Drone Hunter – My First FPS Game

Made in Unreal Engine:

I recently completed an Unreal Engine game course and I’m happy to share my first FPS game for free – It can be downloaded from itch.io using this link here – Drone Hunter itch.io

It’s the first video game I’ve made and was a learning project that covered the key elements for creating an FPS in Unreal Engine. There is only around 10 mins game play in total, so not a long lived game, but a blast for a few mins.​ The objective of this game is to simply to destroy all the drones before the time runs out.​

The course I followed to create this game was with gamedev.tv and whilst many aspects of game creation I already know such as creating the environment map and setting up the lighting and so forth, it was well worth the time and money spent. Some of the new aspects of Unreal engine I learnt were around blueprints and specifically in relation to an FPS shooter game.

Key Summary:

Below are some key high level points I learnt about blueprints and also creating an FPS. – These will be of use to anyone who is just starting out making their first game in Unreal Engine.

One key overall point is that blueprints are incredibly powerful and flexible. They can be used to create all types of functionality not just within a game, but also within an animation, VR experience and so forth. Doing this course have opened my mind further to the possibilities that blueprints offer and how they can add even greater depth to animations.

Getting Started:

  • As this game was just a learning project I jumped straight in the building the game.
    • But usually with any game you should start with an idea for the game and then work on the story and game mechanics.
    • There is also storyline, level design, environments, models, look and style of the game, sound effects, voice overs, animations and so forth.
  • It goes without saying that to make a good video game is a lot of work, and for this game I didn’t create any of the models and these were asset packs from the Unreal Marketplace.
  • I like things to be over the top (sometimes) so the muzzle flash and explosions are pretty large, unrealistic, but hopefully add some fun!

Blueprints:

  • Bear in mind that Blueprints run on a virtual engine so this consumes more resources than just using or using in part C++.
    • If you are thinking of making an intensive first-person shooting with many characters and events then C++ would be required.
    • But if making your first (or tenth) indy game by yourself then using blueprints is a realistic way to go about it.
  • Blueprints are not easy to pick up for a new starter to them– so don’t worry if you can stuck for a bit or have trouble remembering all the nodes and commands.
    • The more you use blueprints the more familiar they will be become.

Testing:

  • Test regularly and as you make the game.
  • Do not wait until the end to test.
  • Package and export the game out and don’t just test within the Unreal engine viewport.
    • I packaged up the game at the end – but when playing the drones were static and didn’t move!
    • But they did move and work correctly in the Unreal Engine viewport!
    • I fixed this issue, but export and play/test as you go along to make sure you are picking up any bugs.
  • Test for performance.
  • Test for bugs in the game mechanics/graphics.
  • Test for game flow and how much fun it is.

Performance:

  • It goes without saying that you must pay attention to your game performance and FPS.
  • Lighting, meshes, shadows, draw calls, events etc… all have a toll on the performance of the game.
  • Turning on the FPS so you can see frame count is one way to get a good idea of how the game is performing.
  • Always be wary of performance as you proceed.

Packaging and Exporting:

  • Packaging up and exporting is extremely easy and just selecting the command in the menu.
  • One key point to consider is making sure all levels are included, but these can be added to the export options.
    • By only selected the levels required you also are not including any unnecessary game files.

I’ve been using Unreal Engine for almost three years and in that period have focused solely on creating environments and animations/cinematics. So I am very familiar with this excellent software, but as I have gotten to know the tool so well I figured I really should know how to make a video game or at least the key foundations of how to go about doing this – so I’m happy I finally got around to doing it.