Hey guys, not sure if this is the right area but with the recent release of Unreal for free to play around with I have been interested in trying my hand at making a game. I have pretty much all the details in my head or written down for a top down RTS game, mostly naval and air combat. I decided to jump in as I have been looking at videos and tutorial docs but seems better to learn as you go as there is so much going on with unreal it is a lot to take in. I mostly only have experience doing artwork/modelling, so the blueprint system is a godsend if I can work it out fully. Mostly been playing around with the camera, importing my models (which has been a pain as I use an old version of lightwave and FBX export doesn’t play nice) which I think I have the process down now using Blender as a middle man (smooth faces aghh!) and getting an ocean working and animated. Various levels of success on those. I am not targeting high end stuff since it is my first go and looks like it takes a year or so to get to grips and produce anything meaningful, so probably exclusively a mobile based game (basic yet addictive is the idea). Stylized look of a map with ‘decent’ meshes doing the combat on top.
Looking for help and guidance as I go along since there doesn’t seem to be a heap of info for RTS stuff, or at least what I hope to achieve, would appreciate any help you can spare.
Some of the areas I could use some pointers on…
RTS Camera: So I got some terribly basic camera working in blueprint from in one of the example projects (third person I think it was), can’t get it working properly in a new project for some reason (input mappings playing up) but will work it out eventually. Mostly I am trying to work out the overall idea of what I want to achieve as I couldn’t see any info on it after a while looking. Basically the map I have is obviously finite and I want the camera on its furthest zoom out to snap to the borders of that plane so it doesn’t render anything beyond that or be able to scroll/zoom forever. As it is top down (well, 80 degrees) and I don’t need to change the angle of the camera I should be able to do that. So essentially create some kind of boundary ‘cone’ (!rectangle) that the camera can operate within but not go outside to ruin that zoomed out (normal) viewpoint. Was thinking about doing it literally and just creating an angled rectangle for the camera to collide with while zooming but then unsure how to get all the proportions exactly right unless I just throw man hours at it through trial and error. I need to fix the starting point of the camera height to allow for a 1080p (I hope) dimension proportion and maintain it while zooming in and out with a fixed upper and lower limit with height. The player can zoom in a corner and that corner will always be fixed to their screen corner in other words. Obviously would need to be able to select units and ‘snap’ to them and still follow those boundaries as the camera follows the unit. Hope that makes sense!
Map Geometry: Is it possible for unreal to use a png file as an ‘object’ with collision and such? Say I have an island drawn out, it will be static and doesn’t need to be a mesh; all it will be doing is to be selectable to ‘build’ things, colour changes and act as collisions for naval vessels. Want to avoid doing any LODS for zooming or needless landscape, just use a high resolution picture of the island. I started messing around with this idea in gamemaker which allowed me to make a map with a large sprite that would collide with meshes and hope there is some equivalent. The ships would be set to collide with the island and the planes obviously go over, with the sea plane beneath the island to keep things simple. I guess I could do a plane with the island and apply it as a material with the transparent areas able to pass through somehow?
Water Effects: Looking at various posts on this it seems a bit of a weakness for the engine, I have got a grip of most of it (as much as you can in a few days) and a path worked out for the ocean deformation/material and now working through a buoyancy tutorial. I may just scrap all of it if this is too much for mobiles to handle but curious if there was any consensus on ‘wakes’ left by ships, whether deformation, some sprite for foam or other methods were best practice? Was thinking about some kind of particle emitter attached to the rear of the model might be an idea, can then turn it off when stationary.