Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Unreal Engine DevLog #21: Prototype UMG Menu Update 4.2 [Free Source Code]

Hey, I'm back with another quick update for my Prototype UMG Menu system. This update replaces the placeholder 'Load Game Button' with a working 'Continue Button', that loads the last played level from it's starting point. A new map has been added to demonstrate this feature and you can switch between the maps in-game using '1' and '2' keys. 

The button will be disabled when you first load the project. But once you load any of the levels, you'll notice that the 'Continue Button' will be enabled when you return to your Main Menu for the next time. But for this feature to work in your own custom projects, you will need to add the level names data to a new array in the Game Instance blueprint, and make some changes to the save game settings as shown later on in the post. So let's get down to the details about the changes.

Update 4.2

- Continue Button to load the last played level from the Main Menu
- Current Version: 1.4.2
- Optimized for Unreal Engine v4.7.6

Listed below are the changes to the different blueprints in detail:
  • As you can see in the screenshot, three new variables are added to the Game Instance blueprint. Some changes have been made to the logic behind loading levels, in order to incorporate the data necessary for the Continue button. If you're adding more maps or wish to add this to your own project, you will need to populate the 'MapNameArray' with your map names. This includes the Main Menu map name as well, which needs to be stored in index '0' of the array.
  • The 'SaveSettings' function in the Game Instance blueprint now saves the level index necessary for the 'Continue Button' as well.
  • Some extra text information displayed using the Game Screen Widget. Not necessary though.
  • New code in the Player Controller blueprint to tell the game instance to load new levels based on the player inputs.
  • Add the following code in the Main Menu Widget to facilitate the working of the Continue Button.
  • The following code saves the data regarding the current level index, when the player exits from a game level to the main menu or the desktop.

That's all for this update. As always, feel free to grab the source code at: https://github.com/Stormrage256/UMGMenuSystem

Monday, July 27, 2015

Unreal Engine DevLog #20: Prototype UMG Menu Updates 4 & 4.1 [Free Source Code]

Welcome to yet another update on my Prototype UMG Menu system for Unreal Engine 4. As always, it's free to use for both non-commercial and commercial purposes. No attributes required. You can find the source code at: 

The official thread in the Unreal Engine forums:

Anyways, if you're using it for the first time, you can go ahead and grab the source right away. But please do let me know if you encounter any bugs in v4.7.6 or higher. The rest of this post details the changes made in the latest updates. So it's more useful for people who have been using an earlier version of this menu system in their projects already. So now that's out of the way, we'll first get to the changes made as part of the Update 4. 

Update 4

1) Persistent graphics settings across multiple instances: First of all, as promised, this update brings persistent graphics settings into the mix. That means that your graphics settings once changed will be saved and retrieved in future instances of the game. You do not need to keep on changing it every time.

2) Scrollbar Bug fix: I came across a bug that prevented scrollbars from closing down when the user is moving on to other menus. Well, that has been fixed and you will not leave any scrollbars hanging after this.

Listed below are screenshots depicting the changes made to various blueprints:
  • A new blueprint 'BP_SaveSettings' derived from the SaveGame class. After creating the blueprint, just initialize the variables shown in the class along with their corresponding values. Make sure that you give the 'SaveSlotName' variable a name to recognize the save game slot as shown.
  • 'Event Init' logic in the Game Instance blueprint. Copy the entire connected logic to your project. This makes sure that the game retrieves saved settings, every time you launch the game. If there are no saved files, it will go for the default values stored in the variables as before.
  • Add a new function 'SaveSettings' within the Game Instance blueprint. This function takes care of saving the current video settings. 
  • And here comes the final part of the logic for the save system. Just call the above function from the video settings widget when the user goes back to the options menu.
  • This next piece of logic takes care of the scrollbar bug mentioned earlier in the post. Just call the 'Collapse Scrollbox' function when returning to the options menu from the video settings menu. Same blueprint network mentioned in the previous screenshot.

With that, we're at the end of changes made in Update 4. I've released a very minor 4.1 Update to fix an issue that arises when you try adding this project into other projects.

Update 4.1
  • Create a new Game Mode blueprint named 'MainMenuGameMode'. Set this as the default game mode for the Main Menu map. Now under this game mode settings, set the HUD to 'BP_MyHUD'. Make the same changes in Project Settings >> Maps and Modes as well. That's all.

Alright, so that's it. It's currently built in v4.7.6 of Unreal Engine. I have done a couple of tests in v4.8.2 and it seems to be working, but I can't confirm yet until I do more tests. So if anyone comes across any bugs, do let me know. I thought that we'll put official version numbers from now on. So this one is officially v1.41 of the Prototype UMG Menu System and we have come to the end of this post. Have a great week.

Signing off.

Unreal Engine DevLog #19: Line of Sight based Visibility

Hi, it's been quite a while since the last dev log on Project Horizon (yes, got changed to a less generic name). I had been working on my FPS Tower Defense Toolkit and some other experimental stuff for a few months. The toolkit has been submitted to Epic Games for Marketplace review and we're done with all the agreements. There has been some delay as I had to convert my project to v4.8 midway and there had been an engine bug that I had to find a workaround for. With the new code submitted, I'm awaiting their response regarding further details. 

Meanwhile there had also been some major updates to Knut's Advanced Turn Based Tile Toolkit, which makes it much more optimized and well structured than before. So rather than integrate all those changes into my project, it was much easier to transfer my code into his updated toolkit. And that took a while to implement and finally it was time to add some exciting new features to the project. First in line, was Line of Sight based visibility. An earlier unannounced version of this was already working partially in my old project. So I ended up using that, did some optimizations and finally we have something that works pretty fine. It's using a mix of grid based calculations and collision meshes to achieve this. The grid calculations are mainly used in places where the LoS will have a direct impact on player actions. For scenarios which are mainly important from an aesthetic viewpoint, I've used a collision mesh to reduce the time calculations. It's quite accurate, but I need to add a small line trace calculation at some point in the future. So here's a video demonstrating the new feature:

That's all for this update. Next time, we're gonna see if we can add the Overwatch ability from XCOM: EU. Until then, goodbye and stay classy.

PS: For anyone interested in Knut's turn based tile toolkit, you can check it out here: https://www.unrealengine.com/content/a22867b136314748af7437c635b9ddba