A question of scale.

To stop myself going mad, I thought it was time to do something a little more creative, so it became time to bung in a terrain. After a few UDK crashes later I had a nice big landscape with gorges, hills and cliffs. Due to the nature of 3D games, one would seek to block the player from running beyond the intended route with nicely generic items such as walls, fences, cars and not invisible barriers (Too Human is a terrible recent example of this). With the terrain tool, steep inclines is the optimal and natural way to stop a player from finding the edge and the KillZ. So off I went, carving out valleys in the terrain, and ending up with something much like this…

UDK editor with terrain.

The valleys of Testland in the Editor

Nice deep canyons! This should make the game interesting. Then I find something that bugs me straight away and would definately turn of any potential player.

UDK Game View

Where is the player?

Brilliant! -_- (A student taught me that smilie in an email…) The hill is way too high for the Isometric angle. One has to remember that if the incline of the verge is greater than 45° then it will obscure the player. The actual barrier can’t be any higher than the player either. So with that in mind I went back and adjusted the hill.

Lower hills.

So now this is how it looks in play.

I can see you...

Now this leaves a few issues. We only have to consider this for inclines that face away from the camera. As the camera will be constantly looking in one direction, the cliff faces facing the camera can be as steep as we like. The next issue is one for later. If I create building (And I fully intend to), the player will be out of view. At the moment, I am thinking along the lines of creating a second material for all buildings and high walls, then trace from the player to the camera. If any object gets in the way then it will switch it’s texture for an almost transparent one. This, as far as I know will not be possible with the terrain as it is one complete object. Also this will probably mean that any walls created with BSP brushes will have to be broken up so that swathes of wall don’t suddenly go translucent mid game. Anyway, just messing around this evening and at the moment, the level for prototyping is looking somewhat like this.

A bird's eye view of the test level

I think the next step is to refine the weapon aim so that it takes care of inclines. Tomorrow maybe…

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