Endless Runner Unreal Engine Dev Log 3

Contents TL;DR

  • Releasing it on Itch.io, a good feeling to finish something
  • Learning to set a small enough scope so I can finish
  • Unreal Engine is not so bad but not a good engine to start with

Contents

  • What Went Right
  • What could be better?
  • What I would do Next?

This is the Final Post for the Endless Runner series. I have put the game on itch to get it “Published”.

This project lasted about 2 months Nov 2020 – Dec 2020.

get the project template on itch.io

Download the Template: https://itch.io/embed/856240

On a side note Unreal has dropped HTML5 support in version 4.25. While this is not a big deal for some if you are a small team or solo person I think it is good to have multiple platforms supported. Right now this app runs only on my desktop.

What Went Right 😃

Using a game engine like Unreal with a large community and resources for tutorials and documentation, helped a lot in the development. This is important when starting out as you don’t want to be bogged down with trying to figure out technical issues at the same time learning how to make a game.

While unreal has the AAA feel to the development process, it still hides some of the advance feature nicely before presenting it to you. Each tools is separated enough so that you can focus on specific parts of the development process be it programming, graphics, materials or Animation editing. I managed to touch some of these during this short project.

Publish it

Putting it on itch.io This is important to feel that you completed something similar how when I first used Anchor to record my podcast in 2018 and see it live on Spotify.

Set a Small Scope

Setting the scope small by reusing one of the game jam requirement such as the theme is a good starting point to learn the engine and game development in general. It also allows for some creativity to see how you can

Start with an Established Game Mechanic

Starting with a game mechanic such as an endless runner helped me keep on track to the goal, coupled with trying to learn a new game engine.

By modifying the game design type which was an endless runner to be my base gameplay loop helped in making it easier to digest the tutorials and trying to work with blueprints.

Coming from a Web Dev background and some scripting does help when looking at blueprint code as it shows a visual representation of how code flows through the game.

What Went Wrong 😑

Long times

Even with a small scope and as a beginner in game development, it is still a challenge. Things take longer that I expected. Even though this is a small project it took about 2 months to finish doing the work in my free times.

I read somewhere that game development just like software development in general can have time stretches.

No Custom Art Assets

Did not get a chance to work with making my own art assets. I did not get a chance to animate my characters or do much art assets as I was trying to focus on making the game and learning Unreal Engine. I may incorporate something more next time.

Implementing features last minute, I tried to implement a menu system into the game to make it feel more complate. But I felt I did not really plan the UI or Scripting code well enough. While I managed to complete it it felt Tacked on and not Thought out. But doing this made it feel like a complete game rather than a tech demo.

No Game Document

Not writing a game document as I just merely followed a tutorial on an endless runner 🏃‍♂️ template and expanded and tweaked things from there. While I am glad I could finish the game by following the tutorials I felt that if I wrote down some basic documentation about how I wanted to see the mechanics come out it would have left me less confused and directionless about what to do next. I feel that good documentation is key to keep your production going.

Unreal is great but…

Unreal is great but feels bloated for all that power for a simple game. The project file size is about 2-3 GB 😮wow. While I do like that the game engine has options to export to different platforms the engine is huge and feels bloated.

Running blueprints while its nice and gives designers a nice visual tool to see code. It is not optimized and can run into troubles in terms of responsiveness in the game. Also when trying to pass variables to different functions I can get lost trying to re-find where I put the function or which blueprint the variable is hosted.

I am not that good at coding yet and understand mostly Javascript but it would be nice to see all the files and codes in a place like visual studio but I am not reayd to dig down into C++ and I am not sure how much legacy code is there in UE4.

Unreal engine as a whole is great but not a good engine to start with, there is a lot of editor menus you need to dig through, while it is great there is a UI to work on things, sometimes it can be a mess to find things. But Overall Unreal Engine, it is better than Lumberyard. This round after 1 year of trying Lumberyard I managed to finish something.

Next Steps 🗺

For the next game project I will still keep the scope small but include more custom art and designs. I will also plan to write more documentation and do some concept art / design before hand.

I will probable use another game jam theme and am considering to move over to unity3D or Godot or Construct. As I want to make sure I can make something much more and feel like a complete game than a simple tech demo.

It may be a 2D or 3D game but limited to a side scrolling. This is to make the design have some limits.

At this stage I am doing some research, but I am leaning towards unity as there more reusable templates and codes. This may help speed up development time.



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