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Week 8: Half Feedback and Tools Development


This week we received our half presentation reviews. There are a lot of great feedback and suggestions from ETC faculty members. One of the major takeaways is: Know your audience. We realized that our audience, faculties with all different backgrounds and expertise, doesn’t always know each project’s agenda. We did not mention some of the baselines of level design and the core focus we developed the whole kit around. We could do a better job of explaining the knowledge we spent eight weeks gaining. Bringing our audience a fundamental understanding of a similar level as us before we go ahead and talk about advanced research and work is essential. In addition, we developed a few tools to help with asset arrangement and brought in more art assets.

Tech Updates:

Duplicate by Bounding Box & Duplicate by Custom Distance

Because we found it difficult for users to copy models in bulk to create large-scale scenes, we wanted to implement a tool to help them with this problem, and we wanted this feature to be well integrated into UE5’s own shortcuts, so we used the Editor Utility Blueprint feature for development. We envisioned two different options for copying objects, one with the object’s bounding box length, width, and height, and one with user-defined distances. We also wanted the user to customize whether the duplication was done in the world or local coordinate system, for which we performed a lot of stereometric and linear algebra calculations to implement our solution. 

Art Updates:

In order to enrich our assets, we added the models from the free Factory Pack available in the Unreal Store to our tools. We removed the materials on them, making all models’ styles uniform and easy for users to design their own color codes for different functions.

Issue for support:

At the beginning of the semester, we set goals to create tools that help speed up the layout process. However, we found out that producing “tools” in Unreal Engine is a lot more challenging than creating features due to the engine setup. We connected with Tim Sweeney, a technical designer who’s an expert in UE editor through Dave; we got a reality check. Without digging into the source code of Unreal Engine 5 and writing comprehensive code with C++, it’s nearly impossible for us to better the UX of Unreal through our plug-in or solely by manipulating the blueprints. We will keep doing our research, but with the time we have left, we believe it’s more doable to seek an alternative solution.

Looking ahead:

We have GDC week right after spring break and the east coast trip. We are looking forward to learning at GDC, and also recognize the reality of this semester’s schedule. We are calculating the weeks away and will adjust the workflow accordingly.