10/3/19 Update - learning Unreal
I finished watching a playthrough of the 2009 Half Life 2 mod Korsakovia. Like the company's more famous game Dear Esther, the mod did a great job of telling a story through its level design and audio. The premise was you play as someone who is blind and suffering from Korsakoff Syndrome, which means essentially your character is suffering from periods of amnesia and psychosis. The levels you experience are generated by your mind's psychosis. The increasingly abstract and surreal level design coupled with intermittent dialogue between you and a doctor at the hospital I found to be very effective.
In particular, I thought this was interesting because it slightly subverts some psychological horror tropes by telling you upfront that what you are seeing is a hallucination. Many stories give you hints that something you are experiencing is imagined or hallucinated, but wait until the end to give a big reveal that it was all in your head. In contrast, the point of this story is to experience the character's perspective and question reality along with the character, and less to keep a mystery going to reveal a twist at the end.
I plan on continuing looking further into this company (The Chinese Room)'s work/individual creators this week. I also have started reading the book Narrative Design for Indies.
I focused on learning Unreal this week. I finished my goal of going through a Udemy video course online that explains the basics, and also followed a tutorial to create my first Blueprint.
I was able to get this Blueprint fully working, so I now have a first person character controller input system to use for my project. I'm looking to be in good shape to achieve this current week's goal of implementing the other game mechanics - namely triggering audio playing in specific locations, and teleporting the player when they reach a volume trigger.
Stretch goal is to start putting together my assets to create something playable beyond game mechanic tests.
I'm being conservative with my time estimates because I didn't fully anticipate how unlearning Unity's way of doing things would be more time consuming than expected. Ultimately this is not a problem and I'm learning the software better, but at first I thought "Oh, Unreal is so similar to Unity!" and am now realizing how all the small differences really add up to a decent learning curve.