Design / Programming / Art
Nathan "ZeWei" Malota
Project EIGHT is an RPG/Rhythm hybrid game currently being developed in Unreal 4. With an emphasis on interacting with characters and forming relationships through dance, it plans to provide a fresh new take on the integration of rhythm gameplay into other genres.
Creating and ideating with a Design Document and Art Bible
Programming the core rhythm battle system and dialogue systems using Unreal's Blueprint and Behavior Trees
Working with concept artists to design character and environment models, UVs, and textures
Creating inventive music for the dance battle system and overworld
Playtesting and iterating on the feedback received
Writing engaging dialogue and an overall narrative
Project EIGHT α Showcase (November 2020)
Music and dancing are integral to this world, and is a primary way for the player to communicate with those who are an adversary to them; you learn that the only way to pacify those who oppose you is to dance into their hearts. This is in place of a more traditional RPG-type battle system.
When a dance sequence begins, a large circle cuts out from the center of the screen with arrows flying in, corresponding to Up, Down, Left, and Right. Then, music according to the specific character will begin to play and notes, automated via sequencer, will move from the center toward their respective direction. The player receives points respective to their accuracy. The battle is considered lost after a certain amount of misses.
Each boss has their own Dance Style, combining dancing with their main hobby or job (art, cooking, engineering, etc) which provides an iteration on the typical rhythm system.
At the highest level, the event graph handles the timing of a note to be Good, Great, or Perfect, as well as Early or Late. The timing of these can be easily tweaked via float variables.
If there is no input detected, the object will register the note as a miss and run animations accordingly. Each interval of timing runs a function named fnc_beatrange.
DIALOGUE BEHAVIOR TREES
In RPGs such as this, a high fidelity dialogue system is key for encouraging meaningful interaction with characters and providing them with personality and charm. The dialogue system for Project EIGHT accomplishes this by a combination of traditional blueprint interaction and a repurposing of Unreal's behavior trees.
More complex cutscenes and dialogue options repurpose Unreal's behavior tree into dialogue trees. This allows for player choice and branching dialogue paths, as well as cutscene functions such as moving cameras and characters.
These cutscene functions come in the form of normal behavior tree tasks. Some include tsk_dlg, tsk_nextdialogue, tsk_answers, and tsk_cameramove.