Though I hadn't originally planned on doing any Blueprinting for my UE4 scene (mainly because I hadn't touched it before and I found the idea of using them kinda scary...), I did actually end up using a couple of them in the end! This blog post is gonna go through what I used, how I did them and most importantly what they did. :)
The first blueprint I did is to do with my happy weed character. For those of you who missed my last blog post, this is him:
In my last blog post I also shared the link to a vine of him dancing (which can be found here), and in THIS blog post I'm going to explain how I made that happen. Here we go...
Being surrounded by UE4 geniuses on a Games Design course is a useful thing, and along the way I've heard of various tips and techniques that can be used to bring a scene to life. One of these things being a 'SimpleGrassWind' which does exactly what it suggests - makes grass blow calmly in the wind within a scene. I tried this with my weed character, though for some reason it didn't work. Okay. Back to the drawing board.
So after watching some useful tutorials on Youtube I found another way to do it, and here it is:
Super simple! The 'Panner' and 'Sine' are used to decide which way I want my material to sway (on the X/Y axis, or both if needs be) and how much I want it to do so. Then I just connect it to 'World Position Offset' with my texture connected to 'Base Colour' and there we go!
While it's obviously one of the simplest things to do in UE4, it's also my first time using blueprinting so I'm overly happy about it and the result created. I just can't get over the fact that my little character is swaying, it's great. :D
The next blueprint I did is a little bit trickier - I made my own water shader.
I was originally just using UE4's default water for my scene as I didn't know how to make my own, but it really didn't fit with the art style of the rest of my assets and stuck out quite a bit. Here are some shots of the scene with default water so you can see what I mean:
It wasn't terrible but it wasn't great, so I needed to do something about it. I started by creating a tileable water texture to use, so here's that:
I kept it simple because I didn't want to end up spending a tonne of time on a texture that then didn't work and couldn't be used. I did have the intention of going back to work on it some more once I had made it work, but in the end I just kept it the way it was. I may go back and add some more to it at some point, but for now I'm satisfied with the results. Speaking of which, here they are:
I feel that this water works much better with my scene as it follows a similar style. The UE4 default isn't bad but it much better suited for realistic pieces - something my scene certainly isn't!
Finally, here's the actual blueprint I created for it:
As you can see it's a little bit more complicated than the previous blueprint, but the idea is similar.
The two 'Texture Samples' are attached to 'Panner' nodes which make the texture pan on an X/Y axis. The 'TexCoord's are there to help resize each texture. By making both textures different sizes and having them pan in different directions, the illusion of moving water is created.
The 'DepthFade' and 'Fresnel' nodes are there to add the effect of water hitting another object - if you look at the rock character and its surrounding area in the picture above, you can see that the water looks different where it is hitting the rock mesh. This is because of those nodes - they make it so that the water texture reacts depending on whether or not it is hitting another mesh.
I found creating these blueprints to be extremely useful for my scene and it certainly helped calm my nerves about using them quite a lot! I'd like to explore blueprinting some more in my next project to see how much I can bring a scene to life, so that's something I'll be considering.
Overall I'm happy with how these turned out and I think I will forever be amused by my swaying weed friend.
He's just having such a lovely time, it's great. <3