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  • Writer's pictureBretton Hamilton

Mars - Getting Started

The original concept came from a small design challenge I posed for myself wherein I attempted to come up with gameplay and narrative ideas from looking at color palettes. While a bit abstract, it was a fun exercise.

Moving onto the current state of the project, Mars is up and running in Unreal! I chose Unreal as my engine of choice due to the speed with which I could experiment. Plus, I’ve used Unity almost exclusively for the past few years, so this seemed like a prime opportunity to learn Unreal.

As you may have noticed, the player is currently a king on a horse. This is a placeholder asset from Kingdom, an indie game I’ll link to in the description. Animating and implementing sprites seemed like a great way to learn about the 2D asset pipeline in Unreal. From there I focused on getting the environment working. The environment in Mars is core to the experience. It’s a muddy, misty bog. There isn’t a lot of wildlife if you exclude mosquitos, and even the plant life is bare.

To learn Blueprints better I’ve created an environment generator that goes through and generates the trees, plants, and mist based on easily accessible values I can fiddle with. It’s come along pretty well so far, but I may end up hand-placing assets down the road. I’ll likely aim for finding the happy middle-ground between lovingly hand-placing key-assets and scenes, while procedurally generating the rest.

Perhaps the most subtle and hardest part so far has been getting the parallax working right. It’s still not perfect, and there are some odd bugs cropping up here and there, but I’ll be aiming to hammer those out in a few weeks. For now, I’m going to swap back over to the art side of things again.

First up will be overhauling the buildings. These wood and rope rises worked well for an early concept but they lack depth. To reinforce the idea of the technologically inferior native population, I’d like to redesign them to show how a civilization might look without the tools required to create towers. I’ll do a development update purely on my thoughts here, but this is probably what I’ll start to sink my time into soon.

I’ve got a handful of personal affairs to sort out the next two weeks before I can really dive back into development. I appreciate you giving Mars a look! I’m excited to continue the project!

Thanks for tuning in!


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