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Developer Diary: Unity3d is a Beautiful Disaster

The Dream Begins

Over the years I’ve read tons of Developer Diaries. From following the progress of Star Citizen, to a multitude of Indie games like “Planet Nomads” and “Starview Valley”. Never thought I’d be starting my own mini Dev Diary. But here it is, finally started chasing my dreams of making games.

The major thing I’ve learned is “time”. There’s only so much in a day, and between having to eat, sleep and take the occasional shower it’s a balancing act. I still work a full time day job on top of everything else. But that job is not what I want to be doing forever. Thankfully they have a great work from home policy allowing “day stacking”. A term I use to describe waking up at 6am, hitting my PC, then logging out of that and into “work” at 7:30. Back to “Chaos Rift” for lunch, work, then finally back to the job I want to be doing at 4:30pm. I’m in bed at 11 after some Zelda¬† time. Last night I finally beat the final Divine beast and ready to take on Ganon.

Unity and a glass of wine
This is what I’m seeing in Unity3d everyday including weekends.

Unity 3D

I don’t remember the driving force for going the Unity3d route. The most famous game I know is “Kerbal Space Program”. Unreal has some great promise and I obtained a giant asset pack for CryEngine a while back. That asset pack, that’s what re-awoke my long sleeping desire to make games instead of simply playing them. I believe it was just the massive number of online courses available for Unity. Both Udemy and “Game Institute” offer an amazing catalog of tutorials… Which will be the subject of my next entry.

The first 3 mobile games I released were done in BuildBox. A package that really has me spoiled. To make a button you silly drag it where it needs to be, size, add a sound, add a graphic and select it’s function from a drop down menu. It’s quite limited but get’s the job done 90% of the time. In Unity the steps are mostly the same, but there’s 20 ways to add a click sound and you have to write a C# script for the button function. It’s a lot more work, but eventually you’ll have an arsenal of Prefabs.

A Prefabricated Nightmare

Unity has a system of “Prefab”. You make up your game pieces, objects, level… Everything into a prefab. You then use these to construct your game level. A “Do it Once” philosophy. It sounds great, but when dealing with UI panels, multiple scenes, level managers and inexperience it quickly turns into “what the hell did I break?”

I’d edit the level, move an item, break the prefab, undo and try again. Sometimes I’d organize the scattered mess into a main canvas, and all the sub canvas items into that. Then I’d learn they were all instance objects and the Touch Screen buttons now don’t work for all 45 levels. Which I now have to select “Button left->LevelManager->ButtonLeftUp/Down” and so on… for each and every level. Then I put the Level Manager into the Main UI canvas, update the prefab and suddenly everything works without the need to fidget with things.

It’s been a huge learning experience, but things are progressing smoothly.

If All Goes Well

The current game I’m working on is a Platformer akin to Mario and others. It’s what I grew up playing and my favorite kind of game. Working with 2D assets and sprite sheets is extremely easy (after days of fiddling and trying to figure it out). Most of the design flaws have been worked out and I’m working on a level pass. Monster sounds are coming along (another diary entry) and I’ve really fleshed out the details. If it all works well and friggen compiles on IOS (yet another future diary) There will be a release in the next few weeks. But I’m one person and time is a scarce commodity.

After this I’ll be entering the 3D realm and making a Zombie Survival game. But there’s a twist to it. I feel like it will be a really big thing, since my other hobby is game AI.

About Craig

Craig is the founder of The Chaos Rift and developer of the games published here. In his spare time he'll also write about games, play games and dream about games. Being a Game developer has been a dream of Craig's since he was 14 and after some detours has finally started to realize his dreams.

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