Well, almost a week.

It’s been just about a week since we started aggressively working on our own game at dotBunny. While there are many roles to fill on the game, I got “dibs” on engineering lead. It’s great to be back in code every day. Furthermore its great to be working on something that truly is something I can call my own. Getting to play with Unreal Engine’s UBT has been awesome! All that being said,

Holy fuck,  it is SCARY!

The fear is real.

There is such a sense of exposure in the air, it is almost palpable. As we start to settle into our new daily routines, everyone seems out of sorts at the moment. Typically our days of past would start with a stand-up meeting, however with a smaller more focused team, we have done away with that and just have a channel on discord where “brain dumps” happen, and JIRA populates with comments and closures. It is almost like watching a well oiled machine doing something very efficiently. I’ve also started to find myself  reverting to my old self when it comes to thinking about the project nonstop, wanting to work around the clock.

On some level, I’m glad for old me’s return. It is that sort of dedication that we are going to need to bring Dethol to market. Don’t get me wrong, when we work on client stuff, we are a dedicated workforce. The drive to work around the clock on something, typically only comes from when you have skin in the game. So, that means we would only work 23 hours a day on something! Robin definitely pulled a few of those on the GCAP project, grinding through some bugs.

Oh UBT!

The past week or so has been an experiment of what I can and can’t do with Unreal’s Build Tool (UBT). I discovered that some of the abstract data patterns I wanted to use for the procedural map didn’t quite fit into the macro wrapped model that UBT enforces, so I’ve been rapidly investing time into building out some of the core systems in a more Unreal friendly way.  I also for some reason have this need that systems that can have functionality exposed in Blueprint, must have it exposed.

Mersenne Twister Unreal Test Setup

Even if that functionality doesn’t represent a complete system, building things via this method allows for incremental testing during development.  I’ve also been trying to write some tests to prove out features, prior to writing them. The Session Frontend’s Automation tab has worked wonders for visualizing these test rigs.

UE4's Session Frontend
UE4’s Session Frontend

I’ve also spent some time, on the front end, to start building out how our code documentation is going to look like, and what sorts of extra things we can add to our comments to make life easier for our generators. I had experimented with writing our own parser in GO, but ultimately had to make the decision to use existing products so that I could stay focused on the real task at hand.

It is rewarding.

Something that I definitely did not expect was the rewarding feeling of answering questions while streaming. Usually no-one watching the stream, but the odd time someone will pop in and ask a question and I do my best to answer it. Hopefully, as I start to get further into the project there will be more ‘visual’ things to see. As mentioned, I suspect that is more likely to attract people to the stream. I think that’s where Cal’s work will come in to play.

My goal for this week is to have the Voronoi diagram system inside of Unreal and being able to display a texture of the generated map. It doesn’t seem to daunting, I’m ahead of schedule I think on that already. I’ll expand more on that functionality if there’s time, and of course add more next week. I also would really like to clean up how documentation works for commenting and special characters. CLion works great with strict JavaDoc, but doesn’t handle Markdown in comments. Where as Doxygen works fine with both, and then Unreal hates having any sort of HTML in comments of Blueprints, and flat-out removes Markdown. Need to find a balance, and further flush out a few things at this early stage.

This and more …

TRA-LA-LAAAA!

Can you tell what I went and saw this weekend?

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