I realise it’s been some time since I posted here (two months truth be told!) however I’ve been keeping busy working on a couple of freelance contracts. This doesn’t mean that I’ve neglected my portfolio projects (Lake Lodge / DATA Labs / Digital Dark Age) and I’ve spent some time researching and developing my knowledge of blueprints to aid in their development in my spare time.
In particular I’ve been looking into creating custom occlusion blueprints for FMOD (which I’ll get into more depth about at a later date) and some of the ways in which FMOD integrates with Unreal in a musically interesting fashion!
As you can see the text and ‘coloured blobs’ are timed to the music, or more accurately the tempo and time signature of the attached audio event in FMOD. This can be useful for a whole range of things (rhythm games in particular) although I plan on using this feature in my DATA Labs level to add some extra interest in the basement labs.
As you can see below the FMOD component has it’s own ‘On Timeline Beat’ event which automatically outputs information about tempo, beats, bars etc and can be used to trigger anything you like really! As my boogie loop is in 4/4 I’ve used the beat output and a switch with beats 1 – 4 to toggle visibility of the coloured blobs and boogie text render.
Another useful function I’ve been playing about with lately is the ‘On Event Stopped’ event that can be called from any FMOD audio component. The screenshot below is taken from my DATA Labs level where I’m using it to turn off a cassette player once the recording on the tape has reached it’s end. (I’ll be posting about this soon as well!)
This is really only just scratching the surface of what you can achieve when combining the functionality of FMOD and Unreal in blueprints, but I hope it highlights a couple of ideas and provides some inspiration for your own projects. If you’ve got any questions etc please feel free to drop me a message over on Twitter.
Posts have slowed a little on here recently as I’ve been working on a number of freelance projects, however I have recently updated my Cartrdge page to include my latest portfolio work. If you’ve not heard of Cartrdge before I’d suggest having a nosey at some of the developers, artists etc that are currently using the platform as there are some hugely talented folks indeed. You can find my page HERE including updates for Lake Lodge & DATA Labs.
Hi folks! A welcome break from ‘Digital Dark Age’ I’m sure for any readers of this blog – moving onto a project I’ve been working on for some time with Massive Galaxy studios, based in Portugal. I’ve composed a number of pieces of music for the game, including the title theme which you’ll be able to hear in the forthcoming trailer. For now, here’s a selection of some music from the various scenes and levels in-game.
I’ve been working on my degree major project ‘Digital Dark Age’ at Futureworks here in Manchester for 7 months, which isn’t really that long but it feels like an eternity! One thing I’m super happy with is how much I’ve learned and developed over that time. Even though some days it feels like I’m banging my head against a virtual brick wall with Unreal Engine, the problems I’ve encountered and (thankfully) solved have been an important part of this journey.
My initial goal was to create an immersive environment within which I could feature 5 original compositions that form a short concept album, this would be supported by a digital and physical format release via my Bandcamp page. I knew that I wanted something quite stylised for the whole project, and it turns out that the first person level I created in Unreal became a bit of an obsession! I spent a lot of time on the 5 songs for this project, and I felt that the level had to match that degree of authenticity and the aesthetic I was trying to portray… cue countless nights stuck trying to figure out (relatively simple) tasks in Unreal Engine, losing builds, breaking the mechanics of certain features, losing audio, getting audio back, running at 13fps, scripting Blueprints until 3am and trying to figure out what an earth I’d done wrong whilst drinking LOTS of coffee.
A lot of tasks took longer than they should have, but I was at the end of the day teaching myself techniques and methods I’d read about in the Unreal documentation and via Youtube tutorial videos (which are sometimes more trouble than they’re worth). I think it’s important to talk about the problems I encountered as it makes me feel a whole lot better knowing that I’ve solved 99% of them, and I want to say a big thank you to everyone that’s helped support the project (folks on floor 2 at Futureworks I’m talking to you!).
The project finally launches tomorrow at the Eagle Inn in Salford, which has a suitably small and dark venue. It’s free entry and I’ll be around from 6pm onwards so feel free to come along for a pint and a natter. I’ll have 10 of the cassettes to sell and folks will be able to play on the level first hand. The night will be streamed live via Facebook (part of my assessed criteria) and maybe via Twitter as well. My next blog post will be after the launch and (if I’m still breathing) I’ll be reflecting on the event itself.
Thanks for reading folks and I’d love to hear your thoughts on the project.
Check out Digital Dark Age on Cartrdge here Digital / Cassette Album on Bandcamp here
As mentioned in my previous post my interactive concept album / EP will be available to download and play on March 21st – however cassette / digital pre-orders are open now! Any support would be greatly appreciated so please share this with a friend, family member or even an intrigued pet!
My third year degree major project ‘Digital Dark Age’ is due for launch on the 21st March, which is not that long away at all! I have roughly 1 month to finish all the interactive elements in the level and dub the cassettes / get the Bandcamp page ready for release and write everything up so I still have lots to do. All the finished mixes have now been sent off for mastering and most things are in place for the launch.
I’m really pleased with my progress so far, and I hope everyone will enjoy the level when I make it available to download. You’ll need a Windows PC (no MacOS build I’m afraid!) and I recommend you play on headphones to get the full effect. In the meantime – if anyone is interested in attending the launch event or would like more information on the project then let me know or give me a shout on Twitter! Check out the album preview below!
I’ll be writing a full summary and introduction to the project which will be available shortly, you can also check out the project HERE on Cartrdge.
Hi folks! After a rather frustrating hard drive disaster back in December it’s been slow progress getting back into development of DATA labs but over the last couple of weeks I’ve been begrudgingly rebuilding the parts of the level that I lost and added some cool new features! One of these being a small public address speaker that’s been ‘hotwired’ to play some radio music in the rear office. Check it out below!
As well as the usual distance attenuation using overall level and a slight low pass filter, I’ve also included some reverb attenuation that boosts the verb the further you are away from the audio source, until you’re far enough away that the sound dies out completely. This is something I’ve started implementing on some of the ‘louder’ audio sources in the level, notably the petrol generator in the access corridor and the main public address system announcements.
Here’s a short teaser for my upcoming interactive concept album ‘Digital Dark Age’ – part of my third year degree major project. The album features 5 songs implemented inside a custom built first person environment in Unreal Engine.
Today I started work on the terminals (computers) for each of the key points in Digital Dark Age. Each terminal will essentially be the starting point for each corresponding song on the album, and offer information to the player as they play through the level. I’d love to say I know how to create an interactive computer system in-game, but I don’t! So, the likelyhood is that each terminal will merely act as a trigger to display information nearby (possibly text or graphics / dialogue).
As you can see above, the terminals basically replicate the main DDA logo that floats over the main pathway. The tricky thing here was re-creating the motion graphic of the logo on the terminal’s screen… it’s hard to see in the video but it is actually glowing and glimmering slightly on the old CRT monitor! I might exaggerate this in further iterations of the idea.
I ran into a number of issues, but finally settled on using a Flipbook in Unreal to create an animated version of a spritesheet (see below). This was something I had very little previous knowledge about so I turned to Youtube for help, and after some messing about (including a lot of resizing / scaling / rotating) I finally got it to fit on the screen, albeit with some weird horizontal compression. Turns out, I think that looks pretty cool on the old-school CRT monitor so I think I’ll be sticking with it. You can see the difference in the scale in the picture above.
I’m reusing the computer model that I implemented in DATA Labs which was created by SilverTM – check out their page on the UE marketplace here for some of the other awesome stuff they make.
A little while ago I posted my DATA Labs audio demo level which I created in Unreal Engine and FMOD. I was always intending to use this level as a place where I could try new techniques and develop my skills in audio implementation, so today I went back to the labs to reacquaint myself with some of the systems and blueprints I’d put in place to control audio and events in FMOD. I also took it upon myself to redesign a few bits of the level, including adding some new screens for the monitors! As usual, I’ll be posting more about further tasks I undertake and I’m glad to say the level will also be available to download soon as well if you’re in the mood to try it out for yourself.