rdBeacons Manual version 1.0
Last Updated: 4th July 2022
Chapter 1: What are rdBeacons?
rdBeacons is a set of Blueprints that handle your proximity and layout based work. There is a selection of different types of proximity detection, from simple “Sphere of Influence” and “Infinite Influence” to Line, Box and Spline based influence and beacon to beacon mixing.
A “Mix” value is calculated every time the player is moved (or a beacon) – each beacon in your scene can have up to 8 unique values in what is called a “PointData Set” and when that beacon is in the influence range, those values are mixed into the main Mix value depending on the distance from the beacon. (That distance is a user definable curve to allow for any type of “approach”).
All beacons are controlled by a base beacon (hidden when playing). Their events and mix values are all accessable from this base, along with tools to check all the beacons are working correctly and display stats about the beacons and any drop-ins.
The Status and statistics are displayed in the editor (hidden when running) on screens on the base beacon and on each beacon – this helps to quickly and easily keep an eye on how your scene is developing. When there are errors, the base displays a red siren, a flashing red keyboard and the beacon/s with errors show a red energy beam.
Each beacon in your scene can store different values and behaviors for each “mission”. These can easily be loaded by calling the “LoadMission” node from the Base Beacon (or from the Details Panel in edit mode) – it handles all beacons. The settings are stored in a Map – if there are no stored settings for a mission, it is left as it is. Mission data can be shared between missions by specifying more than one mission name in the Maps Key value, separated by commas.
Along with proximity handling, rdBeacons gives you the ability to quickly and easily add events for entering and exiting beacon areas, from simple once only events to events that trigger either every frame or whenever your player moves. You can have these events as UE Events but the way rdBeacons is written allows you to easily derive the events in simple blueprints that execute straight from the beacon event in the quickest and easiest ways.
A lot of your scatter and wall/fence etc work is also around areas where beacons will be – so rdBeacons has a system of “DropIn” components which you can add to the beacons to extend their functionality. DropIns such as “Scatter”, “Walls”, “Laser Barriers”, “Info Kiosks”, “Switches” etc.
The Scatter/Wall DropIns use Instanced Static Meshes wherever possible (DropIns added to Spline Beacons use Spline Meshes) for the fastest render times and most memory efficiency.