Hello, welcome to the dev log for my first unreal engine game and the first game I’ve made on my own (mostly). I do have one other published title to my name but that was made in unity, and I did not do the programming for that.
This project started in unity, but I moved it to unreal some months ago. I want to start a devlog now because the project is getting complex enough that I often need to do some rubber ducky, but I think my wife is getting tired of it . Perhaps if I do so here, it might be helpful for other developers or perhaps somebody can offer me advices.
LANDNAV is a navigation simulation. Use map and compass to find objectives in the wilderness, under a time limit. Gameplay is designed to create a need for the same decisions that you make in real life doing this stuff to be made in game.
The primary purpose of the project is for me to learn how to make a game on my own and publish it. So learning is the main priority. But I am treating it as a serious commercial endeavor, doing everything I can to make it as marketable as it can be for what it is.
My initial goal for the project was only to make an authentic military land navigation simulation, based on the thousands of hours I spent navigating in the wilderness with map and compass both in the military and on my own. I have succeeded in creating a realistic simulation of that with 1 to 1 parity with real life techniques, however I believe that with a bit more work I can turn this into a fully featured game that includes many of the familiar features we expect from modern games. Thus, LANDNAV could provide fun gameplay and high replay value for a broad audience which includes people who like survival genre games, simulation games, or anybody who likes chill, relaxing gameplay in beautiful natural settings.
(new UI, characters, and general art theme in progress. In addition to the core map/compass navigation gameplay, player will need to manage body temperature, hydration, and energy. Clothing layers take into account insulation and breathability. In mountains environment, getting clothes wet from excessive sweating can create dangerous hypothermia conditions if you have to camp overnight.
Considerations like this create a highly realistic camping/backpacking survivalism experience. But my main goal is to avoid numbers as much as possible and try to communicate these true-life bodily needs as intuitively as possible.)
To that end, I’ve recently began work rebranding the art style from an olive-drab military theme to a more colorful theme in line with popular simulation genre titles. But the major extensions are in gameplay. Currently, the game lets you tackle military style training exercises and has some basic stat tracking. This is suitable for somebody wanting to learn landnav or keep current on their skills, but it is not a real “game” with a sense of progression and the sort of modern hooks you expect to give you goals that keep you engaged.
So now I am working on adding a career mode. This will work much like a racing game, in which you have several brackets of races that get progressively more challenging. In order to meet the challenges later in the brackets, you will need to not only develop your actual skill in navigation techniques, but also get strategic about your money management so that you can get equipped with necessary outdoors survival gear. For instance, late-game events will require overnight camping in the mountains where weather can get extreme, so technical clothing and camping gear is essential. But there is always the trade-off of weight, so figuring out the perfect loadout is always a challenge.
My primary goal is always to ensure that the player has to make similar decisions in the game as they would in real life. A game must be fun, but so far, I think I have succeeded in not creating any scenarios that would instill incorrect or dangerous habits. Many players will be using this game to prepare for military courses or develop/maintain a professional skillset, so I do feel responsibility to not create unrealistic decision-making situations.
In that sense, I believe the LANDNAV might be the most realistic survival simulation created so far - but of course this is quite different from survival genre norms.
Well, that is enough set up I think. From here I’ll focus on the nitty-gritty problems I contend with on daily basis. Should you be interested, links below:
My first game: To Battle!: Hell’s Crusade on Steam (steampowered.com)
Current projects webpage: LANDNAV (landnavgame.com)
Current projects Steam: LANDNAV on Steam (steampowered.com)