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A question about AC and UCC and some general advice/comment about game dev

Hello again to the community (and likely Chris reading this!)

I am aiming to make a classic Resident Evil 1/2/3 -- Silent Hill 1 clone. I want to know your opinion on AC/UCC and game dev in general.

I spent the whole weekend and this monday to play around with AC and UCC integration. The fact that I have to use both assets slows me down quite a bit, for my previous project (Myst clone) I managed to get the core mechanics and a playable prototype working in under 48 hours, so that gets me a tad worried for the future, here is my first question:

  • Should I stick with AC until I implement combat or should I hardcore climb the UCC steep learning curve (to mix it with AC correctly) right away?

While this will make for a longer post, I'll list what each asset provides to this project:

AC has most of what I need, movement (tank controls), camera (fixed camera), inventory (combine, examine, puzzle, etc. Just have to put a max inventory slots but that's not hard), dialogue (cutscene, choices (RE3 type of choices)), save mechanic.

UCC has combat, a health system, weapon/ammo and... that's it.

To mention my previous experiences:

I completed Ben Tristem courses on Udemy, participated in gamejams (such as Brackeys), finished all AC tutorial videos, reproduced demos from the UCC documentation alone, and yet, it doesn't "take", even applying methods of the industry such as the Scrum method doesn't get me going fast enough. C# doesn't stick either, somehow my brain has to re-learn that every month even though I refresh making prototypes here and there, I actually hate programming.

I'm mainly a pixel artist/3D low poly artist by day, which puts my heavy lifting on programming mostly, but turns out that's all it takes to slow me down 200% if not more. I made smaller projects, the experience didn't carry over.

While this might seem like a rant more than an actual question I just wanted to know your opinion and your experience on the matter. I did more work than ever before while working in teams (during gamejams) rather than just alone. But the problem with a game even medium scaled is that people bail before there is even a prototype,

  • how do you find people to complete your skill set, how do you make it through as an indie game dev?

I must have written more than a hundred of scenarios, some thousands of pages, yet it's hard to pitch a game design document when most of my interest lies in retro 2D or 3D games, forums don't pan out and you can't really find documentation on how to implement most things people aren't interested about (just found a PSX shader for unity for example, I just don't know how to implement it with URP, just a small detail among many which might get fixed in 5 minutes but takes me hours to find, even though I'm 28 and quite used to search things online). I started game dev 5 years ago, and I feel like I've improved so much in doing pixel art and low poly than I have as a game dev in general.

TLDR; In the end I often spend more time searching for a solution than actually fixing a problem, while when I draw or do modeling I just go and don't need anyone. How do you guys compensate for your weaknesses? Curious to know.

In any case,

Cheers,

Nils

Comments

  • edited December 2020

    Should I stick with AC until I implement combat or should I hardcore climb the UCC steep learning curve (to mix it with AC correctly) right away

    Certainly I'd recommend becoming equally familiar with both, given that combat is to play such a vital role.

    UCC will work best if you involve it more on the movement side. I should think you'd want to get tank-controls working in UCC alone, so that the whole player control / combat aspect can be done in a single asset. Things'll get a lot more complicated if you're trying to mix-and-match elements of both and applying them to a character simultaneously.

    The provided UCC/AC integration is still a "base" template, though. When dealing with two complex assets, and the possibilities that come from merging them, the exact integration requirements will always vary from project to project. I'd expect you'd need to change or add to the integration script to get things working the way you personally need.

    I would say, though, that as the combat mechanics from those old games are pretty simple - and not as involved as the mechanics that e.g. UCC provides - it may be worth looking into just having a custom script to handle it instead. For modern mechanics, you'd certainly want to involve a dedicated asset, but for "classic" gameplay it may be possible to do without another asset.

  • That's great to read Chris, I expected your insight on the matter to provide an angle I didn't consider.

    So according to you I could potentially handle the basic combat RE 1/2/3 and SH 1 had by writing or picking up a custom script?

    In truth the player will barely have to aim and shoot, basically when you press aim and there is an enemy in raycast range your transform automatically aims at the nearest target, as for bullets I guess they're just variables. I didn't design all the weapons in the game yet, of course if I was to remove melee weapons I imagine the load would be lighter by a lot. I've read that someone just did that, I mean they removed UCC and used AC only with another custom asset for their movement purposes.

    Maybe I can stick with it though, I wrote that rant after looking for simple answers all around for hours, now I'm fresh and ready to rumble again, I might give it another day, see if I can achieve basic movement at least before ditching UCC entirely and going custom.

    Thanks Chris!

  • Yes, range-only weapons would make things easier. Either way, the combat mechanics from that era are pretty basic - a custom script could certainly cover it.

    Bullets could be variables, true, but with AC's updated inventory system I'd recommend making them inventory items. The weapons themselves could also be inventory items, and by defining properties for them you can set things like damage amount, fire rate, etc all in the Inventory Manager. A custom script would then just need to read the values of e.g. the selected item to know what properties the current weapon has.

    I'll give this some further thought on my end. It might make for a nice template in the Downloads page.

  • That's exciting, I'll keep my eye opened if you end up uploading that template, with that system it'd be exactly what I need to start from, right now I'm starting to get the hang of this.

    Well I might go out of the topic a tad but I just bugged my whole scene again so I'm just going to start from scratch for the third time ahah (no version control rip), somehow since I added a spring component to one of my object the camera doesn't apply my resolution anymore (320x244), but that's a unity issue I won't bother you with that, reseting the components doesn't do anything either, so yep, I'll just start clean again!

  • edited February 16
    Hi Thusky, I’m making a game that’s similar to what you described. With only about 9month’s c# experience (all learned as I go) I’ve managed to merge AC with my own custom code to get everything working just fine. The hardest thing was actually modifying the way AC works to handle a classic ui system wherein you select items then select use/combine/discard etc. using a combination of “cursors” and menus to do so.
    Chris is right that it’s easier to make your own combat and weapon system since UCC is superfluous given the simplicity of og survival horror games.
    All you need is to keep track of weapon stats (max ammo, current ammo, damage etc) within the inventory item properties, and can even handle the way they work without much scripting due to actionlists.
    Another thing to do is have all your fire rates and effects triggered during animation frames as animation events in unity.
    For my project I have sprite based characters so my biggest coding issue was figuring out how to reference camera Euler angles then tie the sprite direction displayed to them as well as the input in relation to them. That way if you are holding left and therefore moving left and cross a camera change trigger, you’ll keep moving the direction you were moving (which might be upwards now) until you let go of the left input - at which point up input would move you that way instead.
    The whole time, the sprite animation that’s displayed needs to be based on how the camera is looking at the sprite.
    Reason I did it myself instead of using AC’s controller is that it would switch which way the inputs would move you to match the camera angle as soon as it switched, whereas I wanted that same way they do it in REmake if you set the controls to non-tank controls.
    All that being said, my controller script is a bit of a spaghetti, and probably has heaps of redundant bollocks, so I’m sure if you’ve done a little c# scripting before, you could make something way better.

    With regards shooting (and even melee, which I’m still debating since ammo can be a really useful balance tool) the simplest way to do it is to simply have the nearest enemy auto detected when aiming, and making the player’s transform rotate to look at it. Then when you fire just apply the relevant damage to the enemy based on retrieving variables from your global variables.
    Since, To handle equipment, you can just have the weapons properties copied into a “current weapon” global variable which you apply as damage to the enemies. (You’ll want to create a simple script that keeps track of a given enemy’s stats)
    You’d want a few checks in place, such as casting a ray between your player and the zombo to detect if there’s anything with the “scenery” tag in the way (or something of that sort) then come up with a way to spawn a particle/ decal for missed shots’ point of impact etc.
    What else?
    Uhhh focus on making a prototype of all your features and mechanics using cubes or whatever to make sure it works in its entirety, then you can substitute whatever art you want, but in all, you shouldn’t have too much trouble given that I can manage and I’m a total dunce!
    Pm me here or at @dieselpunk_ on Twitter if you need help with anything!
  • Regarding the template I mentioned, it's just been released. See the "Combat example" package over on the Downloads page for a Resident Evil-style nostalgia trip!

  • Wow, I would have killed for this 4 years ago.
  • I just came back to the forums after months of work to renovate my new appartment and just moved in! The feeling I get reading this thread, being both your experience Mcdoll and the combat example you produced Chris is overwhelming!

    I didn't imagine this thread would bring so many different answers, as such thank you very much everyone!

    I likely still have a few days, maybe weeks ahead of me of moving and organizing my new life here, but once I get 100% back I'll read all the answers (again) and run that example scene asap!

    On a side note Chris, I double down on your awesomeness, first time I emailed you about my issue trying to make that Myst clone you produced that myst example scene (download) and now look at that, your combat example, you're gold!!!

    I can affirm this is the most helpful/productive forums I've been on, on that note, see you when I get more time/fully available for this journey once more!

    Cheers!

    PS: I'll definitely contact you Mcdoll, I'll follow you on twitter right away!

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