It’s Time To Move!

Since the last post I’ve been looking into UE4 as the new alternative and so far I really like what I see. Epic has made some major improvements to the workflow and a lot of the features that were strangely absent in UDK finally made their way onto UE4. Royalties for commercializing a game with UE4 has also been cut down to 5% of total revenue instead of 25% as with the UDK (though the first 50k stayed with the developer) This is good news for independant developers like me.

At the moment, my rig is unable to run UE4 but with some help from a friend, we’ve put together a beast of a system that should run it without any problems. This is my first computer upgrade in…over 10 years? Talk about being out of the loop! The new rig should be here fairly soon so I’ll be able to get my hands dirty with the new engine.

About the only thing I regret is that all of the work I put into the Dynamic Light system on UDK and Day/Night cycle will go to waste. However, as nice as it was, it still had some problems when it came to faking Global Illumination. Outdoor scenes were lit nicely but if you had any interiors such as a building with no lights or an underground sewer that needed to be dark, the GI would still apply itself because I wasn’t able to occlude it for those areas. Since all of my other assets (aside from the code) can just be re-imported into the new engine, not much else was really lost.

I will have to rebuild the functionality and game mechanics from the ground up again because UE4 uses C++ instead of UnrealScript but they’ve developed a really powerful visual scripting system called Blueprint which I’m hoping will save me from having to do any programming. It seems like UDK’s Kismet except on crack so I can’t wait to play around with that.

I’m very sorry if my last post seemed harsh but I was just really frustrated with working with the UDK for all this time and having little to show for it. Though I hate the UDK with every ounce of my being I would have never abandoned the project.

Out Of Hell: Complete (working title) will be going true next-gen and with the kind of power UE4 has inside of it, we’ll see what I can do with those kinds of tools at my fingertips!

Categories: Miscellaneous

Unnnnnnnnnggggghhhhh…

I’ll let you all in on a little secret of mine: Everytime I use the UDK, I want to punch my computer in the fucking face.

nelly1nelly2

What you’re all looking at is a very, very sparse scene with some simple level geometry. For some reason, this causes UDK to FREAK OUT and give me the middle finger. Now, I consider myself to be a pretty patient person but this is just…beyond words now.

At this moment in time I am full of nothing but bitterness and frustration. I have no motivation, I have no inspiration and I don’t know how much more of this I can take. I can’t overcome this Developer’s block and the things that I have to deal with everytime I try to progress with this engine keeps grinding me further and further into this funk. I seriously am at wits end and I don’t know what else I can do right now. Wait for UE4? Go to CryEngine? Unity? Nothing?

For the sake of my sanity I need to take a step back because I seriously don’t know what is going to happen next with this project. I’ll see you guys when I see you.

Categories: Miscellaneous

The Natural Conclusion

February 4, 2014 11 comments

Hello and a belated Happy New Year to everyone! There have been a lot of things happening for me and the project but where to start in talking about it? I have an announcement that would seem pretty big but then again, perhaps some of you have seen it coming for some time. I guess I’ll just start with what’s been happening with me and then get to the announcement last.

As stated in the previous post, I got a new job (a change of profession actually) which is a lot different than what I did for the last few years. This new job is satisfying to me on a personal level and I like it which is a great bonus but it also happens to be a very physically demanding job. Sometimes I’ll work 10 hour days and when I get home, I’d just be exhausted. I would wind down, eat, shower and sometimes just head right to bed to do it all again the next day. That left very little time to do anything on Infernal Dead and I’ll be completely honest; on my days off I had a lot of trouble focusing on what had to be done.

I tried to contract some work out to a couple of Programmers before the New Year to help out with some of the more advanced features I had planned but none of it panned out. One person did some work for me which I had paid for in advance because they seemed in dire need and they led me on a 2 month-long game of cat and mouse. When the work was finally turned over after I had filed a complaint with a third-party, it turned out to be useless. Perhaps this person used a different version of the engine than I did but whatever the case, it was incompatible and just plain did not work. Rather than go through more bullshit, I just decided to cut my losses and move on.

Fast forward a couple of months later and I contacted another Programmer (well-known in the community) for help with some hurdles I had been experiencing. This person was well-known and had a good reputation so we began to negotiate over a few days of private messaging on the forum. Things seemed to go well at first as this person appeared ready to tackle what I had presented. In a nutshell, I had some code that needed just a little bit of expanding. It wasn’t a hard thing to do for someone of his/her calibre but was beyond my scope as far as Programming. They were eager and wanted to start work right away but before I could even talk about money. At this point, I had to stop them and ask for a price quote first. Logical, right? Well, they didn’t seem too impressed by that.

They asked me what my budget was; how much I planned on spending. I did not reveal my budget but had an idea what it would cost. They assured me that even though the work wasn’t difficult, a lot of testing might have to be done and that they couldn’t give me a price until after they had completed the work.

Uhh, What? Isn’t that why it’s called an estimate?

So, I contacted some Programming friends of mine (different field of Programming work) and I gave them a number of what I was expecting to pay for this feature. Every single one of them agreed it was a fair price because the groundwork had already been laid and they cautioned me to not let this person stretch it along because of ‘testing‘ because then they could pretty much make the testing last as long as they wanted. I returned to this Programmer with a number for what I was expecting to pay and then never heard from them again! What a world.

So what the hell happened? Did they want to know my budget so that they could suck it all up? And when they found out I wasn’t willing to pay some ridiculous price they just left in search of some other sucker? It’s kind of funny but now that I think of it, the first Programmer (the Cat and Mouse person) also wanted to know my budget upfront, which I revealed (stupid of me) and they said they would do the work for that entire amount. It wasn’t until I said that there were other Contractors involved that I had to pay as well that they lowered their pricing to something more fair…for the same amount of work.

It all reminds me of a crooked Mechanic. You know the type ‘Uhh, so I know you just wanted an oil change but we’re going to need to overhaul your Flux Radiometer and that’ll be 1500 bucks and then we’ll need to rotate your windshield to balance out the vehicle, and that’ll be another 200 and uh, there’s a leak in your rear Bumper which’ll cost another 100.

Crooked fucking Mechanics of the Game Development world man…lol…

Well, those were some frustrating times and then coupled with all the problems that kept cropping up whenever I tried working with this engine…it all just made for a tiring overall experience. And this sort of thing didn’t just start happening but as you all know from past posts I made, happened for a long time.

Uggghhhhh

This didn’t bother me the first 5000 times…but now it’s a little old.

So I did a lot more soul-searching and asked myself the following things:

  1. What was I getting out of this?
  2. What was I planning on getting out of this?
  3. How much longer could I keep fighting this engine?
  4. Was what I was planning to do, really worth my time or effort now?
  5. How much longer will it take to create?

It hasn’t been a quick development process by any means. How long have people been waiting since I first announced this project? Too long for too little it would appear. So I came to some conclusions and again, maybe some of you have seen this coming a long time ago. Maybe it was the natural progression of the project that I had been fighting all along and that is why it has been such a struggle.

Infernal Dead (Daemonicon) was supposed to be a Spiritual Successor to Out Of Hell. But now that I think of it, what it needed to be was Out Of Hell. What do I mean by this? Well, many aspects, themes and even characters from Out Of Hell would have appeared in Infernal Dead. I had read in the past that some people were a little disappointed that the new project was not a direct continuation of Out Of Hell or an expansion of it. Maybe that was why I couldn’t garner the interest for the crowd-funding phase? I am not going to fight it anymore. I’ve wasted precious time trying to implement new features and mechanics that I couldn’t possibly know would work until the very end.

So the announcment is: I will be making this Out Of Hell: Complete.

I will rebuild this from the ground up (in that I mean, I will not be importing maps or other work from the old UT2004 version) and I will take into account all of the features that we talked about in this forum post: http://outofhell.freeforums.org/your-ideal-hell-t169.html

I will be using ALL of the assets created thus far for Infernal Dead and seeing as how some of the new monsters and NPC’s are expansions of Out Of Hell counterparts anyway, it should fit seamlessly. The original Out Of Hell can now serve as the ‘prototype’ or ‘blueprint’ and I can have a clear direction on where I can take it. I will do what I think I should have done all along:

  1. I will completely flesh out the entire story of Out Of Hell.
  2. I will further develop the characters that we’ve come to love and hate.
  3. I will bring the visuals up to modern standards.
  4. I will make sure that the atmosphere in this game surpasses that of the original.
  5. I will extend the story past the original conclusion.
  6. I will fix what was wrong with the original in terms of gameplay and performance.

This is my contribution to the loyal fanbase that has supported me all these years and my contribution to the medium and the art. I hope that this news brings excitement to you and you aren’t left disappointed. This will be a complete and total horror package. I think, that this is the natural conclusion.

Just Dropping A Line!

November 17, 2013 1 comment

Hello! I just wanted to drop you all a line and tell you things are still on track. It has been a hectic few months since the last update and I did a little bit of travelling and am now just settling into a new job! I do not have the time to post a big update at the moment but I wanted to tell you some of the new things going on under the hood of the Infernal Dead machine!

About a week after the last update I began toying around with the idea of procedural generation. I wasn’t quite sure it was feasible and it was just a ‘What if…’ sort of thing BUT 8 days later I actually managed to build a basic system and got it working. There were a lot of hurdles and limitations but you know me, I kept at it and after some more coding and a few workarounds I finally had a system I was proud of!

So now, I have a procedural map generation system (random maps) which means that you will literally never play the same level twice! (I guess it’s mathematically possible but the odds are astronomical) The AI has methods to navigate the maps and it all melds seamlessly into my dynamic lighting system. It also supports proper collision (which was a big problem in the beginning), proper world dynamic lighting (also another big problem at first) and a few more features I haven’t mentioned. Best of all, it runs really smooth despite what is actually going on and is much faster than the prevous maps I built with the Editor. 98% of it is code (no Kismet bullshit) and it isn’t hacky code either as I’ve learned a lot about programming during this time and can do a few things better than I used to!

I also coded most of the game ‘skeleton’ such as the world map screen, level progression, stamina and supply system, etc. I got a lot of work done during my online absence so I’m quite happy about that.

So I’ll go into the details with the full proper update but these are just some of the really exciting things that I’ve been up to! I’ll drop another update as soon as I can, see you soon guys!

Categories: Infernal Dead Updates

Comparison

So here are 4 screens to show what I’m talking about. If you’d like to drop a comment on which you prefer, that would help me a great deal! Please note that the ‘Sharpen Filter’ is what was used for these latest batch of screens.

UPDATE: I’ve discovered the problem. All screenshots of environments up until this date have been taken from the Editor itself in Real-Time mode. The reason for this is because in-game, I cannot change the time cycle so the sun will pass overhead on its own. By taking screens directly from the Editor, I can dictate the time of day and have more control over the screenshots.

And so to test, I took some in-game screens and it would appear as though the problems are no longer existent and the visuals are much more smooth and clean. The ‘Muddyness and Noise’ are gone and so from here on, all future screen captures will from in-game only.

fil1 fil2 fil3 fil4

Categories: Miscellaneous

Things Are Picking Up!

I’ve been back from my trip for around two and a half weeks and I must say it was a nice little diversion. It gave me time to breathe, to think and most important of all, reorganize. I now have a much more clear direction of where I want to take this and how to get it done. Sometimes a little break makes all the difference in the world and now I’m back and hammering away at it with new fervor.

Below you’ll find 12 more screens of Laughlin Lake. In the next update, I’ll expand and show the other side of the lake which includes rest areas and camp/picnic grounds.

IDLL1 IDLL2 IDLL3 IDLL4 IDLL5 IDLL6 IDLL7 IDLL8 IDLL9 IDLL10 IDLL11 IDLL12

Of course, I’m extremely proud of the Lighting System that I’ve implemented and it gets closer and closer to what I wanted in terms of lifelike visuals. This was no easy task and I feel as though I’m really squeezing as much juice as I can from the UDK but you know me; I’ll keep pushing it to its bounds, right until the very end.

One thing that I’m not too happy with is the ‘jaggies’. I have a filter that does some depth-based sharpening because I like crisp visuals but even without it, the ‘jaggies’ are still there. Now, I know that UDK has some AA filters to help smooth out the visuals but for some reason, in my case, the visuals get really ‘muddy’ when the filter is applied. I’ll have to find a solution for that later on.

On another note, I mentioned a couple of posts back that I had been having some trouble with a coder I hired. I’m happy to say the situation was resolved when I got back and so there is no reason to delve into it any further. What matters is that I can start digging into the code once again and the project can finally move forward in that aspect.

Thanks for visiting and come back next month for another update!

Categories: Infernal Dead Updates

I’ll Be Back Soon!

Just a heads up to everyone that I will be largely unavailable for most of July. I will however, be back in August with an update and more Infernal Dead beauty! See you soon!

Screen - Map 1

Categories: Miscellaneous
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