(Re)Introducing the Shooter Sandbox

Those who’ve been following my work for a while will likely have noticed my passion for competitive multiplayer shooters. I have a tendency to wear my inspiration on my sleeve and games like Halo, Valorant, and Counterstrike are all regular inspirations when I’m coming up with ideas for new projects.

I had such a great time creating my Flashbang VFX and Competitive Recoil projects for the Marketplace, but I was constantly running into the same predictable yet frustrating barrier: Scope creep. There are just so many avenues to explore, and it was painful to limit my features to only those relevant to each asset.

This is why I’m so excited to be talking about a new(ish) project I’m working on called the Shooter Sandbox.

Download the Unreal project

If you’re already a Patron of mine in the Tutorial Content tier you can download the project right now from this downloads page. I hope you find it useful!

(I’d also really appreciate it if we could all just pretend that I didn’t already announce a really similar template project earlier in the year called FPS Template. Shooter Sandbox is a ground-up rebuild, and it’s so much better. I was so excited I just couldn’t help but re-announce the whole thing. Last time, I promise!)

My ultimate goal with the Shooter Sandbox is to provide you with a collection of mechanics, systems, tools, and assets with which you can create and/or expand your own shooter projects. Mix and match, strip it for parts, or just disassemble it to see how it works.

In time it will include the expanded and improved versions of both Competitive Recoil and Flashbang VFX, as well as the Bubble Shield project and a range of until now unreleased systems I’ve been working on in the background.

The Plan™

The Shooter Sandbox will be:

  • Created entirely* within Blueprint with no C++ knowledge necessary
  • Modular & compartmentalized to make it easier to unpack
  • Completely free of third-party assets and plugins (Epic content excluded)
  • Beholden only to the usual Unreal Engine licensing agreements
A note on C++ usage

While I have no plans to add a single line of code to the Shooter Sandbox, it still needs to be compiled in Visual Studio before it’ll run. This is only because a C++ ready project is a prerequisite for the dedicated servers I am planning on hosting in the future so we can test online features in a more realistic environment.

What’s new in version 0.1.1?

Although it’s a direct continuation of the FPS Template, this version of the project is a complete rebuild from the ground up with a focus on designing a structure from which we can build almost any first-person shooter experience.

One big change is that I am now using Gameplay Tags extensively across the project to support a range of new systems that operate similarly to the Gameplay Ability System (GAS), only entirely within Blueprint. I hope to go into more detail on this in a later update because there is a lot to cover!

New Features

  • Inventory system
  • Gameplay Actions (similar to Gameplay Abilities)
  • Brand new map with team selection logic
The new map included in 0.1.1. A little bit nostalgic, don’t you think?

What’s next?

With the release of Competitive Recoil 2.0 I’m very eager to finally merge it (and Flashbang VFX) into this larger project. Before that can happen, however, I have a few important decisions I need to make.

One of the most important aspects of this project is to ensure I’m doing multiplayer the ‘right way’, and this has been no easy task to get my head around. Some of the things I’m currently working out are:

  • Should the first weapons be projectiles or hitscan?
  • Will bullets originate from the player’s camera or from their weapon’s muzzle? (This is the difference between Counterstrike and games like Tarkov/PUBG)
  • What kind of weapons should be in the next release and what assets do I need? (I’m not super comfortable with pulling assets out of Lyra but it might be the best option for now)

These are all really interesting questions that will dictate the direction I take this project, so if you have any thoughts I’d love to hear them.

You know how to find me, and the comments below are always open. Chat soon!

0.1.2 will also include this fps counter I’ve been working on for a future tutorial.

I am a technical artist from Adelaide, Australia. I created techarthub to share my knowledge and love for this industry. I hope you feel it too!

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