Cycling through main menus

Following my big trip overseas, The Day After is in three slightly-contradictory but generally forward-moving directions. The first is learning to make 3D objects in Blender and bringing them into UE4. The second is to not do any 3D and focus on a prototype of the scene builder (the core gameplay). The third is learning to build user interfaces in UE4, which evolved into learning how to make 3D user interfaces in UE4.

I’m getting much more confident with Blender, which is great. I think a little 3D can go a long, long way. But it’s a black hole – you can spend forever tweaking and polishing. I’ve started to solidify my 3D pipeline: model in UE4, do UV work, and then import into UE4. It usually comes through just fine.

The other trick is building things that look good, but don’t have a squillion polygons, or too much of a memory load. It’s not too hard, but a skill to improve.

I’ve managed to get the hang of UE4’s user interface. My latest test made dynamic interfaces (which was mostly running a loop with some logic to make different components). It’s not great art, but it’s starting to have style and capability.

Dynamic UI test
Dynamic UI test

The above UI produces a few pages of “dynamic” components. Scrolling works. Spacing works. Colour changes and core widgets work. And it’s all done in UE4’s blueprints, which is rad if unwieldy at times.

I also tried to make some overly fancy 3D main menus, but that didn’t go so well. The 3D text objects looked great, and I could get some god rays through the text, but it didn’t begin to look like my mental conception. Ignore the pink background, it was for contrast:

Now in Threeeee Deeeeee

The scene prototype is having the most trouble, given it requires the most activation energy to get anything exciting. Working on the backend tools is a bit of a slog. I’ve been writing numerous scenes off on the side, but nothing good for the prototype.

There’s been some back-and-forth though. The top UI test was so that I had a very, very simple UI for scenes. Nothing fancy like I’ve always planned. Just the most straightforward JRPG-style dialogue with maybe user-selectable options. But then the fact that I could have that UI overlaid on a 3D scene got me excited about 3D backdrops which got me into 3D modelling… You can see the cycle.

Nevertheless, life is back into a cycle and I can dev more now.