Meet Matthew! He works with instructor Cameron as part of Game-U’s Accelerate program. Matthew’s got dual interests in games and sci-fi, and his latest game – put together in the industrial-strength Unreal engine – reflects both!
Portals play a significant role in games and science fiction. Wormholes from Star Trek or Stargatetransport witting (and sometimes unwitting!) characters across vast distances in time or space. Interdimensional shortcuts in games like Portal 2 add depth to puzzle challenges. Nether portals in Minecraft allow the player transport to the Nether. Matthew’s portals follow these examples, but he’s got his own twist that presents players with a strategy challenge – one portal transports to a range of locations! Matthew visualizes a quest game populated with numerous portals, where each portal randomly chooses an exit portal from a range programmed into its controlling code.
Since cool mechanics like this usually take some trial and error to build, Matthew’s currently working in a test area – or lab – where he can debug any problems that arise without complicating his game. When there are more than two portals in the lab, each activated portal transports the player to one of several other portals determined by Matthew. Portal #3, for example, can potentially send the player to Portal #1, #6, or #9. Where the player ultimately exits depends on the randomizer built into the code. Notice the smooth transition from portal to portal in the video? That’s a credit to the guys’ eye for detail! Matthew and Cameron programmed Unreal to record the player’s exact speed, angle, and position when entering a portal. When the player exits at another portal, Unreal uses the saved data to set the player’s new speed, angle, and position, thus creating a seamless transport experience. Once Matthew finishes the portal mechanic and implements it game-wide, it’s up the player to test the portals’ range and map out the quickest route to the finish line!
Awesome stuff on display here, Matthew! Your portals game is shaping up, and we’re looking forward to playing it for ourselves. Thanks for sharing, and keep in touch!