Week 42 Update

by ⚡ Shockk on 2020-05-04

Welcome back to another Corporeality developer update! Unfortunately, progress has been relatively slow-going over the past couple of weeks for various reasons, not least of which being the gradual weardown from the current COVID-19 lockdown situation.

Since our last post, we haven’t had much opportunity to put time and effort into development, and what we have worked on has given us significant issues.

Breakout - HUD

Last week, we set out to implement a counter for the number of lives the player currently has. We want the player to start with, say, 3 lives, and for 3 paddles to be displayed at the top left. Each time they lose a life, we want one of those paddles to disappear, and, similarly, each time they gain an extra life, we want a new paddle to be added to that list.

This has proven particularly tricky in Unreal. The widget system seems to be geared towards static content or dynamic content on static views and it’s been difficult to find a way to dynamically add/remove stuff to the player HUD widget. One option we tried for a while was the GridView, which displays a list of widgets in a grid.

Unfortunately, Unreal outright crashes when we try and add more than one item to our GridView! Not just the game–the entire Unreal Editor application! We tried various combinations of things, including setting the list directly, adding sequentially to the list, etc, but we couldn’t get this to work for now.

For the time being, we’ve opted just to display a numerical lives counter in the top left of the viewport. Although not ideal, it gives us something to work with as we move towards a working prototype.

Corporeality - Music Design

Over the past week, I’ve been doing some light research into music theory.

The kind of music we’d like to see in Corporeality is what you’d expect in a 3D space game–atmospheric, ambient, and adaptive to the player’s current situation. Unfortunately, I haven’t yet had the opportunity to work on the creation of this style of music, so I wanted to start developing my skills here. Although at present we’re not actively working on Corporeality as a game itself, it’s always good to expand our abilities and push the design forward in the meantime.

Although it’s kind of short and by no means a work of art, I have a little snippet of music to share this week. Again, we’re in unknown territory here and we’re still exploring what direction we want to take the music in, but as you listen, try to imagine flying a small ship through a massive abandoned space graveyard, littered with the remains of broken vessels and shipwrecks.

Special Thanks

We’d like to extend a special thanks to a friend of ours: Kyle from Redacted Games. As we’ve struggled through the finer aspects of Unreal and its HUD and widget facilities, he’s provided us with invaluable insight and assistance throughout the issues we’ve faced. Please do check out Redacted Games’ website here: https://redacted-games.itch.io/

Next Steps

Our immediate goals for the next couple of weeks will be to continue working on the breakout prototype and hopefully be able to reach a satisfactory game demo that we’re proud enough to share here. At some point, we’re probably also going to look into creating some non-placeholder graphics for the game, as well as some sweet music that fits the gameplay.

Thanks for continuing to stick with us on our adventure, and, until next time, qapla’!

⚡ Shockk, Lead Programmer