The Tower

Unreal 4



What is it?

The Tower 3D is a first-person action game where the player posses special disks. These disks can be bounced off the environment for use as a weapon or activated as a means of transportation. The teleportation disks are the main character's only weapon as they attempt to scale the tower in search of her daughter. The Tower is not just large, but home to many demons. The project was developed using the Cerny method and thus we began with a toy that would be fun in an empty room, a teleporting disk. It is from there that we decided to move towards fast-paced action with this new ability.

What did I do?

Being a small team of 4 and one of two systems designers I had a lot to juggle on this project, with my main focuses being character movement and enemy AI. The character's movement was a very important aspect of the project as so much of the gameplay was strongly tied to this gameplay mechanic of teleportation. This meant that the rest of the movement had to support it, with things like wall-running, vaulting, and fine tunned adjustments to how the player feels. As for my work on the AI which often included designing what the enemies themselves would do. We had four enemy types in the game normal, sniper, shield, and non-lethal. Each of these was not only designed to be unique, but to affect how the player's movement acts and reacts.

How did I do it?

This project was my first time working on AI and using Unreal’s blackboard system. I used it to have the AI move away from the player when they were too close and move towards when they were too far as well as store the location that of the player that the AI is firing towards. The wall running proved itself difficult to accomplish and in order to make it work when the player would reach new wall objects, I stored an integer variable that added with each new object and subtracts when an old object leaves. If the value wasn't zero then I knew the player was on the wall. The development process also included some small changes that went a long way such as the post-processing effect during the teleport. Though this in itself isn't a huge thing development of this project taught me a lot about how little things like that add significantly to an experience.

Why did I do it?

The number one goal when it came to the design of the enemies was an attempt to encourage the utilization of our unique movement system. As a result, the sniper will fire if you’re still for too long, the shielded enemy will always try to face you, and the non-lethal fires large projectiles that will knock you away. All of these encourage the player to act or react in ways which they might feel clever for discovering. All these edge of your seat moments were why we felt it would be interesting to slow the progress down while keeping the movement up in our boss fight. Limiting you to a single room allowed the player to get familiar with the environment and become a pro at navigating that room. This dance of slowly chipping away at the boss while still keeping the movement up was one we found interesting despite its faults.

Gameplay Video

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