Högni and Amy's game project

Thought in deed

Sideways Movement

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We’re taking a break from VoidEngine development to explore the features and possibilities of the recently released Unreal Development Kit by Epic Games.

The UDK offers a great number of features and advantages of our own engine. Even when we were first exploring into the territory of game development, on of the possibilities we entertained as an engine was UE3, the engine that drives quite a few engines out there. We did not quite discard it, but decided not to use it on the basis of license expense. My desire to write my own also played a part of course.

Now that the UDK has been released for public use, the deal is too sweet to ignore. The editor is fantastic, the content toolchain is well refined and the engine offers possibilities of extension that are very tempting to utilize. Features such as the lightmass lightmap renderer and the Content Browser are welcome tools in game design and development.

The major downside of the engine is UnrealScript, the integrated scripting language. It bears some resemblance to Java and C in it’s syntax, but has some faults as I perceive them. It’s object instantiation and reference system is obtuse. A lot of functionality is reserved to native classes, i.e. classes written in C++ and hidden within the engine.

My major issue with it though, is the difficulty of implementing procedural streaming levels. The engine supports streaming levels out of the box, but access to the functions that deal with setting up the streaming functionality is wrapped in native code, and does not seem to be accessible in script. If this turns out to be the case, the engine does not support the one inaliable feature that we base our entire idea on. Procedural gameplay generation. This includes the placing of rooms and static content, dynamic spawning of monsters, loot and other dynamic actors.

I’ll continue to dig around in the (not so well documented) API, but it’s not looking good so far.

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Written by Högni Gylfason

29.01.10 at 11:36

Posted in Uncategorized

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