Hey I’m Matt, I usually go by Grayve Rose or just Grayve as a pseudonym/username most places, and I’ve always wanted to be a game developer. I started by drawing games on paper in 1st grade, usually variants of Zelda or Banjo Kazooie (still have a binder full of drawn out Zelda temples I created back in middle school along with some other game ideas from those days), and my own original ideas. I started learning at 13 with UE2 in the UT2003 days, began with mapping and textures, then mostly got into character modding. I made a few maps (DOM-Grove) and also a number of characters for UT2004 (Yoshi, Zero Suit Samus, Laundry Man, etc), back when I was a teen and using my old alias Goldfenix. When I turned 16 I started thinking about game design more pragmatically as a reality versus a dream, and realized the idea of working for someone else making someone else’s games come to life isn’t what I was passionate about, and since there wasn’t a market/scene for indie game development nor free game engines like Unreal/Unity back then, I stopped pursuing and it became a hobby I swept under the rug. When I got out of high school I was new to music and realized I had a natural skill for it, so I prioritized learning guitar/singing/piano and mixing and composing music digitally over everything else, and did that for a few years.
Then well, adult life really hit, and maybe it was somewhere between the imposter syndrome I’ve always had and depression; but I fell into bad habits, apathy, and cynicism. I didn’t know who I wanted to be or how to fit in the world, therefore didn’t know what I should really be doing with my time. What used to be passions that gave me purpose became more hobbies, or ways to kill time. Things things that should be used to further life and give purpose; be used as the means to get to where I wanted to be, became trivial to me and not much different than simply playing games rather than creating. I drifted far away from what got me into learning everything to begin with where the end simply didn’t justify the means. Its easy to take yourself and your progress for granted also when you don’t associate with others that do what you do, because there’s no one around to appreciate you from the 3rd person, and you keep to yourself most the time. Most my life I’ve felt shy, like a floating camera or fly on the wall, and its always been hard for me to give myself a voice or stage out of anxiety of the spot light and fear of being judged and social pressures. I kept telling myself I’d change or make progress, whether with music or games or some other thing I enjoy doing, but its much easier to put things on future-you like a passive coward compared to doing it now. Over the years I’ve just let life happen to me, in some ways doing the minimal amount of effort required, which has just led to feeling unfulfilled, lonely, and disconnected with myself.
In 2014 UE4 went public, and it was the tools I’ve always hoped would exist, since I always had a hard time learning code or wasn’t driven enough when learning UDK. My passion for game design came back stronger and with more purpose than ever before. I dropped out of school (wasn’t going anywhere anyway) in hopes to do something with UE4 that could finally make me into the game developer I wanted to be. I had this idea of a parkour pursuit/evasion type game that hit me hard I was really excited about in 2012, and I decided if I ever took game design seriously I’d make it into an actual game and try and sell it, so I decided that was what I was going to do for however long it took. It started out with gusto and enthusiasm but, that only lasts so long when the majority of who you are is disconnected and damaged, and my issues caught up with me to where before too long what I was working on with the intention of being a passionate project that should become a product, become just a hobby I’d work on here and there. I then got used to not taking it serious and eventually that became routine and the standard for me, and it started to feel like a grind. The good I can say is at least I didn’t get discouraged and give up, I kept going and I’ve put in a remarkable amount of effort, doing the character models, animations, blueprint programming, textures, environments, and even the music and sound FX myself.
Fast forward many years, all of that lead to this past year, where I had the best intentions to get myself on track and turn things around, and get my game out there. Long story short I’ve had the worst year of my life in 2020, and little of it had to do with COVID, that was just a coincidental cherry on top. I put myself in a situation throughout the year by moving in with some people I shouldn’t have, thinking it was going to be for the best (LOL), working a job that wore me down, and falling in love with someone who wasn’t ready for a relationship but I chased her anyway because she made me feel outside of myself, and I thought eventually I’d win her over but just hurt myself trying and waiting. As an introvert and with my already existing issues, its basically been a nightmare on top of a nightmare, and it took me a lot of effort to find a way to dig myself out of that hell and realize I still have enough self respect and hope, and its completely evident that I deserve better and to keep trying and take my life more seriously. I don’t want to be this version of myself anymore and I know exactly where that road is going to lead every time.
Anyway I’m saying all of this and reaching out because I realize more now than ever that doing nothing is far worse than fear of judgement or failure, and even if those things happen they’re still productive because of what you can learn from them. I want to meet other people that share my passions/interests and hopefully make some friends, or at the very least look for encouragement and put myself out there in some way as a much needed step in the right direction. I’m a few days short of being 30 years old, and I refuse to make the same mistakes in my 30’s.
TLDR: I’m here to meet other aspiring game developers working with Unreal, because I’m tired of hiding and being afraid to live my life and get out there, and I’d like to meet people I can relate with for a change.
If anyone wants to chat, want feedback, help on projects, or play games, my discord is Grayve Rose#8176. I’ve been playing a lot of Worms Rumble lately, along with Killing Floor 1 and 2 (was actually really big in the KF community about 10 years ago, had a group of lots of good players and we’d kite non zerk on modded Hell on Earth, was good times). I’m also still very active with UE, I use most my free time to keep up work on my game and some side projects I’m doing when I need a breather from my main project. I understand these forums might be mostly dead, so might reach out in multiple forums, either way thanks for reading.
Here’s some work in progress images and things from my game. It still needs a lot of work, but going to do everything I can to get it into Early Access this year, still not 100% on the title and I’m keeping a lot of details out of this post, but I will make a new post in the future specifically for it.
One of the female characters in my game (not a pre-posed model, but is the real-time character in idle. Characters eye’s look where the camera is pointing and I’ve spent a lot of time syncing it as best as I can despite what animation is playing to get accurate eye placement).
Another female character from my game (this one is a pre-posed model, basically to showcase my current ability to create characters/women lol). I don’t use Maximo or character creator software, my process is I modeled/textured everything, and then to make other characters I duplicate and rework the model as much as needed to make a new character from it. (Also clearly my characters are curvy or seem salacious, but no my game is not an Adult game lol, its just the style I want).
Work in progress but functionally finished character customization menu. Designed so you can rotate and zoom on the character, has 10 groups of customization (shirt, pants, even lipstick and eye shadow and things), and supports 2 colors per item. I’d like there to be at least 2 items you can switch between per group for every character.
What can fit on screen of the character customization system’s blueprint (yeah I’m a messy **** with my blueprints, I understand its a rats nest haha. As long as I can read it though, don’t intend on anyone else needing to modify it).
A bit of what can fit on screen of the Ledge Climbing system, but there’s 2 other systems that control moving along the ledge and pulling yourself up or around corners. I spent months on this so my game can have fully dynamic ledge climbing mechanics, so you can just throw yourself towards a ledge and if it looks grabble it probably is. Having a ledge climbing system of that depth was one of the things I’ve always wanted in my game from the start but took years learning Blueprint to take a shot at it.
A vending machine I made as an asset for the park map in my game. Might fill it with some custom brand food items later but may just leave it empty.
Work in progress of the park map in my game, this is the north area with a pool and shower building. Using a custom color grading table and custom image sharpening for all environments in my game to give it a more vibrant look. (I think UE4 by default looks murky and intense like its calibrated for horror, details in light are washed out but things in shadows are intense; my color grading reverses that).
Playground area of the park map, still got a lot of components of the playground equipment to be designed, but the ladders and zipline are functional, would be cool to have a function slide. The spring rockers do rock realistically when interacted with, but unless you jump on them they can’t be sat on in the traditional sense. (Not gonna design something that takes that much work if it isn’t required for the game play).
Last thing I figured I’d share is a link to a song for my game which also doubles as a link to my Soundcloud if anyone wants to check out my random stuff on there.
Ridgefall Dreary (WIP)
Thanks for taking the time, hoping to meet some people, get feedback, and at the very least I feel like I’m making an effort if not much comes from this