Mannequin Brawler

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One of my two prototypes developed over the summer to help me grasp the fundamentals of Unreal Engine 4. What first started as a peek into UE4’s Geometry editing system quickly turned into a deep dive into its Blueprint visual scripting system. An extensive amount of trial and error helped me understand how to add additional actions onto a simple third person character to make the prototype centralized around melee combat, such as an aim offset, punching animations, damage collisions, and much more. My learning process involved a large amount of online resources, such as those within Youtube tutorials and the UE4 forums, alongside animations from Mixamo. I envisioned a prototype where the player would be able to punch enemies and shield themselves from attacks dished out by the AI.

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My first step was learning the workflow of basic whiteboxing within the engine. The basic .bsp files provided in the Geometry section were placed and adjusted using simple orthographic views, whereas subtractive brushes and hollow geometry help create interior areas.

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From there, I quickly moved into the blueprinting system. I implemented a sprinting system that allowed the player to move at a faster speed by holding the Left Shift button alongside nodes that allow the player to punch, crouch, and block by using the Animation Montage system.

Damage was dealt through a health system, where every time a fist collision overlapped with a player/AI that wasn’t themselves, damage would be applied. Once all health was lost, the actor taking damage would be eliminated.

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The animation system within Unreal was surprisingly simple to learn. All animations were downloaded from Mixamo, and from there, I retargeted each of them to the base mannequin skeleton from a premade model. AnimNotifies were added to reference in the animation blueprint individually.

An Aim Offset was also added to allow the player to look in the direction that the mouse was facing.

To conclude, this prototype helped me truly understand the fundamentals of the Unreal Engine, ranging from basic geometry placement, to character scripting through the Blueprinting system, to AI programming.

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