After working on the project for a while to try and get a prototype ready for the hypertalks, I have finally got a working prototype which can be played but doesn’t have much functionality. At current it consists of one level with 3 target zones which the player must drop the shipping containers into. Getting the crane to turn took a long time as it used lots of complex blueprints and code which I wasn’t familiar with. Once I figured out how to move the crane on a 360-degree axis I then had to start to think about how everything else would move. I decided that the slider would have to be constrained to the mesh so it follows when it moves. However, the slider also has to move along the crane so I had to add that functionality to the blueprints of the crane. This also took a long time as I had to make a blueprint string which checked the location of the crane constantly, so it could follow and slide in the correct manor. This proved very difficult as there weren’t any tutorials on it which meant I just had to try and figure it out. As a beginner at Unreal I struggled with this part but slowly I started to grasp what things meant. Next came another problem which was the magnet, this would have to be constrained in a few ways. First it would have to be constrained to the crane so that it follows it when it moves similarly to the slider element. But it also has to be constrained to the slider so that it follows when it moves along the crane arm. Finally, I had to add another constraint to the magnet so it couldn’t descend or ascend too far. All these constraints work together to make sure the magnet is always in the correct position. I then attached a rope mesh to the magnet and slider and constrained it so it would only attach those 2 meshes. I would’ve liked to have a rope which swung around but, Unreal doesn’t have any rope mechanics so this wasn’t possible to do. This meant that I had to stick with a non-swinging rope. This turned out better though as swinging might have just made the game frustrating.
With all this done I had a fully functional crane in terms of movement. There was another major issue to overcome in the base mechanics of the game before I could start to add other elements though, this was picking objects up. Figuring out how to make a pawn pick up another actor in unreal engine was almost impossible as there were zero tutorials on how to do it. Through extensive trial and error though I managed to figure out how to use two collision boxes and an overlap event to attach an actor to the crane magnet when they were close enough. This meant that I had the core movement of the game sorted out and could now move on to making the levels, scoring systems, menu, UI, timers and missions.
I recorded some gameplay and added some mock up scoring to it in premiere to demonstrate what the game will look like. This can be seen below: