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VR Work Update

As some of you may have seen on my Twitter feed, about 2 months ago I began a partnership with the Grand Rapids Public Museum. This multi faceted relationship began with a simple conversation. The Museum was interested in working with community partners to design a new way for teens and young adults to experience the museum content and did Wmcat want to help with that. From those conversation have grown internships for Ferris State University’s Digital Animation and Game Design students, a VR project for my Wmcat students, and curriculum for me to teach a college level VR class this summer. It’s been wonderful and I cannot stress enough the power of working with partners and getting to know people. On to the update!

As part of our partnership with GRPM, my high school students at Wmcat have set to work on designing their own 5 minute VR experience. Designed to reach their peers and get them excited about museums again, Woodcraft VR casts the player as a young apprentice furniture maker learning how to create handmade furniture during the heyday of the Furniture City (Grand Rapids MI circa 1878). Follow your Mentor’s training and build as many tables and chairs as you can in 5 minutes.

My students and I have hit a solid Alpha state after 8 weeks of work. All the content you see has been programmed, created, or recorded by the students with me lending a helping hand along the way.

The next 2 months will be used polishing the experience in preparation for the local Maker Faire in August. Then it will be on to a special Education category as part of ArtPrize in September and October. There is a lot of work ahead but the game is very fun even in its current state so I believe we are on the right track. Have a look at our early preview footage!


Wmcat Honored by the White House!

As you may be aware, I am a Teaching Artist at West Michigan Center for Arts and Technology (, a fantastic after school youth program where I teach game design and development using Unreal Engine 4 and recently started teaching game programming using Python. It is hands down the most rewarding work I have ever done and I enjoy every day I go there.

Well, I can now put on my resume that Wmcat is one of the TOP 12 youth programs in the entire nation, as recognized by the Committee on the Arts and Humanities. This committee is a signature program of President Obama and the award will be presented by First Lady Michelle Obama.

I could not be more proud to be part of this award winning program and see us garner recognition on a national level!

See the press release here.

Chapter 2 Errata

For those of you who have picked up my book already, thank you. I hope the book is as fun to read as it was for me to write and good luck on your future UE4 projects.

A special thank you to to reader Lukas in Germany, he caught a bit of an error on my part in Chapter 2. Please utilize the following on page 24:

  1. Everything working? You may have noticed that when the door opens, it slides away forever. Not very useful. This is due to the player triggering the door multiple times by standing in the box trigger. To fix this, we need to change the math in our Blueprint to add the initial location of the door to our Timeline value, rather than getting the door’s location repeatedly. To do that first grab an Event Begin Play node from the Palette. This can be from the Find a Node search box or it is marked in the Favorites section in the top portion of the panel. Next, create a Variable by clicking the + button in the Variables section of the My Blueprint panel and name it Door 1 Initial. Variables in Blueprint work just like they do in everyday math, they store information. However, variables in Blueprint can store much more than just numbers, they can hold almost anything. This variable will store the initial position of our door so that we can add it to our value that is animated by the Timeline. With our new variable selected, head down to the Details panel in the lower left portion of the screen and change the Variable Type to Vector.
  1. Time to wire it up! Drag the Door 1 Initial variable into the Blueprint and place it next to the Event Begin Play node. It will ask you whether you would like to Get or Set our variable, use Set. Grab a Get Actor Location node and plug that into the vector value on the left side of the Set node. Finally, set the door as its Target. Now just replace the Get Actor Location in the Door sequence with a Get version of our variable and we are all set! Make sure to follow the process again for the second door at the other end of the hallway.

Chapter 2 Errata

Hope this helps!

The Book is Out!

My book has been completed and has finally made it into the digital wild. A huge thank you to the folks at Packt Publishing for making it all possible. You can currently find it at both Packt and Amazon.

The book is a great beginner guide to using Blender with Unreal Engine 4 and is packed from cover to cover with 3d modeling and level design tips. This title is great for those of you who are just starting out with game development.

With this project wrapped up, it is time to move back in to completing the Base Game project I started earlier. Onward!