dragon_interior

Belated Screenshot Saturday – Dungeon Survival

dungeonsurvival_interiorcabin_overworld

About Dungeon Survival

Features Overview

  • Made from the ground up for VR, with unique features to support motion controls
  • Next-gen VR features today: Voice-input commands, NPC facial morphs and more.
  • Co-op multiplayer (at least 2-4 players, maybe more unofficially supported)
  • Streaming, no-load-screens transitions between levels of the dungeon
  • True First Person (you can see the character’s body, including animations)
  • Deep Item System – Fire burns things, water douses them, etc. – generalized gameplay that layers up to produce complex interactions
  • Real-time Physics Interactions and Combat – Items are physics based as in games like Skyrim, combat is based on physical collisions – if you see a hit – you hit!
  • Environment Interaction Over Hack ‘n’ Slash – Use your wits to overcome the dungeon’s deadly foes and traps! Ingenuity is rewarded over blunt force.
  • A Customizable Experience – Want hardcore roguelike style gameplay with permadeath? Or would you rather have a more Skyrim-style experience? You choose!
  • Modding Support – Via both configuration file editing (recombine base gameplay of items/monsters with new looks and combinations of behaviors) and advanced modding through the UE4 engine. Modding means for a replayable experience you can keep coming back to for years to come.


About The (VR) Dungeon Survival Project

The (VR) Dungeon Survival Project is a game built out of my desire to make something that captures the magic of deep item and environment interaction gameplay of roguelikes, on top of a foundation of survival and real time gameplay.

In addition, the game is my experiment into VR and supporting novel input devices for more interactive, fine-grained gameplay. What this means is that ultimately Dungeon Survival will support setups that allow the player to play with natural input, such as grasping and manipulating objects with the HTC Vive controllers.

Mod support is also very important to me, as I fully understand that mods are the key to longevity of games of this sort. Most things will be able to be tweaked or added to without any tools other than a text editor, but advanced functionality will require downloading a mod pack with source files for the game, and getting access to Unreal Engine 4.

Left 4 Dead 2 Style Wound System Complete (Mostly)

Great news!

The Left 4 Dead 2 style wound and dismemberment system mentioned previously, which will be powering the gruesome world of Dungeon Survival, has now been completed (save for a couple of odds and ends, and art assets).

Previous screenshots were taken using a hacky method of transforming the hit location into mesh-relative coordinates, whereas the proper way of doing it, and really the only way that truly works, is to use the “pre-skin” vertex positions.

For non-developers this essentially means getting at the points that make up the character mesh before they’re transformed by the animation rig.

The effect of this is that the opacity-mask sphere which creates the “hole” in the character mesh so that the wound geometry shows through will follow along with any animation properly.

This meant diving into the guts of Unreal Engine 4’s material system, right down into the proto-shader files that underlie familiar visual node-based materials. Luckily this ended up being quite painless!

Remaining work to be done on the wound system itself is to use a blood mask to dirty-up the edges of the character mesh where it’s hidden by the wound-ellipse.

Other than that, all that remains is to create wound meshes for the characters and hook up and tune the system.

As an aside, I decided to work on this today because work on motion controller IK has stopped for the moment while the new full-body IK with limits plugin is debugged a bit by its author for my use case.

I can’t wait to show off some of the gameplay with the new full body IK and motion controls, as it’s something you don’t often see outside of triple-A games that use software like Havok Behavior or Autodesk HumanIK, and is perfectly suited to VR avatareneering..

Update: Left4Dead2 Style Wounds for Unreal Engine 4

Quick update to my L4D2 style wound implementation for Unreal Engine 4 – I’ve managed to get the wound hit point to follow the animation properly for characters. This was the main thing holding me up from continuing work on this system (namely, extending it to use a capsule instead of a sphere).

An example download is available here: https://forums.unrealengine.com/showthread.php?90474-WIP-Dynamic-Left-4-Dead-2-Style-Wounds-Dismemberment

For those that want to incorporate the new changes I’ve made, here are two screenshots showing the main pieces of code you need to implement (and the modified code for determining the sphere location).

First is in the character blueprint – this is showing the new way to transform the socket location into skeletal-mesh-relative-coordinate-space (that’s a mouthful):

Next up is the material itself. First set your Material domain to Masked, then replicate the part that plugs into Opacity Mask:

 

 

Grass Bending Test

Note: The following video is pre-alpha test footage, and in no way represents the quality of the final game.

It’s hard to see due to the video framerate and compression, but there are volumes for affecting the grass parented to the player’s feet.

Credit for the effect goes to Daniel Wenograd.

To add this to your own Unreal Engine 4 project, check out Daniel Wenograd’s post on the UE4 forums.

Progress Update Since Last Time

Dungeon Survival has progressed a lot since the last update. No screenshots currently, but I would like to describe some of the features I’ve completed.

  • Procedural dungeons!
  • Zombies with animation (attacks, laying, sitting, hits etc) and AI, and swarm avoidance using detour and recast. Zombies wander and will detect and chase players, and attack when close enough.
  • Upgraded to UE 4.7.6.
  • Added several traps, as well as ragdoll assets for the player and zombies, and code to ragdoll on death.
  • Early melee animations

Motion controls for the arms/hands are working great with the Rift, and I’m eager to put in Vive/SteamVR support. The game is naturally suited to moving around a room, and I have some ideas for handling long distance locomotion.

Being able to bend over to reach items on the ground is already amazing, but I’m quite limited by the Razer Hydras I currently support.

More work is going into levels and traps, as well as some additional enemies to add to the rats and zombies. Eventually a character creator is going in.

I’ve also found and plan to implement physics rope bridges, and a system for detecting player breathing which will translate into character breath in game.

Despite infrequent posts here, development continues to progress at a good clip. I’m currently waiting on certain art assets to become available before the next level design phase takes place.

Plans for Early Access, Modding and the Future

In this post I’m going to cover some of the longer term plans for development of the game and also how I’m going to be making it available for players.

First about the demo/early access situation.

In my own game-playing experience, I find that there are quite a few indie games that are either released or in an early access state that are great but don’t offer enough real meat to the experience. To be expected from alpha/early access games, but it is a lamentable situation.

Especially with co-op games, it’s hard to get friends on board to ultimately run out of content and things to do.

One game that I think did a great job handling early access was TaleWorlds’ Mount & Blade (a game I am particularly fond of).

The initial beta release had enough gameplay to keep folks interested and to grow a vibrant community.

However, M&B didn’t really explode past the initial word-of-mouth popularity until that same passionate community figured out how to mod the game by reverse engineering how various aspects of it worked.

A frenzy of activity was spurred by the first modders, and eventually tools to mod the game more heavily were developed by the community. Finally, some months later TaleWorlds released a more feature complete way of modding the game via the module kit.

To this day M&B has a strong modding community and an active player base.

Moving off of the segue…. What does this mean for Dungeon Survival?

As with many indies, the plan for Dungeon Survival is to ultimately launch a Kickstarter to fund the game’s development out through release. Unfortunately though, that doesn’t jive with my desire to get the game into the hands of players as soon as its fun.

Right now development is focused on building out a 3-level dungeon demo which will show off gameplay in a specific way:

* Basic survival gameplay – eating, drinking, using the environment to kill or avoid enemies. This will be on the first level of the dungeon, primarily (and through the 2nd and 3rd, of course, but the 1st level will be focused on those aspects).

* More advanced inventory and environmental interaction, as well as crafting.

* Finally, the third level will focus most heavily on challenges and puzzles that require the player to use the environment to overcome them, as well as a finale boss fight to get to the exit from the third dungeon level to the fourth (which will be the end of the demo).

This demo is what will be shown as part of the Kickstarter campaign, as well as for promotion in general (screenshots, trailer etc.). The game’s art and assets will not be final, and gameplay will not be totally complete. But (hopefully) it will demonstrate what the game is about and be fun.

To that end, my plan is to get:

* Enemies and more environmental gameplay in the game.
* The first dungeon level.
* Some traps.
* More items and gameplay related to items.
* A basic save/load system.

Into the game as rapidly as possible (check out my previous post for info on the current status of the game’s features).

Once those aspects are implemented, I will be getting the first alpha of the demo out to early beta testers for feedback and bug reports.

After a thorough round of testing, the demo will be released for public beta testing. Iteration will continue on that demo, fixing bugs, adding gameplay, and building out the second and third levels of the game.

Once all three levels are in and it’s fun enough to replay for a couple of hours at a time, I’ll be starting up the Kickstarter campaign, and releasing a public demo of all three dungeon levels.

Shorter term I’ll be setting up a page on Indie DB, as well as otherwise promoting the development progress in places that makes sense (Reddit, Unreal forums etc.).

Soon to come in the next few days are video of the current gameplay and some of the first little bit of dungeon level, a sneak-peek of the dungeon level layouts and more.

A Word About Modding

I strongly believe that mods can make or break a game’s success long term, and to that end I plan on supporting both a ton of customization of the game by default, as well as mod support.

Unfortunately, this presents some interesting challenges. Namely, Unreal Engine 4.

As you can imagine, the best way to mod an Unreal Engine 4 game would be to have the engine itself, and the .uassets that make up the game. Unfortunately, there are some legality and practical issues that come into the equation because of this.

For one, as part of the Unreal Engine 4 license agreement, I am unable to ship UE4 editor tools along with my game for modders to use. Nothing unusual about that – after all, they don’t want people using mod tools from a UE4 game to make their own stuff without buying the engine.

Secondly, distributing the game’s assets. There are some issues with this, which I’m not really qualified to speak to. Suffice it to say that there are some restrictions on what can be done.

How do I plan to work around this and support mods for my game?

To start, whereever possible I am going to make the game use plain old data for configuration of items and things like that. So modders will absolutely be able to go in and change values/add new items that utilize the existing gameplay functionality that items will provide.

Most modders should be able to use that to get what they want. It’s when that isn’t enough that things become tricky.

So for those brave modding souls that want to add new interactions and gameplay that are not in the game and supported by the item system already, you’ll need to do essentially 2 things:

* Get an Unreal Engine 4 license – it’s $20, you can get it once and cancel the subscription immediately.

* Download the stuff that makes up Dungeon Survival, or at least, pieces of that stuff.

I don’t think this is too bad, but it’s also not totally ideal. I’d prefer modding tools to be free if possible. Right now I don’t think it’s possible.

However, as mentioned I will support as much modding out of the box as possible, both through in-game options as well as tweaking/adding data through the game files.