Just Recycle Cans
10 May 2016
I'm currently working on a game in the Unreal Engine using the HTC Vive called Just Recycle Cans. The gist is that you are a hobo in a city and you go around collecting cans which you sell at a recycling center to make money so you can upgrade your cart. There are some other things I plan on adding in later but I'm focusing on getting the basics of the game going first.
My main motivation for making this game is learning C++ and the Unreal Engine. When I heard about VR, I really wanted to make a game using it. I have another idea for a type of co-op game in the back of my mind that I'm not entirely sure on how to implement. This idea is a bit more tailored for VR and should allow me to learn C++ and UE4 better so I can go into that game knowing what I'm doing.
So far my main challenge has been getting the vive to work in Unreal. It just came out so not everything is properly documented. I've had to spend a lot of time doing things and then redoing them as I find a better way to implement it. Since everything is so new, I spent a lot of time on the unreal forums and google trying to find out how to get something to work.
Jumping straight into a VR game probably isn't the best way to learn the Unreal Engine as I'm having to learn how to use the engine as well as figuring out how to implement something that's completely brand new. In any case, Unreal is a great way to learn C++. You simply create a project based off a template and it creates a Visual Studio project for you as well as a playable game. You then just have to jump in and mess with the code to do what you want. At any time you can delve into the source code of the engine to figure out how the developers do certain things and just copy it over to what you're doing.
Unreal also has a great Blueprint system where you can just do visual programming to prototype something quickly or just do something that's easier to do in Blueprint than in code. You can just right click and search for modules or drag a node off something and then search for things that can from from the module you dragged off of. It's really great to just quickly throw together an idea before I put it into C++. There are also cases where it's just easier to put something together in Blueprint than have to actually code it out. I can make my C++ class, create a blueprint off of it, change any settings I need and get going. If I need to pass information to another class, this is very easy with a blueprint interface. Once I have something working in blueprint, I just have to take what I have and redo it in C++ which isn't all that difficult most times.
Working with UE4 has been a bit frustrating at times as I wonder why the developers decided to do something a certain way when it could just be another way. In the end, I'm learning a new skill and having fun while doing it. I highly suggest people use UE4 if they are interested in game design.
The small box was just for testing the ability to detect cans being placed in a container. I might end up using it as something you can take off the cart and go into an alley or something and consolidate your cans.