Portobelly Production Journal #13


Last week I set myself the goal of finding a replacement for the dash ability. I feel I have accomplished this goal as I created the slam ability that allows the player to gain more control over their movement and also acts as a form of attack. I integrated the dash mechanic into a section of the tutorial and allowed the player to break certain platforms using the dash ability.

This week I want to start rigging the enemies work on the AI of the enemies. I may spend some time developing the blockout of the level but I feel the AI should come first as it may change the layout of the level.

Fig 1 - Boomshroom rig layout

As I can’t do much of my work within Unreal at university due to relying on a Perforce server to collaborate on our work. Due to these limitations during university I have decided to work on rigging the enemies of Portobelly as I’m able to do this work without source control. Our designs of the enemies allow the mushrooms to be easily rigged (apart from the spiral spore) and as Craig pointed out, the boomshroom and BFF could share the same rig. Sharing rigs would save us a lot of time and would allow us to use the same animations on different characters.

Fig 2 - Boomshroom skin weights

Part of the rigging process involves painting skin weights on the mesh. This was my first time painting skin weights so I struggled grasping some of the basic concepts of the process but after a few attempts I started to learn the basics of the process. I had a lot of difficulty separating the goggles from the body as they were bending with the body of the mesh which I felt was not realistic as the goggles are not made of a flexible material.

Fig 3 - Boomshroom controls

Sam (an animator) recommended that I should add controls to all of the bones so that when animating the character I would not have to select each individual bone within the rig.

Fig 4 - 04 02 2019 Portobelly Playtest

We decided to test out our current level on fellow classmates as it allowed us to see how others would interact with our environment. As you can see in the footage above almost everyone cleared the obstacles without many issues.
The area which caused the most issues with players was the set of platforms that have to jumped on to reach the breakable platform. This was due to the bounciness causing unpredictability in Belly’s movement. To resolve this I may reduce the bounciness of the player which should give the player more control over Belly’s movement or I could make the player less bouncy when they are at a larger size which would give the player an incentive for changing size often.

The bounce feedback upon hitting surfaces makes all the difference in how the movement and momentum of the character is received, but I think there are problems in how the character bounces at different sizes, and furthermore, when they bounce on the ground, the inability to land straight into a jump hurts the platforming element of the game. Other than that, the new mechanics feel very fun and satisfying.
— Kieran (Player 1)

Kieran’s feedback enforces the point that something needs to be changed with the bounciness and his footage in the playtest (he was player 1) shows that he struggled with the platforming section.


Figures List

  1. Rees, O (2019). Boomshroom rig layout. [offline]. [Accessed 07/02/2019].

  2. Rees, O (2019). Boomshroom skin weights. [offline]. [Accessed 07/02/2019].

  3. Rees, O (2019). Boomshroom controls. [offline]. [Accessed 07/02/2019].

  4. Rees, O (2019). [online]. 04 02 2019 Playtest. YouTube [video]. 7 February. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPr7zuBjggE&feature=youtu.be [Accessed 07/02/2019].