Today I decided to start working on a new game with UE5. The idea is to play around with features like GAS, Niagara, Control Rig, Lumen, EOS, etc. as well as explore Lyra — the example project Epic released alongside the engine — looking for new patterns and best practices.

It’s been a while since I’ve worked on a game on my own, and I’m eager to get a chance to work on multiple areas including modeling, level design, AI programming, etc. I’ll also try to put my plugins to good use, validating their usage in a real UE5 project and — who knows? — maybe I’ll get ideas for making new ones. 😃

This blog will be used to keep track of the progress (or lack of) as I work on the project. Last time I blogged about anything has been a couple of years ago with Guntastic and writing this post already proved daunting. It’ll be interesting to see how it goes!

The Bug What?

Here’s the good old elevator pitch© for the game, that’s going to be called The Bug Squad:

The Bug Squad is a co-op twin stick shooter where up to four players command mechs to battle hordes of insectoid aliens in a space western world.

Squash aliens. Level up. Save sheep.

Yeah, not the most innovative concept, but since I don’t plan to sell it, who cares? I love top down shooters and never got around to make one. Inspiration for the setting came from the 4th episode of Love, Death & Robots: Suits.

A screenshot of the Bug Squad Miro whiteboard
The miro board I've been using for brainstorming, as you can see I haven't made up my mind about Blender vs. Max yet.

Since I’ll be working on this project in my spare time (weekends mainly, plus evenings when I get the chance) keeping things simple is key. I’ve prepared a minimal Game Design Document to keep track of inspiration sources, gameplay ideas, background story, etc. that I plan to update as I iterate on implementation and gameplay.

On the art side, the top down view should simplify environment building considerably. The player viewpoint will be fixed, with no chance of looking at models and textures up close, which, coupled with a stylized look, should help keeping the amount of environment art work under control. I plan to use premade marketplace assets as much as possible to further reduce the amount of art-related work.

Local and online multiplayer will be supported right from the beginning. It would be cool to be able to share a simple demo of the project on Itch.io or maybe even Steam at some point in the future. We’ll see!