Week 1 - Picking a Project
Most of my classes this semester are focused around building up and perfecting my portfolio. My portfolio is mostly design focused, particularly level design focused. As a way to strengthen my job prospects, I want to add a programming focused project.
For my class GPR-420, I want to explore procedural level generation in Unreal Engine. With game worlds getting larger and larger, procedural content generation is a valuable skill and will make my portfolio as a designer stand out. I specifically want to make a procedural level generator plugin for Unreal that creates a consistent visual language and interesting and varied levels from user specified models. Additionally, most studios either use Unreal or their own similar proprietary engine, so I want to gain as much experience in Unreal as I can as I am applying for jobs.
With that in mind, a procedural level generator will show my skills as a programmer because it is difficult to create a well made and successful generator, one that will create usable levels that are perceptibly different in a tool that is easy for someone to understand and use.
For this project, there is quite a bit of stuff that I will be doing for the first time that will require more research, such as making a standalone plugin for Unreal, using C++ in Unreal (I only worked in C# with Unity, GLSL, or Unreal blueprints for the past few years), and even just how to start making procedural content. To help with some of these unknowns, I have found quite a few helpful resources like Kate Compton’s essay on building generators, a procedural level generation project using Houdini and Unreal, and some good tutorials to start with procedural level generation. With this information, I am confident that I can create a standalone procedural level generator on time. However, I see myself spending the most time on creating the constraints for the generator to create levels that make sense and have a consistent visual language. Luckily though, there are no external factors that I’ll need to depend on besides the amount of information online that relates to my project, which doesn’t seem like it will be a problem.
Photo from: https://forums.unrealengine.com/community/work-in-progress/31775-first-attempt-at-procedural-level-generation