Blackout Bluff: Devlog 3/04/24

Scaredy Cat
January 4, 2024
Scaredy Cat: Devlog 03/21/24
March 21, 2024
Scaredy Cat
January 4, 2024
Scaredy Cat: Devlog 03/21/24
March 21, 2024

Devlog: Mar 4 2024

  • Terrain

  • Foliage

  • Level greybox

    Huh, Blackout Bluff?

    The past week has been dedicated to an ambitious narrative project using UE5. For now, the working title is Blackout Bluff. At this stage, it's an exploration but with much hope it will turn into a longer term, formal game project. While it's currently a bit secretive, I can confirm it's a narrative-driven mystery role-playing game with a clever mechanic that I'm not prepared to reveal - but is very much inspired by some well-executed time-loop narrative adventure games.

    Aside from long-form narrative planning, this week has been about experimenting with the environment design and key locations. Starting off this project in Unreal and getting back into a 3D environment after has been very liberating. The rate at which beautiful environments have come together and started to lay the way for levels has been incredible - thanks to Unreal's fantastic suite of environment building tools and assets.

    World Design

    Heightmaps, painting and foliage

    This week, we imported heightmaps from real world landscapes, including iconic locations such as Lake Tahoe to quickly create terrain to house our game's main towns. There were numerous environmental experiments conducted to determine which one to commit to.

    After mashing together a few favored landscapes in Unreal, a new material was created to paint the terrain with varieties of grass and mossy rock. This was a more manual and laborious process than importing and tweaking heightmaps, but well worth the effort.

    Screenshot 2024-03-11 at 5.59.01 PM

    Early valley design

    The key town location will sit in a valley surrounded by mountains and a large lake.


    Climate experiments

    Tested out more arid plant life as an option as well but abandoned this for a colder climate feel.


    Basic foliage

    Settled on a foliage style featuring wild flowers, barren trees.

    Level Design


    After settling on the natural world design aspects, the main town became somewhat of a shape by starting to greybox out the main street, areas for homes and characters and other important structures to the project.


    The beginning of a quaint neighborhood

    Our main character will reside in this cul-de-sac in a picturesque Scandi-esque town separated from the rest of the world.


    A VERY ROUGH main street

    An important aspect of placing locations in greyboxing was ensuring that the view / framing is maximized for beauty from the player perspective.

    Thanks for reading! I hope to tell you more about Blackout Bluff as experimentation progresses. Next steps are fleshing out the narrative system since that'll be a critical feature.