Purge & Binge

Please keep your hands and arms inside the Friday.

comings and goings

Firstly, foremostly: Francesco and the project have parted ways. Everything coded so far (our “Adventure Game Kit”) has been sent to me, and anything I think we should use I can (hopefully) translate into Unity; the Boo scripting language is Python-syntactic so I think it shan’t be too impossible. I wish Francesco the absolute best, and it’s been a pleasure spending the last year on this project with him.

This means that I am currently the sole developer on One-Eyed Monsters; Loren and Ryan are still contributing but in terms of actual coding (read: scripting), it’s no one but me. But in the past week I’ve had more to look at on my screen than in the last year.

I’m speaking to a few Boston-area coder/scripter types that seem very interested/interesting. It remains to be seen if they’ll be there on the other end of the pipeline.

unity

unity1

Here’s Loren’s first background sketch displayed in Unity.

The first thing you may note is that, ohmigod, this game looks so much better in 16×9! Maybe cuz I was a media arts major, but the composition is just so much more lovely in <– w i d e s c r e e n –>.

I’ve gone through just about all the GUI tutorials and all the Basics tutorials. I’m at a fork in the road now, where I need to decide if next I want to dive into scripting or into the intermediate GUI stuff; the bulk of the latter will, I think, apply more to 3D games, whereas scripting is what I need to know the most. It’s times like these I’m glad I tried to learn Python; I can at least understand how the script is structured from my loose understanding of coding language.

For a bit there the pattern was to learn a little more Unity each day. The pattern has shifted now to doing some pen and paper dev each day (the best I can anyway) and a weekend Unity binge. Rapidly popping in and out of my cave like this hurts my eyes, but I figure once I’m comfortable with the engine I can do more weekly work. It’s very difficult to feel productive getting through a third of a tutorial each day, and for me Unity is a tool; if I spend too much time with my tools, I don’t actually feel creative, and I need to take out the red notebook and the Bic again.

Unity is predominantly a 3D engine, and it’s been suggested that it’s not really appropriate for 2D games. It’s portability and supreme ease-of-use make me very reluctant to give it up, and so far I seem to be getting by. I know that Splume, Paper Moon, and Diabolika were all made with Unity, so it’s at least possible. It seems simple enough to simply lock the camera to a single axis, and there’s a tutorial on the Unity website on how to make a 2D platformer with 3D models. And some of Unity’s physics and lighting effects, I think, can actually enrich 2D games as well as 3D ones (David from Wolfire discussed modern lighting techniques in a 2D game in his Design Tour of Gish).

Here’s how I’m working it so far:

The background sketch we have is 1024×212 (the final drawings will be more traditional, with a 240 height, but this was just a sketch). In Unity resolution is relative; a huge model and a small model can have the same number of polygons, and if the camera is the same distance from each it’s basically the same resolution. But there are grid “units,” so I make a cube with a mesh renderer and set it to be 10.24 “units” by 2.12 “units.” So long as it’s proportional, I can drag the background onto the renderer and see my background. I then set the depth of the cube on the Z axis to be only .01, and we get what is functionally a(n almost) 2D plane with a 2D background on it. All the layers can, theoretically, be the same width, and simply be staggered on the Z-axis by .01 units or so.

I have no idea as of yet if this is the most elegant way of doing this, but it’s at least letting me visualize what I’m trying to achieve.

parking lot questions

-can I snap all movement to the grid, so that it moves like an actual 640×480 game would?
-similarly, can I restrict lighting effects to “pixels” so it lights blocky, again, as a lo-res game would? possibly with a cookie?
-how do I best put animated characters into the scene, especially ones that need to interact with their environment? (if I animate Sebastian picking up a plate, for instance, how do I make that plate a part of his sprite? destroy the object and change his sprite?)

To any of the trickle of folks that read this, if you know any answers I welcome them.

other news

I bought an iPod. A used iPod with a lot of dead pixels on the screen, but still an iPod. I hate myself.

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