Building & Learning

This week began our serious progress toward actually getting our ideas for the project down on paper. If we are to build a game in Unreal Engine, then we need to be proficient in its use. I believe I have learned more about Unreal Engine 4 this week than I ever did in previous classes. I have found a guide series that takes the user through basic operations such as downloading the engine, all the way to creating landscapes and incorporating 4k assets. It is most definitely one of the best tutorials I have ever seen. I have learned some new techniques that will allow me to add significantly more detail to our map design and implementation. Speaking of which, I have started the official first map for our Tower Defense / Shooter game this week. Using what I have learned, I have incorporated more of the advanced engine tools in order to create a smoother, more natural looking landscape. Considering the rest of the game requires the map to function, this is a huge step toward our goal of creating a unique and enjoyable experience. 🙂

Incase anyone who reads this would be interested, here is a link to the aforementioned tutorial:

CS462 – Term Start!

With a beginning of the new year 12022, and the start of a new term, we finally get to start work on the main body of our Capstone project. As a recap, my group’s project is to design and create a 3D Top-Down Shooter / Tower-Defense Game in Unreal Engine 4. Last term, we went through the documentation and planning phase and decided what we wanted to include in our game, along with some basic prototypes. This term however, we finally get to begin work on the main game and see what we are able to create. As with any game project, our final product will likely look at least slightly different than whatever we plan, but we are doing our best to document any changes we make along the way. For this week, we are getting back in contact after the break and deciding on the last few important features of our game. For instance, what type of map design we would like to go for, whether that is open, hexagonal, or squared. This will influence how other aspects of the game are designed such as tower placement and enemy AI targeting. I am looking forward to working with my amazing team once again. This term should be fun!

Blueprint Experimentation!

This week we presented our version 0,02 build of our Unreal Engine 4 Tower Defense / Shooter game. It was really the first build that included any sort of actual work on the game and it really helped me to review the Unreal Engine Blueprints system. If you haven’t heard of it, UE4 has a visual type of coding called Blueprints along side the standard C++. Blueprints consist of function blocks that you are able to connect together with specialized wires. The program starts and follows the execution wire along block by block until it reaches the end. This type of visual coding is extremely useful for creating things in Unreal and it is often much easier to use than to do all the normal coding your self. This system is also really useful for creating a bunch of the same object because you are able to tie the blueprints to specific parts of the object you are creating. This allows you to swap out any part in order to create something slightly different without breaking the functionality.

For my contribution to v0.02, I built a working turret as a representation of the first tower in our game. The turret is able to track the player and detect if there is an obstruction in its line of sight. If the player is in line of sight and within range, the turret will fire projectiles at a preset pace. This will be a really useful base for the rest of the game, as we will be able to create more towers by simply swapping out certain parts of the blueprints. I look forward to the rest of the project in order to see what other unique things we will be able to create using the blueprint system. 🙂

Beginning of the Unreal

This week, our project of “Design a Top-Down Shooter/Tower-Defense in Unreal Engine 4” really got off the ground. We were able to put down the last details needed in order to actually begin development in Unreal Engine 4. I have previous experience using UE4 but going back to it has been really fun and I’ve been able to learn even more than I already knew. The second version of our project (v0.02) is due next Monday and it will feature the first little bits of our game. The first version was simply setting up the development environment and making sure the whole team was on the same page. This new version will likely just be little bits of ideas we have for the future but its a start! I am looking forward to what we are able to create. (Especially since I was able to survive the midterms :P)

Dying of Midterms

Nothing much has happened this week in terms of the Capstone project besides more blender experimentation, so I figured I would make this the first blog post about my other classes. I am also taking CS372 Intro to Networks this term, and I am having some real trouble with it. This week the second assignment Traceroute was due and I unfortunately was just unable to figure it out. It really feels bad when you have to just give up on a project because you cant figure it out and run out of time. You never really get any solution either because the teacher isn’t going to just post the working code or spend the time to tell you the issues with yours. Outside of that assignment, I have another assignment, a quiz, and the midterm all for Networking as well due this week…… its not a terribly fun class at the moment. Anyway, working on things for the Capstone class is a welcome reprieve from that. Hope things get a little more relaxed after the midterms!

Assigning of Things!

This week we assigned the various aspects of our project to the team members who will do them. It was particularly exciting because not only did I get the parts I wanted to do, nobody else even wanted to do them! (Maybe that should have been a hint?) Either way, I was assigned to work on Tower Design and Level Design for the Tower Defense Game. Designing environments is one of my favorite things to do in video games and I believe that I will be able to do some really awesome things for the maps in our game. (I mean, there has to be some benefit to having played Minecraft for 10+ years, right? …..right?)

Other than that, we were not able to do much for the project this week. Unfortunately, our meeting with the project sponsor got rescheduled to do some communication errors, so we wont be meeting with him until tomorrow.

I am very excited about Halloween this coming weekend. My costume is a Ring Wraith from Lord of the Rings. So I hope to be able to go out and be spooky! Happy Halloween!

Blog Post #4!

That is a rather boring title to the post and that’s because nothing much of note happened during the past week in relation to the project. The team collectively completed a very long and slightly boring document detailing our plans and how we will accomplish them. Many of the questions were not intended for a game design project, so we had so sort of make some of it up. Otherwise, we are currently in the middle of deciding the overall theme for the game, whether it be Medieval, Sci-fi, Western, etc. We hope to have this narrowed down by next Monday. This will be exciting because once we have chosen a theme, I can start to experiment with blender and see what I can do in terms of creating our own assets for the game. This will be a huge deciding factor in how our development goes and whether we can implement some of the things we want to. That is pretty much all I have to say for this post, and I still am so excited to be working on this project! Looking forward to coming Halloween in a week or so as well! 🙂

Project Ideas Coming Together

This week marked the first video meeting between the whole group as well as the first meeting with the project sponsor, our instructor. We were able to introduce ourselves and I was right that the whole group seems to get along together really well. We talked about what we wanted from the project and threw together ideas until we had something of a rough outline.

We came up with the idea of a somewhat double sided tower defense with a top down approach. Normally only the player has towers and something to defend, however in our game we wanted the enemy side to also have a base and be able to place towers to defend it. This will end up something similar to a tower-defense capture-the-flag game. This rough outline will be the basis for our future design. We have started talking about the art style for the game and what we want to go with. Creating our own art assets would be difficult for the majority of the game and so our best approach will be to find an art style we like and making our own assets to supplement it.

The project is slowly coming together and we have a solid idea of what the game will be.

First Days of the Project

The instructors were able to assign us to groups this week and so I got to meet the people I will be working with along with the project we will be doing. I am excited, as I was able to get the number one project I had listed, which was “Build a Top-Down Shooter/Tower Defense in Unreal Engine 4”. This project sounded really interesting to me as I have experience in UE4 but I have never gotten to actually make a game. I am excited to get a small idea of what game dev is actually like and what it entails.

My teammates so far are very friendly and everyone seems to get along quite well. Ian Gaither is one of my teammates and he has been doing a great job leading the project and communicating with the professor on our behalf. Then we have Brian who also seems very nice and motivated to work on the project. And finally there is Satoru, who actually has some experience in AI, which will be very useful for the type of game we plan to make.

This week we will be going over ideas for the project and deciding what type and style of game we wish to make. Our inspiration is “Orcs Must Die” however we want to make sure to differentiate from that and incorporate more Tower Defense style in order to make something unique. Overall, I am very excited to work on this and I think the following year is gonna be really helpful in gaining experience. 🙂

Capstone Start! – First Blog Post

Hello World! This is the first post of my blog for the OSU Capstone project! My name is Colin Kasowski, an online Game and Simulation CS student here at Oregon State University, These first posts will chronicle my experience going through the capstone project and documenting my likely panic about it. Outside of school, I am a 2nd Degree Black Belt in the martial art of Taekwondo and I train and teach classes at my local Taekwondo dojang. (Or at least I did, before Covid). I hope that I can track the world getting back to normal through the course of this blog and that by the end, I can reflect back with a smile on the things I have been through. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy. 🙂