Project Not Earth - Sandbox Survival RPG

Last Edited (7/13/2015)

Project Name:
Not Earth - This not the game name just a code name.

Just me working on every aspect of the game. I am in desperate need of someone who can do 3D art and is willing to donate their time work until the game is done to get paid. but I doubt I will find someone so I will end up making poor models until I can get funds to outsource asset creation.

About Project:
Project Not Earth is my attempt at making my dream game that I have always wanted to play and no one has manage to make yet. It is a Open World Survival Sandbox Role Playing game with some more Unique features you normally don’t find in this genre of game. It will combine features from all the games I’ve fallen in love with over the years from EverQuest to Ark: Survival Evolved. The later being what introduced me to the power of how fast you can do things in UE4.

About Me:
I have been off and on learning programming for a few years, and I have managed to make a few text adventures in C++ and Java and a Space Invaders clone in C#. I have looked into making this game in various formats for years my last attempt being in Unity but always got to overwhelmed by all that needs to be done and lack of knowledge and put my thoughts to the side. But now I am 30 and have discovered I have yet to make my game I have been attempting and planing since my early 20’s and it is time to focus up and I found Unreal Engine makes things clear enough with Blue Prints for me to get what I want done.

Project Updates:
This is where I will be posting all my news about how my project is going as well as videos and screen shots.

Removed screen shot of menu system as it’s been scrapped for better art. Will get more screen shots up shortly.

I think I’m going to start doing weekly progression overview videos to show how the project is coming along. This means my game title will finally be known but I’m willing to risk it to get feed back. I’m thinking every Monday for the progress videos (may start tomorrow if I get time 7/13/15 if not defiantly Tuesday since its now 2 am Monday morning).

Q:Why Monday and not Friday?

A: Because I try to take weekends off I wanted a way to refresh what I have done in the past week. So doing this video kills two birds with one stone, It gives you guys regular updates and me an overview of what I have done and what needs to be done to finish the section I’m working on.

Other Info
If your interested in joining me on this project I am looking for people who are good with AI and Network knowledge as well as 3D art and animation. Just message me on this forum and I can get you more information about my vision for this project.

If you saw this post before this edit I want to apologize for it as it was 2 am when I was writing it and my mind was gone.

I’ve started Working on some 3D model assets. Here is what I got done today. Happy 4th everyone.

Cooked Meat (not to scale yet)

Raw Meat (Same model different Texture)

What I’m trying to do is get some assets I know I’m going to need done so I can get them imported into the engine for use in setting up my Inventory UI/System.

Sounds interesting, looking forward to more.

So after attempting to get my place holder model to animate on a network for multiplayer and not finding any way to get it to work right, and then attempting to get a main menu set up and failing. I decided it was a good time to call it for that attempt and start the project over from scratch. After spending the day reading the western shooter multiplayer example documentation and a few other tutorials, I now have a solid menu system. Not all Buttons are fully programmed yet but you can create a LAN process and join it (sadly still only get loading screen due to not having coded the spawn character in world event.) You can load the menu for finding a server and back out of it and you can quit the game. I know all this seems basic, but considering how frustrated I was getting with my old version of the project this is like super exciting for me. As it means I can actually sorta do this lol. I keep telling myself at least I understand the code if not how the hell they could think to come up with it. I guess i need to get my head out of the clouds of possible game features and think back end what it takes to get a game running.

Some other nice functionality I added to the menu is a looping song, custom button images and sounds and a not so good look temp background image. . . (I figure I can do more detailed art later as long as its just an image I have to change out).

I decided to put this update in a reply because until I get something more to show. I hope to have the basic menu system done by this weekend and start fleshing out a world that the game will actually take place in. Going have to learn a lot about level streaming and how to use it in multiplayer.

P.S In remaking this project I found my problem that would have fixed my last project in a second. I forgot to set what initialize code was suppose to run in the project settings. . .

Wow two days and I got a fully network capable game up and running through a main menu! THANK YOU EPIC FOR HAVING SO MANY GOOD TUTORIALS!!!

Hi Zinth,

I admire what your doing here. We have similar stories in our quest to develop our dream games. Content Creation is a weak point for me, which inspired collage construction methodology. I’m learning to model with Blender3D and will be building myself and Portable MoCap Animation Studio in the near future.

I noticed Open World Survival and MMOs are very popular for game devs nowadays, I’m really interested in some more Unique features you’ll be implementing. But, I can understand if you want to keep that confidential.

Hi TechLord, Wow your Golem: Collage Construction looks very impressive and I can see many uses for it mainly for bosses at end of dungeons (imagining a pile of gold that when the player approaches transforms into a literal gold dragon).

As far as some of the more unique features I am planing for my game (assuming I can implement them) aren’t very secret just didn’t want to get peoples hopes up in case I fail. Doing everything on my own is hard and time consuming and it gets frustrating how much I’m having to rely on tutorials and examples vs making the code up on my own. I also get a feeling of dread when I look at the big picture and realize how much has to be done, I do try to focus on one thing at a time to help with that but its hard. Kinda wish the back end stuff was done and I could just focus on features lol.

Anyways some of my more unique features that I don’t think have been implemented into this genre before are as follows.

  • Though this is an RPG there is no “LEVEL” in stead its based on skills and everything you do in game either gives or takes away skill exp towards skill levels. And yes you can go down in skill levels this isn’t a hold you hand type of game. Death will also take a % of your skills (depending of difficulty which is set in server settings. Options if your playing alone or on a LAN listen game). Still debating about inventory loss, just because I hate going and finding my items in minecraft will most likely be part of difficulty as well because I’m also trying to tailor to as many people as possible not just me :wink:

  • Major AI for NPC they work, live, and give quests to players based on their own personal needs.

  • Quests, and friendly NPC’s (you don’t see that much in this genre).

  • A feeling of your not a hero but more of a person who is thrown into this world and must work on surviving in it. Getting along with the local populous as well as other players.

  • Random dungeons based on Key-Words ala .Hack style. (loved the old PlayStation games of that anime).

  • (besides planet explores which is kinda doing this) No creature or sentient species will be a rip off of other fantasy games. This is my world that I’ve been telling stories about in my head since I was 10 year old. Don’t expect Elves Dwarfs, Goblins, ogres and the like. There are several sentient species in this world but only one is a play-able because it is the most like humans and its part of my story.

-Minimalist Story, I pretty much tell you how you ended up in this world and that’s it, and dungeons will give you glimpses of the deep history(that’s punny) of the world, but this is the players story not mine I just set the setting. This is the same style I use when I GM a pen n Paper game to avoid having players ruin my stories.

Add those and a few other features I have in my head (but are secret) on top of a full survival sandbox with farming, animal husbandry, house building (Rust style), and an awesome crafting system (a mix of all the crafting games I’ve played) and you have the gist of what my game in tales. Oh did I mention this all takes place in a world bigger then Skyrim or GTA 5 via level streaming. However if I can accomplish half of that I will be surprised. I don’t work and so I have all the time I want in a day to work on this project and learn things, and the thought of actually playing a game with this feature set is driving me forward through the frustration and overwhelming to-do list. Not to sound cheesy or stereotypical of other developers but I’m making the game I want to play for the rest of my life mainly because no one else has made it or even come close to how I think it should be. So all features have to have long lasting replay value. This means everything I can do dynamically will be done that way. The only feature Unreal doesn’t help with is procedural terrain so I have to have a pre-made landscape and limited world size but everything that exists in that world from the grass and trees to where the dungeons are located will be dynamically generated on world creation.

I know procedural level generation post run-time is not possible in the unreal landscape but I already have a base Idea of how I would get a work around to do this in my head and I’m like 80% sure it will work.

Wow this reply got long. . . Guess you gave me the excuse to talk about my game in more depth and I had really wanted to do it.

(Quick Edit) Confidence Boosted. Just made my own code with no examples or anything on setting up my invert camera yaw. I"M LEARNING!!!

Thanks Zinth. Interestingly, that is how collage construction was invented. My first UE4 project was a open-world survival game featuring Frankenstein Monsters (Flesh Golems) instead of Zombies. These monsters were assembled from dismembered remains of human, animals, other monster. I aborted the project early, realizing the massive competition in the genre and it did not align with’s cash-driven skill tournament model. I migrated my work into Dragon’s Gold, retaining the core element of survival games: Auto-depleting Health Stat mechanic/Replenished by Eating Food. Dragon’s Gold is my re-imagining of a Next-Gen First Person Gauntlet.

That’s a lot of features, which equates to of scripting/programming, even if you integrate pre-made systems from the Marketplace. I predict you will need a hand or two in this department. As a RPG, our games may have common areas in which we may be able assist each other. For starters, I’ve written a Depth-First Search Labyrinth Generator for Dragons Gold, and just recently published a BSP-based Random Room Generator that could be flushed out into a full Random Dungeon Generator. Ill have to research → based on Key-Words ala .Hack style. (loved the old PlayStation games of that anime).

In regards to Quest, the needs to survive (ie: auto-depleting health) are self-motivated quest, requiring survivors to seek shelter and supplies (ie: health replenishing food [the reward]) to avoid permanent death/sever penalty. These supplies are typically spawned in away from player in distant locations, requiring the player to travel into greater threats (loosing greater amounts of health faster). This can also be used to drive exploration of the game world.

RPG Quest have similar requirements. Players typically have to travel to complete some objective, to receive an reward. RPG Quest add of Narrative to these objectives. However, without a significant penalty for NOT completing the objective, the survival element could be lost. The typical grind to level up in a RPG is a self-motivated quest, but, its not needed to survive. But, what if it was, then Leveling up to survive would not necessarily be considered grinding.

My interpretation of your Skill Exp System is similar to the depleting health stat. When depleted by damage, the player will have to seek means to replenish, which would be self-generated quest. This is very interesting, perhaps certain spells have latent effect the auto-depleting Skill Exp for specific amounts of time. However, this mechanic may not drive survival, if Skill Exp do not directly impact health stats. In my opinion, to capture the true essence of a survival genre the threat of permadeth must always be eminent.

Narrative is a hallmark of RPGs, but requires more work in writing lore, dialogue, etc. Narrative for Quest would counter a Minimalist Story. Farming, Animal husbandry, House building, and Crafting are repeatable mechanics that can compensate for Narrative. I would urge towards adding even greater amounts of repeatable game mechanics upto 100 to give the mission to survive greater variance and surprise.

Bigger isn’t always better especially when you don’t have the content creators on the team yet. I can easily see this becoming the game that could take the rest of your life to make. LOL. I would recommend designing the game with intent to scale up in content, features, multiplayer support. I approach this with a Modular Design from modular code to modular assets. Anyway, I think this is enough to read for now.

Where to start. first thanks so much for all the advice TechLord, I think I will do as you suggested an build the game in a modular way (which I was doing but each feature relied on another and they all started blending in my head and I lost track of what should be the focus). Unfortunately not having a job and not having any sort of income I can’t afford even the simplest of things from the market place though a few like your room generator would be nice. So this means everything in the game will be hand coded (mainly blueprints as I suck at coding but understand the logic behind it), modeled, Textured, and Animated by me. If when I get to the point that I feel the game is nearing complete but I’m not happy with my art work I may runs a crowed funding campaign just for getting the funds to make the game look better but I hope not to do that. I really don’t want to promise people something I can’t guarantee I can deliver.

On to the modular design. I have a hard time finding where to start and could use some more of your awesome advice TechLord or anyone reading this. What I have done right now is a main menu system that you can launch a LAN game from, Join a LAN game from and Adjust some options(hardly any options work yet except changing the # of players that can connect to your LAN game, Max 10). I have a billboard picture of Kirrito from sword art online as a temp player model, with basic movement (Forward, Back, Left, Right and jump). I have tested and multiplayer works fine atm. What I need advice on as a none game developer making a game for the first time is what area to focus on. The following list are core things I need to make the game playable so I can start adding modular features that if taken away the game would still work.

  • Terrain = Place to play on and with out it there is no point to anything.
  • Player Character - Getting it modeled, rigged, animated and controlled in game the way it should be = With out this there is no game.
  • RPG system = Power’s everything the player does in the game world and will be needed for every action besides basic walking this is mainly just code with some HUD elements.
  • Or should I stop the coding all together and start focusing over the next several months on making/ gathering all the art assets I know I will need from 3d models to music and sound effects.

Honestly I have no clue how I should focus my time. My first thought is the terrain since that is were all the game play will take place and allows me to have a place to test all my other systems. But then I think were I can’t do anything with out a player character and though Kirrito is nice to look at it was really just a visual aid so I can see where the player is and make sure multiplayer was working so far. Then I think well the RPG system drives everything else so I need to do it before the character so I don’t have to go back in and add code to movement so that it drains the character energy. Then I start thinking of all the trees plants, items, and other things I would need to test systems like cutting down a tree (need tree, need item that drops from tree, Need axe to cut tree, need player model to hold axe, need animation to swing axe, need terrain to place tree on. . . )

Sorry to ramble I’ve had less then 3 hours of sleep as I was dealing with some stuff. If things don’t make sense let me know I normally triple check posts to make sure I haven’t miss typed anything or combined two thoughts into one like I normally do but so tired I will have to check later.

So I decided, Player Character comes first since it ties so closely with the rpg system that will be build along side the character integration into the game. I figure I can test my gathering resource code on a flat plain, so terrain isn’t as high of priority, and I shouldn’t make models unless I ready to implement them into the game. So now that my menu is done (only basics no character creation or anything) I feel the next step is the character since this is a player driven game. I’ll miss you Kirrito (need a PS vita emu so i can play the new sao game but doubt one exists)

Hi Zinth

I’m also doing it all with very little budget. Thus, its of great importance to be honest with yourself and scope the project down to something achievable single-handedly. Sure, we want cool features, but, lets get the basics working first. I use three words to keep me focused: Procedural, Modular, Customizable. Modular Code and Content is reusable in other features/entities/game products. Customizable Content provides a means to populate the game world with many variations assembled from a smaller assets, in smaller quantities. I can also support Player Customization/Creation as a game feature. Procedural generation utilizes computational power to algorithmically generate content, conserving time and money required with manual generation.

A great place to start is with a Design Document. This is more so for you to keep track of what and why your doing things and visualize how these things interact. I personally use Open office Impress/MS Powerpoint to Jot down all the features and then break them down to the basics to find and organize commonalities. For me its easier to visualize the game design, when I write/draw it out on paper. Its a living document that I add and remove ideas during research & development.

I like games with customization, and this was a primary feature i desired in my game. I didn’t want only customizable characters, I wanted everything customizable! I researched on techniques the game devs use, lead me to the modular pawns. So I started to layout a system for modular entities. I realized to swap out and orientate entity parts in-game, an editing system will be needed. I commenced to write out the features for one. I took a gander at existing editors, to work out movement, selection,etc. After some planning on paper, I started writing a Slot Manager to handle Save/Load of Game Entity Files Locally /Remotely and this is my current focus.

With these application operating as standalone, there is potential for me to publish and sale in the UE4 marketplace. My first priority is to develop a fun game, the second priority is to generate revenue.

Wow Techlord, it seems you have a talent for being a game Dev. Me I see the big picture, want the big picture, but can’t break it down to the base level like you do. Also reading your Universal Madular Entities made me depressed at how little I know and how little talent I have for this. But I am not giving up I want this game and I want it to be awesome, even if i have to spend the next 5 years doing so. I get what you mean by modular now, and I may rework my menu system so that I could apply it to any application not just my game, I also will work on a standalone character creator. I will have to think of each of these as their own programs and break them down like I did my overall project adn then assemble the individual pieces like Lego’s fitting together. Thanks Techlord you have been an awesome resource of knowledge and inspiration.

Hmm. . . . So much to think about. . .

I’ve looked at model packs in the past to save me time, as I do get some money once a month for personal use. But none have the feel of what I’m trying to achieve so I’m stuck with making my own. I will have some character customization but it will be in the form of texture color (eyes, skin hair) and hair/beards but the base model won’t be change able. I also plan on re-using this model for mall npc’s of the same race and just randomizing the editable parts. I will also have a male female version. Clothing is also going be a big part of how to make your character unique. The ability to die cloth clothing any color and to have them visible over armor so that you can get that look you want. (I actually like making the clothing on 3D models.)

Truth be told, I’ve been working up to producing a game for over decade. Thus, far I only have few tech demos, but, nothing of fun or commercially viable. I’m hellbent on changing that with UE4. Content has always been an issue, and i would always get hung up on the aesthetics of placeholders during my development. Another issue for me has been over ambitiousness and under planning. I’m hunted by 4 failed online team projects: Project Plasma FPS 2004, DGDK Open Source Project, Project Fujita UDK, and the ArcadeKomodo SoftConsole. Today, I have the knowledge, patience, scope, focus, and a tiny budget to bring my dream game to life. I feel this is my last stand to produce a complete game, and stand amongst the true game developers.

I have 3 words for you: Practice, Practice, Practice. Don’t ever give up! The knowledge and technical skills you develop in this process can be put to work in the real-world. My self-taught programming/scripting skills opened the door for me to a career as Network Engineer. I’m learning 3D modelling and animation to produce the modular/customizable content for my games and for Online Marketplaces. The lack of content in the marketplace that I could not easily customize (make unique) was the reason why I don’t purchase content. I believe that Modular Content is what Game Devs need and it should be production ready. Perhaps there needs to be Marketplace dedicated to modular/customizable assets like this one?

Datasphere’s Character Creator could be a great start for setting up your own. It uses morph-targets to adjust body shape, and swappable animated garments. Many of my influences for what I want in the KnightED Character Editor Creator are inspired by DAZ3D and Spore Creature Creator. I want it all: Modular Body Parts with Morph Targets, Morphing Accessory Attachments, Modular Cloth Attachments, Material Customization, and Collage Construction (Armour).

Man where do you find all these resources. That Character creator is going help me out so much! I downloaded and and can see how it was scripted and can make my own based on its example. If I could find an example for how to do everything i want to do in my game it would be made (programming rise) in a flash lol. Thanks for the words of Encouragement Techlord I won’t give up. Every time I think about it I got play a game realize this game sucks to the one in my head and want to instantly get back busy on my project. But I need to be careful not to burn my self out. Think I will start modeling my character tonight/tomorrow I’ll post screen shots when its nearing complete.

For ***** and giggles and to show how bad my character modeling is at my current skill level. Here is my last attempt to make a character model.