I want to create a - not really a “game”, maybe “simulation” covers it better - consisting of a large landscape, where people can log in to, walk around in, and talk; preferably in a customisable human shape. Say, something like a a virtual online meeting-place.
It doesn’t need to have game-like interaction (achievements, fighting) or second-life-style in-world building; and nothing needs to be saved (achievements, trophies, …).
The accent is purely on the environment and, if possible, speech (though that can even be done using another sort of connection).
Until now I have always used Unity. The environment is more or less set up and running, though only in stand-alone mode. The next thing I wanted to tackle is to add a networking option and some way for people to not be just a disembodied camera … talking to someone is a lot easier if you can see them !
Long story short - the networking seems doable: Photon Voice even provides voice communication between players. But the avatars - wow, that’s something else.
I honestly had no idea that this would be so difficult. I played around with OpenSimulator years ago, and that offered that out of the box; it just worked. I never gave that much thought.
But when I searched for how to set that up, I couldn’t find anything. It was quite odd, actually: there are some assets that will give you nice human characters, but it’s impossible to find anything about how to use them as a player avatar. Having 100 of those run around on your terrain is super easy, though.
At the other end of that conceptual gap, I could find something about how to use a kind of robot skeleton as avatar, but even that looked amazingly difficult.
So, eventually I posted a question on the Unity user forum, and the answers confirmed that it was, indeed, discouragingly difficult. I still find it hard to understand why, because Second Life and OpenSimulator had all that included nearly 20 years ago.
So, that is why I wondered if this doable in UE: it needn’t be very fancy, but it would just be nice to add some substance to the “player”. It’s probably better to ask this before trying to port the project to UE, then finding it out afterwards
I already read quite a bit in the documentation, mostly about creating terrains etcetera, because that is at least something I have done before. But I’m not sure if use the right search terms when trying to figure out the technicalities of networking / audio / avatars work.
Though I’m quite a newbie re. building games (or even playing them), I have experience in 3D modelling and animation, and coding is no problem either. I wouldn’t mind if it is a lot of work, or if it is hard; as long as it is doable.
I’d appreciate any advice!