DOGEcrash - A dystopian cyberpunk procedural death labyrinth rocket jumper

So there was this Cyberpunk Jam which I found out about only as it was ending. It had a theme image (for some reason) of some cyberpeople jumping off of blue and purple buildings.

Hot on the heels of that was both the 7 Day Roguelike challenge and Procedural Death Jam. I attempted to make the idea I had for Cyberpunk Jam into a more procedural-content-focused game in Unity, my engine of choice at the time, but came down with a cold and got too sick to finish by the deadline.

UE4 is released and I’m converted almost instantly. I decide to hold my own game jam! The man can’t tell me to respect the flow of time.

So throughout last week, I gave myself the task of recreating it in Unreal on the same time frame. As an additional challenge, I decided to make it using only Blueprint. Here are the results:

The game takes place in a randomly generated city. You are a cyberthief sent on a mission to steal enough of the cryptocurrency of the future to stage a 51% attack, retiring to a cushy life on The Moon. For some reason your primary mode of locomotion is rocket jumping.

The game is basically in “cool tech demo” state right now, however in testing I’ve found that it’s fun enough that I want to polish it up before releasing it. I’m going to take a week or two to improve the movement and add a couple more mechanics and some proper sound. At that point I’ll release it for free!

More details to come in this thread.

Very neat, thanks for sharing! Also, I’m totally going to use that line about the flow of time the next time I’m late to a meeting.

I’m feeling you brother : ) U4 is a beast. I have 3 levels I was working on using UDK, and once the U4 hit I just abandoned them. Im in the process of recreating them with U4. I really love the way U4 makes everything feel smoother. I cant wait to try out your game, looks very cool.

And thanks :slight_smile:

Can’t wait to see more of it in the future! And your reply with “I am no man” had me and my partner laughing :smiley:

Instantly makes me thing of Quake and some good memories. Which is an awesome thing!

The procedural building placement is performing even better than hoped it would! The skyscrapers are all instanced meshes with manually added collision boxes, so to the player they may as well be regular static meshes. Here’s 4,000 of them on-screen and still getting a high framerate on my 2 year old Macbook Pro:

I was hoping to be finishing up by now but I’m afraid development has completely stalled due to a showstopping engine bug(?). If anyone has any insight on this I would be extremely grateful.

Have some more screenshots from my Twitter feed in the meanwhile:

Not strictly UE4 related but I took a couple hours to make an early draught of the ambient music. Going for a Perturbator inspired darksynth vibe with a dash of Unreal Tournament. About 2+ hours spent on it so far:


I’m still totally blocked on that bug by the way :frowning: please helppp

Returning to development! I took some time off to learn more about the engine as well as recover from a recurring health problem, and the aforementioned blocking issue was resolved in the meanwhile. Gameplay is shaping up nicely, though I’m torn as to whether I should provide a playable demo before all the mechanics are present.

Have some more screenshots:

Looking good, I love the atmosphere and the colors. I would recommend you put as much of the mechanics you are able to before making a demo, no need to rush. Keep it up.

Thank you!

After doing some gameplay testing I realized that while the super high contrast aesthetic with lots of pitch black space made for excellent screenshots, it was annoying to navigate through at high speeds. I didn’t want to compromise on “feel”, so rather than increasing light levels or changing the colour palette, I added some highly unrealistic fresnel shenanigans to the building materials to make highlights glint off of them in interesting and legible ways from more angles, particularly on the sides facing away from light sources.

I also realized that the traffic layer beneath the buildings, the kill volume that you’re supposed to be avoiding at all costs, didn’t really convey a sense of danger. I ran with the idea of using a very stylized pollution haze as a way to portray its lethality:

It’s a modified version of a distant cloud particle system from ShooterGame. These were designed only to be viewed at a distance, which has the interesting side effect of causing many strange twisting artifacts when looking straight down at them. The artifacts actually look surprisingly good in motion, almost as if the particles are volumetric at times. It gives the city’s technology a very hostile, hellish feel, which is perfect.

The blue highlights in these screenshots are present because I hadn’t updated GI since the change. I’d like to find a way to re-introduce that surrealism deliberately.

Looks great! how are you handling the collision effect for (what appears to be) the rocket launcher? Are you creating an emitter on impact, or is that an emitter + projectile to create the blast radius? Regardless, very cool.

The rocket is just a straight up projectile which emits particles as a function of distance. When it hits a surface it spawns a particle system, simple as that. It’s the grenade explosion from ShooterGame with a tonne of GPU particles and some other tweaks. I don’t think they themselves check for collision yet. I’m going to have to redo the effect actually because it’s not visible enough during real gameplay.

i love the visuals of this! keep going!

Thank you!

Crossposting today’s batch of #ScreenshotSaturday images from Twitter:

"DOGEcrash - A dystopian cyberpunk procedural death labyrinth rocket jumper "
Seems like one of those things you get challenged to say ten times really fast.

Bit of throwback to the old-school there - a good thing ™.

Wondering what it would be like to play in the Rift…

Yeah I’m never making anything for the Rift ever. I’d love to support any other stereoscopic tech that comes along though!

I’m planning to do simple eye tracking perspective shifts in my first “real” title, if the player has a webcam or Kinect hooked up. IMO that produces 80% of the positive effect with almost none of the cost or compromises.

I had a day defined by blinding sensory pain so that seemed like a good time to work on the brain jammer effects:

There are going to be pixelboards with discouraging messages (e.g. UR A FAT FATTY) sprinkled throughout the city. Each of these broadcasters is equipped with a Slam Jam™ capable of messing up your optics if you get too close. You can platform right past them without worry so long as you’re extremely confident about your trajectory.

What doesn’t come across in the screenshots is how inaccurate the visuals you’re being given are, especially when in motion. The buildings you’re seeing are from multiple warped perspectives, meaning that they can be far more misleading to your reflexes than if you couldn’t see anything at all. Here are some comparisons of normal vs. jammed visuals from the same position:

Notice how you can see the left view’s “real” buildings in the noisy stippling on the right? That’s what you’re going to have to look for, ignoring the rest.

Aside from the chroma shift/noise and such which are done in a post-effects volume, here is the surprisingly simple graph describing this effect:

I have another version of this that I’m testing which takes pixel depths into account. This results in a sort of “T-rex vision” where you basically can’t see shapes meaningfully unless you or they are moving quickly enough that you can pick up on their motion. I’m leaving off deciding on using this until the gameplay balancing phase.

Unrelated, but this accidentally happened and I thought it looked like Art:

Wow! This is looking pretty cool.