Devlog 2: Something to shoot

I've just hit the end of my second week porting Something in the Water to UE4, and things are going pretty well.

Latest progress...

  • Player has health
  • Player has an inventory with the concept of ammo
  • Added pickups (and pickup sounds)
    • Health
    • Ammo
  • Added pickup screen flash
  • Player can dry fire (i.e. a click sound when out of ammo)
  • Added weapon swap audio
  • Weapons support spread as well as multiple projectiles per shot
  • Added shotgun weapon
    • Weapon sprite
    • Firing animation
    • Firing audio
    • Dry fire audio
  • Added enemy characters
    • Enemies can be hit and lose health
    • Enemies die when they run out of health
    • Support multiple animations*
  • Added basic particle effects for surface hits
  • Altered crosshair to match original game

*only front angle currently supported

I started by spending a little time on the inventory side of things. While this isn't super important for this specific project, it'll come in handy if I want to expand upon this concept or build another game. So I've built a system that supports hitscan weapons with the option to have multiple projectiles and I spun off that with a short range melee weapons. These could likely use the same blueprint in the future, it just depends how much overlap there will be once I'm further into development.

With weapons added I needed targets, so I quickly added very basic enemies. The main thing here was getting billboard sprites (flipbooks) to follow the player camera and support multiple angles (i.e. flipbook changes). I started with something that snapped the sprites based on player angle, but I think sprites start to look really strange when you can see them at glancing angles, so I moved to the camera facing approach.

Unfortunately for Something in the Water I only ever used front facing sprites, so I don't actually have the artwork to cover all cardinal directions. I'm thinking about potentially outsourcing the additional required animation frames. I just need to look into contracts, a budget, etc. I've had some interest already though.

Thoughts so far?

Adding health was relatively simple, so I started toying with the idea of armour, but decided to keep things simple. The original basic (but harsh) health system leans into the survival horror nature of the game, so I thought it better to leave health the way it was.

In a similar vein, I was also thinking of moving pickups to an inventory slot system rather than instant use, but I feel that would start pushing the game away from its original flow. For example, pickups were very much placed to aid flow through a space as part of the level design, and I don't think I'd want to lose that. However, I think there's something here that could be explored in future games (think about the mechanical progression from Doom to Heretic for example).

Two potentially controversial changes I was thinking about were limiting vertical aim and removing the crosshair. Both of these changes feel somewhat archaic these days - I think I will leave it as an option for players to decide for themselves.

So what's next?

Next up I'll be fleshing out enemies some more with basic behaviours as well as building a player damage system.

If you'd like to discuss this project, then you can head over to the Noonan Design Discord here:

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Adding the option to limit the aim and remove the crosshair would be a very good choice


Yep, I think it'll be one of the first options I add once I start tackling menus!