Collection: All the Way Down

All The Way Down (Alpha)

About the Game, About the Alpha

All the Way Down is a fast-paced downhill mountain-biking experience on a world stage. With unique and challenging tracks to experience in over 50 countries across Europe, Africa, the middle East and Asia, players will embark on a competitive world tour from the forests of Ireland to the Australian outback, all the way down. For their 4th year project, the members of Margin of Error are developing the first track for this game: Stage Ireland. This is being developed in 3 iterated releases: POC, Alpha, and Beta. 

The Alpha release presents an experience which is very close to the intended goal, with only minor tweaks and development tasks remaining. This release sees:

  • Improvements to core mechanics
  • Further development of the Stage Ireland track
  • New (and newly textured) models
  • Improved audio immersion
  • A more diverse and reactive spectator implementation
  • Integration of competitive elements in the form of leader boards and track split times
  • Addition of (optional) bio-metric monitoring

 The video on the right shows the Alpha state of the Stage Ireland track. 

Alpha Play-through

Bike Mechanics

The following improvements and additions have been made since the Proof of Concept release: 

  • Split Times
    Self-competing track split time mechanic added. Replay tracks frequently to beat your own best times. 

  • Leader Board Setting
    Competitive leader boards automatically upload your best track times. Compete against other players.

  • Bike Customisation Options
    Various bike forces promoted to variables for user-customisation. Customisation menu added.
  • Bike Turning and Crashing
    Bike turning and crashing forces adjusted and improved to enhance the game play experience.

  • Player Heart-rate Monitoring 
    Integrated (optional) live heartbeat monitoring in game.
  • Controller Force Feedback
    Added force feedback for players using game pads. 

  • Favouring First Person Camera
    Decision made to restrict camera options to First Person. This saves on development time, but more importantly, adds intensity to game play. 

Relevant Portfolios:

Environment Design

The following improvements and additions have been made since the Proof of Concept release: 

  • Increased Difficulty and Diversity
    More banks, obstacles, turns and scene dressing

  • Addition of Lanes and Routes
    Multiple paths around obstacles to accommodate players of different strengths.
  • Addition of Berms and Refinement of Track Segments
    General upgrade of all track segments.

  • Incorporation of New 3D Assets
    Incorporation of updated structure models and addition of tree models.

Relevant Portfolios:

3D Modelling

The following improvements and additions have been made since the Proof of Concept release: 

  • Tree Models Developed
    Tree models developed to replace cylinders from Proof of Concept release. One of these models has been integrated into the Alpha game. The other to be added for Beta. Models also textured. 

  • Props Textured
    Existing structure and environment models from Proof of Concept release improved and textured (tents, gates, railings, etc.)

  • Character Arms Developed 
    Character arms developed for First Person perspective. To be textured and integrated for Beta.

Relevant Portfolios:


The following improvements and additions have been made since the Proof of Concept release: 

  • More Efficient Ambient Sounds
    Ambiant sounds broken into smaller, repeating chunks

  • Addition of Track-side Spectator Sounds
    Individual and group sounds attached to spectators

  • Addition of Adaptive Bike Sounds
    Sounds change based on Bike speed

  • Additional Terrain Sounds
    Differing surface sounds for gravel, grass, etc.

Relevant Portfolios: 

Menus and UI

The following improvements and additions have been made since the Proof of Concept release: 

  • Visual Split-time Feedback
    HUD elements to display split times and indicate better / worse performance

  • Leader Board Display and Customisation
    Retrieval and display of online leader board entries

  • Credits Menu Screen
    Implementation of game credits menu with team details, and music track details to satisfy terms of usage rights

  • Game End Message
    On-screen message to indicate better / worse overall performance for full track runs

Relevant Portfolios:


The following improvements and additions have been made since the Proof of Concept release: 

  • POC Bugs Fixed
    Spectator turning bugs fixed

  • 6 Character Meshes Developed (via Fuse Generator)
    A pool of high-quality character meshes developed with Fuse Character Generator

  • 5 New Idle Animations Added
    Expanded pool of idle animations to increase track-side variety.

  • 5 New Reaction Animations Added 
    Expanded pool of reaction animations to increase variety

Relevant Portfolios: 

Lighting Design

The lighting design strategy for All the Way Down has been to use as many static substitutions as possible. The following lighting / atmosphere strategies have been implemented: 

  • Static mesh light beams (materials)
  • Atmospheric fog to achieve an overcast, damp look
  • Use of a sky light to soften environment shadows
  • Use of colour-grading Look-up Tables (LUTs) to add to the overall feeling of an overcast, damp day. 

The lighting and effects design in the Alpha release is very representative of the final look we hope to achieve, but has been made overly bright. Moving into beta, work in this are will focus on returning some of the overcast look.

Relevant Portfolio:

Agile Process

In response to supervisor feedback from the Proof of Concept release, our Scrum strategy was amended to break tasks down into more granular stories. The Alpha release comprised of:

  • 4 week-long sprints
  • 231 hours completed on estimates of 208 points of work
  • 57.7 hours per week, average (9.625 hours per member per week, average)

The Alpha backlog was filled the day after our POC demonstration. To construct the backlog, the team met to discuss the major components, and the state we hoped they would be in by Alpha. From here we formulated tasks, then broke those tasks into stories.

Initially, we scheduled 194 estimated points of work for Alpha, leaving approximately 30 points of estimated work in the backlog which didn't make the cut.

However, half way through the release we realised we were ahead of schedule, and that we had missed some important backlog items. Because of these factors, the release was added to. Of the intended 208 points of estimated work for Alpha, 207 were completed. This was achieved despite 2 team members experiencing medical issues during the release period.   

Relevant portfolios:

Source Control

Git is used for development source control, with the remote repository stored on BitBucket. As detailed in Shane's portfolio, using git with the Unreal Engine's binary files causes several issues which the team have had to work around: 

  • Git does not support merge conflict resolution in binary files, which has lead to the team having to manually schedule times where individual members can work on common files. 
  • BitBucket has a soft limit of 1GB per repository, and a hard limit of 2GB. Because unreal's source files are binary, each commit esentially creates a fresh revision copy of the file in history. We came very close to exceeding the hard limit for POC and had to create a new repository for Alpha. We have, again, hit the limit and will need to create another repository for Beta.

Relevant Portfolios:

Alpha Presentation Slides

The slides below formed one half of the team's presentation for All the Way Down's Alpha release. These were augmented with live game demonstrations. 

Margin of Error (the Team)

Mark Barry
3D Modelling
View Mark's Portfolio...

Michael Campbell
Bike Mechanics, Scrum Master
View Michael's Portfolio...

Kevin Duffy
View Kevin's Portfolio...

Shane Gavin
Menus and UI, Spectators
View Shane's Portfolio...

Ronan Murphy
Bike Mechanics
View Ronan's Portfolio...

Brian Smullen
Environment Design
View Brian's Portfolio...


Post-presentation, this section will detail the panel's feedback.