Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Team PPJ 1/17/17 - 1/23/17

Art-wise, progress was made on updating existing assets for the sake of visual clarity and ease of use. The arena model itself is now a helical shape surrounding the original capsule, for the sake of adding in cool visual details and improving visibility. While the previous arena was good as a work in progress, the material's refraction property wreaked havoc with the reflections and caused a visual bug where the outside environment would appear to move with the player's head, of times disorienting them. In addition, the goal has now been textured further, with varying shades of gray to differentiate the various moving layers.

New arena, player's perspective

New arena, exterior

Main menu wall

Updated goal texture

Additionally, our game now has a super cool menu scene, wherein the player can choose various gameplay options before starting their game, allowing them to customize their experience. This menu scene had been floating around the aether for a while now, and we're glad to finally have it as part of the final game loop.

Coding-wise, time was spent making our game's systems increasingly modular. The systems that control the whip and the ball are now separate from the game's other systems, allowing them to be modular and able to be integrated with the AI. The AI now uses the whip module, and is able to grab the ball.

Additionally, progress has been made in the systems governing alternate tools, and we can now add in new tools with relative ease. Our test tool, the magic wand, guides the ball in a certain location when you wave it, and you can use the grip buttons to increase the gravitational influence of the wand.

Going forward, a lot of our visual horsepower is diverted towards texturing and visual adjustments, with a couple key members continuing work on the public website and game/team logos. Our coders will be spending a good amount of time refining and increasing the functionality of the AI, while investigation will begin on the feasibility of adding networked multiplayer.

Daniel Ingman PPJ 1/17/17 - 1/23/17

This week was a slow one on my end. Post GDC competition presentation, we spent a lot of time rethinking our approach in the wake of the critique we received after the presentation. I brought up the idea of replacing our AI with a multiplayer system, but others decided that rather than scrapping all the work we had done up to this point we should continue to refine the AI and its behavior while delegating one or two coders to begin investigating Unreal Engine networking processes so that we might be able to implement a multiplayer system in the future. In addition, the addition of live networked multiplayer on a VR game would already limit its audience, as in order to play at peak experience you would have to have two players with at least $1800 in computer hardware who are playing the game simultaneously. For these reasons, we will continue to refine the AI at a more aggressive pace, while also considering the feasibility of networked play.

I spent some time this week as well on the logos, since right now my logo designs are raster. While I do agree that certain logos work well in vector style, a lot of the effects on our logos were achieved in photoshop with raster techniques, and turning them into vector logos would be a time-consuming process in order to effectively undo the progress I made in the raster workspace.

Our current team logo

Currently, our game logo uses the same skull asset as our team logo. While this was a powerful visual image, I feel that our game's logo should be visually distinct from our team's logo and better communicate the world within the game. With that in mind, I spent some time creating cyberpunk team logos and arranging them so that they would form our game's logo. I think that representing the different teams worked better to advertise what our game is about and separate it from our team's unique logo.

Additional plans were made to incorporate the player into our logo, a la Audioshield, but no sketches have been made yet.

Total time spent: 17 hours
  • AI model UVing: 5 hours
  • AI model texturing (preliminary): 5 hours
  • Logo planning: 3 hours
  •  Existing logo enhancements: 4 hours
  • Logo heading in a good direction
  • AI model nearing completion
  • Project installation broken, hindering progress

Monday, January 23, 2017

Andrew DiNunzio PPJ 1/17 - 1/23

This week I spent some time working on a few different small things.

First, since the whip's behavior was very difficult to control, I created a temporary solution to the damping problem. I determined the overall damping to apply to the held ball based on a complicated trial-and-error-based function, taking into account the damping that the stretching force wants, the damping the bending force wants, and a third category of damping for proximity, and I choose the max damping candidate as the damping to set on the ball.

Then I added the ability for tools to use the grip buttons on the Motion Controllers. To show how to implement that in a tool, I implemented new features for the Psychic Wand. When the grip buttons are held in, the wand goes into "greedy" mode, which increases the force applied by a factor of 1.7 and allows forces in all 3 axes (instead of being limited to the yz-plane), so the player can push and pull the ball. It also is set to increase charge consumption by 3x while in greedy mode. These factors can be customized in the blueprints easily.

I also worked with Mike C to get the AI character to hold whips instead of just having the ball teleport to the AI. We were able to get the AI to grab the ball but didn't get it to return the ball yet. Also, the tools held by the AI don't change position relative to the AI mesh yet.

We started trying to figure out a different way for tools to grab the ball (since it was way too easy to grab the ball when it was close up and too hard when it was far away). We wanted to make sure that the ball's logic and the whip's logic remained separate, and we had trouble doing that, since we essentially wanted the ball to be easier to grab the farther away it was. Resizing the invisible "grab sphere" around the ball based on how far away it was from the tool was not a clean solution that kept the logic separated. Therefore, I went in later to the Whip's logic and changed it to find balls within a certain field-of-view and grab the closest one. The Range and Field Of View (in degrees) can be set within blueprints, encapsulating all of the implementation within the C++ base class.

Finally, I spent some time making the gravity well forces stronger. I changed the gravity wells so that the force scales with velocity (raised to the power 3). It worked well, and I was able to make good use of the gravity wells on the field to score points, but Unreal's build system is a bit weird, and when I went to rebuild, it seems like the behavior changed (so it must have been using old compiled binaries). They feel sort-of weak again, but I don't think it will be difficult to get it back to feeling good again. I also fixed the way the gravity wells are constructed, so they can be resized more easily, and the radius of influence increases/decreases by the correct amount now.

Time spent: Total: ~30 hours

5 hours - Damping fix hack
10 hours - Psychic wand greedy mode, plus updating the documentation for that
4 hours - Get AI character to hold whip
5 hours - Give all tools a Field-of-View member that can be used to find all balls within its FOV.
6 hours - Work on gravity well forces; make them resizable; and try to fix weird build issue

  • AI now holds two whips
  • Whip now behaves semi-normally
  • Added ability for tools to use grip buttons, showed how by doing so for the psychic wand and documenting it in the original how-to doc.
  • New way for tools to grab objects based on field-of-view, which is customizable in blueprints

  • Whip damping fix hack resulted in some code that's really ugly and will be difficult for others to maintain / change.
  • Whip still doesn't feel 100% perfect

Mike Cancelosi's Blog Post 1/17 - 1/23

This week, I focused on iterating upon the Arena shell.

I also iterated upon the AI. It now uses the whip tool and grabs with ease. What's next for the AI is being able to throw with the whip accurately, which may be rather difficult.

Hours Spent : 20 hrs
Arena : ~16 hours
AI: 4 hours

Ryan Badurina PPJ: 1/17 - 1/23

This week was rather slow in terms of workload and what needed to be done.  After rushing much of our work in preparation for the Intel Competition, we came out of the preliminaries (we didn't make it, unfortunately) to continued talks and planning on what needs to be done for the rest of the term.

I did some minor work on the main menu wall by making it bigger and adjusting the pieces to remain consistent.  I didn't want to scale the model as that is lazy design; I had to adjust the overall "size" of the wall to compensate for any empty spaces or size errors inside our elevator level in UE4.

I also resized the edges of the player platform pieces.  Originally, they were smoothed cubes that curled up to smooth out the edges and create a more "spherical" edge.  I did some work over the week to mitigate that, although I may just have to redo the pieces outright.
Original edge (more smooth)

New edge (More cubic, but still a little smooth)

Adjusted pieces alongside the platform base.

I did do whatever work I could do on assets we already have and continue iterating upon them.  My time with my teammates is rather limited this term due to commuting, extra classes, and part-time work, so I unfortunately don't have all of the latest knowledge on "what needs to be done" or "what I can do that is new".

  -Weekday Meeting: .5 Hours
  -Weekend Development Session: 4.5 Hours
  -Main Menu Wall Iteration: 1 Hour
  -Platform Pieces Iteration: 3 Hours
Total Time: 9 Hours

  -Continued iteration and learning what needs to be done/redone for the game.

  -Rather slow week as we recovered from working overtime on the Intel Presentation.

Cory Zicolella 1/17 - 1/23

This week was a busy one for me!

I got to work editing all of the video for GDC, as well as for the background of the website.  We also met about and talked about design regarding the large 8 foot poster we'll be needing come showcase time, and logo design.  It is a hard balance to distribute the communication need for VR and also action in a sports game.  After some research, most VR games assume the user knows what they are searching for, and either have VR in the title or don't do a sort of mixed reality or VR equipment tie-in to their promo art at all...most times it was just the title and some actiony background.

That being said, the majority of the hours not in the meeting were spent editing and touching up the multiple passes of the trailer that I made.  That, and the Game loop, and the small Web edit are below:

The first two were shown for the GDC competition, and the last is on the background of our website.

Tyler Schacht PPJ 1/17 - 1/23

This week our team mostly focused on refining what we had to get it prepared for GDC competition.  Unfortunately, we didn't set up much of a plan other than to get ready for the GDC.

I spent the week updating the website based off of some feedback I got from last week, still not complete.  Need to add more to the "About" section.  Changed a few fonts to have a more "paragraph-friendly" font.  Added some photoshopped adviser portraits.  And placed up some current gameplay footage for the "coverpage" of the website.
I also re-textured the goal, since so many people couldn't see the texture from afar and just assumed it was just the default material.

Total Hours: 16 hours
- Website Updates: 3 hours
- Goal Textures: 5 hours
- Helped finish capturing GDC footage: 1 hour
- Meetings: 8 hours

Positives: Got some criticism for the goal and some tips to make it look better.

Negatives: Didn't feel like I did too much this week due to the chaos caused by GDC.

Johanna Oberto PPJ 1/17/2017-1/23/2017

This week my focus was on the presentation for the GDC competition. I worked on getting game footage, but mainly creating/preparing and practicing for the presentation. I also put some work into the GDD for CCI's document review, happening next Tuesday, January 30th.
While we didn't win the GDC competition, we were able to gain feedback from faculty about what worked in our game and what didn't. Going forward, we have a couple of different ideas on how to improve our Alpha for the Beta due this quarter.
Feedback will help direct this quarter's progress
Have new options to consider for the game's direction

Didn't spend as much time working on the actual code of the game

Time Spent:
Revising GDD: 2 hours
Gathering footage: 2 hours
Creating presentation: 2 hours
Practicing/revising presentation: 2 hours
Discussing new direction possibilities: 1 hour

Total: 9 hours