Summer is almost over, and I am cranking through a bunch of projects I had wanted to complete. One of them was to spend as much time as possible learning how to make video games.
I don’t have any delusions of grandeur; however, I do have a fantasy of being able to combine game making with electronics and making in order to design a game that interacts with the physical world. In order to do that, I need a way for the game to communicate with the physical world.
In a previous post, I highlighted some of the things I learned during my first 100 hours with the Unreal Engine. That was enough time (with the right tutorials) to build a simple game called Chicken in the Lab where your a Chicken, in a lab, collecting elements. The trick is that you have to collect them in order of atomic number, so it can be a bit of a challenge.
With some general knowledge on game design using the Unreal Engine, I wanted to learn how a game could interact with the world outside of the game. There’s a plugin called VaREST which allows the game to communicate via REST API calls; however, the documentation on the plugin is virtually nonexistent. I decided to demonstrate how I got it working primarily to have all of this information in one place when I need it again, but perhaps it will be of use to someone.
When creating objects for 3D printing, I find I often want to know the volume. In one particular instance, I am making what is called a low pressure drop static mixer and would like to know what volume of a channel is with the mixer installed. Turns out that the problem is easy to solve, so long as you know the right tricks.
One item on my bucket list has been to learn how to make a video game. I figured forced isolation due to the pandemic gave me the time I needed to dive into this project. After 100 hours, I was able to produce Chicken in the lab! where you – the chicken – need to pick up the elements (in order of atomic number) that have been scattered across the lab by an evil Biology Professor.
I’ll have a link to the game once I get it all packaged up for distribution for the 1 or 2 of you daring enough to try it out. Meanwhile, check out this video commentary about my experience with the Unreal Engine 4. You can just jump to 5:55 and see gameplay if you’d like.
Great news from one of my former summer research students; Jenna will be entering SUNY Upstate‘s medical program this fall.
Jenna was in my first crop of summer research students at SUNY Brockport; (check that link, she’s in one of the tie dye lab coats). She was actually a student at MCC participating in the CSTEP program designed to help students find enriching research opportunities.
I’ve had some time to work on my CNC milling and made a Cribbage board for my Dad for Father’s Day. (Yes, I’m late.) We just made it back from a safe, socially distant family vacation in New Hampshire, a place my family has visited for about 4 generations. One of our family traditions is to play Cribbage and we introduced it to my brother-in-law and my nephew. I think they enjoyed it, but you can never really tell because, well, families are not really supposed to share their opinions with one another, right? At least my nephew shared his opinion: it’s boring. Apparently the only thing that isn’t boring to this 15-year-old is a game on his phone where you endlessly “collect power ups to get to the next level”.