Wednesday, May 30, 2012

uTower - My UDK project

This isn't an announcement so much as it is a cave in of needing somewhere to post about this. I don't want to generate hype about it, but I feel the need to chronicle my progress somewhat.


Is the working name for the tower defense game I have been mulling over since about christmas-ish. You can read the concept doc here.

It originally started from a desire to make a release, just one damn release, and not have to rely on slow teams, clueless internet people and ideas men. I have worked on a lot of mods, probably just shy of 20, and none have released. In fact, only one is currently not completely cancelled, and development on that has stagnated, as it does.

So I embarked on this project with a friend who also desired the popping of his release cherry. A tower defense game. Simple, fast and easy, to further amplify our chances of release. Unfortunately for the game (but fortuately for him) my friend went to uni, so with his time divided enough, he couldn't spare much of it to create this game with me. The project existed in limbo for a few months until I decided to see if I could forge on alone. UDK comes with Kismet, so a lot of the coding can be done in that, right? Uscript is designed to be pretty friendly and is well documented so a few tutorials will point me straight, right? Wrong.

Coding is for coders. And I am not a coder. I wish I was, oh man do I wish I knew something more complex than javascript, but as it stands I don't have a jot for programming. I could probably teach myself but I don't want to take the time off modelling and let those skills lapse. So even though I am still elbowing my way forward with uTower, I recognise the need for a programming team mate. To this end, I am working on a proof of concept, making art assets and doing what I can with Kismet and Matinee in the hopes of attracting a coder in a similar situation. But before I go into my perfect programmer, here's a video I made recently of my progress.

As you can see, the basics are there. But that is all a sequence made in matinee, the only intractable object is the pop up menu, which just pops up and retracts when 'used'. The end goal is a top down rts-style game mode, but I tried to code that using UDK gems and, while I did get it working, I couldn't get it quite right, so I scrapped it.

My coder

Once I have made a bit more fancy looking assets for the game - I am working on a few trees right now and after that I will be making some essential environment pieces to define the "toybox" in which the game is played - I will be submitting it as a proof of concept to the game development community, namely the epic games UDK forums and interlopers. I hope to glean myself a programmer. But not just any programmer.

I want a programmer who has a slew of mods under his belt, but only a few releases. A programmer who is jaded and upset that all the work he has done so far has been tied up in inevitably doomed projects due to unreliable internet people. A programmer who is self taught, but knows that they have mastered their art to a point where the world is now their oyster. A programmer who is thirsting to drop his release v-plates. I want a programmer who has his own project pretty much done and just needs some sweet art to sex it up. I want a programmer who will be my programmer, in the same way I will be their modeller. I want someone who has confidence in their abilities to adapt to new challenges, and the tenacity to see it through, failure or no, and not be scared off by the unfamiliarity of new boundaries. I want my programmer to know how much work is involved in the smallest aspect of their project, and to love it. Yeah. A real catch. Notice I used the word "programmer" becasue I think it encompasses more than "coder". A web developer is a coder, coding is just setting things in motion so they run smoothly. A programmer programs logic, creates software and develops ideas in tandem with the system. Coders are great, but programmers are much more all encompassing, and generally have a better grasp on their tools at a grass roots level.

In return I want to be the modeller who gets shit done. I want to make sexy characters, beatiful setpieces and menial clutter props. I want to be the artist who pumps out content and uses the engine features to ensure smooth integration and great performance. I want to be the artist who can be relied upon by his programmer to produce the assets needed to prototype new features, or sexy up existing ones. I want to be the artist who helps tirelessly to create fantastic art and finish entire sets and games. I want to be the artist who not only creates models, but assets. Textures, particles, images, hud elements, animations, designs. I want to be the one man creationist powerhouse, the artistic yin to the logical yang of the two-man indie team.

I realise I'm barking up the superlative pipe dream tree here, but somewhere out there is the programmer I am in need of, and they are in need of me.

No comments:

Post a Comment