Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Ryan Badurina - Jan. 9, 2017 PPJ [Winter Break]

Back in the saddle again.  Been a while since I've done one of these.

Sadly, there isn't anything too new to show.  I didn't spend as much time over the break to do work relevant to Shadow Circuit.  Most of my time was either with family, friends, work at Virtua, and work on personal projects within Unreal.  I mostly wanted to better my knowledge of the software and understand some key components for future production on Shadow Circuit.  I did work on a few more platform pieces before the Christmas rush to get something done, but I didn't spend too much time on them.


These are mostly just pieces that were missing from the original screenshots last term, and my desire to design pieces that are both unusual but also make sense in the game world concept.  Shape sizes were determined based on original pieces, and done to add more variety and structure to the platform.

Hours:
  -Platform Piece Designing:  1 Hour
  -Platform Piece Modeling:  2 Hours
Total Hours:  3 Hours

Pros:
  -A few more modular pieces are completed for the platform.

Cons:
  -Not as much work on my part was spent on the project.  Personal life with work and family took priority.

Team PPJ 1/9/17 [Winter Break]

During the break, several key people spent a good deal of time working on the project. Progress was mainly directed towards finalizing the game loop, and now our game ends and restarts after a specified number of goals is reached. In addition, certain aspects of our game (primarily the whip) have been ported to C++ from Unreal's default blueprints system, in order to improve performance and enhance our ability to refine and iterate on these assets.

Visuals wise, progress was made on various miscellaneous art assets, including an improved ribbon particle on the ball, fireworks that deploy when a goal is scored, and an awesome holographic goal net.

Game ball's new ribbon VFX

Fireworks VFX

Holographic net texture


Going forward, we plan to focus on implementing the full menu/game loop as well as iterating on the AI character. A rough model is in the works but has not yet been implemented.

Pros:
  • Key progress made in porting blueprints to C++
  • Game loop is in place and is ready for expansion
Cons:
  • Not much art progress
  • Many team members weren't able to work during break (which is fine, it's a break)

Monday, January 9, 2017

Mike Cancelosi Winter Break


Over the winter break, I did a great deal.

For the programming side, I , along with Mike Dilucca, focused on finishing the game loop. As of right now, the game ends and restarts after the desired number of goals is reached. We also started on the physical menu, but that is very early in development. We also moved ahead with the AI, but right now we are waiting for the whip to be completed in C++.

For the art side, I focused mainly on quality of life assets. For example, I created a better texture for the goal net. I also improved the center white bit for the gravity wells. Also I added particle effects for the ball so it is easier to see. I also made some simple fireworks for when a goal is scored. While most of the particle effects still need some work, the simple fact that there are vfx adds a lot to the game.

Hours spent : A lot.. at least 30.

Pros: Got a lot of work done over the break.
         The simple vfx for the ball adds so much and makes it easy to follow in space.

Cons: I was hoping to get more work done on the menu

Andrew DiNunzio PPJ 1/9/17 [Winter Break]

Over winter break, I spent a lot of time gaining a better understanding of C++ and how to work with it in Unreal Engine.

I continued working through the Unreal Udemy course, which helped my understanding of working with C++ in UE4 tremendously. I've learned how to make C++ classes that Blueprints can inherit from (and that the reverse isn't possible), and I found out how to make interfaces that blueprints must implement to help with input to the whip. I also learned how to make C++ class members available in Blueprints, so designers can tinker with them without having to look at C++ code.

I also read the first 4 chapters of C++ Primer (by Stanley Lippman, Josée Lajoie, and Barbara E. Moo) and the first 3 chapters of CLRS, and I'm planning on continuing these books and their exercises throughout this term.


In terms of work on the project itself:

I pulled out the code for the whip into a C++ component (with a Blueprint that inherits from this C++ class). This improved performance drastically. I pulled the logic out of the MotionControllerPawn and set it to use Dan's static mesh for the tool. Having it as a C++ class has the added benefit that multiple people can actually work on it at the same time, and merging changes is possible. Both hands have this tool as well, instead of one hand being essentially useless.

I changed the way the spline points are chosen to draw the whip (via its C++ class) using a Bezier curve. The control points were chosen similarly to the ones used before (one where the player's hand is, one halfway to the Forward Point from the hand, one halfway to the Forward Point from the ball, and one at the ball). The number of spline points generated from the Bezier curve is an adjustable property on the Blueprint (along with debug point sizes and colors).

I also fixed a minor issue where the whip was creating static meshes in a way that was generating thousands of log messages (one every tick), since we were trying to attach a static mesh to a non-static object. This seemed to fix the issue where performance was dropping after playing for a short time.



Time spent: Total: ~50 hours

25 hours - Pulling the whip logic into a C++ component
10 hours - Following Udemy course
10 hours - Reading CLRS and C++ Primer and doing exercises
4 hours - Generate spline points with a Bezier curve
1 hour - Fix whip performance issue


Pros:
  • Whip has a fast C++ component now
  • Whip drawn with Bezier curve
  • Performance improved
  • I learned a LOT about C++ and how to use it in Unreal Engine

Cons:
  • Everything I learned still feels like a drop in the bucket
  • Whip still behaves somewhat erratically, since the linear damping hasn't been working as expected

    Tyler Schacht PPJ 1/9/17 [Winter Break]

    Over the winter break, I really didn't work on the project too much.  After my last class on Wednesday during Finals week of Fall term, my PC decided to completely crash and would not boot (and still is not operable).  I was able to work a bit on our team's / game's website, however, it is in a very early state and there is not much to show.

    However, I met with Mike DiLucca and Mike Cancelosi today and we worked on a main menu concept that would use the whip mechanic that the main game uses to create a very cohesive experience.

    Total Hours: 3 hours
    - Website: 2 hours
    - UI concepting: 1 hour

    Pros: I was able to work on some of the website despite my PC being out of commision
    Cons: I planned to have at least a complete website, but my PC had other plans...

    Cory Zicolella PPJ [Winter Break] - 1/9/17

    I'll keep this one short and sweet because I can sum everything up simply;

    I personally did no work over the break due to a myriad of circumstances, but mainly being estranged from my PC and any available Vive while being left with a laptop that had seen better days.

    That being said, I was thinking about the project intermittently and believe I can bring new ideas to the first team meeting to prep for Beta, which should be this week after we all get settled in.