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NHS Hopewood development blog: Chapter 1: Team Foundation and idea generation

Salutations and welcome to the start of the Development Blog for the NHS Hopewood Project. This project we've been tasked by the NHS CAMHS facilities of Hopewood located in Nottingham to produce an application which gives information for relatives of children suffering with mental health issues; this application also includes minigames as a stress relief for the users of the app.

This Project has been divided into multiple teams all producing a unique art-style and game following a woodland environment and themed around the seasons of the year.

The group I'm in is titled "Big Table Games" and it consists of five members.

For our game project we all mutually agreed to choose our season theme to be in the summer while using a cel-shaded art-style; because of the bright vibrant colours used in the said art-style it will really complement the aesthetics commonly associated with the summer season. Cel-shading is the visual style most commonly associated with cartoons and animation, where 3D models look flat with bright solid colours in which shading is the main detail in contrast to depth and textures which is commonly used in other visual styles.

Mechanically the game is an endless runner akin to titles such as Sonic Dash and Temple Run in which the user will control a character in running through the woods while avoiding and jumping over obstacles as the player builds up score for how long the player keeps going through the infinite woodlands until the player hits three of the obstacles and then the game is over.


Annie Hossenbux: The team leader of Big Table Games and 3D model artist

Deven Chidovori: The user interface artist

George Green: Character designer and background artist

Leon J Plumb: Programming team

Samuel Dowding: Programming team


My job role as the programmer is to produce the game build and make sure all the game mechanics work and function as intended. For this project we are using Unreal Engine 4.23 for the production of the game. The project requires the development of procedural generation, points system, lane system and touch controls for mobile devices.

This project will be an interesting task in exercising my skillset within game engines and programming as a whole. I have had a few years experience with the Unreal Engine, though not as proficient as I'd like to be I do understand how some of the systems work. The procedural generation of the project will be a fun task as it's something I have little to no experience with, however I do understand the basics and functions of how it should work with past experience with the Game Maker engine and creating random A.I spawns. The one thing I know will be a challenge is optimizing it for mobile devices considering the restraints such as the hardware capabilities and variance between phones, the touch screen inputs and the file size of the compiled build of the game. I did however prepare for this by enabling developer mode on my phone allowing me to use it as a test bed for the game build.

My main goals for now is to produce the procedural generation and core gameplay mechanics for the week commencing 10th of February as this is the week for early build showcase, meaning that if I get all the core systems of the game to function allowing me to have this game showcased to the tutor and affiliates giving me feedback on the overall quality of the project and will increase the chances of this project being implemented into the final app. Thankfully the tutorial series mentioned above have the explicit guides in getting the sections needed to be done. This first deadline will truly test my time management and workflow which feels extremely daunting when I think about it but I know its possible and that I am able to do it.

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