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I’ve just been for a run round my local park and am pretty amazed by how quickly I get out of breath and start walking. Until I see another runner that is,  at which point I find fresh motivation and summon the energy to start running again. While it could just be me being lazy and awful at running,  I think this quite common and probably the reason that running with someone else works so well. It’s also probably one of the reasons that people are paid to set the pace in marathons.

It struck me how similar this concept is to making your own games. When I lose my motivation and feel like giving up, I go to a conference,  pub meetup or just talk with other game developers and the flames of my game dev desire are fanned once again.

image

Another similarity I drew between the two is that whether you’re running a sprint (small game) or a marathon (big game),  you’re still running and your effort is just as valid whichever you choose to do as long as you give it your best.

Last night’s Bafta Games Question Time panel was kicked off with a brilliantly divisive first question from the audience, “what’s more important – gameplay or story?“.  The divergence in responses from the panelists, backed up with the hard evidence in the form of their successful games demonstrating their beliefs, shows just how great a question it was.

The Chinese Room’s Jessica Curry stated that the highly successful Dear Esther was created to answer the question, “what happens when you remove all the gameplay from a first person game”. The answer seemingly being that you get an atmospheric critically and commercially successful indie hit.
On the gameplay side of the spectrum, you have Fireproof Games’ rockstar like Barry Mead nonchalantly stating that games aren’t a story telling medium for him, a statement backed up by Fireproof’s hugely successful title, The Room, which contains minimal narrative. Meade also cited titles such as Civilization where the story occurs solely in the players own head. You could also argue that titles such as Tetris, which don’t feature any story at all wouldn’t be improved by the addition of one.
The other two panelists, Mike Bithell and Telltale Games’ Dan Connors were representing Thomas Was Alone and The Walking Dead respectively, two titles that sit a little closer to the middle of the story-gameplay spectrum. The success and variety of all these games’ approaches just goes to show how neither story nor gameplay is the more important element. You can make a great game by utilising one or the other, or both. It just depends on the kind of game that you want to make.
It was a pleasure to witness the tackling of a topic that can prove so hugely divisive, and observe it being answered so deftly not merely by the words that the panelists used, but by the games that they have created, which say more for their opinions on the matter than words ever could.
[You can watch the full discussion on Bafta’s website here]

I’ve downloaded http://ragespline.com/ as it was currently on sale and I’ve started replacing some of my Flash drawn assets with it:

It works great for easily adding physics to them – something I’d previously struggled with. I’m really happy with the look – especially as I just chucked all this in in a matter of minutes.

I’ve been messing about with rope physics but still not had much luck: I’ve tried the tutorial here http://www.unity3dstudent.com/2010/07/beginner-b11-basic-joints/ and while I got the physics working, they will need a lot of tweaking to be usable and I can’t seem to get it behaving anywhere near how I’d like for the kind of fluid moving rope I’m after.

I’ve also downloaded Rage Pixel seeing as it’s free: http://ragepixel.com/. It probably won’t be useful for this project but maybe for the next one!

Finished the ground:

Mmmm, earthy.

And added it in game:

I need to investigate the best way of creating bumpy terrain with good collision. and preferably some good way of texturing it too despite a non uniform shape.

I’ve added a Level Select screen with one level to choose from…

Next task is getting it to load the level. I can do this but it will have to wait until another day as I’m off to bed now – although I did drop in some other level buttons, as it’s easy to do, despite the fact there’s only one level in the game at the moment.

Choose Your Level

I used this to get the buttons and labels working: http://unity3d.com/support/documentation/ScriptReference/GUI-color.html

I need to decide whether each level will be a different dream entirely or if I’ll be using dreams as themed worlds that each contain multiple levels that you work your way through. The difference being having five forest sections and then five ice as opposed  to one forest, one ice, one fire etc (to use some videogame world theme clichés as examples).

Another thing I need to decide on is how much each dream will be related to the music i.e. whether the dreams are directly about the music or they’re just abstract dream concepts.  As I’m writing this down now I’m swaying towards having more abstract dream concepts, which give more creative freedom and save me from  the fact that I almost definitely can’t afford to licence any of the music I’d like to.

I got the urge to listen to some Oasis tonight, which then made me message an old friend on Facebook, James King, who was always a huge fan to see what he’s up to now.

Just been talking to Cat Burton who recommended that I try out iTween, NGUI or EzGui for all my GUI needs. I’ll have to look into these tomorrow to see which to use.

I’ve added a Level Select screen with one level to choose from…

Next task is getting it to load the level. I can do this but it will have to wait until another day as I’m off to bed now – although I did drop in some other level buttons, as it’s easy to do, despite the fact there’s only one level in the game at the moment.

Choose Your Level

I used this to get the buttons and labels working: http://unity3d.com/support/documentation/ScriptReference/GUI-color.html

I need to decide whether each level will be a different dream entirely or if I’ll be using dreams as themed worlds that each contain multiple levels that you work your way through. The difference being having five forest sections and then five ice as opposed  to one forest, one ice, one fire etc (to use some videogame world theme clichés as examples).

Another thing I need to decide on is how much each dream will be related to the music i.e. whether the dreams are directly about the music or they’re just abstract dream concepts.  As I’m writing this down now I’m swaying towards having more abstract dream concepts, which give more creative freedom and save me from  the fact that I almost definitely can’t afford to licence any of the music I’d like to.

Just been talking to Cat Burton who recommended that I try out iTween, NGUI or EzGui for all my GUI needs. I’ll have to look into these tomorrow to see which to use.

Had a great night last night – my friend Spud and I met up with some old school friends, Joe Clark and Chris Elliott. We went down the King’s Head pub in Stutton for a few drinks, after which we went back to Joe’s, broke out the N64 and played some four player Mario Kart, GoldenEye and Mario Tennis just like we used to when we were at school!

I got the HUD working today, (with a little help from http://answers.unity3d.com/questions/35562/score-with-gui-text.html) which increments each time you catch a fly:

Not sure I’ve done it the best way though because I added a HUD script and added it to a GUI Text object and the fly collection is done inside in the playerController, using some indiscriminate trigger based collision detection which I think is a pretty dirty way of doing it!

I’ve been working on Dad’s laptop seeing as I’m currently home for Christmas (from the 23rd to tomorrow, the 29th) when I’m heading back to Guildford. Dropbox has been really useful in helping me work from different locations, allowing me to easily sync my Unity project between multiple computers and make changes on any of them, which then will be automatically synced up when I carry on working elsewhere.

I’m thinking that my next task should be some menus to allow level select. I need to get the bedroom scene working that you can exit, at which point you’re presented with the level(/dream) select screen.

Festive Collection

While I wanted to do a bit of development on Christmas day, as working on Christmas day is pretty dedicated, I didn’t get round to it until today what with all the family stuff, Skyward Sword and Skyrim to compete with. On Christmas day my brother and his wife told my parents and I the fantastic news that they’re having a baby – so I’m going to be an Uncle! Can’t wait 🙂

My goal for today was to get collecting the flies working, which I’ve done with plenty of use of the Script Reference (http://unity3d.com/support/documentation/ScriptReference/Collider.OnTriggerEnter.html). When that wasn’t too hard I added collection particles (some placeholder example fireworks seeing as I’m not sure what I want here yet) and also some snow seeing it was also inside the example files and I was feeling a bit festive.

Next I’d like to get some HUD working – with a fly counter that shows how many you have left to get.

Now have double jumping working, which I did yesterday. I feel a bit hung over from Sarah P’s house warming to do any meaningful coding today, although I really want to add the ability to change your direction mid jump.

I’ve looked up some cartoon references for the spider and the fly characters and have drawn them in Flash:

Boris

Collectible/ Edible Fly

I will create some different versions and see if I can improve on them another time but they’ll do for now.

I have now finished reading the book and am back working on the game. I’ve also been jotting down lots of ideas every time they pop into my head – which is usually as I’m laying in bed. I have two potential names, a bunch of ideas for levels, a fist pass control scheme, a load of songs I want to use but probably won’t be able to get licences for and some other random ideas for various bits of gameplay.

I also read some of the older posts on here and can’t believe I started this in July! Time goes way too quickly. Especially as you get older.  Was quite interesting to read though. It’s amazing how much of what you’ve been up to that you forget without a record of it.