Updated: Jan 30
I started today off by attempting to balance out the post processing in level 2 because I had realised it was pretty bright. I then started creating NPC characters for the Nueva Venicia level to try and make it feel more alive. One of the models I downloaded for use as an NPC wasn't animated and although it was rigged to the Unreal skeleton, for some reason I couldn't retarget the Unreal animations, so I ended up using one of my backup player character models instead. It was animated, but didn't have an animation blueprint set up, so I just copied the Unreal one and while it made the default animation running, it works fine and the NPCs shouldn't ever really be still. I added all the components I thought might be necessary for some AI movement and went back to designing the rest of the level. I created a skyscraper the player can enter and partially climb the inside of, that then pushes the player outside to climb using the grapple function, using geometry and subtractive geometry. The other buildings in the cluster were climbable using the Colossal Jump from earlier, so I decided to keep them as-is in order to encourage the player to use it more and get accustomed to the charge time.
As I was testing the final jump of the cluster, I decided to make a small but effective change to the Colossal Jump. Each time the player begins charging, the charge now starts from the beginning, and because I used a print string to test how the charge was working, I noticed that the timeline was still going up and down after I released the jump button, so I tidied that up. I also reduced the height of the jump a considerable amount afterwards, because once I was able to consistently hit the highest charge level, the jump was way too big to be balanced. I will probably reduce it even more later because although it's no longer able to scale an entire skyscraper, it is able to move from the convenience platform I added to the top, and I'd prefer for players to need to use the grapple points to scale it. On the other hand, I want to test how easy it is to hit the max jump with a new player, and if it's hard enough, I want to leave it in as a skill-based shortcut.
On the last building of this cluster, there was interestingly enough a difficult to find path involving the Colossal Jump. Even from the convenience platform, it was not possible to jump to the top of the building, but if you jump on one of the grapple targets you can make it to the top with a maximum power jump.
I also decided to add a delay to the flying ship because without it if you landed on the ship in the spot at the helm where you start it going, it dropped you out the back and left you behind. At the point I added this, I was starting to realise that it was a little too hard to even get to the convenience platform, since I had attempted several times to get there to test how easy the maximum power Colossal Jump was, but had not yet got to that point.
Having said that, the very next try I got across with absolutely no trouble, and found that the jump I was trying to test was not really too easy or difficult.
I finally got to finishing testing what I'd made so far and fine-tuning the ships' paths, so now Nueva Venicia looks like what you see above. Tomorrow I will begin by designing the next set of buildings, and if I finish all of the ones on the map, I will begin giving them all materials, and if I finish that, I will start working on level 5 finally.