In this evaluation I am going to be going through my methods and techniques I used when creating my game with in the Unreal Engine. I will be talking about each step of development and will critically analyze my process to the final product.
The first thing I felt like I could of used some improvement and prior knowledge when it came to importing actually assets into Unreal. Saving the individual layers of the images of the assets I created within Photoshop was a very long process to import my assets. After I had already imported most of my assets I discovered a way to import a sprite sheet, with multiply assets on one page.
If I knew this before I imported all my assets separately I could of saved a large portion of my time. From now on creating spritesheets will be the way I will import assets into Unreal from Photoshop.
I am most happy with my damage system I implemented within my game. It is the most detailed aspect within my game. I am also happy with the process and techniques I used while making this damage system. The entire process went very smoothly with very little issues.
I feel like the main reason it was so successful was due to the switch of states blueprints. This made it possible to easy choose different animations for different events that happen within the game. It made the blueprint tab very tidy and easy to understand all the different aspects within the animation blueprints.
Before using this technique I used multiple blueprints and overall it looked very messy and was somewhat difficult to easily read all the blueprints.
Health Bar Issues
Creating the actual functionality of the health bar was relatively easy, apart from the problem with making it display within game. This was overcome by making a simple blueprint that tells the system to put the bar into the viewport.
The main issue I had was changing the progress bar into a graphic I made within Photoshop. I used the same process I used when changing the source image to one of my own assets. Doing this however did change the actual image to hearts I made but it didn’t seem to be linked to the damage system. The heart health bar didn’t go down when the player took damage, it was just a static image that did not move according to the remaining percentage of health. I couldn’t find a way to solve this issue no matter what I tried to do. I spent a lot of time trying to resolve this issue, so I decided to give up and continue putting my energy into other aspects within my game. If I was to do this again I would of tried to find a way to implement my own health bar graphic.
I am happy with the force I added to the knockback animation in order to make the animation have that old school feel to the game. The process was a lot simpler than I thought it would of been. All I needed to do was to add a force blueprint into my knockback animation, edit the value of the axis and it created a great knockback effect. I feel like this was a very easy technique in order to create this animation.
Adding Damage Assets
Overall I am pleased with the damage asset I made in the form of spikes. I wish I made more elements within the game that could have damaged the player. I feel like I wasn’t able to add more content like this because of slightly bad time management. I underestimated the time it would take to implement all the other aspects and content into my game and because of this I wasn’t able to add a fair amount of content that I wanted to.
Throughout my process of creating the game I came across a number of bugs that I was able to fix before the deadline. The most time consuming issue I had with the game was a bug where the jumping animation would clip through all the platforms it jumps onto. I spent a large portion of my time trying to fix this issue, that I could of spent on other aspects of my game. I was happy when I found this bug but it was a rather simpler bug that could of been fixed quite easily. I am disappointed that it took me so long to solve this issue. It was as simple as not changing a setting within the edit menu for specific sprite animation flipbook. Because of this simple bug it greatly reduced the amount of time I could of spent creating other content for my game. I should of been able to fix this bug a lot quicker than it actually took.
To add collectable coins was very simple and I was happy with how little time it took to implement this aspect into my game. All you have to do is make it so when the character overlapse the coin it gets destroyed. I also added a sound effect, so when you destroy the coin it makes a sound. One thing I would’ve liked to have added into my was a collectible counter in the user interface, so the player could see how many they have collected. Unfortunately I didn’t have enough time to add this into my game ,which I am very disappointed I wasn’t able to add this element. Again I believe this was due to bad time management.
I wanted to create a main menu that the player could click on to start the level. I came up with idea very close to the end of the deadline. Because of this I wasn’t able to make a very complicated main menu. The buttons were very simply and I didn’t have enough time to make a good aesthetic graphic for the buttons. Overall I am happy with the functionality of the main menu but it doesn’t l0ok very nice. If I was to do this again i would of created graphics for when you hover over the button it would change colour and in general look better.
I showed a number of people my game in order to get some feedback. The feedback was mainly positive especially when it came to the visuals of the game. They mainly said that the graphics are detailed and good but what I needed to improve was the content within my game. The game seemed to be fairly short they said.
I fully recognise this issue because a few days before the assignment was due I had a crash within Unreal Engine and I lost all of my progress of that day. It didn’t seem to save the content within my game and it as coming up with errors in finding certain content. Because of this I wasn’t able to make the level as complex as I wanted it to be. This was a major set back and made it so i couldn’t design a complex level like I originally planned. Instead I had to make a short level that just demonstrates the main features of my game.
If i was to do this again I would ensure that my game had multiple back up saves so I wouldn’t have an issue with loosing content. I was saving regularly because I have drilled it into my system because of previous instances where my files had got corrupted, that i must always save regularly.
I also got the feedback that my animations in the form of flip book could of used with some improvement. This i completely agree with. Again I had another technical difficulty where my sprite sizes didn’t seem to be the same size as each other. This made a strange issue where the idle animation would be a lot large than my walking animation which just didn’t look right at all. I spent a long time with a tutor trying to resolve this issue by making the images the same size, but in the end we were not able to make the sprites be the same size.
Because of this I had to draw the animation frames all over again which took a rather long time to do to begin with. I had a fairly limited time to complete the frames again so I didn’t put as much effort into creating the animations. I did manage to scrap together some basic animations for my game. However this was not to the degree the animations where before so they did end up looking a lot worse than before. So i completely understand that criticism. If I was to do this in the future I would ensure that the canvas size for my assets where all the same size to make sure that this issue doesn’t help again.
People praised the depth of field I had within the game. This was simply done by adding different layers to the game. I would assets such as trees and other objects in front of path to give the a sense of a depth of field. The character would walk behind certain objects and would be blocked by certain assets. I wanted to make this even more complex by adding parascrolling into my game but I ended up not having enough time to implement this into my game.
Overall I am happy with my final product despite the fact i had a number of set backs along the way. I learnt a great number of new skills during this process that i wouldn’t of learnt otherwise. There are a number of things that took me a lot longer than i originally wanted it to. If i knew the shortcuts to these originally i could have shaved a lot of time off it. I really underestimated the time some things would take and I feel like my time management could of been improved.