Thursday, 31 August 2017

Learning to Unity 2: how I understood coding

Unity has some fairly cumbersome back-and-forths between different places in the program where you have to specify different things, a lot of important things are hidden, but that's mostly because there are just so many tools available.
There are plenty of good resources if you'd like to learn to use these tools or make a game in a following the steps kind of way. The problem came when I would try to make something of my own, I was absolutely paralyzed, unable to know where to start.

Until something clicked, and in an instant I understood what was going on

It's all about boxes.

In this order of a few steps, If you want to make a thing, you have to:

1. Decide what shape of box it will fit in.
2. Give your box a name.
3. Fill the box with that kind of thing.
4. Use or its edit the contents.

And the steps must be done in this order for something to exist and work.

 Let me break this down. When you see something like:

public int myFavoriteNumber;

What this is saying is that we have an "int"(code word for "integer") box called "myFavoriteNumber" which we can change from anywhere (public). (btw, the strange way of writing this is called "Camel case" and Unity will turn "myFavoriteNumber" into "My Favorite Number" by itself when you view it from outside of the code editor).

Then step three is to fill the box with something that will fit into it. you could do this in the script or let that be done in the unity editor:

Then step 4, since now that you have a box full of things and it has a name, you can ask for this box and it's contents from other places.

It's like if I want to give you a cup of tea, I first need to define what a cup is, call it something, and than fill it with tea. In code it would be written something like:

public cupoftea teaForYou = earlgrey;

Only then can you I give you the tea.

Friday, 28 July 2017

Learning to Unity 1: Sununu kills dinosaurs

So, I've been learning Unity this year, in order to make the games of my dreams. With the help of some friends, and a whole ton of youtube tutorials, I got to work making the simplest game I could think of, an endless runner. If you're looking to start learning unity, I recommend Games Plus James, his tutorials are simple and clear to follow.

After getting to grips with the interface, which was a bit overwhelming, I got to work on making sprites and concepts for the runner. And who would be a great running protagonist other than Sununu, the lovable scamp swinging fire at dinosaurs.

It's a one hit kill and you have to make it as far as possible, avoid the lava and get back to the future. Who's trying to stop you, but a swarm of dinosaurs controlled by your arch enemy Ben!

Unity is pretty good. if you're looking to make something simple or using common game mechanics, it takes care of a lot of things for you; things like gravity or collision detection. Though, most of the work needed to be done in code, and Unity works with C# and javascript. I chose to learn C# and will break down how that panned out in the next post. For now i'll just say it was hard. I needed to follow the tutorials meticulously, constantly repeating individual coding tasks in the tutorials up until the miraculous moment where it all just clicked.

I wrote scripts for two types of enemy, a passive and active one. As you run right they both move left, but when the pterodactyl sees you it dive bombs. Then I added in the oil mechanic: Killing dinosaurs adds to your oil-meter in the top left, which you can use up to boost.

It was fine to come up with neat mechanics, but the biggest challenge was one I had not considered: did it feel good to play? I spent days just trying to figure out how to make him jump in a satisfying way. The feeling of playing is so particular, the screen needs to move at a pace which isn't too slow/fast. The enemies hitboxes needed to feel fair/like a challenge. These difference in leaning too far one way or the other in any of these feels microscopic, and vary person to person. I can really appreciate how much work and playtesting must go into games that feel good to play, it sure isn't easy to get right.

The last addition was the cutscene. After playing for 10 seconds straight without dying, Ben shows up on a drone and you throw quips at each other. After the chat is over, semi-homing buzz-saw drones fly towards you.

Looking back, I remember how much of this had to be told to the program, nothing exists until you make it exist. Which platforms are generated next, the way the enemies turn red then disappear, what "jump" means... I'll go more into coding next time, and for more game making blogging you can go to wintersolacegame.tumblr to follow the making of my next project!

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Winter Solace style concept

I'm super looking forward to getting back into making Winter Solace. This time, it's going to be a game! I'm making a tumblr specifically for the game development, nothing up yet, but it'll be at if you'd like to follow preemptively! There will be game design things, art things, unity things. I'll post what I learn and create in an effort to make this game!

Friday, 16 June 2017

Designer Kimono-smock

I've always felt interesting clothes for men are few and far between. What are the options? Shirts, waistcoats and suits? Even a nice one of these is hard to find because patterns for men are either too plain, plaid or insane, hence why I designed my own pattern last year. Even if it's a nice piece of clothing with a nice pattern, it's a miracle if it fits my body snugly because my shoulder width is ridiculous.

This garment is something I designed to be like an indoors jumper, for both being active and lounging. It's like a cross between a kimono and a smock. My goal was to have something like a hoodie but more specialized, hoodies are a really great all rounder but don't excel in any field.

The tailor who realized this design of mine is Josh Harbord. Go to his website, his tailoring is seamless and he's a lovely chap. I plan to be designing more clothes for him to make real soon.

Next I think i'll try to be putting together some alternative to a t-shirt

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

My first comic book is complete!

After having worked on this comic in my spare time for the last 3 years, I'm finally done!
It's a short story about a group of misfit friends who are just about to graduate from school. They're forced to face the future and step away from their comfort zone, the shore beside Lake Geneva. It's a peaceful slice of life story with a Breakfast Club vibe.
So now I'm looking for a publisher, or some help getting published. I really have no idea what to do now and would really appreciate any advice. Has anyone gone through this process before?