Game Developer Charles Cox spoke about More Than Human, an open-world adventure game where you can morph into various animals or creatures, explaining why he switched from Unity to Unreal Engine to handle the development of the game.
I actually started out as a 3D Modeler. I studied animation and art while in college, taking a few classes in programming. I messed around with Unreal Engine 3 (UDK) too. My dream was to work for a big AAA studio.
Unfortunately, after graduating, I never really found the opportunity. I ended up working as a freelance artist for a few companies, such as Twisted Dragon Studios. As an artist, I ended up having to use Unreal Engine and Unity so I could test my models. Eventually, I realized that I could actually start making my own games instead of trying to work for an AAA studio.
Getting Started With Unreal Engine
I learned about Unreal Engine very early in my career. I learned about it while looking for free game engines for students. I experimented a lot with the Unreal Development Kit (UDK) in college and used it for a few of my student art projects. Once Unreal Engine 5 came out, I was very excited. UE5 offered some incredible features.
Unreal is fantastic for making whatever game you want to make. It offers a ton of incredible tools that expand beyond just shooters. The Material Editor allows you to make incredibly stylized and unique materials that you can use to create your own look and feel. They even have numerous project templates to get you started, such as the 2D/3D sidescroller, top-down, and vehicle templates. I started my project with the third-person character template. Unreal's Blueprints allow for a ton of creative freedom.
Choosing Unreal For More Than Human
I actually started the project in Unity back in 2019 but transitioned to Unreal Engine 4 a bit later. I felt like Unreal offered more graphical and design capabilities, so it was a no-brainer for me.
Unreal's Blueprints system made it extremely easy to get onboarded. I was able to quickly prototype a ton of ideas I had and then convert them to C++ if needed. I was also incredibly motivated by UE5's release demo. Unreal offers a ton of features, including the Gameplay Ability System (GAS), the Ehnanced Input System, and their various landscaping systems, which really saved me time.
My project, More Than Human, is an open-world adventure game where you play as a human who has the ability to morph into various animals or creatures. You'll be traversing the world from the perspective of an animal. Gameplay-wise, you will have the opportunity to engage in quests for various animals and humans you meet. I am also working on a combat system where you can utilize your animal forms.
Setting Up the Dragon Mechanic
For the dragon, I was able to utilize a ton of features to get the dragon created. Unreal Animation Blueprint was great for prototyping the complex logic to get the character moving and animating like an eastern dragon. I say dragon, but it actually moves more like a snake. With that in mind, I was able to create the bone logic in the blueprint to have it animate in a similar fashion.
The environment is actually an asset that I am using called StyleScape. It was great for prototyping and getting started in a stylized environment.
Thoughts on Unreal
All of the tools and systems that Unreal offers are incredibly exciting! Not having to pay for a ton of features is great as well. Because the tools are made by Unreal, they integrate with the other systems as well. For example, their water system integrates well with the landscape systems they offer. Unreal also offers a bunch of free example projects in their Marketplace store and gives away five assets every month, which I have been taking advantage of for years now.