Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Wild Rollercoaster Ride

Raven here.  There have been a lot of ups and downs for me this past few days, I am just glad to report it ended on an up!  I have been looking for a way to be able to save a game from UDK, as that doesn't seem to be a feature built into the engine.  But for an RPG this option is essential!  I looked around for a while, I posted questions on a couple of the forums... I found a method of saving small cookie files using Flash.  So I figured that would work!


Even though values were being saved and loaded fine when I ran the program through Flash, UDK refused to acknowledge this.  It wouldn't give the wrong data, it just refused to give any data like an obstinate child refusing to clean their room!  Frustrating.  So I went back online and found answers to my questions.  One of them directed me to a pre-made .dll tool that has all the save and load commands I would need, called the UltimateSaveSystem.  YAY!  I downloaded it and put the files where they belong, booted it up...


When I tried to load it, UDK crashed entirely.  So after posting what happened on the UltimateSaveSystem forum, I continued looking... and looking... and looking... nothing, nothing, nothing.  Crap!  No other methods to save through Flash, no other methods to save through UDK...  I got a response on the UltimateSaveSystem forum asking what the startup log from UDK said after a crash.  Duh! *Facepalm* I hadn't thought to look.  To make a long story not quite as long, this led me to a page that told me how to properly load the new UltimateSaveSystem package into UDK.  I'd done it wrong.  So I did that, set up a test level, and ran it from the UDK editor...


NOOOOO!!!  At this point I'm about to throw the computer against the wall and do my game creation using pen and paper, create the latest version of Dungeons & Dragons.  Then something occurred to me.  There had been one other time when a command wouldn't run from the editor, I had to choose the test method where it loads the entire game in a separate window and runs it independently of the editor.  I think it has something to do with accessing outside files, such as save files.  So I loaded my test level back up and clicked to run the game itself...


Now that I had gotten through all the little details of how it needs to work, I discovered that the UltimateSaveSystem is totally awesome!  The creator of this must be a UDK / C++ / UnrealScript genius!  If any of you following this blog is looking at creating games using UDK, check out this save system at:
Ultimate Save System
So now I am so happy!  And relieved!  And I'm going to bed to dream happy dreams of our completed game.  Until later!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

*Doing the Happy Dance*

It's not often that I have more than one post in a single day! Today has been a big one! Not only did I get moving an object working properly, I also have succeeded in importing a .swf file created in Adobe Flash, importing it into UDK and having it be functional there!  Additionally, I found a way to have areas of the game load in only as needed to save computer resources on large games!  Level streaming!  I have heard of it and even tried it before, but it never made any sense... until now!  Something just clicked and I got it to work!  The video below shows an example of everything I accomplished.  It shows the player moving a box, activating the .swf movie clip (shows the bottle and the number, the function is that the number increases by one when the player hits a hidden trigger), and traveling between areas that load separately and unload when the player leaves them.  If anyone is interested in more details on how these things work, let me know!

Carrying On

Another post here from Raven!  I solved another issue in UDK, that being how a player can pick up and carry an object in the game for purposes such as solving puzzles, clearing paths, etc.  It really proved to be a fairly simple task of attaching the object to the player when the player chooses to 'use' it, then detaching the object when the player 'uses' it again.  The video and pictures below show things a lot better than I can describe here.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Changing Places

I found the answer to a problem I had thought might be a big one, but the answer turned out to be very simple.  What I needed to accomplish was switching from one map to another in UDK so only one part of the game needs to be loaded at any given point.  Loading all parts of all of the maps at the same time would probably pose a difficult task for the best of computers!  It turns out there is a really simple console command that can be used to do this... "open YourMapNameHere"  Pretty straight forward.  So this command can be triggered whenever the player crosses a place that a new map is needed, as shown in the demo video.  The trigger point is under the archway so when the player passes under the arch the new map is loaded.

The kismet code sample and the placement of the trigger I used are shown here:

On the Right Road

Raven here again.  There have been a couple of issues, so I haven't made as much progress as I would like to have made.  When I created a model in UDK, it looked fine.  Then I would change that model to a static mesh to conserve resources in the game, and suddenly the thing is covered with strange shadows that have no apparent source and the seams between pieces become glaringly obvious.  I had thought having a single light source had fixed this, but I was wrong.  After fighting with the static meshes and lighting systems for longer than I should have, I decided to just leave the models as brushes for now.  If it starts using too much in the way of resources I can replace them later.  And I did manage to add a sidewalk to the road system using a couple of the static meshes included with the UDK package.  Here is what I have so far:

Friday, February 25, 2011

At a Crossroads

Hi, again!  Raven here.  I guess I've been inspired lately, because I have gone ahead and created the 3D static meshes for the road textures I made.  The pic below shows an intersection, it shows the different types of road piece arranged into a crossroad.  I tried to make models in 3DS Max and then import them into UDK with UV maps for textures.  I found it seems to be a bit easier, for simple models at least, it is easier to create the model in UDK.  UDK has tools for modeling with their builder brush, for moving vertexes around, cutting it into more polygons to create more complex models... UDK has the basic tools available in 3DS Max, I guess UDK's modeling is to 3DS Max like MS Paint is to Photoshop.  Once the model is done, I can add textures and then convert it to a static mesh to save it, and static meshes use fewer resources than the brushes.  This has worked great for putting together the meshes for the road pieces.  I hope my inspiration continues, more progress to come!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

On the Road Again

Hey, everyone.  Raven here.  It's been a long time since I've posted... or it seems since anyone has posted...  o.O  My excuse is that I have been drowning in the depths of a bottomless depression, but I think I might have finally clawed my way out of that.  Enough to do a bit more, at least.  What I have been doing is using Photoshop to create the textures for the roads I will be using to create the city streets in UDK.  I have put together a small set of roads so far to include basic straight roads and an intersection, both with and without crosswalks... I'm afraid this is all I have to show for all of this time, but at least it's something!  ^_^

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Following the Map to Success! ^_^

Hey, everyone, Raven Knight here again to report another piece of success.  This involves me finally learning how to create custom texture maps to be used on our custom models, or on models offered for free use.  Using the UVW Unwrap feature of 3DS Max, the upper image below can be used as a texture for a 3D model, as it is shown in the lower picture below.  This will allow me to apply much more detailed textures to my models and also be able to import those textures directly into UDK.  3DS Max does export the UVW texture coordinates when it exports the model, so the same texture map will work in UDK the same as it works in 3DS Max!  I count this as a big step forward, as during my time in school the concept of UVW Unwrap and texture mapping somehow managed to elude me...  Some things are just hard to understand until you really need them and force yourself to sit down and do it!

The UVW mapped textures, this is just a test texture map
The resultant model in 3DS Max with the test texture map applied

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Raven Knight - On The Scale

I have solved the first problem for the game!  I am now able to export a model from 3DS Max, convert it to a .ase file, and then load that file into UDK.  It took a bit of work to get the scaling right, the first time I imported this shop the building was only suitable for giants in the world of UDK... but I have corrected that little problem.  It turns out that 16 UDK units = 1 foot, so I set the 3DS Max system up to scale in feet, 16 3DS Max units = 1 foot, and the results are what this picture shows.  ^_^

Additionally, I found a better way to do the UVW mapping from 3DS Max so I can texture more complex objects with much better accuracy than before.  For this picture I haven't taken the time yet to apply a texture, but this picture is just to test the scale vs. the size of an ordinary character, shown by the skeletal mesh I added to the picture.  So I hope to have more detailed pictures up soon!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

3D Model Issues

Hey, everyone!  There is both good news and bad news to this posting.  The good news is that there are sooooo many generous 3D modelers out there who have made their fantastic work available for free download and even made it free to use in either commercial or non-commercial projects!  I'd like to send out a big THANK YOU to all of you who have made models available for use, it will be a big help in getting this game off the ground... and you helped make it happen!  If you have requested credits, that is absolutely no problems at all, credit should be given where credit is due.

Then there is the bad news...  In the past, I have used 3DS Max's UVW Unwrap to export a map of a 3D model so I know where to align the custom textures since I have been unable to get the textures to export with the .ase file that UDK needs for import.  If anyone reading this knows what I am talking about and has a solution, that would include a way for 3DS Max to export a textured UVW map or have 3DS Max export textures so that UDK can import those textures, I would greatly appreciate any tips.  Otherwise, I have some research to do, which is going to be my next step in this process, which I really hope works out as I found a really nice antique shop offered for free download, it would be perfect for the game, it just has a rather complicated UVW map.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

UDK Makes My Head Hurt

Tigress here! So even though I have plenty of experience in UDK, I used it for several projects, about a year's worth of work in school, it still makes my head hurt.  I just got the newest edition and I have to say I am not exactly pleased with all of the 'new' features.  Not a fan of the fact that every viewports changes when I move just one of them. Sometimes I just want to move slightly and seeing all the viewports move makes me kind of sick. I guess I will be using the 'fullscreen' view option a lot more.

Also, I apparently have conversion issues.  I tried to make a room, but I kept making it a bit too small. Now that I have gotten some of that out of the way, I hope that I will be able to adjust my numbers so that future areas are not as hard to create.

I have the first room completely made, now I just need some textures and then for Raven to finish the bed, dresser, and lamp for the area.  Then I am going to get them into the room. I expect screenshots of it by the end of this upcoming week! Even if we don't have everything ready!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Becoming a

Tigress and I have revamped our roles in the game design process a bit since she prefers the level design process and I have at least some abilities with 3D modeling... so I will be booting up 3DS Max and creating some models for the game, starting with the furniture and other things that are normally found in an average studio apartment.  Keep an eye on this blog if you're interested, as screen shots of these models are sure to follow... assuming they aren't so crappy that I want to hide them in the most remote locations on my hard drive... lol!  Just kidding about that, I feel confident I can have something presentable soon.  Thanks for reading!  ^_^

Changes? Already?

Tigress here, and yes, there have already been changes made to how getting Dream World up and running is going to occur.  First off, I will no longer be doing any modeling.  After attempting to create a simple dresser I gave up.  It took me six tries and I hadn't even come close to getting it right. What's so hard about making a box look interesting anyway? I guess modeling and art really isn't in my genes.  Second, we have opted to go with a standard PC platform instead of the iOS as Apple charges $99/year to be a developer. Taking that cost in addition to the cost of getting a liscence from UDK, at $99 (at first I might add) well that is $200 I know we don't have.  That being said, perhaps we will be able to store some money away and be able to afford the distrubtion cost of $99 when we are ready to publish.

But, on a good note, that means I am going to be able to do more work on levels, planning them out to fruition better and other good things.  It also means that overall, our game is going to be bigger.  And while bigger can sometimes be better, when the game starts out as 8 levels and is now getting bigger, well, in my honest opinion, that is better. At least we will have a game that when people buy (hopefully) they aren't left thinking, "I paid $5 for this? It has hardly any levels. Its like paying a dollar per level, that just sucks."

Anyway, I better get back to work. GDD is almost, well, sort of done. And I am starting to plan the first level layout. Hopefully screen shots come next!

Raven Knight

Hi, I am the other half of ORS (Outer Realms Software).  I am working with Tigress on this project, which is the first game project of ORS.  We will be documenting our progress on this game right here on this blog, we are making it using the Unreal Development Kit with iOS support.  We should be able to release it for the iOS when it is done, so those of you with iPod touch, iPhone, and iPad will be able to download it and play it.  Like Tigress, I will be doing a bit of everything in the game... modeling, level design, coding... that's what has to happen when the company consists of two people working out of their living rooms!  ^_^  So check back here often for the latest update!  Thanks for subscribing to this blog!  ^_^

Introducing Myself!

Hi! Tigress (yes, that is an alias) here! I just wanted to drop a note saying hi to everyone, and to let you know a little about me, the company, and the game.

I am a game dev here at ORS.  I have a degree in Digital Entertainment and Game Design from ITT Tech, and currently I play the role of just about everything as ORS is extremely small.  I will be the writer for the game design document (GDD) for Dream Game (working name), as well as level editor, and simple 3d modeler.

ORS is a game design company that is trying to get a start in a cut throat world, and by start I mean we are brand new! We currently have no games out, and most of you probably haven't heard of us.  But we aren't worried. You'll be speaking our name soon enough!

We decided that we would start by creating a simple game. We don't currently have a name for the game, but we are calling it Dream Game.  The premise of the game is that the lines of reality are being blurred and it is up to the player to restore the balance.  It will be simple in that there is only going to be about 8 'levels' or so. There is much more complexity about the game after the level limit, but I can't go into too much detail, yet!

Well, I'm off to get started on the GDD. Hope to be back with some good news soon!