LONG NGUYEN |

Digital Artist & Game Designer

YPAPS-G TRAILER HITS!!!!!

Oh boy, what a nutty couple of months! It’s been very intense but it was all worth it because I can now present to you the YPAPS-G Trailer! I’m very proud of this thing and hope you get a kick out of it! I’ve got just a ton of things to say but let’s get to the good stuff first!

Making the trailer was fun as hell but I forgot about how much work it takes to get the footage and to edit it all. It didn’t take me too long; I think about 4 hours total including the recording but I had to dust off some cobwebs so to speak. I just had an idea about what it should look like in my head and once I got back into the flow of things it was not hard to achieve.

So let’s get into what’s happened since the last update. Unfortunately, my friend who was going to do the soundtrack was only able to provide 1 track (which I ended up using for the trailer) His plate was already pretty full when he took on this job and so to relieve some pressure (and to stop hounding his ass because that’s what I was beginning to do) I thought it would be best for the long term to put it on hold. I came across the work of another composer named Eric Matyas (www.soundimage.org) who has done a ton of music and when I listened to some of his samples, I thought they fit the game perfectly. I contacted him about usage and everything was good to go!

This all happened about a month after the last posting while I was waiting for the soundtrack to be made. I was working on Out Of Hell and the ideas for YPAPS-G still kept pouring in. I thought of funnier things to add, new features etc. so I went back in. I’m so glad I did because in hindsight, had I just released YPAPS-G a month ago in that form I would have been kicking myself NOW just thinking “Oh man, I should have added this!…and-and THIS! And it would have been even funnier if I did THIS!

As it stands right now, I am completely satisfied with what it is. There were only 3 things I wasn’t able to do but I can let them slide:

1: Long flowing hair for some of the mannequin heads (you know, like one of those Japanese female ghosts that just stand there and people find them scary for some reason?) I originally used the same technique I did for the poop chain (chaining together hair planes) but it just didn’t look the way I wanted it to. Maybe I’ll give it another shot later but I think I’ll just leave it for the time being.

2: Jumping out of the water. I did get it working but something wasn’t quite right with the way the player character was interacting with entering and leaving the collision volumes. At times it would work the way it was intended (you jump up out of the water and then plop back in) but other times you would still be able to continually “swim” up out of the water and into the air if you spammed the swim key at certain times. I’m sure it had something to do with the way I set it all up but I eventually just gave up on the idea because of all the other potential problems it could have caused to the game mechanics.

3: Seperate Leaderboards. I just could not get this to work http://epicleaderboard.com (even the demo that was provided didn’t work for me) No matter what I did I could not get the scores to upload. I emailed support but haven’t heard from them but that’s alright since I’ll just be using the Steam Leaderboards anyway!

The rest of the time I spent testing, testing, TESTING! I wasn’t expecting that much testing! (If I had put this much effort into troubleshooting the Out Of Hell mod it may not have turned out to be the mess that it was *wink*) I was at it literally EVERY DAY. Testing and tweaking and bug hunting and implementing suggestions from people who played the game. It was non-stop.

It’s a very difficult line to walk; making a game challenging without it being frustrating. I did my best to not make it rage-inducing! I wanted it to stay a simple 2-button “Tappy” game and had to remove some of the things or not include others; a dive feature when holding the swim key down (but it actually made people dizzy) autofire when picking up specific items or the second idea of holding down the fire key for autofire (it made the game feel less satifying and less challenging) Player knockback when colliding with an enemy (made for some frustrating deaths so I added a camerashake to give the illusion of impact but in reality you aren’t being forced back when you’re hit) and movement keys as suggested by one tester (which I straight up refused because the addition of movement keys turns it into a different type of game)

There were also a lot of issues that just plagued me for weeks upon weeks. One of them was getting a “Save” feature to work for the scores. I followed tutorial after tutorial and everything seemed to work for the people in the videos but not for me! It was driving me batshit crazy until after week 3 when I nearly gave up on that feature. It was only then when I was casually reading up on a save system someone had made that I came across ONE. SINGLE. LINE of code that changed everything.

” -MultiprocessSaveConfig “

The people in these tutorials were all launching their game with PIE but I was launching it as a Standalone game. In order for it to work in a Standalone game you needed to add that line to “PLAY STANDALONE GAME, additional parameters” if you were using UE4’s SAVECONFIG method.

*forehead slap* No one even mentioned that shit!

After that was solved, it was onto another issue: sometimes the character would go off-kilter which would cause the level tiles to spawn at an angle. I checked all my code, went through all the models again to make sure their pivots were all aligned yet it was still happening! It took me until OCT. 16 to fix it! I tried narrowing it down and noticed it was only occuring during the last level. It just so happened that a single ninja was twirling my way and when he kicked me, I noticed the crates moved a few degrees! THAT WAS IT! The direction of his kick was what was knocking me off my axis and so everything appeared to be spawning crooked when it was actually the player trajectory that was crooked! That ninja was the only type that had a tornado kick which hit horizontally and that is why it wasn’t happening anywhere else. The relief I felt when that got fixed is…indescribable.

There was also the issue of the the player character suddenly dying when it reached tile 156 (when playing as a certain character) Why that tile? Took me days, after going through a ton of code to realize “Oh wait, am I just hitting the “Level Boundary?” and it turns out I was. I think that “Endless Runner” type games have it so that the player simply runs in-place and the tile spawns underneath them, moves and then disappears behind the player giving the illusion that the player is running through 3D space. In doing it this way you could have an infinite amount of tiles to run through.

I did it the stupid way, in that the player actually moves through 3D space and the tiles spawn as they move and get destroyed as they pass. It’s too late to change now but that’s something I learned for future projects of this nature.

I also didn’t know about things like Deltatime and locking movement to framerate. I didn’t realize it until I packaged the game and was testing it out on a friend’s laptop (it was an older machine) and noticed that even though the framerate was low, the movement of some of the actors was just really, really slow. I looked into it when I got home and learned about using Deltatime. That was another big plus for testing, testing, TESTING!

The last big problem was that everything worked fine until about the 60th tile where I would get huge drops in framerate (I’m talking a 50-60% decrease) I went back and restructured a lot of code so that it didn’t rely on ticks so much and the problem still persisted. Eventually I found out that some of the things I was spawning (items/weapons/enemies) weren’t actually getting destroyed when they were no longer in the player’s sight. So everything was fine until we got to tile 60 and there were literally HUNDREDS of actors spawned off-screen and eating up all the memory! It turned out to be a silly little oversight that had to do with setting the wrong collision and…you know what, it’ll just take too long to explain my setup so just know that it was a stupid little mundane mistake that I made. 🙂

All in all, it was an absolute blast making this game from the beginning design stages all the way to the trailer. I learned so much in such a (relatively) short amount of time that I can apply to Out Of Hell (I actually went back and fixed some of the code in Out Of Hell using what I learned from making YPAPS-G) I learned even more about myself and how to keep focused yet stay balanced (I never once burnt-out) I just like to think of this as a little 2-3 month venture off the main path to gain some tools and learn some extra knowledge that will make my main journey a little easier.

I’m going to go even more in-depth with all of this and offer some words of advice when I write the Developer Journal for the game but right now what I have to do is maybe go through and check for redundant code and assets, implement Steam Achievments and Leaderboards (there’s tutorials out there for it)

So there you have it guys! I’ll update you when it’s all uploaded onto the Steam page. The game will cost 2 bucks and I’d love it if you could help spread the word about this nutty game since I suck at PR! 🙂

Well Guys, I Guess This Was Just Inevitable, But…

What?

Alright, it’s REALLY done now! ;)

Whew! I’m probably going to regret this when I have to get up for work in about 3 hours but I don’t care anymore! I just finished this thing up and was too excited about posting it so I’ll just do it right now!

This here is Glass Lake; I’ve changed the name from Widow’s Lake which you can see on the old map there:

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I honestly can’t believe how fast time is zipping by these days. I didn’t realize we were halfway through July already! Cripes man!

Speaking of time flying by, I was cleaning out my closet earlier and came across my old backup CD’s and DVD’s from 2003 all the way until 2009! That was a blast from the past! Thank goodness faster, cheaper and more reliable means of backup became available!

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For this map I had to do a lot of signage (Glass Lake is a tourist area of sorts) and I actually got some PTSD from when I used to design and make signage for a living! *shudder* That was an…interesting decade to say the least but hey, at least the in-game stuff looks pretty authentic because of it!

I’m going to keep this one short and sweet because I’ve got to sleep. I’ll be starting the Sewers and Service Tunnel maps in a day or two! Enjoy!

Oh, How Far It’s Come!

I’ll be honest, after abandoning this map out of frustration (it was the first map I started building in the UDK) I never really imagined the day when I’d be revisiting it again. I remember being blown away at the time by how it looked but comparing the two now is kind of like looking at an old photo of yourself in Highschool and just chuckling at the hairstyle you used to have and the way you use to dress, even though at the time you thought it looked AWESOME! What a contrast.

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It took just a little longer than I anticipated but it’s done now. There are still a lot of details missing in the washroom areas and elsewhere but I’ll polish them up later with more garbage, grime and graffiti (especially in the washrooms)

I ran into a small problem and I’d love it if someone posted an opinion or solution for this but I was thinking of taking out the “jump” function and adding in a “vault” system instead.

This is to get around the problem of being able to walk or stand on thin, unwalkable things such at the top of a fence, a thin railing or jumping onto and standing on say, a fire hydrant. I can’t really think of another way around it so instead of being able to jump, perhaps have the player be able to vault over low walls, hand rails etc. with the push of a button instead?

I thought about adding in some function to maybe force a player off of an unwalkable object by pushing them one direction or another but it seems like it could create all sorts of movement glitches down the road. What do you think? Let me know!

Another Hike Through The Woods!

Hello all! I hope everyone is staying safe and sound during these times!

I’ve been keeping myself busy and mostly putting my time to good use! Over half of the map is now complete and I figure I have about another 2 weeks left of work in it. It’s been a pretty fun area to build and certainly eye-opening in some aspects. I learned some new things working on a huge open map like this that I otherwise wouldn’t have with a smaller or indoor map. It also runs pretty well so far and I haven’t even optimized it yet outside of LOD’s!

I did run into a few problems but I got through them fairly quickly

Problem 1 – I started to test it out in Full-screen mode and ran into this beauty:

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I call this the “Sack” Post-Process because it looks like a sack of shi-

It took me hours searching for answers online and I started messing around with different screen resolutions and stuff in Blueprints but nothing helped. The only way it looked normal was playing it in Windowed-mode.

It then occurred to me that the artifacts in Full-screen mode looked a lot like the over-sharpening artifacts in image editing software. Well, I did use a Sharpening Post-Process so…could that be the culprit? I turned it off and sure enough, it was! It turns out the sharpening effect I was using wasn’t all that great so I found another one, tweaked it and now I still get some fairly crisp visuals without the artifacts when playing in Full-screen.

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Editor Mode

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Full-screen Mode

Problem 2 – Hearing about all the new improvements on Realtime GI, I decided to check out the latest version of UE4 (4.24) After it installed, I migrated the project over to it and then I was greeted with this:

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This should only take a minute to recompile!

Normally it sits at the 3k range so yeah, not happening. I promptly went back to 4.20. Besides, I worked so long on the current lighting setup, I couldn’t possibly throw it all away now and the fact that they removed Matinee is a deal-breaker anyway.

Problem 3 – I needed a way to add more depth but I wanted the old-school distance-based fog from older game engines. It seems that it was taken out in favor of the more physically correct Atmospheric and Exponential Heightfog I guess? Even so, I really wish they kept Distance-based fog for people who just wanted the old solution. I currently only use the Exponential Heightfog for light rays and the Atmospheric Fog to affect my ambient lighting (It’s weird I know. Don’t ask me why that is, I only discovered that it just does)

If I mess with any of the settings to thicken the fog, it alters everything else so I was able to find a post process that mimics Distance Fog instead.

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No fog

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Distance Fog

It’s a subtle effect for sure but I think it makes a big difference. You can even crank it up to Silent Hill-levels of fog!

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Problem 4 – The foliage, specifically the Spruce branches were too…thick? (I can’t think of a better term) I went through and made some changes to my Foliage Shader and got some better results:

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So after all that, I recorded another video for you guys. I can’t wait to add in the sound effects, the leaf and mist particles and all the other bells and whistles but that will come later down the road!

Enjoy guys! And by the way, I’ve added a link to my Youtube channel on the right! Why not head on over and watch some videos of me absolutely getting f***ed over in games? 😀

Hammering Away!

I’ve been taking advantage of this time off work and have been hammering away at the project every day. This is the absolute biggest map I’ve ever attempted and it’s way farther along than the UDK version that I worked on so long ago.

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Just comparing what is visually possible now in UE4 compared to the UDK years ago is astounding. Just thinking, if I had completed Out Of Hell(UDK)/Infernal Dead/Daemonicon back then, it still would not have been the game that I had truly set out to build. As you all know I had a ton of problems with the UDK and I would have had to just make due or settle on taking out a lot of features. As with the mod version of Out Of Hell, I would have completed another linear single-player game but deep down I would not have been truly satisfied. If I had released this for the UDK and then seen what was capable with UE4 now, I’d have been way too tempted to remake it again!

Because of the power of UE4, the fact that there is a Marketplace where assets/blueprints can be purchased if needed and tutorials on anything (I mean ANYTHING you want to do) your imagination is the limit on making the game you always dreamed of.

I’m still going at it and I have some really unique ideas that you really haven’t seen in a horror game before. I promise this game will terrify you (which is why I’m so secretive about some of the details) so hang in there guys! I’ll see you next time!

EDIT: I was just playing around with some LUT’s and a few of them actually make the scenery pretty stylized! I’m already going for a very contrasted look but these other LUT’s kick it up a level! Which do you like? Let me know in the comments! (Maybe I can just include all of them later and let you decide in the Options menu with “Original” being the default?)

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