[WIP] The (VR) Dungeon Survival Project

Latest update - showing off dynamic physics objects

One thing I, like every other VR enthusiast, realized, is that without the haptic feedback of a real sword you’d need to do something special, and specifically different than the kinematic attachment you normally see, e.g., it’s bolted onto your hand or whatnot, and has essentially infinite mass - can move anything, regardless of how heavy, in order to get that feeling of weight.

To that end I wanted to test a method of letting the objects you pick up, including weapons, still be dynamic.

Notice that when I hit small objects with low mass, like the mug and basket, they are easily moved with the sword, which is of a similar mass.

The table, by contrast, blocks the sword and moves it as I swing (as hard as I reasonably can).


Latest update - Teaser screenshots for my WIP co-op VR RPG, Dungeon Survival:

Hey everyone!

I’m working on a game called Dungeon Survival, or The (VR) Dungeon Survival Project in full (working title).

Quick Overview: Dungeon Survival is like all the classic dungeon crawler games you know and love (Nethack/roguelikes, Eye of the Beholder, etc.), but with a true first-person perspective and a focus on survival, and environmental puzzle/interaction gameplay.

A heavy emphasis on support for VR and VR input devices is also in the roadmap, though the game will support normal monitor gameplay (with some reduced functionality gameplay wise).

The goal is to bring the wonderful “emergent gameplay” (a buzzword I hesitate to use, save that it actually applies here) of games like Nethack and translate them to a first-person 3D game, as well as to push the VR-game envelope by supporting as much 1:1 input as is possible with current hardware (e.g., at the highest level, omni-directional-treadmill and 1:1 tracking gloves like ControlVR, though other options will be available, such as Razer Hydra).

While it would be impossible for any 3D game to pull that off to the extent that Nethack does, with a focus on building “smart objects” that have small gameplay chunks that interact in larger ways, I believe its possible.

Feature Overview

(Please note that not all of these features are complete - this is a roadmap/high level overview of features for the full game.)

  • Massive dungeon to explore, with many levels (I’d like to have 99 levels for the final release, but that number is subject to change).
  • Streaming, no-loading-screen transitions between levels for maximum immersion.
  • Drop-in co-op multiplayer.
  • Persistent item system - items will retain state when dropped/picked up.
  • Feature customization so that players can do anything on the spectrum from a casual experience to hardcore permadeath Nethack-style challenge.
  • Simulation style inventory (craftable pouches hold items, but only as many as can actually fit) and crafting system (e.g., torch = rags, oil and a stick). The player will need to carry large items. No invisible ultra-inventory.
  • In-depth survival gameplay - cooking, hunting, eating/drinking, starvation and dehydration, poison and sickness.
  • Environmental gameplay and puzzles - Dungeon Survival is about using your brain to overcome challenges - rushing in with dagger in hand will meet with certain death.
  • Pen-and-paper RPG style elaborate traps, including ability to disarm.
  • Physics item system ala games like Elder Scrolls (this already works).

Soon to come I’ll be posting a quick video of where the game is at and some of the cool interactions with the item system that are implemented thus far.

For now, I’ll leave off with two blog posts I wrote, one on the current status of the game after this weekend’s marathon development session, and also a post about longer term plans for the game and mod support.

And a screenshot of the revamped torch effect from last week.


Pre-Alpha Combat (Mount & Blade style):


Sounds like fun :slight_smile:
I’ll be keeping my Rift on hand when it comes time for testing :wink:

Thanks :smiley:

I hope to have the first level of the dungeon and enough gameplay to have some replay value done by the time my DK2 arrives, so that I can quickly implement support for that and show it off (unfortunately my DK2 order is a later one, so probably not till September).

Getting close to having a proper gameplay loop. Right now you can die and respawn (from e.g., starving to death), eat to replenish hunger, and also get killed by the oil patches if you light them up. The first “weapon” (the breakable oil barrel with flammable oil) works almost all the way.

Once I get the throwing of torches to ignite oil patches, I’m going to move on to working on getting my rat enemy in the game, and building out enough level area to test with so you can go through, eat to stay alive and try and reach the end by avoiding or killing the rats via oil barrels.

Also soon to come is picking up stuff which requires a two-hand carry (and throwing), and being able to kick and punch physics objects (like the oil barrel).

  • Torch throwing now has some spin, and matches the rotation of the torch in the player’s hand.
  • Torch throw force has been dialed down (still some issues with being able to aim it).
  • Oil slick now checks actors for tag “Fire” as well as checking to see if the character has a torch out (that will go away at some point soon for something more general).
  • Updated collision to use sphere for the torch.
  • Created simple collision volumes for some of the level pieces to improve item collision.

A new blog post on Rats! in Dungeon Survival and part of how I’m going to take them from crummy beginner fodder to horrifying nope machines.

I also spent last night getting Perforce set up the rest of the way. The client was installed and configured, but no server, as I was attempting to use Assembla’s free hosting but there’s some issue that requires contacting them, and I figured I might as well learn how to run the server. I’ve had plenty of experience with Subversion, Mercurial, Git etc. but not had a chance to use Perforce much, so I might as well use it now that its free.

So I got that set up, and then spent a while breaking all of the Dungeon Survival stuff out of the current project and into a clean one, so that I could leave behind all the bloat from Effects Cave and such I had moved in there but not really used. Then I got that moved into Perforce and versioned properly.

Now I’m free to make big changes to the inventory system without worrying about messing it up and not having a working version to fall back on.

Inventory Overhaul

Right now the inventory system is a little wonky in that it makes you use a bunch of different keys to interact with it. E to pick up stuff, F to drop it, left mouse to use a held item. Right click is currently a special action which hides/shows the torch (and does an animation blend to raise the arm), which are components on the character BP. Left clicking while nothing is in the left hand currently throws a torch.

The overhaul will include:

  • Making it so that two items can be held, one in each slot.
  • Right click will perform whatever alt-use is possible on the item held. If two items are held, alt actions will be disabled and will do the main use for each hand (LMB does left use RMB does right use).
  • Items will support going into the right or left hand on pickup.
  • Two-handed pickup support.
  • F-key drop will be changed to happen on release, so that a long-press will throw the currently held item.
  • The torch components on the player go away in favor of the generalized functionality above.
  • (Maybe) Mouse-wheel up/down to select which hand to do certain operations on. Not sure.

Once that’s done, I’ll be working on adding in my rat enemies and AI for them.

Hey n00854180t,

Game is looking good. I like the idea of throwing torches, however, I don’t like the idea of rats crawling up my body. Gives me the CREEPS! Nice work!

Mission accomplished then! I don’t know if I’ll be able to stand it in VR either, maximum nope factor. Luckily there will be plenty of oil barrels around to light those nasty rats up.

As an aside, I realized today I want to hook up enemies to use the same hunger/thirst system that players do. So that you will have to compete against them for food resources.

That sounds like a good idea having the player fighting with the enemy for food on top of trying to find it.

Luckily, just like Nethack and other roguelikes, you’ll be able to eat the corpses of enemies such as rats. So if they eat everything in the dungeon, you’ll still have food lol! (This is sort of supported already - I’ll make it so that enemies spawn a BP_FoodActor, which can be picked up and eaten to regain food or starvation values).

(Note that it is somewhat ill advised to eat any old corpse, as they may carry disease and cause your character to be sick!)

I’m in middle of writing a Design Doc for my dream VR FP Action Dungeon Crawl/Blast & Slash. I always thought of survival as just making it through the dungeon with out dying. lol. The survival elements you have planned sound interesting, is ‘sleeping’ required?

No sleeping currently planned, mostly because there isn’t a good way to handle it without going third person.

Survival indeed is about getting to the end of the dungeon - for the final release I plan to do a 99 level dungeon, filled with D&D style traps that can be disarmed or avoided (physics traps), enemies, items etc. Crafting will be a big component as well.

Very cool idea for a project n00854180t! I am really excited to see how this is going to turn out in VR.

@Sean, thanks! I can’t wait to try it in VR myself.

If the price of entry isn’t prohibitive, I’ll be going to Oculus Connect. Hopefully my DK2 will have arrived by then (though maybe not, it was a late order). If not I’ll see about using one of the demo rigs.

I should have my basic first-alpha demo gameplay ready by then, which will have

  • Inventory system
  • Throwable torches
  • Hunger/thirst and food/drink items
  • Death and respawn
  • Rat enemies and AI for them
  • One dungeon level with some traps
  • Kicking/punching

Of that, only the last three aren’t working already. Though they are larger tasks than the rest, and I have some cleanup and overhauling on some of the rest of the list to do.

In any case, I think I can have that much ready by Oculus Connect. If I can’t go due to costs, I’ll try and make the demo available to someone who can go and show it off.

New blog post about converting my 4.2.1 project to 4.3, and my boneheaded mistake of not checking everything before working on other stuff. So some blueprints were broken and need to be fixed up.

I visualized it being handled in First Person. The Character closes their Eyes (fade to black?), and a randomized timer starts. During this ‘sleeptime’, creepy noises can be heard by the Player…ROOOAAARRRR, the Character is abruptly awoken in terror to a ravenous Troll, and must fight for their life. Other times, the character awakes to food or nothing. Visualizing it is much easier for me than describing it, but, I can see being used as opportunity to induce some fear and terror, because the player cannot see whats going on while in sleeptime mode

I’ve thought about doing that, but decided that it would either require having a random encounter table so that something happens, or result in the player being bored for that time if nothing happens.

That said I may experiment with sleeping, but for the early versions I probably won’t have it implemented.

New blog post with some shots of last night’s progress as depicted in Trello tasks.


  • 4.3 migration issues fixed
  • Inventory overhaul (removed torch from player components, implemented support for equipping one item to each hand etc.)
  • Hold the drop key (F) for 1s or more to throw the item instead of dropping it next to you (WIP).
  • Partial implementation of oil spill over the network - but the fire particle is still not being set visible on remote clients (so that’s on my plate for today too).
  • Set up physics items to use CCD so they don’t fall through the floor - in the full game I plan to dynamically activate/deactivate CCD on physics items based on which room/area the player(s) are in.

Quick updates:

  • Put oil spill networking on the back burner (see this thread for details if you can help me out!)
  • Got rat enemy imported, skeleton, anims, material and anim BP set up with basic graph.
  • Took some high res shots for a new header image for the blog (header not up yet, screens are on IndieDB exclusive for now).
  • Got IndieDB page set up.

Tonight I’ll be setting up the rat enemy with AI. Then its on to building out the first level for the demo. I love how fast UE4 is!

Couple of new blog posts about the IndieDB page and getting the rat set up (with screenshots).

Quick update:

  • Revamped the way that pickup works in terms of determining which hand is equipped.
  • Worked a bunch on the level I’m setting up for the gameplay demonstration video I’m preparing to take.
  • Took some more high res shots for usage as headers etc. and just to show off the WIP level.

Check out the screenshots:




Hi n00854180t,

Just follow up with you to inquire if you’re still working on this and progress.

Hey TechLord, thanks for asking :slight_smile:

I am indeed still working on this. There’s been a ton of stuff implemented since my last updates.

  • Overland area 2km sq
  • Early dungeon work
  • Zombie enemy and AI (w anims and such)
  • Blood splatter and pooling
  • Melee and bow and arrow system going in currently (bow works, implementing anims, melee almost works but still needs anims implemented)
  • Ragdolling and blood system for bow (arterial blood sprays spawn only if you hit the neck or head).
  • Early versions of the village for the overland map (currently working on decorating interiors).
  • Good bit of work on a reskin of the inventory UI
  • Bunch of work implementing skinnedmeshes into JCInventory (for bow support), as well as making the equip system attach the actual JCInventoryItem rather than just setting a static mesh component up.
  • Built some traps for the dungeon
  • Implemented a decent amount of dungeon theme for Dungeon Architect, including physics doors between rooms
  • Implemented several Mixamo characters, including animated face morphs, JBaldwin’s dynamic pupil eye mesh and material and improved skin materials.
  • Early backpack system with physics constraint jointed items.

My plan is to finish up the melee and bow systems and get the anims implemented for those, as well as climbing, and then finish up some work on the items I’ve implemented (hooking up food items to the food system, for instance), then set up the dungeon I have made into the overland level, and finish decorating that, building AI for NPCs, placing enemies etc.

Tons of work to go but it’s slowly creeping along - I have most of the assets I need now, at least.

Here’s a video of some of the morph target testing, and also a brief shot of the early backpack system.

Edit: Here’s a vid of the early bow and arrow system. I’ve since improved it as I’m moving it to the third person character and Mixamo’s bow anims, for one thing, the arrows bounce in my current version. It also shows the arrow being pulled back, and has IK for the arm that’s holding the arrow:

I’m getting ready to do a push of updates showing off the new features and content soon, probably once both melee and bow have full animations.

Edit: WIP shot of one of the medieval village houses:

Pre-Alpha Combat (Mount & Blade style):

I created a cloak model and turned it into an APEX asset, here’s the first test. Going to do a better version that doesn’t get messed up when turned into physics cloth soon.