are some other elements, like the FOV change during the ledge climb and movement and the Camera Clamp, but I got these two working almost instantly. Some bugs regarding the camera clamp: the camera clamp works relative to the world, not to the player. If you want to grab a ledge facing north, the camera clamp works perfectly, but if you want to climb a ledge that is facing east, you would encounter the hilarious glitch of being able to look at the character's face. I'll get on it as soon as I get some proper rest.

All in all, 90% of the ledge climbing mechanic was new ground for me and got intimidating as hell the more I worked on it. What ended up was a monster of a blueprint script that I can barely fathom how I got it to work. But it works, at least partially.   

To pick myself up from the rut that was the loss of motivation a few days ago, I also implemented the ground pound mechanic. This is an easy mechanic that is quite fun to play around with. Here's how it looks:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1xLz4nfhVGcPfT9i3Es2J5tBbwFUNcEJ0/view?usp=sharing

Finally taking my scripting hat off and putting my designer hat on, the ledge climbing feels rather responsive, quite robust and smooth (most of the time, anyway). It's still glitchy as all hell, but it lends itself to a good feel. It's far from perfect (hell, it's far from fully working, what am I talking about?) but it does give you a greater sense of exploration as is. At it's best, it gives the feeling that you can go anywhere, the feeling that somehow (dare I say) you've outsmarted the environment.   

The Ground Pound mechanic is a lot of fun and I feel that it can be used in a lot of creative ways. The problem with this is that the mechanic can get old really fast and I must keep this in the front of my head. It does run the risk of the player using the mechanic even when he is not supposed to and that is what might cause the problem of it getting old fast. Spacing it out is not necessarily a solution, because the player can still ground pound even without anything in front of him/her to get out of the way.

I think I'll be taking a break from scripting mechanics for now. The ledge climbing really took a toll on my endurance and stretched my knowledge limits a whole lot. In retrospect, I shouldn't have done it now, but I did. It would've been better if I'd either done it at the very beginning of the project and get the complex stuff out of the way fast or some time later down the line, maybe after I had done all the other mechanics. I'll be focusing on some level design until after the holidays. Maybe I'll add something light like a double jump mechanic, a dash mechanic, something very light script wise. But I certainly won't do anything complex until after the new year. I'll also do the bug fixing after the holidays as well for the ledge climbing mechanic.

Anyway, that's all I've got for today. See ya in the next post, bye. 

 
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JobLeonard
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« Reply #156 on: December 17, 2021, 08:31:16 PM »

Quote
In the clip above, you can see that the transitions from different FOV's are obvious now. Haven't got to this part yet, but soon enough I will.
yeah but it wasn't jarring or anything so you might as well focus your energies elsewhere for now

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What follows is a pseudo-breakdown of the mechanic. It's not in the order I implemented it and it certainly doesn't have all the nuts and bolts mentioned because I'm brain dead right now and can't think straight
Oh man, sounds like you had a serious debugging session there! This is one of those cases where it can help to let the problem lie for a day or two after you found a solution, have another look, and then suddenly realize that things can be much simpler and less messy and clean up your code. But I can also imagine you might want to move onto other things Wink

Quote
I am doing this because someone, somewhere out there might fall in love with the scenery, or the gameplay and I don't want to rob him/her of this feeling. Moreover, I will actively try to feed him this feeling (not shoving it down the neck of course). And I am dead set on making this project happen, no matter what.
That is a beautiful motivation and I hope you'll succeed.

For what it's worth, I'm already enjoying reading these devlogs Smiley
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« Reply #157 on: December 18, 2021, 01:42:07 AM »

Hey, Leonard.

Yeah, the FOV's not jarring, but it can be a lot better. Right now, it does the job well.

I really wanted to get the ledge climb up and running, because I felt at that time that I've been putting it off for ages. Even during implementation, I felt like I was dragging myself to finish it. So there's that. But yeah, in retrospect, I shouldn't have rushed the implementation, even if I felt the way I did.

And I'm super glad you like the devlogs, Leonard. It means a lot to me.
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« Reply #158 on: December 21, 2021, 03:17:33 AM »

DAY 60

So since I've recently stated that I'll be taking a break from the scripting side of things, I've been focused on the level design aspect and started a new cave level, because I already had the placeholder modular assets and I did want to make four levels in this particular vein. At the moment this is WIP (like everything else) and not finished (layout wise) so here's a glimpse of how it looks now:





The intention and direction is to make this level loop on itself, or more precisely have elements akin to a Mobius strip. To be honest, that was the goal for the first cave level, but ultimately went with a different flow, because that's what the level wanted to go.

It's an interesting challenge, this whole looping on itself thing. I first encountered it in AER Memories of Old and was quite intrigued by it because it offered a little bit of spatial awareness challenges, a little bit of orientation challenges and a little bit of freedom by way of choosing your own route to progress through the level.

Though I have not played much of AER, I believe this kind of level can have slightly more looping. So, I've started having a loop that has a Mobius strip-like path. After testing it, it seems like a good start. It gives the sense of progression without the feeling of walking in circles, accomplishing nothing. There are no mechanics or hazards here yet, as is the case with the other cave level. This is because I want the feel of exploring to be as top notch as possible before continuing placing gameplay elements. If the exploring part fails, then the other gameplay elements are nearly worthless ("polish a turd and it's still a turd" kind of thing). So, nail the exploration first, add mechanics and hazards later.

The Mobius thing starts when the player reaches the octagonal-like module. For now, only the left-hand side of the level is done and I'll continue working on it today. All this was implemented yesterday, but it was getting too late to write a devlog at that time.

I'm really curious if a Mobius Strip can be placed within a Mobius Strip. That's a real challenge right there. Smiley)

I'm fairly excited about how this level is going to turn out. I say "fairly" because I'm also concerned about it's quality. Yes, it's an interesting element to add, but is it good? Will it be fun? Will it be challenging but not frustrating? Will the mechanics be the cherry on top of the cake? These questions add to the excitement, but also to the concern. Must treat this with care. Like I said, testing it did give good impressions, but let's see where it goes from here.

That's all I've got for today. See ya in the next post, bye!!

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« Reply #159 on: December 22, 2021, 08:28:23 AM »

DAY 61

I've continued work on the second cave level and I have to say, I'm liking where this is going. Like I've mentioned before, the intent was to make some sort of a looping on itself level and it was a success.









The Mobius strip like loop works OK as is. Here is a picture of how it looks from a gameplay perspective. Assets are highlighted strictly for better visibility of the space (it's a dark area).



The green arrows indicate the direction that the player can take. The red arrow with an X indicates that the player will hit a dead end and cannot progress, therefore no go.

Notice that you can only get on the bridge if you complete the left-side part of the level first.

The large opening in the middle of the room will become accessible once the player completes both the left hand side of the level and the right hand side. There is going to be a puzzle of some sort, this part I have not figured out yet.

There is still work to do: I have to cap the open gaps with walls and test the level to see how it feels like it is.

I have to toy around with the large straight strip of rooms that follows the mobius strip section. The intention with this section is to be in complete antithesis with what the first section of the level is. Whereas the mobius strip section is full of ups and downs, left and right, this straight section would be one (almost) continuous line of hazards. I had to break up the continuous line strictly for the player to have a sense of surprise when entering the next room.
This entire section would have tons of hazards for the player to deal with. What hazards, I don't fully know yet.

Also, I'll toy around with the sizes of the 4 big rooms in the straight strip. There may yet be some value in diversifying the size, to allow for more complex gameplay. But this also remains to be seen when I will reach the documentation phase.

I didn't notice when I made this level, but from a top-down perspective, the entire level looks like a key. Very neat and totally not intended. Maybe I'll do something cool with this info. Maybe have a treasure hunt here, or a collectible. Look:



The plan for this level is for it to be the first cave level the player encounters, right after the player climbs up the dam. This will look something like this:



The green arrow represents the entrance to the cave and the purple arrow represents the exit. At the exit, there will be something that the player can see from the position shown in the screenshot. Something like a big landline with a light on top of it.

It may not be visible, but the cave is on the left side of the dam. On the right side, I do have in plan to implement an exploration area with some sort of a tourist attraction thing going on, with a big statue and a tower of some sort. It's still vague in gameplay and in a layout, the exploration area, but the visuals and elements to be placed are pretty much set in stone.

On the other side of the dam there will be a lake. Surrounding the lake will be peaks and valleys and forest with the peak of the mountain visible in the distance.

Well, that's all I've got for today. See ya in the next post. Bye.
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