Monday, December 15, 2014

Unreal Engine 4 Dev Update #6: Character switching, Holographic Localized grids & Auto-Activation of UI

After I got my basic Command UI & grid based movement system working, I started implementing some changes to the UI as well as the functionality for allowing the player to switch between the playable characters of his party. Lately I've been doing some extra work on Level Design for a game as well as some personal side projects. So I kinda got caught up with all that & wasn't able to post any update over the last weekend. Now that we're back on track, let's move on to the new updates:

Switching between playable characters

Until recently, I had been mainly working on a single playable character, making sure that it's movement was restricted to a grid system. So I decided to implement that across multiple playable characters. For now, I've implemented a keyboard based switching between the party members. Later I'll add a mouse input based selection as well. I got it working by having player inputs mapped to allow possession of the different characters. I've also added a cool little character selection material to display around the active character. It's added to a character whenever we possess it, and gets removed every time we unpossess a character. Here's a video of it in action:

Holographic Grid system
Well this one is more of a visual update. As mentioned earlier, I've got a grid system to facilitate the movement of the player and A.I. I'm actually dynamically spawning static meshes to display localized grid meshes. But it actually looked kinda ugly as every time I clicked somewhere, it just spawned a set of floor meshes. So taking inspiration from the awesome X-Com: Enemy Unknown, I decided to make some cool holographic styled grids. It's using the same meshes as before, I just switched the material to display a glow around it's corners. It looks a lot cooler now. Kinda gives the feel that you're actually the commander watching his troops deploy on the battlefield. You can check it out in this video:
If you want to create a similar holographic material, you can check out the video tutorial below by the Youtube user Liaret. He's made an awesome Tron glow material, that can be applied to meshes & BSPs.
Tron Glow tutorial - Unreal 4
Auto-activation of Command UI & Holographic Grids
After the above two updates, the next obvious thing to do was to combine them. I extended the possess character function to toggle the Command UI as well as the grids in the vicinity of the newly possessed character. So now they're activated automatically, every time the player switches between the playable characters. I'll leave you with a video of it here:
With that, we come to the end of this update. In the next update, we make some changes to the camera system and start with a basic Turn-Based gameplay system. Meanwhile, feel free to check out my Youtube channel, if you're interested in seeing some of my recent work on UE4:
Stormrage256' Youtube Channel