Let’s Make Video Series: Interaction System

Hey everyone, I had a few requests to update the interaction tutorial as it badly needed it. A few aspects I had either missed in my writing or were glossed over too quickly so I decided I’d do a video tutorial series on it. The rest of the videos should be completed next week and showcase a few extras not previously in the tutorial. Check them out here:

Let’s Make: An Interaction System: Part 1

Continue reading

Unreal Engine 4: Let’s Make a Double Tap Event

Let’s Make: A basic double tap event inside blueprint. It will determine if the user input is a single or double tap and if the button is held. This event can be used for anything but in our instance we will make it control the player speed.


An event which determines if the user has single or double tapped and if the input is still held down. At the end of our event we will apply a speed change to our character movement variable.

  1. Tapping once and holding will increase the player speed to a jog
  2. Tapping twice and holding will increase the player speed to a sprint
  3. Releasing the button will cause the character to walk

The current version will use:

  • Third Person Template
  • Blueprint Only
  • Uses Unreal Engine 4.8.3

Continue reading

Unreal Engine 4: Let’s Make Fading Scenery

Let’s Make: UE4: Fading Scenery

Environment fades away if it gets in the way of the camera’s view of the player.


LET’S MAKE a fading scenery system, in which the objects that sit between the player model and the camera are quickly faded away. Many games use this for a 3/4 perspective which makes moving behind objects or into interior areas much easier to view. The version we are creating is basic and focuses on fading only the environment that is currently needed by the camera by the use of tracing. The fading itself will use a custom actor component which allows us to modify the static mesh actors in a scene rather than needing to add in a separate custom blueprint actor instead of meshes.

  • Fades entire mesh between the player and camera
  • Unreal Engine 4.7.6
  • Blueprint Only

Continue reading

Unreal Engine 4: Let’s Make a Camera Spline System

Let’s Make: UE4: Camera Spline System

A Camera that follows a user created spline based on the player location


LET’S MAKE a camera spline system, in which the camera follows behind our character on a spline. Many games use a camera track, like TellTale’s “The Walking Dead series” to control the camera. In this case, we will use Unreal Engine’s “Rolling Ball” template to create our camera system. The spline drives the camera location and rotation so players can focus on platforming.

  • Using Unreal Engine 4.7.1
  • Blueprint Only
  • Uses Recursion

Continue reading

GoW Instance: Garden (WIP)

Garden is a quick instance I’m creating based off of an image, I’ve based a lot of my designs in the past on a real place or interesting pieces of concept art and have had mixed results of how they turn out. That doesn’t mean that using concept art or real places is a bad thing! It can be really good to start out using some reference images or concept ideas to get your level going, but these images rarely have perfect layouts or accommodate good game play and flow.

Continue reading

Skyrim: Cat’s Cradle

<CatsCraddle_03Over the past few weeks I’ve begun using some new editors and programs as I work on portfolio pieces. One that I’ve started working with is the Skyrim Creation Kit, which has been pretty nice so far. I’m still in the middle of learning everything, from creating layouts and placing objects to AI and player interactions. So I figured that a nice place to start was to create a quick custom house.

Continue reading

Amatus Hotel – Gears of War Instance

So, this week I decided get back to work on another level instance. These instances are suppose to be simple and small levels that focus on a single aspect or idea. I really wanted to keep this instance in that mind set, being extremely simple and focused. So I decided to create a nice flanking space.

I also wanted to avoid doing the thing I really like to do, which is adding on more to the level as I go. Whenever I work on a personal project I tend to find a lot of cool extras to add into the level on top of the original plan, mostly because all of my personal projects have no deadlines. However, I want to get a lot of these level instances out quickly, so I am working on avoiding the extras and sticking to the original plan.

For this level I choose to use the Adam’s House packages to create a nice interior. An upscale hotel worked well for this and I gave the players a simple objective or just moving through the area and meeting up with the rest of their squad.


The level turned out pretty well for being a simple arena with a flanking position. Both the players and the enemy Locusts are given clear cover fronts to sit and duke it out. Between the two fronts is a large killzone and it creates a nice point in which players understand they only have 2 options. One is to sit and fight it out from there, which could work if players are patient and slowly pick off the Locust one by one. Or two, flank the enemy position through the right hallway, which forces them to scatter and making them easy targets.

Creating these player choices is never easy, and making them clear to the player is even harder. Including things like chatter from Dom and a Point of Interest makes sure the player is aware of the possibility. However, a designer can never force the player to see something or choose to do what they want. We really only can create a clear path or puzzle and hope that the player will move the way we need them to or be able to understand how to solve the current puzzle.

It’s a tightrope walk between the designer and player, in which we want everyone to understand how to succeed but also not give them too much help. Holding their hand too much makes it too easy or makes them feel like they aren’t making their own choices.

Forced Paths:

Normally, I don’t like forcing a specific action for the players to take. I like giving a lot of choices to them as they fight or move around an area. But I’ve found that for these smaller instances, creating a single prime path isn’t a bad way to go. It allows the designer to focus on creating the specific path and get something that can be really fun if the player makes that choice.

For a full level, creating a nice array of choices would be the way to go, resulting in a lot of emergent gameplay or choices that, we the designers, didn’t completely plan for, which is what we want!

For now, I want to continue creating simple and focused level ideas for the players to move through. The more focused the level instance the better. I also have a nice solution for the ideas that I come up with while working on something, and that is to put them in a list to work on later. Creating another completely separate instance for each of those cool ideas.

One that I wanted to do for this level was creating a sinkhole in the center of the main lobby that would be triggered by the player in some way. The sinkhole would drag any locusts and the piano down with it in a cool explosion of dust and camera shakes. But for now, that idea is on hold for another level.

Gears of War :: Encounter Video Update

Just a quick video update on what I’ve gotten done on my basic combat encounter. I’ve been busy getting ready for my summer job teaching UDK as well as working on another project so this GoW level has kinda been left to the side for the past few weeks.

Still, I’ve managed to work on it here and there and was able to get a lot of the major work done. The level is still very much a work in progress, but its much closer to the final version than my previous updates. Check it out:

Continue reading

Gears of War :: Encounter Continued

EDIT: Just gonna toss up some new shots from some more basic lighting work and such I finally got around to doing. Still a bit away from being finished but lighting helps a lot. Here are the same shots from before with new lighting and meshing!

Hey everyone!

I got around to working a bit more on my basic Gears of War combat encounter and I wanted to throw a quick update of my work here. Behold, screen shots!

I would upload a video but unfortunately I don’t have time to make a proper one and upload it tonight. So expect an updated video soon to show off the new kismet and gameplay tweaks.

So, Whats New?

Although most of the improvements can easily be seen come from meshing and texturing the level, I did actually get a lot more done on the kismet / gameplay / cinematic side of things.

Continue reading

Gears of War :: The Basic Encounter

So I’ve been away from level design for a while now, it’s what I enjoy doing most but I’ve had to focus on a lot of programming and game design for a few of my classes lately and I’ve wanted to get back into making levels for my portfolio.

So, what should I work on? Well, I wanted to work on a single player experience, it’s something I haven’t done quite as much as the multiplayer arenas and it would also allow me to focus in on a few objectives I have for this portfolio piece.

I’ve worked a lot with UDK recently but in the end I choose to work with Gears of War as it offers a lot more potential for single player experiences. I still ended up having small AI issues and things that I had to work around but that’s what good kismet creativity is for!

You can check out my first pass below:

Continue reading