Poll Results!

Thanks to everyone that voted! I think it’s a pretty safe bet to go with the No HUD route. I came up with some neat alternative ways to display your health and ammo. The method for checking your health is quite unique; I haven’t seen it done in any game before.

poll

I’ve finished up the functionality (ADS, reloading, spread, etc.) for all the weaponry. I have Fully Automatic weapons, Semi-Automatics, Pistols, Shotguns, Bow and Arrow, melee weapons and I finished up the monster AI as well. Surprisingly, that all took me only a fraction of the time to do compared to the interaction/inventory! The inventory believe it or not was just a huge pain but all the legwork is done now and it’s a pretty robust system (outlines on interactable objects, picking up items, items counts that stack, item descriptions, dropping items from the inventory into the world)

Thanks again for voting! See you soon!

Need An Opinion!

Hey guys! It would be great if you just took a second to vote on which sort of HUD you would prefer to see in Out Of Hell! No matter which one you choose, I have some pretty creative ideas for them all so let me know!

(poll finished)

Framework Almost There…

I’ve been spending all of my time with Blueprints work and I have some pretty great things incorporated. Thank goodness there’s just a sea of tutorials out there! Back when I was trying (keyword here is trying) to code for the original Out Of Hell there weren’t as many thorough tutorials with Uscript (that I could find anyway) From what little I was able to grasp, I ended up just butchering the available code; cutting out what I didn’t need, adding pieces here and there until it was just a giant mishmash of hacky Frankenstein code! At one point, the error log was something ridiculous like 12 or 20 megabytes or something! That’s a HUGE text file!

Anyway, with the amount of tutorials out there I’m able to put together much cleaner code without warnings or errors and learn a little more along the way! My grasp of Blueprints is still novice-level at best but hey, it’s better than not knowing anything at all! And I actually forgot how much fun working on the coding side of things was and it’s sooooo gratifying when you get something to work the way you wanted it to. And as I said in a previous post, I now know what all goes into the code because I’m doing it, I’ve made notes in the Blueprints along the way and so if some bug appears later I may have an easier time tracking it down.

I gotta say though that with the amount of new, quality Frameworks appearing in the Marketplace I’ve had to fight the temptation to just fork over 20-40 bucks or so and just buy something pre-made. Who knows, maybe I will give in to that temptation if something just isn’t working out for me in the future but at the moment, what I have serves as a good base.

I just finished up the Inventory System earlier today and will soon be working on Monster AI and Weaponry. I’ve found that as an Artist I have to constantly resist the urge to make things “Pretty” first. If this were me a few years ago I’d have the Title Screen, Options Screen, HUD Graphics etc. all looking as slick as possible BEFORE even delving into how to make them work! This time, there are only ugly placeholder graphics everywhere but the game is functional at least! I’ll go back later and beautify it, which is the way it should be imho.

Thanks for dropping by and I’ll leave you with a screen of the first level you’ll be playing through in the final version of Out Of Hell! Doesn’t that make you just salivate?! ;p

test1

PREPARE TO PAY 79.99 FOR THIS!!!!!!!

EDIT: So I decided to revisit some of the old features and spice them up a bit. Interaction was originally a lot like it was in OoH 2009 where as you approach an item, door or note that you could interact with, there would be a small indicator hovering over it that said “TAKE, READ, PUSH” etc. I’ve now changed it so that if you looked at something and it could be interacted with, an outline would appear and a crosshair icon would also appear (eventually this would be an icon of a hand or something) I realize it’s redundant to have both a crosshair icon AND an outline so which of the two would you prefer? I basically added both because it was mostly practice to see if I could.

You’ll also notice that there’s a blue and red bar representing stamina and health. These graphics are just placeholders for me to test if certain things are working. In the end, there will be no stamina bar or health indicator. I’m trying to do things a little differently and so when the player is low on stamina, they’ll obviously move slower and have to rely on audio cues (heavy panting ==> light breathingย  ==> no sound)

I came up with a unique (I can’t remember any other games doing this) method for health and damage but I’ll keep that close to the chest for the time being. I promise it will be enough to always keep you on your toes when facing a single monster or a mob of monsters! Anyway, back to cleaning some of this shit up (look at that tangled mess of spaghetti in the third picture!)

out1out2out3

Oh Man, Where To Start…

I look back on the last 10 years (yes, it has been a FREAKING DECADE since the release of OoH 2009, can you believe that?!) I just think about all the time that I squandered, all that time just…fumbling around in the dark, so to speak. How in the hell did I let it all slip away?

It was last year when I kind of hit rock bottom. It was just about life in general, my own personal development and the state of the project. There were times when I’d find a quiet place outside, sit on a bench with a cup of black coffee and just contemplate about my direction. There hasn’t really been a time in my life where anything has gone completely smoothly. Why do things have to be so difficult sometimes? Why couldn’t life just be straightforward?

When it came to this project there were always stumbling blocks. Whether it was the Engine itself or the Apps I use, there were always issues and limitations that I had to figure a way around. Any time I made a small advancement, there would just be something that would set me back 5 steps. Constant annoyances and frustrations sap away energy that should be put into creating. I really, really don’t know how I’ve been able to overcome these problems (I’m stubborn I guess and a little on the batshit-crazy side) but I’ve somehow been able to do it.

2019 so far has been the year of breakthroughs for me, both on a personal level and with this game. I just got tired of coasting through life like a lazy idiot and finally got my shit together. I stopped procrastinating because that is how 10 goddamn years passes by and it just feels like 2.

I reached several personal goals (I won’t go into them but they were very important) and took care of some health-related things I kept putting off. I made effort, I mean real effort, moving this game forward.ย You would be astonished if I were to show you exactly what it was I was doing behind the scenes for the last 5 months with this game. I crunched a lot of stuff in a relatively short amount of time. I managed to keep researching new methods of doing things in the Engine and even learned a few new programs pretty quickly. Sometimes I don’t know how I’m able to absorb all of this shit without going completely mad.

Interestingly, as if the Universe itself were giving me a nod to continue onward, out of the blue I recieved emails from several different contacts that I hadn’t spoken to in 5-7 years! Not only that but also a recent flow of emails from fans all wishing me well, telling me how inspiring OoH 2009 was to them and to keep going forward. I seriously don’t know why you guys have stuck by me for this long but thank you.

Jun3

I want to tell you about possibly the largest advancement ever made for this project. It is literally a game-changer. I managed to put together a fully dynamic lighting system and it runs smooth and looks good! Well, system is perhaps a bit misleading because there isn’t a drag and drop solution to the way the lighting is set up. There’s just a ton of fuckery going on here so let’s just say I came up with some methods to do this. Now, none of it is physically correct but hey, it works and it looks fine to me!

Ages ago I fiddled around with UE4’s LPV system but that’s been officially abandoned for some time and there hasn’t been advancement on the Dynamic Global Illumination front. I needed to have a fully dynamic lighting system for this to be the game that I wanted. When I couldn’t do this, I settled for Static Lighting and used workarounds to somewhat achieve the gameplay mechanics that I needed. This was all well and good but the problem with Static Lighting was the ridiculous render times it took on a large level. It takes time for the Editor to calculate all that gorgeous GI and bounced lighting but it got to the point where I just got sick and tired of waiting and I couldn’t work with it anymore. I decided I had to find another way around or not continue on at all. I was at that point.

Typically, I would build the map and set up lighting without rendering it (in essence, working blind) and in the morning before I left for work, I would render out the map. For the GPD Level, this process took nearly 4 hours! You can see why it takes me so long to do things. Any time I lit a new area of the map, I could only imagine what it would look like and if I wanted to see exactly what it looked like, I would have to wait 4 hours. It really sucked when the lighting didn’t look the way I thought it would have, so I’d have to make changes and then it would take me another 4 hours to see the result. Sometimes, I would come home to discover that the Editor crashed at the 92% mark and I’d have to do it all again. FUN! If there was a way for the Engine to ignore any data that hadn’t been changed and only render out any part of the Lightmap that was altered, that would speed up the process! But I’m not a programmer so I don’t know what that would entail.

Another problem was the Lightmap filesize. I essentially rendered each map 4 times to cover a morning, afternoon, evening and night phase. 4 iterations of a single map at over 700mb a piece?! Ridiculous.

Jun15

OOH-GPD1 is the Dynamic light version. NEWFOG is the the Static Light version. Look at the differences in the .uasset filesize.

Now with the Dynamic Light workflow, I lose the precalculated GI but am able to fake some of it to acceptable levels. Everything I see is in real-time, no more waiting 4 hours to see the results of any changes.

Jun4

You may be worried that because all the lighting is dynamic that the game would run poorly (Dynamic shadows are very costly) but I’ve done what I could to counter that. Almost all meshes in the game have multiple LOD‘s, I’ve set up Cull Volumes everywhere, Shadow-casting lights have cull distances, I’ve tried to limit the overdraw and my Materials are relatively inexpensive.

Jun1

Lots of Speedtree assets and grass naturally swaying and reacting to the wind yet still running at good framerates!

Jun10

I just love how organic Speedtree assets look!

It also took me some time to find the sweet spot for shadow quality but I think I got it. Initially the shadows looked even better but then I started getting these random Grey Screen Of Death crashes multiple times in an hour (tried the latest Drivers and even rolled back Drivers to no avail)

I had to set up autobackups to occur every 4 minutes because it was so bad. I finally narrowed it down to the lighting and shadow quality putting a strain on the GPU, made the necessary changes and haven’t had a crash since.

Jun11Jun9Jun8Jun7

Jun6

You’ll be seeing a lot of these guys…in one form or another. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Jun5Jun2

When I first built the Day/Night cycle I was using Sequencer because Matinee was deprecated at this point. Despite the recommendation to use the advanced Sequencer compared to Matinee, I found myself having a tough time with it and found it very unintuitive! There are some quirks that really make me scratch my head as to why they chose to do things a certain way (But then again, that’s with every program I use) Since I already knew how to use Matinee because it was in the UDK, I got it up and running very quickly using just my knowledge from the UDK days.

Jun12

Timeline in Matinee. It’s streamlined.

Jun14

Jun13

Exact same Timeline converted to Sequencer. Ugh.

Im hoping (the word here is HOPING) to have a playable demo for some close friends in a couple months time to see if they like the direction I’m taking Out Of Hell.

Thanks for stopping by and now I’ve got to spend the next few hours backing up all my work!

Into Hell?

Hello guys! Unfortunately I don’t have any screens to show off this time; I just wanted to drop everyone a line so that you know I’m still here!

The last few months have been…intensive with this game, to say the least. I’ve been doing a lot of work under the hood and behind the scenes. Much of the work is with the framework of the game itself, which is why I can’t really show anything.

Some time ago I bought a framework off Marketplace which had all the bells and whistles; picking up items, movement, sprinting, health system, door physics etc. While it is a great system, I ran into some issues and bugs that I couldn’t fix. I thought that this would be a pain down the road if anyone else played the game and ran across bugs; I’d have to constantly try contacting the author of this framework to get these issues resolved. I decided to just build my own from the bottom up and that way, I would know what went into the Blueprints and thus could have an easier time troubleshooting.

I’ve been training through tutorial after tutorial for the last few months and I have some pretty neat things happening now: Full movement, jump, sprinting with stamina drain, panting/breathing, health and damage, flashlight, picking up items, examining items and notes etc.

This game is going to incorporate almost all of the gameplay ideas I had for Daemonicon with some of the themes and story elements of Out Of Hell. It is going to be a unique beast for sure!

Speaking of Out Of Hell, I am thinking of changing the name of this game (yes, AGAIN) This is mainly to avoid any confusion with the 2009 Out Of Hell mod and besides, this IS a different game at its core anyway. I was thinking “Into Hell” would be enough to differentiate it yet still have that spiritual successor sort of feel to it? Let me know what you guys think in the comments! Until next time, rest assured I’ve got my eye on the prize.

Mind = Blown!

I have this habit of watching videos of people working on art, while I’m working on art (got dual monitors) I find that it helps me stay focused, it passes the time and quite often I’ll learn something new along the way. So while I was cruising for some videos on speed modelling, I found some stuff about Photogrammetry and man, it is awesome!

I had heard about this years and years ago and remember being fascinated by it. What I saw back then was very early stuff. There were some cool scans but it all seemed complicated and probably not suitable for game development.

Fast forward to now and I had forgotten all about this topic. Now, it seems that not only can it be done but it’s available to anyone with a phone and computer! The first video I saw was this one:

AMAZING! Here is another:

It’s an exciting time to be an Indie Game Dev! I think that this is how a lot of things will be done with games as the technology moves forward. I haven’t tried it myself…yet. The only thing holding me back is probably the amount of time and cleanup it would take to get a clean, game-ready model. But man…I’m so very, very tempted!

I think that maybe down the road I’ll give it a try and see what I can come up with. It would be a good reason to get out in nature, spend some time in the fresh air and snap a bunch of pictures. It would be pretty fun and come to think of it, before I discovered texture repository websites years ago I pretty much spent a bunch of time outside just taking pictures for my textures! Perhaps I may use this technique on certain objects and keep it minimal to keep the art direction consistent. We’ll see!

EDIT: I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and is having a great New Year so far! Sorry I forgot to make that post but as you get older the days and weeks just all kinda meld into this…one…long day…sort of…thing. I dunno!

Epic Games, I #@%#$^ LOVE YOU! ๐Ÿ˜

Just a small post here but I was so excited I couldn’t help myself. I came across this announcement yesterday that Epic Games is launching their own store!

https://www.unrealengine.com/en-US/blog/announcing-the-epic-games-store

I haven’t thought too hard about what I was going to do when the game was completed (since it is still a little while away and I’m just focusing on actually creating it at this point) I knew that I was going to take it commercial but I didn’t know if I was going to do it through Steam, a Publisher or go door-to-door carrying a musty gym bag selling Out Of Hell DVDs! ๐Ÿ˜†

This announcement just made that decision much easier for me! The best thing about it is that Epic basically waives the 5% royalties fee (it is included in the 12% if we use UE4)

It kind of boggles my mind how/why a huge company would do this. I mean, Epic has been so good to their Indie development community for a long, long time. They release cutting-edge tools and a powerful, constantly-updated engine for us to build things with, demand a pretty damn low royalty percentage and now…they’ve made a platform to help us sell our hard work and….also waive the royalty fee?!?! It’s almost too good to be true for a person in my position but hey, I’ll take it!!!!

Thank you Epic Games, I #@%#$^ LOVE YOU! ๐Ÿค—๐Ÿค—๐Ÿค—๐Ÿค—๐Ÿค—๐Ÿค—๐Ÿค—๐Ÿค—