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Couple more games down!

I figured I should check in as I knocked out a couple more chapters and thus, a couple more games. In the process, learned a ton about User Interface construction in Unity. Additionally, I started to get a ton of ideas on how I can start to practice my new found skills. My concern is that I am following a ton from the books and need to start actually making my own games to solidify what I know. But to recap, I wanted to quick chat about the couple games I made from the books.

The first one kind of blew my mind. As a life long gamer and someone who has a degree in Game Development, I was unaware of the Idle Game genre. The Author of the book introduced the game Cookie Clicker to me. I was hooked within minutes, then got about five more people hooked via social media. Once I kind of got over it, I knocked out the game. Which was a deep dive in some more complex interfaces. Total riot. Loved every minute of it. (Note: Currently hooked on another idle game for mobile called Adventure Capitalist)

The next game was a clone of Flappy Bird. Nothing super ground breaking here, although it did make me aware of a couple Collider 2D methods I was unaware of. Additionally, it had a couple quick little processes for getting animated sprites which is awesome. I still want to get back to the idea of whipping up pixel art characters and getting them in a game. The whole idea is to get better with pixel art, specifically with animations.

In any case, thats my update. Back to work.

Book Swap – Game Complete!

bluePrintsBook

I have a little saying, “If you are not passionate about what you are learning about, you will struggle to learn.” Meaning, that if you are studying something that you have no interest in, then the yield of studying that ‘something’ becomes substantially less that if you were to study something you are really interested in. I got into the 4th chapter of the previously discussed book, and it began talking about shaders. Shaders are in fact interesting to me, but I was really in a groove with building out little games while learning. So I swapped books.

If you are not passionate about what you are learning about, you will struggle to learn.

Enter Unity 5.x Game Development Blueprints. I moved over to this book and instantly became engrossed in the first game they had you build. It is labeled a ‘Twin Stick Shooter’, which was an Asteroid like shooter game. But instead of blowing up Asteroids, you defeat endless waves of enemy ships. At least that is the first chapter. The second chapter is all about setting up Menus. Which I had already tackled in the previous book, but this one did such a damn good job explaining things, I stuck with the Chapter.

TwinStick

Further more, I got the chance to really take what they had started, and add some code polish to make it a little more of a circular experience. While the code they had you write did a good job getting the basics of the game down, I really feel like all games should have a Beginning, a Middle, and an End. Specifically, they lacked Ending all together. Let the player know how they did, and give them a chance to do it all over again. Super important stuff.

In any case, I had to write that code. Which is great, because if you know anything about me and my educational methodologies, you know how important the ‘Write’ phase is. In any case, I am super happy with how it all wrapped up, and it even gave me a chance to plug in some of my own space art. I am going to continue with the Blueprints book as it covers more 2D focused concepts, which I think is a good place for me to learn at the moment.

Still loving this whole process, and yes, the GitHub updates are daily and constant.

Chapter Three Checkin

Knocked out Chapter 3, which was all about the basics of animation. This was super invigorating for me, as I felt a little more at home, as Flash Professional was where I started my career. There were a lot of familiarity in seeing things like animation curves, timelines, and sprite sheets. I think Unity has made a lot of great improvements over the traditional tools from Flash Professional. Not to say that Flash Professional (now named Adobe Animate) is not useful.

In Flash Animates current tool set, there are a ton of great tools around getting animations ready for the web. Additionally, Animate’s vector animating tools are unmatched when combined with other tools like Adobe Illustrator. But that is Vector, if we explore something like Pixel art, the logic choice is Photoshop and a combination of something like Texture Packer to create a Texture atlas.

At this point, I am SUPER tempted to go check out more 2D focused resources, like Lynda.com course ‘Advanced Unity 2D: Platformer Player Movement‘. So there is a little war going on inside of me to deviate off the book and check it out. However, I do most of my learning in the ‘quiet moments’ around the house, when throwing on headphones would isolate me from my family, so it might be a combination of both. We’ll see.

General thoughts on the book now that I am 3 of 12 chapters in are a little something like this:

  • Friendly reminder, we are talking about Unity 5.x Cookbook here
  • Good overview, no real depth in any one particular topic.
  • Does a good job of showing things, then explaining how they work, and decent wrap up. It would be pretty nice if they had some thought experiments to try out, or some other applications of what was learned to go try.
  • The book is already a hair out dated. Specifically some of the menu and options are different than what the book suggests.
Chapter Two CheckIn

Took down another chapter in the Unity 5.x Cookbook, so I thought I would check in. This chapter dug into Unity’s UI Tools, giving solution to common inventory display scenarios. It even covered a bit of Dictionaries which was neat to see. Having come from Javascript Full Stack and Actionscript, I did not get a chance to get into some of the more specific Data Structures. So while I am picking up C# super quick given my Object Orientated background, something new was appreciated.

I also dug that the author tucked in a little MVC (Model View Controller) into a couple of the chapters. Overall, the chapter was a bit of a crawl, but I am SUPER looking forward to the next chapter, which covers animation. As mentioned before, I have a heavy Actionscript (Flash) background, so getting into some of the tools that ‘replace’ what I would have done in Flash is very exciting.

Additionally, I am super excited to check out Unity’s new tools for Sprites (back in Unity 4) as I have been deep diving into Pixel Art outside of programming. The whole experience this past week has been super great in getting me re-engaged in Learning. Developing out my own chops have been kind of on hold as we have been teaching at Prime Academy. Its pretty great to be back in the learner seat a bit, it helps put ‘struggling with code’ in perspective and makes me want to jump in and help where I can on campus.

Next time I am hoping to provide some screenshots of pixel hotness, so check back in the next couple of days.