I Quit


This is the second game I've created as a student at the Game Center.  For some reason, since I turned in the assignment I've slowly become somewhat soured on the game.  This may be a result of my getting a lower score than I did on my previous effort, or it could be a result of having spent a ton of time with it over a very short period; either way, replaying it now I am much more positive on it than I have been recently.

I Quit

I will note first of all that, having completed this project, and feeling somewhat proficient in Unity at this point, I feel as though I have to work very hard in the future to avoid a problem that both of the games I have created have suffered from thus far: I tend to work invery established genres in the hope of creating a 'sufficiently good' game.

The title is a little on the nose, okay.

See, for this project my first idea was to create an endless runner.  This is a genre that has fairly simple mechanics, and I wanted to put my own personal spin on it.  So I decided it would be a three-lane endless runner in which you are running throughout of an office building because you have decided that you want to follow your dreams.  The obstacles would be office supplies and you would be running in endless, random, semi-procedurally-generated hallways, occasionally moving to the next, faster floor.

This is what's constantly on every employee at Media Molecule's screen, I assume. 

Starting the work was a real kick in the pants, in terms of learning how to code a game that takes place in a three-dimensional space.  Compared to GameMaker's relatively simple interface, Unity is a wide open, daunting program.  The first thing I realized is that I hadabsolutely no idea where to start.  The program opens and all of a sudden there are like nine windows and none of them seem like the right place to start.

My art direction turned out about as well as I could have hoped for, and looked pretty much like I wanted it to.

Eventually, I created a sample hallway and got it to move in one direction.  Then, when it got to a certain point, I got it to make a new hallway right at the end of the current hallway.  After that, I got the simple movement down - three lanes, left and right buttons to move.  This was a tremendous success so far!  Doing all of this in the first couple days while also learning the syntax of javascript in the Unity MonoDevelop editor was a pretty horrible experience, and I was in a continuous state of "oh god I can't do this what the fuck does any of this mean," but I was pretty happy when it all came together.

When it came time to make the game look more like a game, I ran into another humongous roadblock.  See, I had to get the levels to turn when you reached a certain point in the hallway.  This was a surprisingly tremendous undertaking, because i had to get all the hallways that currently existed - the one you were in and the two that were created in both possible directions - to turn around a certain point while the player stayed exactly in which "track" he should be.  So I couldn't turn around the player, because that would get messed up if he wasn't in the middle track.

Getting rooms and hallways to connect was kind of the worst.

However, I figured that out.  And then I figured out that I could just have a field at each end of each hallways that would cause the hallway to delete itself when the player ran through it, and that worked out well.  Things kept progressing and eventually I had a full game that kept score and finished and everything was wonderful.

The next thing I discovered is that menus are a bitch.  Like they are just awful.  The "buttons" that Unity has by default are pretty worthless, so I created a custom menu that basically consisted of quad that floated in front of the camera all the time, turned on or off by a 'menu' command attached to the escape button.  Cool.  It worked.

Menus were surprisingly difficult to implement, but at least they ended up looking thematically consistent.

I also created a "Setting" menu.  I thought it would be funny if I had a "Setting" menu with only one option that could be changed, and then I decided it would be funny if the "Setting" menu actually controlled the location in which the game takes place.  So it has options for a sewer, which conjures up a kind of gross fog and green color, a fairy land, which is pink and has magical sparkles, and a sick rave, which is a rave.  And is sick.


I finally created an end screen of the player falling down the side of the building (you win by jumping out a window, incidentally), fixed most of the bugs, and I was done.

The end screen was the last thing I created, and by that point I felt like a pro Unity user.

So, in general looking back at the project, it looks pretty much identical to what I wanted it to look like, and it accomplished everything I wanted and a little extra juice on top of that.  This could mean that I need to scope bigger next time.  Hopefully it means that I scoped juuuust right.  But I do know that for my next project I want to make something that's a little less run-of-the-mill and a little more "out-there".

I sound like I'm down on the project again.  I should reiterate, mainly to myself, that this is only the second game I've ever made, and the first 3D game.  It's also the first time I've coded in Unity, and dealt with all the complexity that comes with coding in 3D.  I'm very, very proud of this project.  In the end, the player movement felt OK (I would give it a 7/10) and the look of the game was exactly what I wanted it to be.  So, hopefully, on to bigger and better things in the future.

To be honest, this project made me extremely hopeful.  When I applied to Game Center, I was pretty happy with the theoretical idea of churning out 3D assets for other people's game ideas.  I liked the idea of making games, but I really had no tangible concept of how I would do that, or how one thinks up an idea for a game.  Although the two games I've completed so far have been riffs on Wario Ware and Temple Run, respectively, I feel pretty confident now that, with effort ranging from 'some' to 'tremendous,' I can take any of the (ever-more-frequent) ideas I have and turn it into something playable and fun.

You go, me.

I'll update here as soon as I can.  Maybe about something of mine, maybe about one of the games I've been playing.