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©2017 by Eric Nicholson: Game Developer. Proudly created with Wix.com

A project currently in development at Funcom. 

Unannounced Multiplayer Shooter

I had the great opportunity to join this team at Funcom shortly after it had started pre-production. When I initially joined, the team consisted of the Executive Producer, Lead  Programmer, and a Technical Designer. This was my first job after college and here I was part of the four man team that was still trying to narrow down the genre of game that we were going to make. It was a very exciting and scary revelation when I learned just how early on the project was. It was a great opportunity to be able to experience the way a project is born in a large studio compared the small teams that I had been a part of before. I got to help create the groundwork for the project and build upon it as the project grew and evolved over time.

This is also my first experience with Unreal Engine, so I went through a lot of stress having this be my first project at a new job in an unfamiliar engine AND the project hadn't really been kicked off yet. Going though all of that definitely strengthened my skills, I had the opportunity to touch a wide variety of core systems necessary for a shooter, from the basic weapon mechanics to animation blending. As the project grew, so did the team and as things came up that no one had experience with, I took some time to learn the basics of it and start from there. Eventually I ended up being the gameplay programmer that implemented the animations and animation related things in the game.  

When we decided that we wanted programmer dedicated to the animation team and no one had any experience with an animation system, I took up that role and spent weeks in and out of work learning how to use Unreal's animation tools. Over time I made a template Animation Blueprint for our characters that contained the base blends for the character's locomotion. Whenever we start work on a new character that needs animations, I am able to retarget animations for different skeletons to the new one to save some time while the animators work on the first iterations of the more unique animations needed for that character. This helps to test out the visuals for things a lot faster as they are created since the animators don't need to worry about the locomotion animations until the polish pass. Alongside setting up the animation blends, I also setup systems like Hand and Foot IK so that the mesh doesn't clip through things the character is holding or standing on. 

Overall, working on this project has been a great experience. I have gained so much experience from this and I am still learning more and more each day. I wish I could talk more about this project, but the image above is the most information that has been publicly released and is a slide from Funcom's quarterly report in September 2019. Once the project is formally announced, I will update this page with what I can instead of just a brief summary of my experiences so far on the project.