Breaking Bricks in the Hot Sun

I played a game and… the game won! But moving swiftly on from the lyrical stylings of law-breakers, it’s another month down and that means another classic game being re-made.

For followers of the blog, and I know there are few, I took on a friend (Dave the Iguana) to help me out further down this game development track, he wants to learn to code, and I could do with someone I know I can rely on with whom I have a rapport. So this is the first game mainly made by Dave!

I won’t focus too much on his side of the work because I don’t know what he did to the fullest extent I’d feel comfortable writing about it. Needless to say that he did gameplay, I did the menu system, he found an awful tutorial that told him to break good coding and development practices and I spent a lot of time with him showing why those things aren’t great going forward.

The menu system then! This is actually the 3rd time I’ve made a menu system and the 2nd time I’ve used the Unity UI over the scripting GUI that from what I understand is outdated. Given my dearth of work from the normal routine I took the extra time I had to learn from Unity themselves about the UI through their tutorial and video sections. It was, to put politely, a mixed bag of results. Admittedly I didn’t pour over everything, just watched the main series on “UI Components”.

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In terms of how much this helped, it did give me a better understanding but in all honesty I still didn’t manage to execute it well. I tried to create a dynamic menu that would have UI elements that scaled with resolution/screen size and truth be told I failed abhorrently in that regard. I’m not chalking it up to a failure though, yes I didn’t achieve perfection or professionalism, I got something much more out of it and that is I learnt more about the software and it’s limitations and abilities.

One of the things I’m most happy that I learnt about was using the Unity animator. This is something that’s going to be coming into a lot more use as Dave & I start to build bigger games, so I’m glad for the exposure to it, and now I know how to create a nice simple menu animation for active/hover/pressed/disabled, and that’s what this one game a month idea is about, learning.

In this month I’ve cemented my development around using multiple menus, it’s not the best system in place, but it works and for now that’s important. To know I have something and know how I’d want to improve it is valuable, the only question becomes the how from that point. I also learnt to use the Unity animator, it’s taken 3 months to use the Unity animator and that’s overdue really, admittedly none of the gameplay has required it, but it will soon. Also by acting as a consultant to Dave I was able to test the waters of my own understanding and knowledge about how to set up a basic 2D game. This month hasn’t been ground-breaking, but it’s been affirming and I’m glad to have that.

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Now we’re already several days into September however, so the question really is what’s next? Well I’m doing a lot more design reading as I realise that simple development isn’t beyond my or Dave’s ken, and I’d like to be able to design small games appropriate for us to build and design them well. Our monthly podcast has already been recorded, this one was a bit of a hard theme to come up with concepts for and we actually mainly focus on the theme in relation to other games and their own mechanics. This is a podcast idea we’ve had for a while, the breaking down of design issues, and we’ve managed to accidentally side-step into it.

Finally we’ve started development again, this time however not on just one game. Since we felt it appropriate that Dave should work more on his development skills for gameplay, but I also didn’t want him to miss out on building a menu system, he is in fact developing a game on his own and I’m acting as consultant where possible. He will be making Asteroids. I however felt that this month I’d done very little, and in reality I don’t have much to show for it in terms of problems I faced and overcame, I did learn but I didn’t have interesting development challenges, just software ones. It is for that reason that I’ve decided to make a game on my own too, I’ll be making Tetris.

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Making two games is actually very important, because originally I came up with 8 classic games to be re-made, there are more out there, but we want to start growing and trying more things soon, possibly next month, maybe nearer Xmas. We’ve just passed month 3 and therefore game 3, and in this month we’re making 2 which means that 5/8 of the original games I came up with will have been made by the end of this month. It’ll leave Space-Invaders, Super Mario Bros & Pac-Man.

So keep an eye out for our next podcast episode, I’m going to start putting up download links for the games we make in Unity so be on the look out for those as well as the Itch page we have, you can always reach us on Twitter don’t forget, and finally thank you for reading, share if you liked this, have an awesome day and keep on designing.

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