Entry 4: The Khan Moment


As commented on the other post, I managed to get the Platform to work. I don’t know if I was doing something wrong the previous time, but I started out by just following (exactly as I’d done before) the methods presented in the video, and this time the Component options were enabled and it was no longer read-only. Somewhere in between I’d closed the engine and come back to it, so who really knows what went wrong originally?

In doing the platform part of the tutorial, I discovered ideas were jumping around, and it might require you to have some knowledge of how Unreal handles the Paper2D stuff. The name is very indicative of execution, with all of the 2D sprites and flipbooks existing as flat objects in a 3d world. It’s through this that it handles graphic layers, but also uses 3D data for phyics and collision.

If you run through the tutorial, you’ll learn about constraining things to certain planes, which in real terms means you’d have things like the player and any objects they interact with, at the same Y coordinates. Backgrounds would be behind them, and foregrounds would be in front.

When it comes to the lift tutorial, the idea is that you have a platform with a bunch of variables that you can set to move back and forth, between a starting location and an ending location. The method used was linking a Timeline to a LERP (Linear Interpolation, or a variable position on a line between two points in 3D space, depending on a percentage), which plays back and forth, after a set delay. None of it’s done with code, just using the new blueprints. I haven’t touched a line of code.

Well, here’s the Khan moment:

The tutorial shows you how to make the platform move up and down, or left and right. So that’s across one axis or another. You could also make it run diagonally. That’s fine, IF you want to think two-dimensionally.

Disappearing platform!
Disappearing platform!

Changing the endpoint of the Lift Platform to somewhere else on the Y axis, the one that’s used to layer, means we have a platform that pops in and out, like those old disappearing ones in Sonic or whatever else.

Maybe that was obvious to most that did the tutorial, but really goes some way to showing what can be done rather simply, with a little obtuse thinking.

In semi-related news, talking about my progress on Twitter led to someone asking to be involved! I gave them my usual “Well if it LEADS anywhere, sure!” disclaimer, but y’know, just that little bit was exciting. Same probably applies to others that read this and either want to keep track, or you know, just talk, or even get involved. We’ll see.

The first-destination on my ‘actual game’ timeline is some kind of Adventure Game, possibly with RPG elements (but I dunno), but I expect to have a few different stops on the 2D train along the way. Platformer or Top-down might be next, or might go for the bigger fish.

I tied out the evening with a few attempts at playing the versions of my old Sierra-esque game, recovered from the internet. It’s definitely not the same one I remember having completed, but bits were close enough that I could nearly play it through. Ideally I’d love to get to a position where I was able to recreate something along those lines, perhaps not with quite so terrible graphics though not a whole lot better either. That’d be a decent enough goal.

Note: When I get back to the sequence/self-education stages on this big ol’ game development journey, I might start including pictures. At the moment it’s almost exactly what you see on the tutorials so rendered moot, but in the future, who knows.

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