Technical Information

Written by Tom Constable/Technical Lead

The game engine we will be using to create Nex Apparatus in will be the Unreal Engine 3 most of our team is familiar with how to use it from previous modules and is very diverse in what is possible in the engine. The engine gives us the ability to create basic levels very quickly than other engines and we have had a working tech demo within the first few weeks of the project compared to using another engine may have taken a lot longer to learn and implement assets.
As technical lead I made the decision initially to use the Unreal Tournament 3 version of the editor as it was the only one available but the Unreal Development Kit became available that is more powerful in its features but the decision was made to keep using the UT3 version of the editor as the tech demo was already started using it and the lack of vehicles in the UDK left the UT3 version of the editor as the most appropriate choice for our project.
Some parts of the game engine need to be slightly modified either using Unreal Script the Unreal Editors scripting language or add game mechanics to the game using Kismet the game play scripting tool which is used for adding and modifying game play elements.

Unreal script is going to be used to modify the in game vehicles such as adjusting the speed of the vehicle and the handling as for the game to work the vehicles need to have distinct characteristics. The code for speeding up the vehicles I have created but have yet to get it working in game due to its low priority but by next semester it will be finished.

Kismet will be used extensively in the game to control a large amount of the game mechanics. For example the dynamic environment will be controlled by kismet so that the player can hit a series of triggers around the level and activate traps and shortcuts for their team. Kismet can be used dynamically and change throughout the game easily to give different results for example, If a trigger is hit that can cause another trigger to be activated changing the layout of the track for example.

The lapping system in the game needs to allow the lap car to score laps on its own accord without any of the other vehicles scoring laps as it is their job to defend the lap car. This is achieved through kismet using a series of triggers which can only be activated by the lap car.

With the introduction of a lap car comes the problem that players can just reverse over the line constantly and score laps which would make the mechanic unusable. Kismet has again been used to address this by dealing the player damage if they attempt to reverse over the line.

Kismet will be used give protection to players that are spawning from the pit lane so that only the drivers of the pits team can open the gate to the pit lane to stop any form of camping the opposing teams spawn. It could also be used to destroy any opposing team’s car that tries to block the gates. This should keep the game fair. This is possible in kismet due to the triggers having the ability to choose specific targets to affect.

Players will have the ability to get out of their vehicle at any time throughout the race to either swap vehicles or use one of the consoles located around track which will give the user the ability to activate the ramps and traps to aid their team as they try to score laps. This will be directly connected to the trigger that is already around the track using kismet. It means the team will lose a driver but might be able to hinder the other team.

Various screens are going to be around the track to be used by racers and people using the consoles. They are made using a method called Render to Texture. This allows me to add in a camera object which is automatically updated on the texture. The quality of each texture can be increased or lowered to help performance, where necessary as it can be resource heavy if too many screens are used in a close area.

Technical Revisions

There have been few revisions to the technical side of the game and most things have stayed as we planned and have been succesfully implemented into the game for example

Lapping System

The lapping system was succesfully implemented and when a player from the opposing team attempts to enter the other teams pits there car will be destoryed instantly, forcing them to be respawned back in there pits. This should solve the issue of people trying to camp the pit spawn

The Exit to the pits has been editied from the original size to allow the cars plenty of room when exiting the pits and will also make it extremely difficult for the opposing team to block off the pits with all their cars.


The method of cheating that meant players can constantly reverse over the finish line has been fixed due. Many methods were used originally such as make the track one way, which was a simple fix but removed many features from the game that were wanted to keep. Eventually i came up with a Kismet code that will only count the lap if the car touches both finish lines on both sides of the track (As the finish lines are staggered)

Example of the Lap System Kismet



The screens were already in the game by the tech demo so not a lot has changed with the actual technical side of it as they are still created with render to textures. We have just instead added a housing for the screens with some adverts and sponsors around the sides



One of the more major changes from previous builds of the game seen in the tech demo is the ramps that are dotted around the track.
They are now able to be controlled remotely (See UI section for details)

They are now also randomly triggered which adds another element of risk in the race, Mainly for the lap vehicles. The triggers are setup in such a way that if you take your time and don't use the provided boost with the car all the time you are likely to see the ramps as they drop and not crash, However if you use the boost in between the ramps you have less time to react to the ramps and have to guess which ramp you think is going to drop and hope for the best. This adds an interesting Risk and Reward system to the game as if you guess the ramps correctly you will be much further ahead than the competition but if you get it wrong you could lose valuable time.

Example of the Ramp Kismet



The Pit lane has also been added which has been revised from the original design and is now located in the central reservation and is slightly lower than the track itself

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