Meet Derek Z.! He works with instructor Cameron as part of Game-U’s New Jersey Accelerate program. To learn more about Unreal Engine 4, a professional tool used to develop games, Derek’s building a spooky forest cabin complete with its own ghostly monster. See for yourself!
Inside the forested, nighttime environment he designed in an earlier lesson, Derek set up his cabin scene by first creating a long, cylindrical object and giving it a wood material (surface). Using this custom 3D log model and Unreal’s Blueprint system, Derek next created a blueprint that calls for a stack of eight or nine logs, one on top of the other, to produce a wall prop. Derek instantiated the prop several times to create walls for the cabin, ultimately coming up with an entrance, a connecting hallway, and a roof placeholder. That’s plenty of scene available to introduce the cabin’s ghost! Derek got to work on that character next.
Derek created the ghost in Blueprints, and used nodal programming to code its AI (artificial intelligence). When the player ventures into the cabin, he’s accompanied by a following camera (the gamer’s eyes) that’s just over his right shoulder, and his only source of illumination is a flashlight. Once the player comes within a certain distance of the ghost, who’s based in the cabin, the nodal programming kicks in and drives the ghost around the corner and into the camera’s view. Notice anything strange about this character? Exactly – it’s wavy! That’s due to the blueprint Derek and Cameron programmed. They replaced the figure’s default material with a flag material, producing a supernatural-looking, undulating surface. Meet the wavy man!
While Derek’s game is still a work in progress, it’s shaping up nicely. Good work, Derek! Unreal Engine can be tricky, but it’s a great tool to learn and you’re picking up skills quickly. Keep at it! We’re excited to see where this project takes you.