Unity #30DayDev – So much to learn…

With the release of Unreal Engine 4 as a free development tool and the release of Unity 5, it seemed a good time to checkout both Unity 5 and UE4 as a comparison, using the #30DayDev process.

#30DayDev is a good way of setting yourself a time limit to see what can be achieved in the timescales and it gives a good indication as to how easy/difficult these environments are to develop with.

During the last 30 days, I set a goal of creating something tangible whilst studying Unity 5. Having enrolled on a Udemy course to follow at my own speed, I was impatient to implement what I was learning. So, as it’s quite simple, I decided to write an Arkanoid type game. Using an existing game is a great way as it gives you something to compare against to see how your progress is going. #30DayDev does not necessarily mean 30 consecutive days, but in this instance that’s exactly what I set. 30 days since I started looking at Unity in anger, this is where I am. Some days I managed a few hours of dev, and some days, nothing. But nonetheless, a fixed deadline day focuses your mind.

Unity Arkanoid Test

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Rotate Space – #30daydev – Fail?

It’s time to be honest with myself around #30daydev. In the 30 day timescales set, Rotate Space came and went, and no matter what I thought, I couldn’t find enough to do in the timescale.

One of the main thoughts about why it would take so long was around getting the behaviour of the ship correct, but in the end, this worked almost straight out of the box. As a result, development was done a lot quicker and if I’m honest, there’s not much else I’d want to do with the game.

I could take it further by add extras, but continually adding extras to a game doesn’t make it better, it just delays the inevitable, and just looks like overkill.

There are other factors to consider when I’m classing this as a fail. The main one is in between, I’ve released a brand new game called ‘Get To The Chopper!‘ which uses the physical controls and behaviours from Mayhem and moulds this into a Choplifter style search and rescue game.

Although this #30daydev wasn’t as successful as I’d like, it was an experience that I enjoyed. It kept me focussed (to a degree), and I’m going to give it another go.

I was already started to delve into Unity and with the release of Unity 5, I am going to do #30daydev on an Arkanoid clone in Unity5. Yes, I know every man and his dog has done an Arkanoid clone, but let’s keep it simple.

Couple that with the release of Unreal Engine 4 for free and I can jump straight from the Unity 30DD to a new one, and see how they stack up against each other.

The Unity #30daydev started on the 10th March, so by the 10th April, I need to have something playable.

Let’s see shall we.

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#30daydev – Rotate Space? Or is it?

Change of name

Rotate Space was always going to be a working title, but I couldn’t think of anything decent so it’s been like that from day one. Finally, I settled on… Space Runner.

Power ups

Rather than just depleting yours shields when you collide with an enemy ship, you can now regain a full shield recharge by picking up the yellow power ups that appear at random intervals. The chances of a power up goes down each level, so the game will still get progressively harder.

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Rotate Space #30daydev – Intermission level

Adding a bit of variety

In between each level now, there is a new intermission level, where you have to avoid the incoming asteroids. Fire doesn’t work, and eventually, you will be destroyed. However, as it’s a bonus round, it won’t deduct your lives count, and you’ll get a bonus for the longer your keep going.

Avoid the asteroids as long as possible.

Avoid the asteroids as long as possible.

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Rotate Space – Days just blur now…

I’ve actually gone off on a tangent now and done so much work around Rotate Space instead of keeping the blog up to date. Since the last entry I’ve done the following…

  • Added a basic title page and start process
  • Taken the star handling process into a new class.
  • Level completion and leveling up
  • Added new ability to move forward slightly to avoid a collision

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Rotate Space – #30daydev day 3 & 4

I’ve not been able to do as much on Rotate Space as I’d like to, but the last couple of days, I’ve tackled the baddies, collisions between the baddies and bullets, the score info and added an energy bar to restrict constant firing. As a result, it’s a playable game at least. Heck, there’s a lot to do, but you can still play something.

Baddies, firing, collisions, scores and energy... and breathe

Baddies, firing, collisions, scores and energy… and breathe

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Rotate Space – #30daydev. Day 2

Adding the Starfield

I wanted to see if it was possible to get a realistic zooming starfield effect using Phaser that didn’t cause any lag issues. It seems to be only 2 ways of doing it that spring to mind.

I could have a animation of the stars as a sprite sheet in the background and jump continually loop this. The downside of this is the sprite sizes would be the same as the display (480×480) and we’d need a lot.
So, the other option would be to manage them individually, and although this will give me complete freedom on the positioning of the starts, tween the movement and allow for reuse when they’ve moved off screen, there must be a limit where we’ll start to lag.

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Rotate Space – #30daydev. Day 1

When starting to plan this out in my head, it was a breeze. Rather than moving the ship around the screen, use the anchor of the sprite and rotate the ship around this.

Normally a sprite is anchored somewhere within the image itself. But Phaser allows you to set the anchor (think hot spot) anywhere in relation to the image, even nowhere near it.

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30 day game dev

Having done HTML game development for a while, I’ve built up a few decent contacts via Twitter and am amazed at the number of game dev jams that go on, from #indiesvspewdiepie through to 1 game a month #1GAM, though with no fellow dev nearby it’s not something I’ve done. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve taken part in hackathons at work before.
Jams and hackathons, however, teach you a lot of things… quickly. Which can be a great way do learn.

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Latest HTML 5 game – TileDriver

I’ve not blogged for the whole of February, on account of trying to get my latest HTML 5 game finished. So, announcing…


TileDriver screen image

Based on the old trusted sliding puzzle, I wanted something that would be quick to implement as I work mainly in the evening and weekends, that would be playable, and up and running quickly. Toobz took the best part of a year to get all the behaviours right, so this time, it had to be quick.
Using the structures from Toobz, and implementing the Canvas UI Interface this was done in more or less 5 weeks (ignoring a trip to Iceland meaning no dev got done that week).

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