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Over 9000 Swords for UE4 and Unity now available! Free demo!

1 minute read

Yes, you read that right – I think we’re probably one of the first cross-engine asset packs that doesn’t just consist of meshes, textures or art assets. Over 9000 Swords has been available on the Unreal Engine Marketplace for a good few weeks now, but earlier this week we finally got it released on the Unity Asset Store as well!

Here’s a free demo of the Unity version! It contains a small selection of the included mesh parts for you to try

Download Unity Demo (57 MB)

The written documentation for it is available on this site as well now (UE4/Unity), and if you require any assistance getting it set up in your game, Lee and I are available via a dedicated support Slack live chat we’ve set up just for you. Email support@broad-strokes.com with your order ID/purchase confirmation to get access! A bunch of video tutorials are also planned for those of you who like to watch, if you know what I mean.

So, what’s next? We’re already well on the way to the next pack, and there’s also a free update in the works that adds seasonally topical nondescript energy swords! We hope you like this – we’ve put a lot of effort into making this as usable and easy to extend as possible! The feedback we’ve got so far has been pretty positive, which fills us with joy! Thanks for making us happy, you awesome people 🙂 We’ll try to keep creating cool and useful things for you in the future!

Peace out!


Over 9000 Swords! Modular Weapon System coming soon

less than 1 minute read

I spent the last few days polishing up and making a trailer for a modular weapon system that I’ve been working on with Lee Devonald. Here it is:

We just submitted it to the UE4 marketplace, so I hope you’ll be able to check it out for yourself soon! Let me know what you think!


Flowstone Cave, and other news

5 minute read

Flowstone Cave experience released!

My Flowstone Cave is out now for the Rift DK2 and regular non-VR Windows desktops! Download it for free right here: Download

Ahum. So technically it’s been out for a few days, but I was pretty busy with preparations for GDC and didn’t get around to actually announcing it anywhere. So, here you are! This project is a short exploration experience which takes you into a flowstone cave, as the name might suggest. There is no objective, no game mechanics – just walk around, take in the sights, play with the light switches and immerse yourself in the environment!

I especially recommend you try this with a Rift DK2, if you have one.

Flowstone Cave 8

Download now! And if you like it, I’ll totally love you if you share it with your friends on Twitter or Facebook <3

As a bit of background information, I made this environment as a way to beta test my friend Yoeri Vleer’s upcoming rock & cave asset package to be released on the UE4 marketplace. Gotta say, I was impressed with how easy it was to work with it, and how versatile the assets. As a bonus, check out this gallery he made of my cave level with textures from the upcoming Natural Tiling Materials pack! And if you plan to get that package when it comes out, you’ll be happy to hear that a slightly modified version of this cave will be included as a showcase example!

On to the other news:

GDC

Oh god, GDC. I’m going to be there! Epic Games are flying a few community members to San Francisco to help out at the Unreal Engine booth, and I’m one of them! Still can’t quite believe it, to be honest – but I’ll be on a plane to the US in just a few short days. If you’re there, come say hi! I’m gonna be the dreadlock hippie with the grin on his face 😉 I have no idea how well I’ll be able to get online while there, but I’ll try to be active on Twitter. But if it turns out too busy, I’ll at least post my impressions after. Exciting times!

Two more gamejam games

memoryerrorI’ve uploaded my submissions for the January and February Unreal Engine gamejams. In January, Sebastian Villarroel and I made Memory Error, a simple memory game in which you have to guide a jumping robot through a field of treacherous tiles, and remember the path you took. It was fun to make, especially since for a change I concentrated almost entirely on making the art. Which also explains why it’s not really up to snuff… but hey, gamejams! They’re for making things that are barely good enough in the spirit of “fuck it, ship it!”. So that’s all the excuses you’ll get out of me.

heyyyyy-shot4Then in February, I finally teamed up with Dwunky, that is, Aaron Leaton, along with his wife Niky, Levon Church, and my friend and regular collaborator Bruno Brito from Brazil, to make high school shooting falling-in-love simulator Fifty Shades of “Heyyyyy!”, in which you use twin-stick shooter controls to shoot hearts at other teenagers or detonate flower bombs so that they fall in love with you, which makes them follow you around. The goal of the game is to have everyone admire you, so you’ll be crowned prom king/queen. And just like in real life, falling in love yourself means that you lose. That was a joke. I did almost none of the art on this one, but almost all of the blueprint programming, so blame me for when things break. Aaron and the others outdid themselves, the amount of assets they’ve created in such a short amount of time was staggering! This one was a lot of fun to make, and I learned a whole bunch of things about AI programming in Unreal Engine 4.

Upcoming UE4 Marketplace Package

Over the past few weeks I’ve also been working on a marketplace package that should be quite useful for level designers. It’s a system to easily create complex networks of splined meshes, such as tunnels or sewers, road networks, fences, or race tracks. I’m still going to be working on it for a bit, but it already lets you create arrays of multiple spline meshes with randomization parameters, have full, detailed control over the sub-meshes on each segment, attach them to intersections or each other in any way you want, deform them, use my auto-tiling feature or control spline tiling manually – you can even create a loop-the-loop with it. I’m going to be posting more info as I make more progress, and you can except a few tutorial videos when I submit it to the marketplace as well. In the meantime, here’s a little sneak peek:

ue4-splines-example

If you’re interested in something like that, drop a note in the comments, or let me know on Twitter!


Flowstone Caves: Work-in-progress shots

less than 1 minute read

This week I’ve been working on a little scene to showcase my dear friend Yoeri’s upcoming rock and cave UE4 marketplace package, and it’s come along quite nicely! So I thought I might share some screenshots.

The full list of features I’ve implemented over the course of this week includes, in reverse order of excitement:

  • Rich ambient sound environment
  • Footstep sounds that react to the surface you walk on
  • Fully dynamic lighting: All lights can be toggled on and off
  • Aimable, toggleable flashlight (neatly combines with the above for something I like to call “Alone-in-the-Dark mode”)
  • Full Rift DK2 support

It has been great fun to make this over the past few days! So I’m planning to release this as an interactive environment next week, to share it with you all – so stay tuned! 🙂

Peace.


Smooth Sailing on the Coconut Express

4 minute read

This post was originally published as a guest blog on the official Unreal Engine website.

When the theme for November’s UE4 gamejam was announced to be “Two Birds with One Stone”, Jason’s mind soon went to this infamous scene from Monty Python and The Holy Grail – and the idea for our game was born. In The Coconut Express, you would control two swallows that have to find coconuts and bring them to Castle Camelot. We decided to go with a stylized, untextured lowpoly aesthetic, because that let us cut down a lot on asset creation times and looked visually interesting at the same time.

Unreal Engine’s Blueprint system let us very quickly create a working prototype of the planned game mechanics after we had (more or less) settled on what the game was going to be like – we had the basics implemented by the end of our first night of working on them. The next day was spent mostly on creating all the 3D assets we needed. I mostly worked on blueprints and materials, and only created the odd one or two models when I needed a break from all that logic, while Jason furiously modeled all our different trees and about a dozen different houses, and started working on our main character, the two swallows carrying a coconut. (I suspect he hates me a little bit for this –on our collaboration track record so far I’ve always made him model and animate really weird, non-standard things!).

coconuts-fightcloudYoeri joined us on Saturday to help out with more modeling and to create some of the awesome particle effects he’s known for. The cartoon fight cloud he made is probably one of my favorite effects! Sunday came, and while I fought to make sure we had a working menu and UI, Jason created our antagonist character, the evil falcon. Time went by way too quickly, and we scrambled for the totally unexpected (ahum) deadline crunch to get everything working and packaged in time.

At this point you’re probably wondering why any of this should convince you that gamejams are great. They just sound like a whole lot of work and stress, don’t they? Well, hear me out. Gamejams are awesome and will make you a better game developer for a couple of reasons. First and foremost: there is no real risk involved. You can try out a new idea, new technique, visual style, workflow, or a new game engine and make something with it – and if it doesn’t work out, all you’ve lost is a few days.

Gamejams also tend to give you a theme to work with. Working within a set theme you cannot change is a great way to boost your creativity! Just like in the “real world”, you’ll always have to deal with certain constraints, and practicing how to navigate creative constraints like a preset theme can sharpen your mind to deal with more serious constraints in larger projects.

Going hand in hand with this is the time limit: most gamejams give you only a weekend or maybe a week to complete your project from start to finish. Like theme restrictions, the time pressure of gamejams teaches you to prioritize. Sure, you could polish this one aspect of your game for weeks, or refine that 3D model or texture more and more until it meets your high standards of quality, but: in gamejams, you just don’t have the time for that. The motto is: “Good enough, ship it!” That focus on output over polish can be an enormous boost to productivity, and it just feels good to finish something!

So, to sum it up: gamejams are a great opportunity to make quick and dirty prototypes, test and improve your skills, and bolster your productivity. And doesn’t that sound great?

Some great places to look for current game jams are:

  • Ludum Dare: a huge online game jam happening every few months
  • #OneGameAMonth: daring you to gamify your productivity
  • CompoHub: an online calendar of currently ongoing game jams
  • And of course, the monthly Unreal Engine game jams on the forums

Also, as a bonus, I wrote up a tutorial on how we built the low-poly environment!

Alright, that’s all I’ve got for now. If you have any questions or comments, or just want to connect, follow the links below!

The Coconut Express (Download and Info)

Twitter: Jan, Jason, Yoeri

November Game Jam thread