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Unreal 5 DeV Blog: "Floaty Hippo"

Making a chill "endless floater" in Unreal Engine

· Dev Blog,Floaty Hippo,Game Development

You're probably wondering how I got here...

Easy. Take an unemployed game developer, currently between non-competes, who needs to show off Unreal Engine and Blueprints abilities, and behold: she'll start making her own game just to prove she knows how.

Also, the world has enough high-octane endless runners — your runs temple, your surfers subway, what have you — and not enough chill endless games à la Alto's Adventure and Alto's Odyssey. (Aside: How great of a game studio name is Noodlecake? Incredible.)

Also also, I'd already made a 3D model of a hippo on a pool floatie. Little guy is the emblem of chill, and deserves to star in an endless river adventure. In an overstimulating world of 60-plus-hour game experiences, I deeply appreciate a contemplative, chill, no-presh sesh.

Naturally, you have questions:

"What am I looking at here, exactly?"

This is the outcome of laying down a few foundational bits of the Floaty Hippo experience:

  • A performant and aesthetically pleasing water shader
  • Endless lane generation and the destruction of tiles behind the camera
  • Quick-switching between lanes, with sun-angle indicator sparkles
  • Contact ripples using distance fields
  • A general ~vibe check~ of the forward speed and water flow

"Why Unreal Engine, Amanda? Wouldn't a very-clearly-mobile game be much more practical to develop in Unity?"

To that I ask a counter-question: "What's the fun in making a game in an engine I've already used exhaustively for the last eight years?" My forays into Unreal and Blueprints have been less consistent, relegated to freelance work and personal projects. I'm itching to do more in an engine that, frankly, I find easier to use. Blueprints just makes sense to me as a visual programming solution.

Plus, Unreal sure do be purdy, don't it? Did you see the sparkles on the water? Look again. LOOK AT THEM.


"Okay, I'll bite. What comes next?"

A whole laundry list of things, including, but not limited to, and in no particular order:

  • Making the hippo bob up and down (this is actually already done, just not captured in video yet!)
  • Adding scoring in... meters? nautical miles? some sort of scoring system, in any event...
  • Procedurally-generated collectibles and obstacles
  • Fleshing out the first environment (and future environments, and theming obstacles and collectibles accordingly)
  • A hippo and floatie customization screen, so you can spend more time lookin' at his cute li'l face :3
  • Composing lo-fi chill music! You give Amanda Lynn a project that needs a soundtrack, and she will get roundly sidetracked making music long before any of the above is implemented... or so the last week has indicated

Stay tuned! Or don't! You have free will! Whatever floats your boat!

(If you thought I wasn't going to make float-related puns, I'm sorry to sink your hopes.)

Float on,