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Aspiring UE4 Developer Here to Meet Other Devs and Be Socially Active (My Story and Some of My Work)

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

Good. Playground and pool area looks amazing. Also wonder how you are able to do modification on such a blueprint “spaghetti”

Stuff to like:
The 3 models look interesting. Overall, it feels like there’s a likeable alternative / indie vibe going on.
So imperfect (even flawed), but as a result its more compelling as far as characters and story goes.:cool:
The level is ok atm. As regards content its a bit harder to judge (it’d be nice to see more city views).
Why not look to the best parkour / chase films as inspiration, with International real-world locations…

Stuff to fear:
The Blueprints above require urgent professional intervention (sorry there’s no other way to put this).
Basically if this was a ‘reality show’, you’d be in intervention group therapy to help fix all those wires. :stuck_out_tongue:
Dialing down the Editor Spline settings, using Reroute-Nodes, and adding Custom-Events may help.
While its only you reading it, it will become impossible to maintain over time especially to debug tbh.:wink:

Good luck!

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Looks pretty nice, kinda curious how you did the caustics

There is a way to clean up Blueprints. Collapse to nodes and then collapse the nodes into nodes. My all time favorite is a function with an enum input, so you can modify the function pathways with a simple drop down menu.

Hey Matt, I’m a noob in UE 4. My main interest is virtual production, but current am focusing on game development to get to know the engine and make the most of what ever project comes my way. No better time than now before UE5.

Currently I’m learning based on my own goals. For example: created using blueprints a trohpy collection system, doors just like in Dark Souls with the ability to get a “trophy” when all doors are opened in a level, etc.

Would like to get in contact with more people and help out (or be help) in what ever is needed. Think we all can agree what we love the most of UE or game dev in general is the eternal problem solving. Think I’m good at that regardless of my skills in UE… lol

Hey Matt, good to meet you! Glad to hear your mental health has been improving, and you’re really taking hold of thing and getting progress made. Great work, keep it up!

Best of luck with your game, I’d love to hear more about it. I’ll keep an eye out for future posts

Ah wow, I’m sorry I didn’t get any notifications for this thread even though I knew I turned them on, and because I’m not used to being the center of attention and have low self esteem, (and my post was so bold) I honestly was kind of worried I’d check and there’d be nothing, and that I’d regret making the thread. I’m happy that didn’t happen and I’m very thankful for the replies and support, I really wish I had just checked sooner, and I’m going to reply to everyone. :upside_down_face:

@sam.new Thanks a lot, I’ve updated the pool water to be blue instead of clear, and still working on the map but I’m glad you’re digging the progress up to this point. Yeah the blueprint is a mess, I started learning blueprint that way and while I have cleaned and organized a lot better in my own way since then, I’m still negligent to organize my wires, but its something I’m going to need to start doing… lol

@UnrealEnterprise Thank you, I took some time to try and figure out the art style and how the characters should look, tweaked things from custom color grading to just about everything in the post process settings to help get to where I want. For characters kind of doing a semi-real with detailed textures and materials approach, but with a bit of toon influence to the anatomy (a lot of females are curvy, smoothen bone definition like elbows and hip bones, knees, big eyes, etc) , so I’m glad you see what I’ve been going for. And for sure I appreciate the criticism, that’s kind of where I’m hung up at the moment and why the buildings and architecture are very bare bones; I need to learn and better understand construction and architecture academically so I can have more realism and control when being creative with what I want to make. Until then the things I couldn’t understand or make a choice on for buildings I’ve put on hold and left basic. I’m not sure where to learn that stuff from a game design standpoint though, unless there’s books or online classes out there which if so I’d love to be recommended any. Also ironic you mention parkour as inspiration because that’s more or less the root of the gameplay, so for sure lol.

Also for the blueprints it seems most people have had that contention and I totally agree, its a rats nest in a lot of systems haha. I’ve gotten better at using macros and functions but its easy to just start creating and having things get out of hand. If its any defense I will say that I leave comments on all the important areas so its easy to come back and remember what I made, but for sure its a mess and I’ll absolutely improve on that haha. :laughing: I appreciate the intervention haha.

@Bits360 Thanks! For the water material, fog, and caustics I’m using a modified marketplace plugin called Aquatic Surface; The caustics are essentially an animated Decal that comes with the plugin.

@SigmaGames Ah thats very clever, I do use collapsed nodes to store all my systems to keep everything organized as a whole. My main event graph is basically an EventTick and EventBeginPlay with sequences that plug into a ton of collapsed nodes, along with collapsed nodes for custom event based systems. I also use Macros for code I reuse a lot because they are basically collapsed nodes that can be reused. I’m used to the messiness but everyone is letting me know its not good practice at all so I’ll find a way to keep my ways of working but have it easier to read lol.

@pezzott1 Hey nice to meet you, I’m sorry its taken me months to notice I had any replies and reply back. Absolutely I’m really excited to dig into UE5, its been a great number of years since UE4 to really get into game development. Ah interesting, for use in Steam or something specific you mean? I have yet to make an achievements/trophies but I’ve looked into how they are done with Steam. Its been months now so probably past this, but, you could do an array of bools that are save data and each door represents an array index and just marks it enabled when the door event happens, and then just have to do a check every time the array is modified to search for any false bools in the array using ‘Contains Item’ and if false it will reward the trophy. Hopefully I’m understanding what you’ve been trying to do correctly :sweat_smile:.

And absolutely, in general I’d like to just be able to know other devs and talk to people, doesn’t matter to me if they are very new or professional; I just don’t happen to know any others personally so I feel pretty alone in my passions. And absolutely agree, gotta love making something new and trying to make sure it works. In the time I’ve been making my game I’ve created some advanced things full of their own challenges, from a fully dynamic ledge climbing system, to advanced character customization, friction and teetering systems, stair/ledge detection, etc. So many memories of getting hung up on something and then figuring it out, its a great feeling, and I’m glad you relate lol.

@jackhalfaprayer Ah thanks a ton, nice to meet you as well! I’m sorry its taken so long for a reply, but things are going good with the project, life has been a bit up and down, moving, working an exhausting job, people drama and the like. I have some deep rooted issues of social anxiety and low self esteem going way back to elementary school I never tackled, I’ve always been hoping that making a big project or album or something would finally allow me to triumph that by proving to myself that I have something to offer and that I shouldn’t feel the way I do, and things are definitely improving and I’m doing my best to have a growth mindset and be willing to change.

Awesome man and thanks, I’ll definitely be posting it here when it’s more ready. Also thinking of making a separate dev blog that I can update frequently to keep all the content and progress there, if anyone has info on what service I can use to make something like that I’d love to hear recommendations. :grinning:

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If there is a dev blog/discord, i would definitely take a look time to time.

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Yeah! The array was my solution. I also named every actor so that they are organized withing the array. So if array[i] == 0, I can get it in the [Get All Actors of Class][i]. Also used gameplay tags to filter in case I need to use same actor for different roles.

@Bits360 Sweet, thats kind of you to say and motivating considering you don’t know much about the game I’m making and are going off of what you’ve seen alone ha.

@pezzott1 Ah good I’m glad you figured that out, an array is the first and best thing that comes to mind, but gameplay tags is a clever addition. Are you currently making a game also or more learning with UE4-UE5 right now?

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Learning, working on a personal virtual production project. Have as medium/long term goal work on games.

You need to make an appointment with a blueprint surgeon :joy:
I have begun the journey of eliminating as many nodes as humanly possible. If anything has more than two nodes in the main graph, I will declare a war on it.

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